Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mercy Sex: How Much Is “Normal” Depends Upon The Country Where You Live

Mercy Sex: How Much Is “Normal” Depends Upon Where You Live. R. Pollycove, J. Simon. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 15, Issue 6, Supplement 2, June 2018, Pages S113.

Objective: Women engage in sexual relations despite the absence of personal sexual interest. Such sexual activity has been termed: duty sex, obligatory sex, mercy sex, etc. Medical treatments (testosterone [Intrinsa®; Libigel®], flibanserin [Addyi®], bremelanotide [RekyndaTM], lasofoxifene [Fablyn®)]) for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD; DSM-IV-TR) have investigated thousands of women. Women enrolled in HSDD trials continue to have sexual relations with their partners despite their absence of desire. We have previously reported that the “normal” frequency of sexual activity (without interest), aka “mercy sex” in these trials (a worldwide convenience sample) is 2.57 times/28 days. (n 4483). Here we examine the differences in “mercy sex” frequency among 13 European countries  to assess the impact, if any, of geographical and cultural diversity.

Materials and Methods: We analyzed baseline sexual activity data from the Orchid Trial (511.77; NCT00491829), a 24 week, randomized, doubleblind, placebo controlled, trial of flibanserin in premenopausal European women with HSDD conducted between June 2007 and March 2009 at 86 clinical trial sites in 13 European countries. All subjects used contraception. The baseline frequency of sexual activity without interest, aka “mercy sex” in these trial participants was compared by country with the norms established above.

Results: The mean number of sexual events per 28 days in the Orchid trial was: AUS 2.66, BEL 2.57, CZE 4.19, DEU 1.72, ESP 3.80, FIN 2.42, FRA 2.31, GBR 1.76, HUN 1.78, ITA 1.12, NLD 2.42; NOR 2.28, SWE 2.32.

Conclusion: Monogamous, heterosexual couples engage in sexual activity 2.57 times/28 days (n 4483) even when the female partner has HSDD. Such “mercy sex” is remarkably consistent in frequency. In certain Orchid trial countries, the frequency of “mercy sex” was inconsistent with these “norms.” These outlier results, both greater than the “norm” CZE 4.19, and ESP 3.80 events/28d; and less than the “norm” DEU 1.72, GBR 1.76, HUN 1.78, ITA 1.12, suggest significant cultural and/or social differences between countries, and provide a rich opportunity for hypothesis development and testing as to why such differences exist?

Disclosure: Work supported by industry: yes, by Boehringer Ingelheim (no industry support in study design or execution). The presenter or any of the authors act as a consultant, employee (part time or full time) or shareholder of an industry.

Power motivates heightened sexual attraction to the opposite sex among heterosexual men and women

Power motivates heightened sexual attraction to the opposite sex among heterosexual men and women. Lijun Zheng, Jing Zhang, Yong Zheng. Asian Journal of Social Psychology,

Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated that power induces sexual overperception by activating mating motivation. This study examined the impact of power on sexual attraction to the opposite sex among heterosexual men and women. We manipulated power by instructing participants to recall an incident in their lives where they possessed power over someone else (high power) or someone else possessed power over them (low power). We controlled for individual variations in sex drive, sexual sensation seeking, and sociosexual orientation. We asked participants to record their sexual attraction to images of the opposite sex in swimsuits. Our results showed that high‐power individuals, both men and women, recorded significantly greater sexual attraction to the images than did low‐power individuals, demonstrating that power heightens sexual attraction to the opposite sex among heterosexual men and women. The findings highlight power's activation of the mating motivation and have implications for the effect of power on sexualized behaviors.

How banking regulation has grown out of all proportions: Basel regulatory framework have now more than two million words

How banking regulation has grown out of all proportions. Marie-José Kolly and Jürg Müller. The End of Banking, May 22 2018.

Over the last forty years, banking regulation has grown extensively. The framework developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision alone consists of two million words. What is actually stated in all these documents?

