Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The gender gap on public opinion towards genetically modified foods

The gender gap on public opinion towards genetically modified foods. Laurel Elder, Steven Greene, Mary Kate Lizotte. The Social Science Journal,

Abstract: Ever since genetically modified (GM) foods were introduced into the food supply in the 1990s they have provoked debate and concern. The number of GM foods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and offered on supermarket shelves has steadily grown at the same time that public wariness about the safety of GM foods has increased. Studies within the scientific literature show a strikingly large gender gap in attitudes towards GM foods with women consistently more skeptical than men. However, there have been few efforts to understand the determinants of the gender gap on GM foods within the political science literature. This study employs a 2014 Pew Research Center survey on science issues to test several possible explanations for the gender gap in attitudes towards GM foods rooted in the different life experiences of women and men. The results show that while being a parent predicts more skeptical views about genetically modified foods overall it does not explain the gender gap in attitudes. In contrast, knowledge about science and having confidence in science do play a significant role in mediating the gender gap. By exploring the robust and pervasive gender gap on the issue of GM foods, this study sheds light on the fundamentally different ways men and women approach political issues.

Keywords: Gender gap; Public opinion; Genetically modified foods; Parent gap; Attitudes about science

Check also What lies beneath? Fear vs. disgust as affective predictors of absolutist opposition to genetically modified food and other new technologies. Edward Royzman, Corey Cusimano, and Robert F. Leeman. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 12, No. 5, September 2017, pp. 466-480.

We find no relationship between other personality traits, personality judgment accuracy and face memory. Individual differences in detecting personality traits do not relate to their face memory abilities

Satchell, Liam, Josh P Davis, Eglantine Julle-Danière, Nina Tupper, and Paul Marshman 2018. “Super-recognising Kernels of Truth? Exploring the Relationship Between Personality, Person Judgment Accuracy and Face Recognition.”. PsyArXiv. March 14.


Research has shown that individuals can recognise personality traits from photographs of others’ faces. It is suggested that this is possible as faces contain a biometric ‘kernel of truth’ for personality traits. If biometric facial features facilitate person judgments, then those adept at face memory (super-recognisers) could show heightened ability at recognising personality traits. This study evaluates the links between face memory accuracy and trait judgment accuracy. We investigated the relationship between participants’ face memory, Big Five personality traits and their accuracy in judging the Big Five personality traits (from 50 self-selected photographs of unknown individuals) in a sample of 792 individuals. We replicated previous findings that participant extraversion relates to face memory ability. We find no relationship between other personality traits, personality judgment accuracy and face memory. Individual differences in detecting personality traits do not relate to their face memory abilities. We do replicate the relationship between extraversion and face memory ability in the largest sample to date. This suggests that super-recognising faces and traits are domain-specific abilities. If surveillance operators are expected to detect impending incidents, then our findings would suggest that this is something that super-recognisers would need training in.

Why sexual activity: Men prefer physical reasons and women more often expressing emotional and insecurity reasons

Wyverkens E, Dewitte M, Deschepper E, et al. YSEX? A Replication Study in Different Age Groups. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 2018;XX:XXX–XXX.


Introduction: 10 years ago, Meston and Buss (Arch Sex Behav 2007;36:477–507) identified 237 reasons for having sex. Since then, only a few studies have built on the analyses of differences in sexual motivation.

Aim: To replicate the YSEX? in a broader sample of women and men of different ages.

Methods: Women and men younger than 18 (n = 141), 18 to 22 (n = 1,039), 22 to 55 (n = 2,804), and at least 55 (n = 667) years old completed an online survey about their reasons for engaging in sex during the past year.

Main Outcome Measures: The YSEX? inventory was assessed to measure sexual motivation. The taxonomy consists of 4 main factors (physical, goal attainment, emotional, insecurity) and 13 subfactors.

Results: 4,655 participants took part in the survey. The top 5 primary reasons for engaging in sex were identical across age groups and sexes. However, results also showed that the pattern of motivations for sex significantly differed depending on the age and sex of the participant. Older participants reported significantly less physical and utilitarian reasons than younger participants. Young adult men (18–22 years) were particularly motivated to have sex for emotional reasons of love and commitment. Women in this age group engaged more often in sex to express their emotions than older women. Significant sex differences were found, with men preferring physical reasons and women more often expressing emotional and insecurity reasons, except for the group of adolescents.

Conclusions: Our study shows that most people are driven by the pleasure of sex. With aging, the physical driving force and sexual satisfaction significantly decrease, although sex remains important throughout life. The findings support a biopsychosocial approach to the understanding of people’s sexual motivation. Evolutionary differences might explain some of our findings, as might shifting cultural norms.

Key Words: Sexual Motivation; Age; Gender; Generations; Biopsychosocial; Men’s Sexual Desire

Is Fertility After the Demographic Transition Maladaptive?

