Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sample of 2364 apartment buildings in 48 US states: 60% of names contained nature words, 6% contained nature-analogous, and only 32% contained non-nature words

Home is where the nature is: A content analysis of apartment complexes. Rebecka Hahnel, Aaron Goetz. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Natural selection resulted in human’s evolved preferences and motivations to seek landscapes that provide lush resources while avoiding life-threatening risks (Orians, 1980). These evolved preferences may influence several aspects of modernday society—including how we manipulate our urban environment. In our study, we explored the relationship between evolved landscape preferences and naming conventions of new constructions—specifically apartment complexes. We hypothesized there would be more nature words in apartment complex names than non-nature words. A content analysis of 2,364 names of apartment buildings was conducted utilizing a program that makes use of Google Maps to gather names from each of the 48 contiguous states of the United States of America. Each apartment name was rated as having nature words (e.g., river, arbor), nature-analogous words (e.g., summer, ranch), or non-nature words (e.g., 4th street, Washington). Sixty percent (n = 1428) of apartment buildings contained nature words, 6% (n = 158) contained nature-analogous, and only 32% (n =807) contained non-nature words (ꭕ2 (2, 2364) = 606.550, p < 0.001). Results supported our hypothesis that there are statistically more nature words than non-nature words in the names of apartment buildings. Our landscape preferences may affect how developers name our homesteads—exploiting our biophilia.

Building upon recent insights that morality evolves to secure fitness advantages of cooperation, we propose that conservation ethics is based in interest in cooperation between humans & non-humans

Value of species and the evolution of conservation ethics. Darragh Hare, Bernd Blossey, H. Kern Reeve. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: The theory of evolution by natural selection can help explain why people care about other species. Building upon recent insights that morality evolves to secure fitness advantages of cooperation, we propose that conservation ethics (moral beliefs, attitudes, intuitions and norms regarding other species) could be adaptations that support cooperation between humans and non-humans. We present eco-evolutionary cost–benefit models of conservation behaviors as interspecific cooperation (altruism towards members of other species). We find that an evolutionary rule identical in structure to Hamilton's rule (which explains altruistic behavior towards related conspecifics) can explain altruistic behavior towards members of other species. Natural selection will favor traits for selectively altering the success of members of other species (e.g. conserving them) in ways that maximize inclusive fitness return benefits. Conservation behaviors and the ethics that evolve to reinforce them will be sensitive to local ecological and socio-cultural conditions, so will assume different contours in different places. Difficulties accurately assessing costs and benefits provided by other species, time required to adapt to ecological and socio-cultural change and barriers to collective action could explain the apparent contradiction between the widespread existence of conservation ethics and patterns of biodiversity decline globally.

Is altruistic punishment altruistic?

Is altruistic punishment altruistic? Ricardo Andrés Guzmán, Cristián Candia, Leda Cosmides, Carlos Rodriguez-Sickert. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: The aim of this investigation is to determine if altruistic punishment in social dilemmas is a robust phenomenon or an artifact of the standard experimental designs, as some authors have suggested (Carpenter and Matthews 2012; Pedersen, Kurzban, and McCullough 2013). To this end we have designed a variant of the public good game with peer punishment. In our public good game, a group of subjects is partitioned into subgroups that play a one-shot public good game. After the game finishes the subjects can punish free riders, even if they belong to other subgroups. Unlike standard social dilemma experiments, our experimental design allows to discriminate altruistic punishment (for the sake of the group) from self-interested punishment (for the sake of the individual who punishes). We hypothesize that the selfish and altruistic (if there is any) motivations will combine in the PG case (N=4) where no subgroups are created, so punishment in this case will be greater than selfish punishment with respect to the case in which experimental subjects participate in two simultaneous prisoner dilemma games. In addition, our experimental design eliminates several artifacts of standard experiments, such as demand characteristics and the preclusion of the bystander effect.

Sexual concordance, matching of self-reported sexual orientation & genital response when introduced to erotic stimuli (audio, visual, audiovisual, etc.), is very low for heterosexual cisgender women

The mystery of low sexual concordance among heterosexual cisgender females. Jesse E. Kavieff, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford, Zach W. Sundin, Todd K. Shackelford. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Sexual concordance (SC) refers to matching of self-reported sexual orientation (SO) and genital response when introduced to erotic stimuli (audio, visual, audiovisual, etc.). Men of all SO demonstrate high SC (i.e., near 100%) when exposed to erotic stimuli (Mustanski, Chivers, & Bailey, 2002; Chivers, 2005, 2017; Chivers et. al, 2004; Chivers & Bailey 2005;). Queer cisgender women and transgender women across the SO also match reported sexual orientation to genital response with high SC (Chivers, 2017; Chivers et. al, 2004, 2015; Lawrence et. al, 2005). Cisgender heterosexual Females (CHF), however, show relatively low SC in comparison to cisgender queer, transgender women and men. Furthermore, CHF show slight genital lubrication response to nonhuman mating videos (Chivers, & Bailey, 2005). Genital response and arousal in CHF is marked by vasocongestion in the clitoris and vagina, vaginal pulsation measured by vaginal photoplesmagraph, and by lubrication released from the Skene's and Bartholin's glands. Low SC in CHF is analyzed by both the preparation hypothesis (byproduct hypothesis) and the greater variability in sexual rewards among androphilic women hypothesis (adaptation hypothesis) (Sushinsky & Lalumiere, 2004; Chivers, 2017); more research is required to better understand female sexuality and perhaps discourage misdiagnoses of sexual dysfunction in CHF.