A bank fails, and politicians save it with taxpayers’ money. This story repeats itself all around the world, most recently in Russia and Italy. To prevent such costly bailouts, banking regulation has been devised and implemented for a long time. The documents of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision play a key role for national rules.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) analyzed these regulatory documents in detail. Its data team included all 163 regulatory documents with final status as of 31st of July 2017 in their analysis (see «Methods» part at the end of this article). Major elements of this regulatory framework are Basel I (the first Basel capital accord, 1988), Basel II (2005), and Basel III (2010).

The most obvious development is the sheer growth of text over the years. Figure 1 shows, for the past 40 years, how much new text the Committee has published per year.


In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Committee has published 2795 pages. This is more than half of the entire regulatory framework consisting of 5440 pages and 2 million words – the Basel framework has reached an epic dimension.


The Basel documents are not only thousands of pages long, they are also a hard read. An average sentence in the Basel documents consists of 25.7 words, often embedded into complex grammatical structures. In comparison, an average sentence of the British National Corpus, which is a collection of texts covering a broad range of modern British English, only consists of 21 words.

Already the second sentence of the very first document published by the Basel Committee on Banking supervision spans over 72 words.

[Full article in the link above]

The other hidden hand: Soviet and Cuban intelligence in Allende’s Chile. Dec 2017

The other hidden hand: Soviet and Cuban intelligence in Allende’s Chile. Kristian Gustafson & Christopher Andrew. Intelligence and National Security, Volume 33, 2018 - Issue 3, Pages 407-421, Dec 2017.

Abstract: The role of Soviet and Cuban covert activities in Allende’s Chile has not been given sufficient consideration. This paper outlines the significant actions that the KGB and the Cuban DGI undertook there, showing that both organizations played important roles in both operating directly against the CIA and by supporting local actors. The results of their efforts, however, may have been negative to Allende’s coalition by focusing on factional or ideological interests. A broad array of sources is brought together to shed light on this historical gap. The result is a new paradigm in which we can consider this dramatic period.

Jan 2018: Guidance on Uncertainty Analysis in Scientific Assessments. EFSA Scientific Committee

Guidance on Uncertainty Analysis in Scientific Assessments. EFSA Scientific Committee. Jan 24 2018,

Abstract: Uncertainty analysis is the process of identifying limitations in scientific knowledge and evaluating their implications for scientific conclusions. It is therefore relevant in all EFSA's scientific assessments and also necessary, to ensure that the assessment conclusions provide reliable information for decision‐making. The form and extent of uncertainty analysis, and how the conclusions should be reported, vary widely depending on the nature and context of each assessment and the degree of uncertainty that is present. This document provides concise guidance on how to identify which options for uncertainty analysis are appropriate in each assessment, and how to apply them. It is accompanied by a separate, supporting opinion that explains the key concepts and principles behind this Guidance, and describes the methods in more detail.

Candidate attractiveness mitigates the negative electoral effects of involvement in scandal; of all type of scandals, we also find that attractiveness has the largest moderating role if the incumbent is embroiled in a sex scandal

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Do Attractive Politicians Get a ‘Break’ When They are Involved in Scandals? Daniel Stockemer, Rodrigo Praino. Political Behavior,

Abstract: In general, politicians involved in scandals of various natures are punished by voters. Good-looking politicians, on the contrary, are rewarded by voters. Almost fifty years of empirical research has shown that ill-informed voters will use the physical attractiveness of candidates, as well as readily-available information on scandal allegations involving candidates running for office, as a heuristic shortcut to determine their voting behaviour. This article represents the first attempt to link the existing literature on the electoral effects of scandals with the existing literature of the electoral impact of candidate attractiveness. Using data on U.S. House of Representatives elections between 1972 and 2012, we find that candidate attractiveness mitigates the negative electoral effects of involvement in scandal; this implies that attractive politicians do get a “break” when involved in scandals. Of all type of scandals, we also find that candidate attractiveness has the largest moderating role if the incumbent is embroiled in a sex scandal.

