Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Previous research has established a left cheek bias in photos uploaded to social media; it seems that really left cheek poses garner more likes

Left cheek poses garner more likes: the effect of pose orientation on Instagram engagement. Annukka K. Lindell. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1080/1357650X.2018.1556278

ABSTRACT: In social media’s attention economy “likes” are currency; photos showing faces attract more “likes.” Previous research has established a left cheek bias in photos uploaded to social media, but whether left cheek poses induce more engagement than right cheek poses remains to be determined. The present study thus examined whether pose orientation influences the number of “likes” and comments garnered by photos uploaded to Instagram. The top 20 single-user Instagram accounts were identified, and the most recent 10 left and 10 right cheek images were selected, resulting in a total of 400 images. The number of “likes” and comments were tallied for each image, netting over 1 billion “likes” and 14 million comments for analysis. Results confirmed that pose orientation influences audience engagement: left cheek poses garner >10% more “likes” than right cheek poses. Gender did not influence “likes”. Comments were not affected by either pose orientation or gender, likely reflecting the different levels of effort and motivations involved in “liking” vs. commenting on an image. These data indicate that a seemingly inconsequential turn of the head profoundly impacts audience engagement: left cheek poses gained >330,000 more “likes”, offering clear implications for marketers and others in the social media economy.

KEYWORDS: Left, right, emotion, photo, portrait, social media, Instagram

Individuals high in religious fundamentalism engage more in monitoring for conflict between outcomes of their actions and standards of correct behavior; also, may share some characteristics with OCD patients: more negative affect, uncertainty, anxiety, & distress

Religious fundamentalism is associated with hyperactive performance monitoring: ERP evidence from correct and erroneous responses. Magdalena Senderecka et al. Biological Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2018.12.007

Highlights
•    Religious fundamentalism correlates with response-related brain activity.
•    High religious fundamentalists show increased ERN, Pe, and CRN amplitudes.
•    Religious fundamentalism does not correlate with behavioral performance.
•    Fundamentalism is associated with increased activity of the brain’s defensive system.
•    High religious fundamentalists may share some characteristics with OCD patients.

Abstract: The aim of the current study was to examine whether action monitoring is associated with religious fundamentalism. Participants performed a stop-signal task that required response inhibition to a simple auditory tone. The level of their religious fundamentalism was measured on a scale. Analysis with mixed-effects linear models revealed significantly larger error-related negativity, correct-related negativity, and post-error positivity components in individuals scoring higher on religious fundamentalism, pointing to their increased engagement in response monitoring. However, it was not accompanied by improved behavioral performance. The electrophysiological results of our study suggest that individuals high in religious fundamentalism engage more in monitoring for conflict between outcomes of their actions and standards of correct behavior. Our findings also point to a possible association between a fundamentalist mindset and higher levels of negative affect, uncertainty, anxiety, and distress, as measured by response-related brain activity.

Personal medicine affected health in the second half of the twentieth century than in the preceding 150 years; medical care productivity decreases over time: spending increased faster than life expectancy, although the ratio stabilized in the past two decades

Two Hundred Years of Health and Medical Care: The Importance of Medical Care for Life Expectancy Gains. Maryaline Catillon, David Cutler, Thomas Getzen. NBER Working Paper No. 25330, Dec 2018. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25330

Using two hundred years of national and Massachusetts data on medical care and health, we examine how central medical care is to life expectancy gains. While common theories about medical care cost growth stress growing demand, our analysis highlights the importance of supply side factors, including the major public investments in research, workforce training and hospital construction that fueled a surge in spending over the 1955-1975 span. There is a stronger case that personal medicine affected health in the second half of the twentieth century than in the preceding 150 years. Finally, we consider whether medical care productivity decreases over time, and find that spending increased faster than life expectancy, although the ratio stabilized in the past two decades.

