Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Children develop skills foundational for identifying and creating opportunities for cooperation with others early, generating and distributing benefits. Apes have capacities for generating them, not for distributing them

How Children Solve the Two Challenges of Cooperation.  Felix Warneken. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 69:205-229 (January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-122216-011813

Abstract: In this review, I propose a new framework for the psychological origins of human cooperation that harnesses evolutionary theories about the two major problems posed by cooperation: generating and distributing benefits. Children develop skills foundational for identifying and creating opportunities for cooperation with others early: Infants and toddlers already possess basic skills to help others and share resources. Yet mechanisms that solve the free-rider problem—critical for sustaining cooperation as a viable strategy—emerge later in development and are more sensitive to the influence of social norms. I review empirical studies with children showing a dissociation in the origins of and developmental change seen in these two sets of processes. In addition, comparative studies of nonhuman apes also highlight important differences between these skills: The ability to generate benefits has evolutionary roots that are shared between humans and nonhuman apes, whereas there is little evidence that other apes exhibit comparable capacities for distributing benefits. I conclude by proposing ways in which this framework can motivate new developmental, comparative, and cross-cultural research about human cooperation.

By age five, children begin to understand the broad importance of reputation and to engage in surprisingly sophisticated impression management

Pint-Sized Public Relations: The Development of Reputation Management. Ike M. Silver, Alex Shaw. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 4, April 2018, Pages 277–279. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.01.006

Abstract: Until recently, many psychologists were skeptical that young children cared about reputation. New evidence suggests that by age five, children begin to understand the broad importance of reputation and to engage in surprisingly sophisticated impression management. These findings prompt exciting new questions about the development of a fundamental social competency.

Keywords: Reputation; signaling; impression management; self-presentation; social cognitive development; morality

Patients’ perspectives on political self‐disclosure, the therapeutic alliance, and the infiltration of politics into the therapy room

Patients’ perspectives on political self‐disclosure, the therapeutic alliance, and the infiltration of politics into the therapy room in the Trump era. Nili Solomonov, Jacques P. Barber. Journal of Clinical Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22609

Abstract: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the 2016 United States presidential election and ensuing political climate on patients’ experiences in psychotherapy. A sample of 604 self‐described Democrat and Republican patients from 50 states participated in the study. Results showed that most therapists disclosed their political stance (explicitly or implicitly) and most patients discussed politics with their therapists. 64% of Clinton supporters and 38% of Trump supporters assumed political similarity with their therapist. Stronger patient‐reported alliance levels were found for patients who (a) perceived political similarity; (b) reported implicit therapist political disclosure; and (c) found in‐session political discussions helpful. Additionally, Clinton (but not Trump) supporters reported significant pre‐post‐election decreases in expression of positive emotions and increases in both expression of negative emotions and engagement in discussions about socio‐political topics. Our findings suggest that the current political climate infiltrates the therapeutic space and affects therapeutic process and content.

Predictions about facial expressions drive social perception, deeply influencing how others are evaluated: individuals are judged as more likable and trustworthy when their facial expressions are anticipated

Chanes, L., Wormwood, J. B., Betz, N., & Barrett, L. F. (2018). Facial expression predictions as drivers of social perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(3), 380-396. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000108

Abstract: Emerging perspectives in neuroscience indicate that the brain functions predictively, constantly anticipating sensory input based on past experience. According to these perspectives, prediction signals impact perception, guiding and constraining experience. In a series of six behavioral experiments, we show that predictions about facial expressions drive social perception, deeply influencing how others are evaluated: individuals are judged as more likable and trustworthy when their facial expressions are anticipated, even in the absence of any conscious changes in felt affect. Moreover, the effect of predictions on social judgments extends to both real-world situations where such judgments have particularly high consequence (i.e., evaluating presidential candidates for an upcoming election), as well as to more basic perceptual processes that may underlie judgment (i.e., facilitated visual processing of expected expressions). The implications of these findings, including relevance for cross-cultural interactions, social stereotypes and mental illness, are discussed.

Why Only Humans Shed Emotional Tears: Evolutionary and Cultural Perspectives

Why Only Humans Shed Emotional Tears: Evolutionary and Cultural Perspectives. Asmir Grańćanin, Lauren M. Bylsma, Ad J. J. M. Vingerhoets. Human Nature, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12110-018-9312-8

Abstract: Producing emotional tears is a universal and uniquely human behavior. Until recently, tears have received little serious attention from scientists. Here, we summarize recent theoretical developments and research findings. The evolutionary approach offers a solid ground for the analysis of the functions of tears. This is especially the case for infant crying, which we address in the first part of this contribution. We further elaborate on the antecedents and (intra- and interpersonal) functions of emotional tears in adults. The main hypothesis that emerges from this overview is that crying evolved as an emotional expression that signals distress and promotes prosocial behaviors in conspecifics. Further, shedding tears may influence the mood of the crier and his/her outlook on life primarily as a consequence of fulfillment of the proposed signaling function of tears. We also describe how cultural phenomena such as ritual weeping nicely fit within this framework, as they often aim to support a request for help to a powerful person or deity and promote social bonding.

