Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Human adults often show a preference for scarce over abundant goods. Examined 4‐ and 6‐year‐old children as well as chimpanzees, only children at 6 displayed such preference, especially in the presence of competitors

The preference for scarcity: A developmental and comparative perspective. Maria John, Alicia P. Melis, Daniel Read, Federico Rossano, Michael Tomasello. Psychology & Marketing,

Abstract: Human adults often show a preference for scarce over abundant goods. In this paper, we investigate whether this preference was shared by 4‐ and 6‐year‐old children as well as chimpanzees, humans’ nearest primate relative. Neither chimpanzees nor 4‐year‐olds displayed a scarcity preference, but 6‐year‐olds did, especially in the presence of competitors. We conclude that scarcity preference is a human‐unique preference that develops as humans increase their cognitive skills and social experiences with peers and competitors. We explore different potential psychological explanations for scarcity preference and conclude scarcity preference is based on children's fear of missing out an opportunity, especially when dealing with uncertainty or goods of unknown value in the presence of competitors. Furthermore, the results are in line with studies showing that supply‐based scarcity increases the desirability of hedonic goods, suggesting that even as early as 6 years of age humans may use scarce goods to feel unique or special.

Liberals wanted to feel more empathy and experienced more empathy than conservatives did. Liberals were also more willing to help others than conservatives were, in the United States and Germany, but not in Israel

Are Liberals and Conservatives Equally Motivated to Feel Empathy Toward Others? Yossi Hasson et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,

Abstract: Do liberals and conservatives differ in their empathy toward others? This question has been difficult to resolve due to methodological constraints and common use of ideologically biased targets. To more adequately address this question, we examined how much empathy liberals and conservatives want to feel, how much empathy they actually feel, and how willing they are to help others. We used targets that are equivalent in the degree to which liberals and conservatives identify with, by setting either liberals, conservatives, or ideologically neutral members as social targets. To support the generalizability of our findings, we conducted the study in the United States, Israel, and Germany. We found that, on average and across samples, liberals wanted to feel more empathy and experienced more empathy than conservatives did. Liberals were also more willing to help others than conservatives were, in the United States and Germany, but not in Israel. In addition, across samples, both liberals and conservatives wanted to feel less empathy toward outgroup members than toward ingroup members or members of a nonpolitical group.

Keywords: political ideology, empathy, motivation, emotion regulation

Is birth attendance a uniquely human feature? New evidence suggests that Bonobo females protect and support the parturient

Is birth attendance a uniquely human feature? New evidence suggests that Bonobo females protect and support the parturient. Elisa Demuru, Pier Francesco Ferrari, Elisabetta Palagi. Evolution and Human Behavior,

Abstract: Birth attendance has been proposed as a distinguishing feature of humans (Homo sapiens) and it has been linked to the difficulty of the delivery process in our species. Here, we provide the first quantitative study based on video-recordings of the social dynamics around three births in captive bonobos (Pan paniscus), human closest living relative along with the chimpanzee. We show that the general features defining traditional birth attendance in humans can also be identified in bonobos. As in humans, birth in bonobos was a social event, where female attendants provided protection and support to the parturient until the infant was born. Moreover, bystander females helped the parturient during the expulsive phase by performing manual gestures aimed at holding the infant. Our results on bonobos question the traditional view that the “obligatory” need for assistance was the main driving force leading to sociality around birth in our species. Indeed, birth in bonobos is not hindered by physical constraints and the mother is self-sufficient in accomplishing the delivery. Although further studies are needed both in captivity and in the wild, we suggest that the similarities observed between birth attendance in bonobos and humans might be related to the high level of female gregariousness in these species. In our view, the capacity of unrelated females to form strong social bonds and cooperate could have represented the evolutionary pre-requisite for the emergence of human midwifery.

Keywords: Pan paniscus; Delivery; Protection; Support; Female gregariousness; Human birth attendance

Taking ownership of implicit bias has mixed outcomes—at times amplifying the expression of explicit prejudice

The Mixed Outcomes of Taking Ownership for Implicit Racial Biases. Erin Cooley, Ryan F. Lei, Taylor Ellerkamp. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,

Abstract: One potential strategy for prejudice reduction is encouraging people to acknowledge, and take ownership for, their implicit biases. Across two studies, we explore how taking ownership for implicit racial bias affects the subsequent expression of overt bias. Participants first completed an implicit measure of their attitudes toward Black people. Then we either led participants to think of their implicit bias as their own or as stemming from external factors. Results revealed that taking ownership for high implicit racial bias had diverging effects on subsequent warmth toward Black people (Study 1) and donations to a Black nonprofit (Study 2) based on people’s internal motivations to respond without prejudice (Internal Motivation Scale [IMS]). Critically, among those low in IMS, owning high implicit bias backfired, leading to greater overt prejudice and smaller donations. We conclude that taking ownership of implicit bias has mixed outcomes—at times amplifying the expression of explicit prejudice.

