Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Deceiving participants about the goals or content of a study is permitted in psychological research but is banned in economics journals and subject pools; experiments show that this ban is not necessary

Krasnow, Max, Rhea M. Howard, and Adar Eisenbruch. 2018. “The Importance of Being Honest?.” PsyArXiv. September 12. doi:10.31234/osf.io/9rsth

Abstract: Deceiving participants about the goals or content of a study is permitted in psychological research but is banned in economics journals and subject pools. This ban is intended to protect a public good: if experiencing deception causes participants to be suspicious in future studies, and suspicion influences their behavior, then the entire field suffers. We report a survey on psychologists and economists’ attitudes towards deception (N=568), and a large, non-deceptive multi-site study in which we measured participants’ histories, suspicion levels, and behavior in four common economic tasks (N=636). Economists reported wide ranging negative attitudes towards deceptive methods and support for the deception ban. However, the results of the behavioral study undercut the rationale of the deception ban: participants’ present suspicion unrelated to past experiences of deception, and suspicious participants behaved identically to credulous participants. We conclude that banning deceptive methods cannot be justified as the protection of a public good.

Understanding Changes in Attitudes Toward Suicide Between 1980s and 2010s in the US: largely unaccepting of suicide, except in the case of incurable disease, a greater percentage found suicide to be acceptable in the 2010s

Understanding Changes in Attitudes Toward Suicide Between 1980s and 2010s in the United States. Yi Tong, Julie A. Phillips. Social Science Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12522

Objectives: This study examines individual characteristics associated with suicide acceptability in the United States and how (1) effects of these characteristics on attitudes have changed over time and (2) the degree to which shifts in attitudes are explained by changes in population characteristics.

Methods: We use General Social Survey (GSS) data from the 1980s (n = 4,840) and 2010s (n = 5,607) and conduct an Oaxaca decomposition.

Results: Although Americans remain largely unaccepting of suicide, except in the case of incurable disease, a greater percentage found suicide to be acceptable in 2010s than in 1980s. Individuals who are male, white, more educated, less religious, and more politically liberal find suicide more acceptable. Changes over time in population composition (e.g., rising education levels and declines in religion) account for about 50 percent of the rise in suicide acceptability between 1980s and 2010s.

Conclusions: Results hint at shifting societal patterns, but the causal direction between attitudes and behavior cannot be determined.

Bonobos voluntarily hand food to others but not toys or tools

Bonobos voluntarily hand food to others but not toys or tools. Christopher Krupenye, Jingzhi Tan, Brian Hare. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.1536

Abstract: A key feature of human prosociality is direct transfers, the most active form of sharing in which donors voluntarily hand over resources in their possession. Direct transfers buffer hunter-gatherers against foraging shortfalls. The emergence and elaboration of this behaviour thus likely played a key role in human evolution by promoting cooperative interdependence and ensuring that humans' growing energetic needs (e.g. for increasing brain size) were more reliably met. According to the strong prosociality hypothesis, among great apes only humans exhibit sufficiently strong prosocial motivations to directly transfer food. The versatile prosociality hypothesis suggests instead that while other apes may make transfers in constrained settings, only humans share flexibly across food and non-food contexts. In controlled experiments, chimpanzees typically transfer objects but not food, supporting both hypotheses. In this paper, we show in two experiments that bonobos directly transfer food but not non-food items. These findings show that, in some contexts, bonobos exhibit a human-like motivation for direct food transfer. However, humans share across a far wider range of contexts, lending support to the versatile prosociality hypothesis. Our species' unusual prosocial flexibility is likely built on a prosocial foundation we share through common descent with the other apes.

The scent of attractiveness: levels of reproductive hormones explain individual differences in women's body odour

The scent of attractiveness: levels of reproductive hormones explain individual differences in women's body odour. Janek S. Lobmaier, Urs Fischbacher, Urs Wirthm├╝ller, Daria Knoch. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.1520

