Friday, June 22, 2018

Populations that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are peculiar due to the medieval church's set of rules governing descent, marriage, residence, etc., leading to the predominance of nuclear families and impersonal institutions

Schulz, Jonathan, Duman Barahmi-Rad, Jonathan Beauchamp, and Joseph Henrich. 2018. “The Origins of WEIRD Psychology.” PsyArXiv. June 22. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/D6QHU

Abstract: Recent research not only confirms the existence of substantial psychological variation around the globe but also highlights the peculiarity of populations that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD). We propose that much of this variation arose as people psychologically adapted to differing kin-based institutions—the set of social norms governing descent, marriage, residence and related domains. We further propose that part of the variation in these institutions arose historically from the Catholic Church’s marriage and family policies, which contributed to the dissolution of Europe’s traditional kin-based institutions, leading eventually to the predominance of nuclear families and impersonal institutions. By combining data on 20 psychological outcomes with historical measures of both kinship and Church exposure, we find support for these ideas in a comprehensive array of analyses across countries, among European regions and between individuals with different cultural backgrounds.

Years of education significantly raises suicide mortality risk in the US after controlling for initial self-reported health; this is robust to regression specification, replication & the inclusion of covariates

The education–suicide mortality gradient. Adam Cook. Applied Economics Letters, https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2018.1489499

ABSTRACT: Using the fifth release of the National Longitudinal Mortality Survey, I examine the role of educational attainment and self-reported health on 6- and 11-year suicide mortality risk in the United States. I first replicate the original results reported by Hamermesh and Soss. . Then, augmenting the Hamermesh model with initial educational attainment and self-reported health status, I find that years of education significantly raises suicide mortality risk in the US after controlling for initial self-reported health. This result is robust to regression specification, replication and the inclusion of covariates.

KEYWORDS: Suicide, education, health, mortality, human capital
JEL CLASSIFICATION: I12, I21, C21

Humility does not necessarily lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, but psychological well-being is conducive to cultivating humility

Concurrent and Temporal Relationships Between Humility and Emotional and Psychological Well-Being. Eddie M. W. Tong et al. Journal of Happiness Studies, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-018-0002-3

Abstract: The present research is a preliminary investigation of the concurrent and temporal relationships between humility and two forms of well-being: emotional and psychological well-being. Humility, emotional well-being and psychological well-being were measured twice 6 weeks apart. Humility correlated positively with psychological well-being at both time-points, but was positively related to emotional well-being at only one time-point. In addition, we used structural equation modeling to perform cross-lagged panel analyses, and found that psychological well-being predicted an increase in humility over time, but humility did not predict changes in psychological well-being over time. In addition, there were no cross-lagged associations between emotional well-being and humility. The results suggest that humility does not necessarily lead to more pleasant or fulfilling experiences, but psychological well-being is conducive to cultivating humility.

Those who kill in dreams have been more violent in the past than those who do not have such dreams, scored higher in neuroticism & aggression, reported more creative achievements, & had more creative achievements than persons without those dreams

Mathes, J., Renvert, M., Eichhorn, C., von Martial, S. F., Gieselmann, A., & Pietrowsky, R. (2018). Offender-nightmares: Two pilot studies. Dreaming, 28(2), 140-149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000084

Abstract: Being the victim of an aggressor in nightmares is quite common for most persons, but there are also nightmares where the dream-self can become the offender. Two studies were conducted in two nonclinical samples of participants with frequent nightmares to investigate the so-called offender-nightmares. Study 1 served to assess the frequency of offender-nightmares in persons with frequent nightmares and the motives and actions in these dreams during a 28-day interval, whereas in Study 2, correlations to personality variables were investigated. The results indicate that the occurrence of offender-nightmares is not negligible; about 18% to 28% of the reported nightmares were classified as offender-nightmares. Most of the aggressive acts in these dreams were intentional, and killing a person was the most prominent offender’s act, with self-defense being the most common motive. Persons with offender-nightmares were also found to have been more violent in the past than persons without offender-nightmares and persons without nightmares. In addition, they scored higher in neuroticism and aggression, reported more creative achievements than persons without nightmares, and had more creative achievements than persons without offender-nightmares. The results suggest that offender-nightmares are rather common in people who frequently have nightmares and that these dreams are related to aggressiveness, creativity, and previous violent experiences.