Psychopathy was linked to a city/urban preference; the Dark Triad preferred living conditions with opportunities for “exploitation”

Bright lights, big city: The Dark Triad traits and geographical preferences. Peter K. Jonason. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 132, 1 October 2018, Pages 66–73.

•    Examined living preferences and conditions associated with the Dark Triad.
•    Psychopathy, in particular, was linked to a city/urban preference.
•    The Dark Triad preferred living conditions with opportunities for “exploitation”.
•    Sex differences in featural preferences were mediated by the Dark Triad traits.

Abstract: There are many niches people can occupy and some people may fit better in certain niches than others as a function of their personality. Two simple questions were considered presently. Are people characterized by the Dark Triad traits also characterized by a bias towards living in the city and if so as they are, what features of the city-living draw them towards such geographical preferences? Study 1 (N = 753, students) assessed the correlations between population density and size and the Dark Triad traits. Study 2 (N = 270, MTurk) asked participant's where they lived and compared rates of the Dark Triad traits. Study 3 (N = 273, MTurk) assessed where people wish they lived based on location (e.g., city, suburbia) and features of that environment and related that to the Dark Triad traits. Across three studies, there was a tentative-yet-methodologically robust bias of those who are high in the Dark Triad traits—especially psychopathy—towards city life. In Study 3, sex differences in the features people want in where they live and how the Dark Triad traits correlated with the featural preferences were examined and suggested effects consistent with life history theory. Results are discussed using life history and selection-evocation-manipulation paradigms.

Keywords: Dark Triad; Psychopathy; Narcissism; Machiavellianism; Geography

Children of highly ambitious parents tend to enter competition even if their chances to win are low.; parents with higher income have less ambitions regarding their children’s success in the later professional life

Parents’ Ambitions and Children’s Competitiveness. Menusch Khadjavi, Andreas Nicklisch. Journal of Economic Psychology,

•    The ambition levels of parents concerning their children’s success in the later professional life correlate with children’s competitiveness.
•    Children of highly ambitious parents tend to enter competition even if their chances to win are low.
•    Parents with higher income have less ambitions regarding their children’s success in the later professional life.

Abstract: Individual competitiveness is a personality trait of high importance. While substantial differences between individuals have been documented, the sources of this heterogeneity are not well understood. To contribute to this issue we conduct an incentivized field study with pre-school children. We assess the children’s willingness to compete and relate the inclinations to ambitions and preferences of their parents. Parents’ ambitions concerning their children’s success in professional life predict their children’s competitiveness. In particular, children of highly ambitious parents tend to enter competition even if their chances to win are low. High ambitions are related to a relatively low socioeconomic background.

Keywords: Children; Competition; Field Experiment; Parents; Socialization; Intergenerational Transmission

Higher IQ in adolescence was associated with a number of healthier behaviours in middle age, but also with skipping meals, snacking between meals, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes smoked

Intelligence in youth and health behaviours in middle age. Christina Wraw, Geoff Der, Catharine R. Gale, Ian J. Deary. Intelligence, Volume 69, July–August 2018, Pages 71–86.

•    Links between intelligence in youth and mid-life health behaviours were examined.
•    Higher IQ was associated with a range of healthier behaviours in mid-life.
•    There were non-linear associations between IQ and unhealthy behaviours.
•    There was essentially no attenuation after adjusting for childhood SES.
•    Statistical significance was largely maintained after adjusting for adult SES.


Objective: We investigated the association between intelligence in youth and a range of health-related behaviours in middle age.

Method: Participants were the 5347 men and women who responded to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY-79) 2012 survey. IQ was recorded with the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) when participants were aged 15 to 23 years of age. Self-reports on exercise (moderate activity, vigorous activity, and strength training), dietary, smoking, drinking, and oral health behaviours were recorded when participants were in middle age (mean age = 51.7 years). A series of regression analyses tested for an association between IQ in youth and the different health related behaviours in middle age, while adjusting for childhood socio-economic status (SES) and adult SES.

