Saturday, June 16, 2018

We judge faces in incomplete photographs as physically more attractive; this positivity bias is replicated for different types of face incompleteness, mostly specific to aesthetic judgments, stronger for male participants, & specific to human faces (as opposed to pets, flowers, & landscapes)

Orghian, Diana and Hidalgo, C├ęsar, Worse Than You Think: Positivity Bias in Evaluations of Human Facial Attractiveness (April 13, 2018).

Abstract: Attractive people are perceived to be healthier, wealthier, and more sociable. Yet, people often judge the attractiveness of others based on incomplete facial information. Here, we test the hypothesis that people fill in the missing information with positive inferences when judging others’ facial beauty. To test this hypothesis, we conducted five experiments where participants judged the attractiveness of human faces in complete and incomplete photographs. Our data shows that — relative to complete photographs — participants judge faces in incomplete photographs as physically more attractive. This positivity bias is: (i) replicated for different types of face incompleteness, (ii) mostly specific to aesthetic judgments, (iii) stronger for male participants, (iv) specific to human faces (as opposed to pets, flowers, and landscapes), (v) sensitive to participants’ prior expectations about the facial beauty of the people being evaluated, and, (vi) it involves a holistic processing of the faces.

Keywords: positivity bias, inference, face processing, attractiveness, configurational processing, expectations

Do Women Really Desire Casual Sex? Analysis of a Popular Adult Online Dating/Liaison Site

Do Women Really Desire Casual Sex? Analysis of a Popular Adult Online Dating/Liaison Site, by Michelle Escasa-Dorne and William Jankowiak. In Focality and Extension in Kinship. Essays in memory of Harold W Scheffler. Warren Shapiro (Ed.).

A large body of evidence supports general expectations concerning sex differences in perceptions of sexual behaviour and psychology. An early compilation of various surveys, primarily from the United States (US), suggests that men prefer young, healthy and physically attractive partners, whereas women seek ambitious, generous and socially and economically successful partners when evaluating potential mates (Symons 1979). Related research finds males more than females utilise prostitutes, consume pornography, require less time before consenting to sex and sex with a stranger, and display higher rates of sex with farm animals (Gray and Garcia 2013; Mealey 2000). Differences are further manifested in men having more spontaneous thoughts about sex, a greater variety of sexual fantasies, greater frequency of wanting intercourse and with a larger number of partners, and higher participation in masturbation (even in societies that strongly discourage it) (Baumeister, Catanese and Vohs 2001: 242). In contrast, women give greater weight to cues of emotional intimacy with someone who is open to establishing an ongoing relationship (Buss 2003; Regan and Berscheid 1999; Schmitt, Shackelford and Buss 2001).

Sexual selection theory and data on sexuality suggest that heterosexual women’s short-term sexual strategies may be motivated by accumulation of resources (Buss 2008; Hrdy 1999; Symons 1979; Townsend 1998), mate switching (Betzig 1989), or out of a desire to evaluate a prospective long-term mate (Buss 2008; Buss and Schmitt 1993; Greiling and Buss 2000; Meston and Buss 2007) rather than motivation to find momentary sexual pleasure. However, the emergent research on bisexual women finds they have on average more sexual partners than heterosexual or lesbian women. This research also finds that bisexual women often have higher testosterone levels than women in the general population (Lippa 2006).

The higher testosterone levels may contribute to bisexual women having a stronger sex drive and thus desire to seek out more opportunities for short-term sexual encounters. Another exception is female swingers, or married women, who seek out sexual variety within spouse exchange contexts (Jankowiak and Mixson 2008). In this setting, women engage in casual sexual encounters that allow for the possibility of a physiological release, while also signalling to themselves and others that they are sexually attractive and therefore desirable (see Gangestad and Simpson 2000). Previous literature has also noted that extra-pair mating may be the stimulus necessary to activate women’s short-term mating strategies (Pillsworth and Haselton 2006). Clearly, some women do engage in short-term mating encounters.



Adult Friend Finder is the world’s largest online dating site. Its home page advertises itself as being a site where men and women can find good opportunities to find like-minded people interested in casual sexual encounters. We found the site functions, however, more as a dating site in which heterosexual women, in spite of their sexually suggestive profiles, prefer to form some type of ongoing relationship.3 Straight women often tease an interest in a ‘hook up’ encounter or willingness to enter into a casual sexual tryst when most have no intention of doing so. With the exception of a few heterosexual women (who were not bicurious or bisexual), our study found most heterosexual women are not interested in short-term mating for the primary purpose of seeking sexual pleasure. What American women’s profiles repeatedly emphasise is the desire to form some type of ongoing relationship. This raises the never-ending question: Is the qualified caution found in women’s profiles the result of lingering cultural restraint, or is it further evidence of the presence of underlying evolutionary derived sex differences? Clearly, we need renewed scholarly effort.

Conservatives Report Greater Meaning in Life Than Liberals

Conservatives Report Greater Meaning in Life Than Liberals. David B. Newman et al. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Conservatives report greater life satisfaction than liberals, but this relationship is relatively weak. To date, the evidence is limited to a narrow set of well-being measures that ask participants for a single assessment of their life in general. We address this shortcoming by examining the relationship between political orientation and well-being using measures of life satisfaction, affect, and meaning and purpose in life. Participants completed well-being measures after reflecting on their whole life (Studies 1a, 1b, and 2), at the end of their day (Study 3), and in the present moment (Study 4). Across five studies, conservatives reported greater meaning and purpose in life than liberals at each reporting period. This finding remained significant after adjusting for religiosity and was usually stronger than the relationships involving other well-being measures. Finally, meaning in life was more closely related to social conservatism than economic conservatism.

Keywords: meaning in life, well-being, political orientation, ecological momentary assessment, satisfaction with life