Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Are Sex Differences in Mating Strategies Overrated? Sociosexual Orientation as a Dominant Predictor in Online Dating Strategies

Are Sex Differences in Mating Strategies Overrated? Sociosexual Orientation as a Dominant Predictor in Online Dating Strategies. Lara Hallam, Charlotte J. S. De Backer, Maryanne L. Fisher, Michel Walrave. Evolutionary Psychological Science, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-018-0150-z

Abstract: Past research has extensively focused on sex differences in online dating strategies but has largely neglected sex-related individual difference variables such as sociosexuality. Sociosexuality (i.e., a measure of the number of restrictions people place on sexual relationships) gained attention in the 1990s among social and evolutionary psychologists, but has not been fully embraced by social scientists investigating interpersonal relationships and individual differences. Our aim is to investigate whether previously documented sex differences in mating strategies can be partially explained by sociosexuality, as a proximate manifestation of sex, by replicating a study about motives to use online dating applications, using an online survey. A first MANCOVA analysis (N = 254 online daters) not controlling for sociosexuality showed a significant main effect for age and sex. Adding sociosexuality to this analysis, a significant main effect of sociosexuality appeared indicating that individuals with a preference for unrestricted sexual relationships are more motivated to use online dating for reasons related to casual sex, whereas individuals who prefer restricted sexual relationships are more motivated to use online dating to find romance. Interestingly, the original main effect for sex and the significant interactions were eliminated. We argue that in social scientific research, scholars should pay more attention to sociosexuality when doing research about mating strategies.

"Cousin Marriage Is Not Choice: Muslim Marriage and Underdevelopment"

Edlund, Lena. 2018. "Cousin Marriage Is Not Choice: Muslim Marriage and Underdevelopment." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 108():353-57. DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181084

Abstract: According to classical Muslim marriage law, a woman needs her guardian's (viz. father's) consent to marry. However, the resulting marriage payment, the mahr, is hers. This split bill may lie behind the high rates of consanguineous marriage in the Muslim world, where country estimates range from 20 to 60 percent. Cousin marriage can stem from a form of barter in which fathers contribute daughters to an extended family bridal pool against sons' right to draw from the same pool. In the resulting system, women are robbed of their mahr and sons marry by guarding their sisters' "honor" heeding clan elders.

Unexamined assumptions and unintended consequences of routine screening for depression

Unexamined assumptions and unintended consequences of routine screening for depression. Lisa Cosgrove et al. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 109, June 2018, Pages 9-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.03.007

1. Assumption 1: The condition has a detectable early asymptomatic stage, but is progressive and, without early treatment, there will be worse health outcomes

2. Assumption 2: In the absence of screening, patients will not be identified and treated

3. Assumption 3: Depression treatments are effective for patients who screen positive but have not reported symptoms

4. Unintended consequence 1: overdiagnosis and overtreatment

5. Unintended consequence 2: the nocebo effect

6. Unintended consequence 3: misuse of resources

7. Conclusion
The therapeutic imperative in medicine means that we are good at rushing to do things that might “save lives” but not good at not doing, or undoing [30] (p348).

Sensible health care policy should be congruent with evidence. As Mangin astutely noted, our goodhearted desire to “do something” often undermines our ability to interrogate our assumptions and accept empirical evidence. Before implementing any screening program there must be high-quality evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that the program will result in sufficiently large improvements in health to justify both the harms incurred and the use of scarce healthcare resources.

Helping people who struggle with depression is a critically important public health issue. But screening for depression, over and above clinical observation, active listening and questioning, will lead to over-diagnosis and over-treatment, unnecessarily create illness identities in some people, and exacerbate health disparities by reducing our capacity to care for those with more severe mental health problems—the ones, often from disadvantaged groups—who need the care the most.

Research shows that “evidence-based” therapies are weak treatments. Their benefits are trivial. Most patients do not get well. Even the trivial benefits do not last.

Where Is the Evidence for “Evidence-Based” Therapy? Jonathan Shedler. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 41, Issue 2, June 2018, Pages 319-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2018.02.001

Buzzword. noun. An important-sounding u sually technical word or phrase often oflittle meaning used chiefly to impress.
“Evidence-based therapy” has become a marketing buzzword. The term “evidence based” comes from medicine. It gained attention in the 1990s and was initially a call for critical thinking. Proponents of evidence-based medicine recognized that “We’ve always done it this way” is poor justification for medical decisions. Medical decisions should integrate individual clinical expertise, patients’ values and preferences, and relevant scientific research.1

But the term evidence based has come to mean something very different for psychotherapy.  It has been appropriated to promote a specific ideology and agenda. It is now used as a code word for manualized therapy—most often brief, one-sizefits- all forms of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). “Manualized” means the therapy is conducted by following an instruction manual. The treatments are often standardized or scripted in ways that leave little room for addressing the needs of individual patients.