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Although there seems to be a consensus among contemporary scientists that weeping is uniquely human, there have been ample anecdotal descriptions of weeping animals (cf. Masson and McCarthy 1995; Vingerhoets 2013). For example, Homer described how a horse expressed its loyalty to its master, Patroclus, by weeping over his death. Also, crocodiles reportedly shed tears, initially not the proverbial (and hypocritical) crocodile tears, but rather to express real suffering when being physically abused
(Vingerhoets 2013). Deer also were said to weep after having shed their horns (Treacher-Collins 1932). Even Darwin (1872) discussed some observations of weeping animals, including macaques and, in particular, elephants. According to Reynolds (1924), weeping is a typical reaction of certain animals (particularly wolves) that signals exhaustion, which results in the tearful animal being placed at the rear of the pack to allow it to rest and recover. Further, Fossey (2000) described how Coco, a gorilla, wept when he was ill. Finally, in the documentary film The Weeping Camel (Davaa and Falorni 2003), the camel mother starts to produce tears at the moment that she reconnects with her previously rejected offspring and allows it to nurse.

However, the only more systematic study on this topic, a survey among people who work with animals professionally, including veterinarians and zookeepers failed to yield even a single observation of a weeping animal (Frey 1985). Murube (2009a) also concludes that animals generally do not produce emotional tears, although he admitted that several anecdotal reports deserve serious attention by investigators. Consequently, we must conclude that we currently do not have sufficient evidence to document weeping in nonhuman animals. If it does occur, it is extremely exceptional. The apparent uniqueness of human weeping suggests that tears might represent a functional response to adaptive challenges specific to the hominid lineage, which is crucial for understanding both the evolved functions and the proximate mechanisms of this complex behavior.

Personality traits doubled the variance accounted for (4% to 9%) indicating that Open, more Agreeable people were more Left-Wing and Introverted, more Conscientious people more Right-Wing

Personality and political orientation. Adrian Furnham, Mark Fenton-O'Creevy. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 129, 15 July 2018, Pages 88–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.03.020

Highlights
•    Personality and demographic factors were correlated with Left-Right political orientation (PO).
•    Better educated, less religious, females of higher social class were more Left-Wing.
•    Personality traits doubled the variance account for (4% to 9%).
•    Open, Agreeable people were Left-Wing and Introverted, Conscientious people Right-Wing.

Abstract: This study examined the incremental validity of the Big-Five personality traits over primarily demographic factors in predicting Left-Right political orientation (PO) in a large British adult sample. Gender and trait Openness was most strongly correlated with PO. The regression indicated that females who were better educated, less religious and of higher social class were more Left-Wing. Personality traits doubled the variance accounted for (4% to 9%) indicating that Open, more Agreeable people were more Left-Wing and Introverted, more Conscientious people more Right-Wing. Agreeableness and Neuroticism showed an interaction with social class, such that for high social class, Left-Wing orientation increased with Agreeableness (but not for low social class); and for high social class, Left-Wing orientation increased with Neuroticism, whilst for low social class, Right-Wing orientation increased with Neuroticism.

Keywords: Political orientation; Personality traits; Demographic variables

Are survivalists malevolent? Survivalists are disagreeable, low in rationality, and high in psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism. This suggests relatively high malevolence as well as high capacity for self-preservation. They are also fantasizers of sensation seeking, deep learners, and high in entrepreneurial intent.

Are survivalists malevolent? Chris J. Jackson. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 129, 15 July 2018, Pages 104–107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.03.006

Abstract: Survivalist plan and prepare for a major disaster. This research describes construction of the 8-item Survivalist Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ) and its nomological network which highlights that survivalists are disagreeable, low in rationality, and high in psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism. This suggests relatively high malevolence as well as high capacity for self-preservation. They are also fantasizers of sensation seeking, deep learners, and high in entrepreneurial intent which suggests ingenuity and ambition. They are also of lower general ability and lower rationality which suggests some limitations in the way they analyze information. Compared to the general population, survivalists are potentially dangerous in terms of personality (e.g., they are high scorers on the Dark Triad) and behavior (e.g., they may stockpile weapons) but also have strong preservation instincts that might be of benefit, at least to themselves, should disaster strike.

Keywords: Survivalists; Apocalypse; Dark triad; Maverick; Entrepreneurism; HMLP; Gun control

Precarious Sexuality: How Men and Women Are Differentially Categorized for Similar Sexual Behavior

Precarious Sexuality: How Men and Women Are Differentially Categorized for Similar Sexual Behavior. Trenton D. Mize, Bianca Manago. American Sociological Review,  https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122418759544

Abstract: Are men and women categorized differently for similar sexual behavior? Building on theories of gender, sexuality, and status, we introduce the concept of precarious sexuality to suggest that men’s—but not women’s—heterosexuality is an especially privileged identity that is easily lost. We test our hypotheses in a series of survey experiments describing a person who has a sexual experience conflicting with their sexual history. We find that a single same-sex sexual encounter leads an observer to question a heterosexual man’s sexual orientation to a greater extent than that of a heterosexual woman in a similar situation. We also find that a different-sex sexual encounter is more likely to change others’ perceptions of a lesbian woman’s sexual orientation—compared to perceptions of a gay man’s sexual orientation. In two conceptual replications, we vary the level of intimacy of the sexual encounter and find consistent evidence for our idea of precarious sexuality for heterosexual men. We close with a general discussion of how status beliefs influence categorization processes and with suggestions for extending our theoretical propositions to other categories beyond those of sexual orientation.

Keywords: gender, sexuality, social psychology, status, stigma