Is Fertility After the Demographic Transition Maladaptive? Rosemary L. Hopcroft. Journal of Biosocial Science,

Summary: Fitness is always relative to the fitness of others in the group or breeding population. Even in very low-fertility societies, individual fitness as measured by the share of genes in subsequent generations may still be maximized. Further, sexual selection theory from evolutionary biology suggests that the relationship between status and fertility will differ for males and females. For this reason it is important to examine the relationship between status and fertility separately for males and females–something few demographic studies of fertility do. When male fertility is measured separately, high-status men (as measured by their wealth and personal income) have higher fertility than low-status men, even in very low-fertility societies, so individual males appear to be maximizing their fitness within the constraints posed by a modern society. Thus male fertility cannot be considered maladaptive. When female fertility is measured separately, in both very high- and very low-fertility societies, there is not much variance across women of different statuses in completed fertility. Only in societies currently changing rapidly (with falling fertility rates) is somewhat high variance across women of different statuses in completed fertility found. What is seen across all phases of the demographic transition appears to be a continuation of two somewhat different evolved human reproductive strategies–one male, one female–in changing social and material contexts. Whether contemporary female fertility is maladaptive remains an open question.

Check also Evolution and Human Reproduction. Martin Fieder and Susanne Huber. In Oxford Handbook of Evolution, Biology, and Society, edited by Rosemary L. Hopcroft. Mar 2018.

And: Cultural and reproductive success in industrial societies: Testing the relationship at the proximate and ultimate levels. Daniel Pérusse. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 16, Issue 2, June 1993 , pp. 267-283.

Differences in nut-cracking efficiency between wild chimpanzee groups: Group belonging and conformity makes them to use inferior tools to be more prosocial

Costly culture: differences in nut-cracking efficiency between wild chimpanzee groups. Lydia V.Luncz et al. Animal Behaviour, Volume 137, March 2018, Pages 63-73.

•    Nut cracking efficiency differed between chimpanzee groups.
•    Group-specific tool selection led to differences in nut intake rates.
•    Neighbouring groups applied different strategies to open the nuts.
•    Stone hammers were more efficient than wooden hammers.

Abstract: Cultural diversity among social groups has recently been documented in multiple animal species. Investigations of the origin and spread of diverse behaviour at group level in wild-ranging animals have added valuable information on social learning mechanisms under natural conditions. Behavioural diversity has been especially informative in the case of dispersal, where the transfer of individuals between groups leads to a sudden exposure to unfamiliar behaviour. Little is known, however, about the underlying costs and benefits of cultural transmission in animals and humans alike, as efficiency of cultural variants is often difficult to measure. The chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, of the Taï National Park in Ivory Coast are known to exhibit a number of cultural differences between social groups, including hammer selection for nut cracking. This provides the unique opportunity to quantify the efficiency of cultural variants. We compared foraging speed and number of hits applied during nut-cracking events between three neighbouring chimpanzee groups. Our results showed significant differences in nut-cracking efficiency, caused by hammer material selection and differences in the applied power of impact per nut. Persistent behavioural coherence within the respective groups implies that immigrants adjust their behaviour to local nut-cracking techniques, even when individual foraging success might be compromised. This suggests that the benefit of belonging to a social group might outweigh the benefits of maximizing individual foraging efficiency. The differences in nut-cracking efficiency between chimpanzee groups add to the ever-growing body of cultural variants in wild chimpanzees and expand our knowledge of the importance of group belonging and conformity in wild chimpanzees.

The Effect of Primary Care Visits on Health Care Utilization: It doesn't control expenses in the medium and long run

The Effect of Primary Care Visits on Health Care Utilization: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Cathy J. Bradley, David Neumark, and Lauryn Saxe Walker. Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 104, March 14 2018,

[C]ash incentives, which can be manipulated by policymakers, encourage the desired behavior of primary care provider (PCP) utilization, but they may also have unintended consequences for other types of health care utilization. Total spending increases during the initial six-month incentive period, but the increase generally is not statistically significant among most incentives groups during the second six-month period…

We conclude that although an initial PCP visit can be effectively incentivized, and although observation of subsequent visits suggests that a PCP relationship has been established, overall health care utilization may not be reduced and may even increase in the short run.

Pleasure: The Missing Link in the Regulation of Sleep

Pleasure: The Missing Link in the Regulation of Sleep. R.V. Rial et al. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews,

•    Sleeping is pleasant, a fact that has been ignored by sleep scholars.
•    Pleasure is the long missing link in the regulation of sleep.
•    Dopamine links the brain rewarding system and the sleep–wake circuitry.
•    Sleep begins when the displeasure of continuing awake is excessive.
•    Sleep ends when sleeping is no longer pleasant.
•    Only mammals and birds are able to experience emotional sleep.


Although largely unrecognized by sleep scholars, sleeping is a pleasure. This report aims first, to fill the gap: sleep, like food, water and sex, is a primary reinforcer.

The levels of extracellular mesolimbic dopamine show circadian oscillations and mark the “wanting” for pro-homeostatic stimuli. Further, the dopamine levels decrease during waking and are replenished during sleep, in opposition to sleep propensity. The wanting of sleep, therefore, may explain the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep. Accordingly, sleep onset occurs when the displeasure of excessive waking is maximal, coinciding with the minimal levels of mesolimbic dopamine. Reciprocally, sleep ends after having replenished the limbic dopamine levels. Given the direct relation between waking and mesolimbic dopamine, sleep must serve primarily to gain an efficient waking.

Pleasant sleep (i.e. emotional sleep), can only exist in animals capable of feeling emotions. Therefore, although sleep-like states have been described in invertebrates and primitive vertebrates, the association sleep-pleasure clearly marks a difference between the sleep of homeothermic vertebrates and cool blooded animals.

Keywords: Brain rewarding system; Sleep; Dopamine; Pleasure; Sleep regulation; Sleep function; Emotional sleep