Behind the “evidence-based” therapy movement lies a master narrative that increasingly dominates the mental health landscape. The master narrative goes something like this: “In the dark ages, therapists practiced unproven, unscientific therapy.  Evidence-based therapies are scientifically proven and superior.” The narrative has become a justification for all-out attacks on traditional talk therapy—that is, therapy aimed at fostering self-examination and self-understanding in the context of an ongoing, meaningful therapy relationship.

Here is a small sample of what proponents of “evidence-based” therapy say in public: “The empirically supported psychotherapies are still not widely practiced. As a result, many patients do not have access to adequate treatment” (emphasis added).2 Note the linguistic sleight-of-hand: If the therapy is not “evidence based” (read, manualized), it is inadequate. Other proponents of “evidence-based” therapies go further in denigrating relationship-based, insight-oriented therapy: “The disconnect between what clinicians do and what science has discovered is an unconscionable embarrassment.”3 The news media promulgate the master narrative. The Washington Post ran an article titled “Is your therapist a little behind the times?” which likened traditional talk therapy to pre-scientific medicine when “healers commonly used ineffective and often injurious practices such as blistering, purging and bleeding.” Newsweek sounded a similar note with an article titled, “Ignoring the evidence: Why do Psychologists reject science?”

Note how the language leads to a form of McCarthyism. Because proponents of brief, manualized therapies have appropriated the term “evidence-based,” it has become nearly impossible to have an intelligent discussion about what constitutes good therapy. Anyone who questions “evidence-based” therapy risks being branded anti-evidence and anti-science.

One might assume, in light of the strong claims for “evidence-based” therapies and the public denigration of other therapies, that there must be extremely strong scientific evidence for their benefits. There is not. There is a yawning chasm between what we are told research shows and what research actually shows.  Empirical research actually shows that “evidence-based” therapies are ineffective for most patients most of the time. First, I discuss what empirical research really shows. I then take a closer look at troubling practices in “evidence-based” therapy research.

PART I: WHAT RESEARCH REALLY SHOWS

Research shows that “evidence-based” therapies are weak treatments. Their benefits are trivial. Most patients do not get well. Even the trivial benefits do not last.

The neuronal circuitry associated with higher intelligence is organized in a sparse and efficient manner, fostering more directed information processing and less cortical activity during reasoning

Diffusion markers of dendritic density and arborization in gray matter predict differences in intelligence. Erhan Genç, Christoph Fraenz, Caroline Schlüter, Patrick Friedrich, Rüdiger Hossiep, Manuel C. Voelkle, Josef M. Ling, Onur Güntürkün & Rex E. Jung. Nature Communications, volume 9, Article number: 1905 (2018), doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04268-8

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that individuals with higher intelligence are more likely to have larger gray matter volume in brain areas predominantly located in parieto-frontal regions. These findings were usually interpreted to mean that individuals with more cortical brain volume possess more neurons and thus exhibit more computational capacity during reasoning. In addition, neuroimaging studies have shown that intelligent individuals, despite their larger brains, tend to exhibit lower rates of brain activity during reasoning. However, the microstructural architecture underlying both observations remains unclear. By combining advanced multi-shell diffusion tensor imaging with a culture-fair matrix-reasoning test, we found that higher intelligence in healthy individuals is related to lower values of dendritic density and arborization. These results suggest that the neuronal circuitry associated with higher intelligence is organized in a sparse and efficient manner, fostering more directed information processing and less cortical activity during reasoning.

Patients with troublesome alcohol history had a significantly lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease events, even after adjusting for demographic and traditional risk factors, despite higher tobacco use & male sex predominance

Cardiovascular Events in Alcoholic Syndrome With Alcohol Withdrawal History: Results From the National Inpatient Sample. Parasuram Krishnamoorthy, Aditi Kalla, Vincent M. Figueredo. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Volume 355, Issue 5, May 2018, Pages 425-427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjms.2018.01.005

Abstract

Background: Epidemiologic studies suggest reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) events with moderate alcohol consumption. However, heavy and binge drinking may be associated with higher CVD risk. Utilizing the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, we studied the association between a troublesome alcohol history (TAH), defined as those with diagnoses of both chronic alcohol syndrome and acute withdrawal history and CVD events.