The Simon Abundance Index, A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources: People as the “ultimate resource,” making other resources more plentiful


The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources. Gale L. Pooley and Marian L. Tupy. Cato Policy Analysis No. 857, Dec 4, 2018. https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/simon-abundance-index-new-way-measure-availability-resources

Are we running out of resources? That’s been a hotly debated question since the publication of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb in 1968. The Stanford University biologist warned that population growth would result in the exhaustion of resources and a global catastrophe. University of Maryland economist Julian Simon, in contrast, argued that humans would innovate their way out of resource shortages. He believed that people were the “ultimate resource” that would make other resources more plentiful.

[...] Using the latest price data for 50 foundational commodities covering energy, food, materials, and metals, we propose a new way of measuring resource availability based on four concepts.

First, the time-price of commodities allows us to measure the cost of resources in terms of human labor. We find that, in terms of global average hourly income, commodity prices fell by 64.7 percent between 1980 and 2017. Second, the price elasticity of population (PEP) allows us to measure sensitivity of resource availability to population growth. We find that the time-price of commodities declined by 0.934 percent for every 1 percent increase in the world’s population over the same time period. Third, we develop the Simon Abundance Framework, which uses the PEP values to distinguish between different degrees of resource abundance, from decreasing abundance at one end to superabundance at the other end. Considering that the time-price of commodities decreased at a faster proportional rate than population increased, we find that humanity is experiencing superabundance. Fourth, we create the Simon Abundance Index, which uses the timeprice of commodities and change in global population to estimate overall resource abundance. We find that the planet’s resources became 379.6 percent more abundant between 1980 and 2017.

On the basis of our analysis of the relationship between resource availability and population growth, we forecast that the time-price of commodities could fall by a further 29 percent over the next 37 years. Much will depend on policies and institutions that nations pursue. For the time-price of commodities to decline and resource abundance to increase, it is necessary for market incentives and the price mechanism to endure. When prices of commodities temporarily increase, people have an incentive to use resources more efficiently, increase their supply, and develop cheaper substitutes.

The perceptions of sexual orientation are based on acoustic cues shared by speakers of the same group; & the belief that members of the same sexual orientation group share similar acoustic patterns is accurate to some degree

Investigating the common set of acoustic parameters in sexual orientation groups: A voice averaging approach. Sven Kachel et al. PLOS, Dec 10, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208686

Abstract: While the perception of sexual orientation in voices often relies on stereotypes, it is unclear whether speech stereotypes and accurate perceptions of sexual orientation are each based on acoustic cues common to speakers of a given group. We ask if the stereotypical belief, that members of the same sexual orientation group share similar acoustic patterns, is accurate to some degree. To address this issue, we are the first to use a novel voice morphing technique to create voice averages from voices that represent extremes of a given sexual orientation group either in terms of actual or perceived sexual orientation. Importantly, averaging preserves only those acoustic cues shared by the original speakers. 144 German listeners judged the sexual orientation of twelve natural-sounding sentence stimuli, each representing an average of five original utterances. Half of the averages were based on targets’ self-ratings of sexual orientation: On a 7-point Kinsey-like scale, we selected targets who were most typical for a certain sexual orientation group according to their self-identifications. The other half were based on extreme ratings by others (i.e., on speech-related sexual-orientation stereotypes). Listeners judged sexual orientation from the voice averages with above-chance accuracy suggesting 1) that the perception of actual and stereotypical sexual orientation, respectively, are based on acoustic cues shared by speakers of the same group, and 2) that the stereotypical belief that members of the same sexual orientation group share similar acoustic patterns is accurate to some degree. Mean fundamental frequency and other common acoustic parameters showed systematic variation depending on speaker gender and sexual orientation. Effects of sexual orientation were more pronounced for stereotypical voice averages than for those based on speakers’ self-ratings, suggesting that sexual-orientation stereotypes exaggerate even those differences present in the most salient groups of speakers. Implications of our findings for stereotyping and discrimination are discussed.