Results: Higher IQ in youth was significantly associated with the following behaviours that are beneficial to health: being more likely to be able to do moderate cardiovascular activity (Odds Ratio, 95% CI) (1.72, 1.35 to 2.20, p < .001) and strength training (1.61, 1.37 to 1.90, p < .001); being less likely to have had a sugary drink in the previous week (0.75, 0.71 to 0.80, p < .001); a lower likelihood of drinking alcohol heavily (0.67, 0.61 to 0.74, p < .001); being less likely to smoke (0.60, 0.56 to 0.65, p < .001); being more likely to floss (1.47, 1.35 to 1.59, p < .001); and being more likely to say they “often” read the nutritional information (1.20, 1.09 to 1.31, p < .001) and ingredients (1.24, 1.12 to 1.36, p < .001) on food packaging compared to always reading them. Higher IQ was also linked with dietary behaviours that may or may not be linked with poorer health outcomes (i.e. being more likely to have skipped a meal (1.10, 1.03 to 1.17, p = .005) and snacked between meals (1.37, 1.26 to 1.50, p < .001) in the previous week). An inverted u-shaped association was also found between IQ and the number of meals skipped per week. Higher IQ was also linked with behaviours that are known to be linked with poorer health (i.e. a higher likelihood of drinking alcohol compared to being abstinent from drinking alcohol (1.58, 1.47 to 1.69, p < .001)). A u-shaped association was found between IQ and the amount of alcohol consumed per week and an inverted u-shaped association was found between IQ and the number of cigarettes smoked a day. Across all outcomes, adjusting for childhood SES tended to attenuate the estimated effect size only slightly. Adjusting for adult SES led to more marked attenuation but statistical significance was maintained in most cases.

Conclusion: In the present study, a higher IQ in adolescence was associated with a number of healthier behaviours in middle age. In contrast to these results, a few associations were also identified between higher intelligence and behaviours that may or may not be linked with poor health (i.e. skipping meals and snacking between meals) and with behaviours that are known to be linked with poor health (i.e. drinking alcohol and the number of cigarettes smoked). To explore mechanisms of association, future studies could test for a range of health behaviours as potential mediators between IQ and morbidity or mortality in later life.

Rejecting Unwanted Romantic Advances Is More Difficult Than Suitors Realize

Rejecting Unwanted Romantic Advances Is More Difficult Than Suitors Realize. Vanessa K. Bohns, Lauren A. DeVincent. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: In two preregistered studies, we find that initiators of unrequited romantic advances fail to appreciate the difficult position their targets occupy, both in terms of how uncomfortable it is for targets to reject an advance and how targets’ behavior is affected, professionally and otherwise, because of this discomfort. We find the same pattern of results in a survey of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students (N = 942) who recalled actual instances of unwanted or unrequited romantic pursuit (Study 1) and in an experiment in which participants (N = 385) were randomly assigned to the roles of “target” or “suitor” when reading a vignette involving an unwanted romantic advance made by a coworker (Study 2). Notably, women in our Study 1 sample of STEM graduate students were more than twice as likely to report having been in the position of target as men; thus, our findings have potential implications for the retention of women in STEM.