Methods: Patients >18 years with diagnoses of both chronic alcohol syndrome and acute withdrawal using the International Classification of Diseases-Ninth Edition-Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes 303.9 and 291.81, were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2009-2010 database. Demographics, including age and sex, as well as CVD event rates were collected.

Results: Patients with TAH were more likely to be male, with a smoking history and have hypertension, with less diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity. After multimodal adjusted regression analysis, odds of coronary artery disease, acute coronary syndrome, in-hospital death and heart failure were significantly lower in patients with TAH when compared to the general discharge patient population.

Conclusions: Utilizing a large inpatient database, patients with TAH had a significantly lower prevalence of CVD events, even after adjusting for demographic and traditional risk factors, despite higher tobacco use and male sex predominance, when compared to the general patient population.

Is Accurate, Positive, or Inflated Self-perception Most Advantageous for Psychological Adjustment? Better Inflated

Humberg, Sarah, Michael Dufner, Felix D Schönbrodt, Katharina Geukes, Roos Hutteman, Albrecht Kuefner, Maarten van Zalk, Jaap J Denissen, Steffen Nestler, and Mitja Back 2018. “Preprint of "is Accurate, Positive, or Inflated Self-perception Most Advantageous for Psychological Adjustment? A Competitive Test of Key Hypotheses"”. PsyArXiv. April 15. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/9W3BH

Abstract: Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from five studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we employed an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of six popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated six indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions, there were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed.

Testosterone may influence social behavior by increasing the frequency of words related to aggression, sexuality, & status, & it may alter the quality of interactions with an intimate partner by amplifying emotions via swearing

Preliminary evidence that androgen signaling is correlated with men's everyday language. Jennifer S. Mascaro et al. American Journal of Human Biology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23136

Objectives: Testosterone (T) has an integral, albeit complex, relationship with social behavior, especially in the domains of aggression and competition. However, examining this relationship in humans is challenging given the often covert and subtle nature of human aggression and status‐seeking. The present study aimed to investigate whether T levels and genetic polymorphisms in the AR gene are associated with social behavior assessed via natural language use.

Methods: We used unobtrusive, behavioral, real‐world ambulatory assessments of men in partnered heterosexual relationships to examine the relationship between plasma T levels, variation in the androgen receptor (AR) gene, and spontaneous, everyday language in three interpersonal contexts: with romantic partners, with co‐workers, and with their children.

Results: Men's T levels were positively correlated with their use of achievement words with their children, and the number of AR CAG trinucleotide repeats was inversely correlated with their use of anger and reward words with their children. T levels were positively correlated with sexual language and with use of swear words in the presence of their partner, but not in the presence of co‐workers or children.

Conclusions: Together, these results suggest that T may influence social behavior by increasing the frequency of words related to aggression, sexuality, and status, and that it may alter the quality of interactions with an intimate partner by amplifying emotions via swearing.

The religiosity-moral self-image link was most strongly explained by personality traits and individual differences in prosociality/empathy, rather than a desirability bias; the link is minimally accounted for by impression management

Religion and moral self-image: The contributions of prosocial behavior, socially desirable responding, and personality. Sarah J. Ward, Laura A. King. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 131, 1 September 2018, Pages 222–231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.04.028

Highlights
•    The religiosity-moral self-image link was most strongly explained by prosocial traits.
•    This association was only minimally accounted for by impression management.
•    Even when under a fake lie detector, religious people still reported high moral self-image.

Abstract: Often, the high moral self-image held by religious people is viewed with skepticism. Three studies examined the contributions of socially desirable responding (SDR), personality traits, prosocial behavior, and individual differences in prosocial tendencies to the association between religiosity and moral self-image. In Studies 1 and 2 (N's = 346, 507), personality traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness) and individual differences in empathy/prosociality were the strongest explanatory variables for religiosity's association with moral self-image measures; SDR and prosocial behavior contributed more weakly to this association. In Study 3 (N = 180), the effect of a bogus pipeline manipulation on moral self-image was moderated by religiosity. Among the highly religious, moral self-image remained high even in the bogus pipeline condition. These studies show that the association between religiosity and moral self-image is most strongly explained by personality traits and individual differences in prosociality/empathy, rather than a desirability response bias.

Keywords: Religion; Morality; Moral self-image; Prosociality