Media use & gender relationship to nightmares

Gackenbach, J., Yu, Y., & Lee, M.-N. (2018). Media use and gender relationship to the nightmare protection hypothesis: A cross-cultural analysis. Dreaming, 28(2), 169-192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000066

Abstract: Chinese and Canadian people answered surveys in their native languages about their self-construal, media use history, and dreaming experiences. This included reporting a recent dream. The nightmare protection thesis was investigated. Sex was found to be modulated by culture in terms of the relationship between types of media used and negative dream content. This was particularly evident for men in Greater China versus Canada along the self-construal dimension of interdependence. As both cultures reported no difference in independent self-construal, it was argued that it is the role of interdependence that accounts for male differences between cultures. In addition, each media type highlighted a different cultural value. Specifically, gaming seemed more consistent with independence, whereas social media was consistent with interdependence. When dreams were considered, source data were important. Specifically, when respondents answered in terms of their impressions of their dream history, high social media users reported more bad dreams across sex and country. However, for the video game groups, a 3-way interaction emerged where country, sex, and gaming evidenced different patterns of bad dream scores. The other self-report dream measure was emotions felt during a recent dream, with general negative and positive emotions showing group differences. Finally, the judges’ coding of negative elements of dreams, threat and aggression, was most sensitive to social media effects. Across all the threat simulation interactions where country was an independent variable, the male sex in each country was most likely to show opposite results from the female sex.

Gender Equality and the Gender Gap in Mathematics: Improvement in gender equality does not reduce the gender gap

Gender Equality and the Gender Gap in Mathematics. Hung-Lin Tao & Christos Michalopoulos. Journal of Biosocial Science, Volume 50, Issue 2, March 2018 , pp. 227-243. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021932017000141

Summary: A gender gap has been found in mathematics (boys outperform girls) that has prevailed across countries for many decades. Whether this gap results from nature or nurture has been hotly debated. Using the evidence of PISA 2003 and the gender equality index of 2003, some researchers have argued that an improvement in gender equality reduces the gender gap in mathematics. This study used five waves of country-level PISA data and, controlling for country fixed effects, found no evidence to support this argument. Furthermore, individual data for PISA 2012 and the multilevel data model were used. The conclusion drawn also does not support the argument. In fact, the relationship between gender equality and the gender gap in mathematics vanished after PISA 2003.

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf

Monozygotic twin differences in school performance are stable and systematic: Non‐shared environmental factors affect school performance in systematic ways that have long‐term & generalist influence

Monozygotic twin differences in school performance are stable and systematic. Sophie von Stumm, Robert Plomin. Developmental Science, https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12694

Abstract: School performance is one of the most stable and heritable psychological characteristics. Notwithstanding, monozygotic twins (MZ), who have identical genotypes, differ in school performance. These MZ differences result from non‐shared environments that do not contribute to the similarity within twin pairs. Because to date few non‐shared environmental factors have been reliably associated with MZ differences in school performance, they are thought to be idiosyncratic and due to chance, suggesting that the effect of non‐shared environments on MZ differences are age‐ and trait‐specific. In a sample of 2768 MZ twin pairs, we found first that MZ differences in school performance were moderately stable from age 12 through 16, with differences at the ages 12 and 14 accounting for 20% of the variance in MZ differences at age 16. Second, MZ differences in school performance correlated positively with MZ differences across 16 learning‐related variables, including measures of intelligence, personality and school attitudes, with the twin who scored higher on one also scoring higher on the other measures. Finally, MZ differences in the 16 learning‐related variables accounted for 22% of the variance in MZ differences in school performance at age 16. These findings suggest that, unlike for other psychological domains, non‐shared environmental factors affect school performance in systematic ways that have long‐term and generalist influence. Our findings should motivate the search for non‐shared environmental factors responsible for the stable and systematic effects on children’s differences in school performance.

h/t: Rolf Degen https://twitter.com/DegenRolf