Keywords: egocentrism, interpersonal attraction, perspective taking, sexual harassment, STEM, workplace relations

There Is No Advantageous Inequity Aversion When One Is Not Responsible For The Unequal Allocation

Advantageous Inequity Aversion Does Not Always Exist: The Role of Determining Allocations Modulates Preferences for Advantageous Inequity. Ou Li, Fuming Xu4 and Lei Wang. Front. Psychol., May 23 2018,

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that people would like to sacrifice benefits to themselves in order to avoid inequitable outcomes, not only when they receive less than others (disadvantageous inequity aversion) but also when they receive more (advantageous inequity aversion). This feature is captured by the theory of inequity aversion. The present study was inspired by what appears to be asymmetry in the research paradigm toward advantageous inequity aversion. Specifically, studies that supported the existence of advantageous inequity aversion always relied on the paradigm in which participants can determine allocations. Thus, it is interesting to know what would occur if participants could not determine allocations or simply passed judgment on predetermined allocations. To address this, a behavioral experiment (N = 118) and a skin conductance response (SCR) experiment (N = 29) were adopted to compare participants' preferences for advantageous inequity directly when allocations were determined and when allocations were predetermined in an allocating task. In the determined condition, participants could divide by themselves a sum of money between themselves and a matched person, whereas in the predetermined condition, they could simply indicate their satisfaction with an equivalent program-generated allocation. It was found that, compared with those in the determined condition, participants in the predetermined condition behaved as if they liked the advantageous inequity and equity to the same degree (Experiment One) and that the SCRs elicited by advantageous inequity had no differences from those elicited by equity, suggesting that participants did not feel negatively toward advantageous inequity in this situation (Experiment Two). The present study provided mutual corroboration (behavioral and electrophysiological data) to document that advantageous inequity aversion may differ as a function of the individual's role in determining allocations, and it would disappear if individual cannot determine allocations.

Meta-Analysis Suggests Choosy Females Get Sexy Sons More Than 'Good Genes'

Meta-Analysis Suggests Choosy Females Get Sexy Sons More Than 'Good Genes'. Zofia M. Prokop, Łukasz Michalczyk, Szymon M. Drobniak, Magdalena Herdegen, Jacek Radwan. Evolution,

Abstract: Female preferences for specific male phenotypes have been documented across a wide range of animal taxa, including numerous species where males contribute only gametes to offspring production. Yet, selective pressures maintaining such preferences are among the major unknowns of evolutionary biology. Theoretical studies suggest that preferences can evolve if they confer genetic benefits in terms of increased attractiveness of sons (“Fisherian” models) or overall fitness of offspring (“good genes” models). These two types of models predict, respectively, that male attractiveness is heritable and genetically correlated with fitness. In this meta‐analysis, we draw general conclusions from over two decades worth of empirical studies testing these predictions (90 studies on 55 species in total). We found evidence for heritability of male attractiveness. However, attractiveness showed no association with traits directly associated with fitness (life‐history traits). Interestingly, it did show a positive correlation with physiological traits, which include immunocompetence and condition. In conclusion, our results support “Fisherian” models of preference evolution, while providing equivocal evidence for “good genes.” We pinpoint research directions that should stimulate progress in our understanding of the evolution of female choice.

Do Patients With Parkinson’s Disease Exhibit Reduced Cheating Behavior When There Are Opportunities for Dishonest Gain? It seems they do because of impairment in reward anticipation

Do Patients With Parkinson’s Disease Exhibit Reduced Cheating Behavior? A Neuropsychological Study. Nobuhito Abe et al. Front. Neurol., May 24 2018,

Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by loss of dopamine neurons. Since a seminal report was published in the early twentieth century, a growing body of literature has suggested that patients with PD display characteristic personality traits, such as cautiousness and inflexibility. Notably, PD patients have also been described as “honest,” indicating that they have a remarkable tendency to avoid behaving dishonestly. In this study, we predicted that PD patients show reduced cheating behavior in opportunities for dishonest gain due to dysfunction of the dopaminergic reward system. Thirty-two PD patients without dementia and 20 healthy controls (HC) completed an incentivized prediction task where participants were rewarded based on their self-reported accuracy, affording them the opportunity to behave dishonestly. Compared with HC, PD patients showed significantly lower accuracy in the prediction task. Furthermore, the mean accuracy of PD patients was virtually equivalent to the chance level. These results indicate that PD patients exhibit reduced cheating behavior when confronted with opportunities for dishonest gain.