Keywords: social cognition, implicit cognition, intergroup processes, attitudes

MHC-Dependent Mate Selection within 872 Spousal Pairs of European Ancestry from the Health and Retirement Study

MHC-Dependent Mate Selection within 872 Spousal Pairs of European Ancestry from the Health and Retirement Study. Zhen Qiao, Joseph E. Powell and David M. Evans. Genes 2018, 9(1), 53; doi:10.3390/genes9010053

Abstract: Disassortative mating refers to the phenomenon in which individuals with dissimilar genotypes and/or phenotypes mate with one another more frequently than would be expected by chance. Although the existence of disassortative mating is well established in plant and animal species, the only documented example of negative assortment in humans involves dissimilarity at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus. Previous studies investigating mating patterns at the MHC have been hampered by limited sample size and contradictory findings. Inspired by the sparse and conflicting evidence, we investigated the role that the MHC region played in human mate selection using genome-wide association data from 872 European American spouses from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). First, we treated the MHC region as a whole, and investigated genomic similarity between spouses using three levels of genomic variation: single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), classical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles (both four-digit and two-digit classifications), and amino acid polymorphisms. The extent of MHC dissimilarity between spouses was assessed using a permutation approach. Second, we investigated fine scale mating patterns by testing for deviations from random mating at individual SNPs, HLA genes, and amino acids in HLA molecules. Third, we assessed how extreme the spousal relatedness at the MHC region was compared to the rest of the genome, to distinguish the MHC-specific effects from genome-wide effects. We show that neither the MHC region, nor any single SNPs, classic HLA alleles, or amino acid polymorphisms within the MHC region, were significantly dissimilar between spouses relative to non-spouse pairs. However, dissimilarity in the MHC region was extreme relative to the rest of genome for both spousal and non-spouse pairs. Despite the long-standing controversy, our analyses did not support a significant role of MHC dissimilarity in human mate choice.

Keywords: disassortative mating; non-random mating; major histocompatibility complex; human leukocyte antigen; mate selection

Mass–Elite Divides in Aversion to Social Change and Support for Donald Trump

Mass–Elite Divides in Aversion to Social Change and Support for Donald Trump. Matt Grossmann, Daniel Thaler. American Politics Research,

Abstract: Donald Trump won the American presidency in 2016 by overperforming expectations in upper Midwest states, surprising even Republican political elites. We argue that attitudes toward social change were an underappreciated dividing line between supporters of Trump and Hillary Clinton as well as between Republicans at the mass and elite levels. We introduce a concept and measure of aversion to (or acceptance of) social diversification and value change, assess the prevalence of these attitudes in the mass public and among political elites, and demonstrate its effects on support for Trump. Our research uses paired surveys of Michigan’s adult population and community of political elites in the Fall of 2016. Aversion to social change is strongly predictive of support for Trump at the mass level, even among racial minorities. But attitudes are far more accepting of social change among elites than the public and aversion to social change is not a factor explaining elite Trump support. If elites were as averse to social change as the electorate—and if that attitude mattered to their vote choice—they might have been as supportive of Trump. Views of social change were not as strongly related to congressional voting choices.

Keywords: political parties, vote choice, political elites, racial resentment, diversity

We sought to assess the relationship between attitudes toward social change and vote preference. Our measure of aversion to change is an additive scale made up of two components—respondents’ level of agreement with a pair of statements about changing cultural values:

1. “Our country is changing too fast, undermining traditional American values.”
2. “By accepting diverse cultures and lifestyles, our country is steadily improving.”


Our major dependent variable of interest, vote preference, is a three-category ordinal variable created from a survey item asking respondents which of the two major candidates they most support for the presidency in 2016. Each of these variables takes on a value of 0 if the respondent preferred Clinton, a value of 1 if the respondent preferred Trump, and a value of 0.5 if the respondent preferred another candidate or could not decide. A similar variable records the respondent’s preference between the major party candidates in their local congressional election.