Abstract: Individuals are thought to have their own distinctive body odour which reportedly plays an important role in mate choice. In the present study we investigated individual differences in body odours of women and examined whether some women generally smell more attractive than others or whether odour preferences are a matter of individual taste. We then explored whether levels of reproductive hormones explain women's body odour attractiveness, to test the idea that body odour attractiveness may act as a chemosensory marker of reproductive fitness. Fifty-seven men rated body odours of 28 healthy, naturally cycling women of reproductive age. We collected all odours at peak fertility to control for menstrual cycle effects on body odour attractiveness. Women's salivary oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol levels were assessed at the time of odour collection to test whether hormone levels explain body odour attractiveness. We found that the men highly agreed on how attractive they found women's body odours. Interestingly, women's body odour attractiveness was predicted by their oestradiol and progesterone levels: the higher a woman's levels of oestradiol and the lower her levels of progesterone, the more attractive her body odour was rated. In showing that women's body odour attractiveness is explained by levels of female reproductive hormones, but not by levels of cortisol or testosterone, we provide evidence that body odour acts as a valid cue to potential fertility.

Sex differences in personality are larger in gender equal countries: Replicating and extending this effect

Sex differences in personality are larger in gender equal countries: Replicating and extending a surprising finding. Erik Mac Giolla, Petri J. Kajonius. International Journal of Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12529

Abstract: Sex differences in personality have been shown to be larger in more gender equal countries. We advance this research by using an extensive personality measure, the IPIP‐NEO‐120, with large country samples (N > 1000), from 22 countries. Furthermore, to capture the multidimensionality of personality we measure sex differences with a multivariate effect size (Mahalanobis distance D). Results indicate that past research, using univariate measures of effect size, have underestimated the size of between‐country sex differences in personality. Confirming past research, there was a strong correlation (r = .69) between a country's sex differences in personality and their Gender Equality Index. Additional analyses showed that women typically score higher than men on all five trait factors (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness), and that these relative differences are larger in more gender equal countries. We speculate that as gender equality increases both men and women gravitate towards their traditional gender roles.


Factors of women’s political ambition, affected by the gendered expectations of those around them and the challenges they face balancing life without the resources of elite women, are almost entirely distinct from those shaping men's

Baker, Bus Driver, Babysitter, Candidate? Revealing the Gendered Development of Political Ambition Among Ordinary Americans. Melody Crowder-Meyer. Political Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11109-018-9498-9

Abstract: Americans without prestigious educational or professional backgrounds hold offices throughout the American government. Yet we know little about how these ordinary Americans developed political ambition or whether gender differences in ambition are present among this population. This paper uses a national sample of 1240 Americans to fill these gaps, identifying how political ambition develops differently for ordinary men and women, and drawing on this knowledge to help explain the surge in female candidates following the 2016 election. In contrast with elite samples, I show that the factors determining men’s political ambition are almost entirely distinct from those shaping women’s ambition among the mass public. I theorize that ordinary women’s ambition is particularly affected by the gendered expectations of those around them and the challenges they face balancing caregiving, work, and political engagement without the experience and resources possessed by elite women. I find support for this theory; ordinary women’s ambition is particularly dependent on the support of personal and political sources who can help them manage the demands of candidacy. In contrast, ordinary men’s ambition depends far less on encouragement from others, and instead increases with levels of education, political participation, and marriage. These results, and the distribution of the factors shaping ambition among Americans, help explain women’s low descriptive representation among American candidates and elected officials. They also provide a potential explanation for the unusual increase in women’s candidacies in 2017 and 2018.

How innocent defendants become suspects in criminal investigations: Defendant’s race, age, criminal history, relationship to the victim, cognitive/mental status, & whether the victim survived

Origin of Implication: How Do Innocent Individuals Enter the Criminal Justice System? Belen Lowrey-Kinberg et al. Crime & Delinquency, https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128718793618

Abstract: Drawing from the investigative policing literature, we develop a typology for how innocent defendants become suspects in criminal investigations. We use the Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project (PWCP) dataset and multivariate modeling to examine the case and defendant characteristics that predict how an innocent defendant became a suspect. We found that investigators identify suspects in eight primary ways. The most common in the PWCP dataset were victim/eyewitness identification, citizen identification, and intentional misidentification. Defendant’s race, age, criminal history, relationship to the victim, cognitive/mental status, and whether the victim survived were strongly associated with an innocent defendant’s origin of implication. These results illuminate how tunnel vision begins in cases with innocent defendants, and how police practices may prevent innocent individuals from becoming suspects.

Keywords: police investigations, origin of implication, wrongful convictions