Our measure of authoritarian attitudes is based on a measure used by Feldman and Stenner (1997). We constructed a 3-point scale from 0 to 1 from two binary items that asked respondents to choose which of a given pair of personal qualities is more important for a child to have: obedience versus self-reliance, and independence versus respect for elders. Preference for obedience and respect for elders were considered the more authoritarian choices. Our measure of racial resentment is a 9-point scale from 0 to 1 constructed from respondents’ reported level of agreement or disagreement with two statements about race—one positing that African Americans should overcome prejudice and work their way up without any special favors like some other minority groups did, and one (coded in the opposite direction) positing that generations of slavery and discrimination make it difficult for African Americans to work their way up financially. Higher values indicate higher levels of resentment.

Ethnocentrism is measured using a set of “feeling thermometer” questions for particular racial and religious groups, comparing the respondent’s rating of Whites to their rating of Blacks, Hispanics and Latinos, and Muslims. In particular, the variable is coded as the average difference between the score given by the respondent to “Whites” and the score the respondent gave to each of the three minority groups (rescaled from 0 to 1). Minority respondents are coded as having values of 0 on this ethnocentrism scale. Calculating the ethnocentrism of non-White respondents the same way does not change our conclusions in any significant way.

From 2004: Both males and females whose voices were rated as attractive had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, more extra-pair copulation partners, and more sexual partners that were involved in a relationship with another person

Ratings of voice attractiveness predict sexual behavior and body configuration. Susan M. Hughes, Franco Dispenza, Gordon G. Gallup Jr. Evolution and Human Behavior 25 (2004) 295–304.

Abstract: We investigated the relationship between ratings of voice attractiveness and sexually dimorphic differences in shoulder-to-hip ratios (SHR) and waist-to-hip ratios (WHR), as well as different features of sexual behavior. Opposite-sex voice attractiveness ratings were positively correlated with SHR in males and negatively correlated with WHR in females. For both sexes, ratings of opposite-sex voice attractiveness also predicted reported age of first sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners, number of extra-pair copulation (EPC) partners, and number of partners that they had intercourse with that were involved in another relationship (i.e., were themselves chosen as an EPC partner). Coupled with previous findings showing a relationship between voice attractiveness and bilateral symmetry, these results provide additional evidence that the sound of a person’s voice may serve as an important multidimensional fitness indicator.

Both males and females whose voices were rated as attractive had sex at an earlier age, had more sexual partners, more EPC partners, and more sexual partners that were involved in a relationship with another person. It is interesting that voice attractiveness ratings by members of the opposite sex were better predictors of sexual behavior than ratings by members of the same sex. Aside from Wilson (1984), who noted that lower voiced male opera singers were more inclined to have sexual affairs with fellow singers, our findings are the first to empirically implicate the existence of a relationship between voice and sexual behavior.

Individuals with attractive voices are perceived more favorably and as having more desirable personality characteristics (Zuckerman & Driver, 1989). Furthermore, the higher the ratings of voice attractiveness, the more the speaker is judged to be similar to the rater and the more the rater would like to affiliate with the speaker (Miyake & Zuckerman, 1993). This bvocal attractiveness stereotypeQ (Zuckerman & Driver, 1989; Zuckerman, Hodgins, & Miyake, 1990) may promote sexual opportunities. Although Zuckerman and Driver (1989) did not find an effect, Collins and Missing (2003) report a substantial correlation between ratings of voice attractiveness and of facial attractiveness in women. Therefore, since ratings of facial attractiveness predict semen quality in males (Soler et al., 2003) and longevity in both males and females (Henderson & Anglin, 2003), voice attractiveness may be an indicator (albeit indirect) of other fitness-related features as well.
Also: Men's voices and women's choices. Sarah A.Collins. Animal Behaviour, Volume 60, Issue 6, December 2000, Pages 773-780.

Abstract: I investigated the relationship between male human vocal characteristics and female judgements about the speaker. Thirty-four males were recorded uttering five vowels and measures were taken, from power spectrums, of the first five harmonic frequencies, overall peak frequency and formant frequencies (emphasized, resonance, frequencies within the vowel). Male body measures were also taken (age, weight, height, and hip and shoulder width) and the men were asked whether they had chest hair. The recordings were then played to female judges, who were asked to rate the males' attractiveness, age, weight and height, and to estimate the muscularity of the speaker and whether he had a hairy chest. Men with voices in which there were closely spaced, low-frequency harmonics were judged as being more attractive, older and heavier, more likely to have a hairy chest and of a more muscular body type. There was no relationship between any vocal and body characteristic. The judges' estimates were incorrect except for weight. They showed extremely strong agreement on all judgements. The results imply that there could be sexual selection through female choice for male vocal characteristics, deeper voices being preferred. However, the function of the preference is unclear given that the estimates were generally incorrect.