Check also A Life History Approach to the Female Sexual Orientation Spectrum: Evolution, Development, Causal Mechanisms, and Health. Severi Luoto, Indrikis Krams, Markus J. Rantala. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/09/feedback-loop-of-environmental.html

And Are Women Sexually Fluid? The Nature of Female Same-Sex Attraction and Its Evolutionary Origins. Menelaos Apostolou. Evolutionary Psychological Science, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/11/are-women-sexually-fluid-nature-of.html

And The evolution of female same-sex attraction: The male choice hypothesis. Menelaos Apostolou et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 116, 1 October 2017, Pages 372-378, http://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2017/08/the-evolution-of-female-same-sex.html

Biologically defined Alzheimer disease is more prevalent than clinically defined probable Alzheimer disease at any age and is 3 times more prevalent at age 85 for both men and women

Prevalence of Biologically vs Clinically Defined Alzheimer Spectrum Entities Using the National Institute on Aging–Alzheimer’s Association Research Framework. Clifford R. Jack Jr et al. JAMA Neurol. Published online July 15, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.1971

Key Points
Question  How does the prevalence of 3 imaging biomarker–based definitions of the Alzheimer disease spectrum from the National Institute on Aging–Alzheimer’s Association research framework compare with clinically defined diagnostic entities commonly linked with Alzheimer disease?

Findings  Among a sample of 5213 individuals from Olmsted County, Minnesota, in this population-based cohort study, biologically defined Alzheimer disease is more prevalent than clinically diagnosed probable Alzheimer disease at any age and is 3 times more prevalent at age 85 years among both women and men.

Meaning  Most patients with biologically defined Alzheimer disease are not symptomatic, which creates potential confusion around the definition of Alzheimer disease.

Importance  A National Institute on Aging–Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) workgroup recently published a research framework in which Alzheimer disease is defined by neuropathologic or biomarker evidence of β-amyloid plaques and tau tangles and not by clinical symptoms.

Objectives  To estimate the sex- and age-specific prevalence of 3 imaging biomarker–based definitions of the Alzheimer disease spectrum from the NIA-AA research framework and to compare these entities with clinically defined diagnostic entities commonly linked with Alzheimer disease.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA) is a population-based cohort study of cognitive aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The MCSA in-person participants (n = 4660) and passively ascertained (ie, through the medical record rather than in-person) individuals with dementia (n = 553) aged 60 to 89 years were included. Subsets underwent amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) (n = 1524) or both amyloid and tau PET (n = 576). Therefore, this study included 3 nested cohorts examined between November 29, 2004, and June 5, 2018. Data were analyzed between February 19, 2018, and March 26, 2019.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The sex- and age-specific prevalence of the following 3 biologically defined diagnostic entities was estimated: Alzheimer continuum (abnormal amyloid regardless of tau status), Alzheimer pathologic change (abnormal amyloid but normal tau), and Alzheimer disease (abnormal amyloid and tau). These were compared with the prevalence of 3 clinically defined diagnostic groups (mild cognitive impairment or dementia, dementia, and clinically defined probable Alzheimer disease).

Results  The median (interquartile range) age was 77 (72-83) years in the clinical cohort (n = 5213 participants), 77 (70-83) years in the amyloid PET cohort (n = 1524 participants), and 77 (69-83) years in the tau PET cohort (n = 576 participants). There were roughly equal numbers of women and men. The prevalence of all diagnostic entities (biological and clinical) increased rapidly with age, with the exception of Alzheimer pathologic change. The prevalence of biological Alzheimer disease was greater than clinically defined probable Alzheimer disease for women and men. Among women, these values were 10% (95% CI, 6%-14%) vs 1% (95% CI, 1%-1%) at age 70 years and 33% (95% CI, 25%-41%) vs 10% (95% CI, 9%-12%) at age 85 years (P < .001). Among men, these values were 9% (95% CI, 5%-12%) vs 1% (95% CI, 0%-1%) at age 70 years and 31% (95% CI, 24%-38%) vs 9% (95% CI, 8%-11%) at age 85 years (P < .001). The only notable difference by sex was a greater prevalence of the mild cognitive impairment or dementia clinical category among men than women.

Conclusions and Relevance  Results of this study suggest that biologically defined Alzheimer disease is more prevalent than clinically defined probable Alzheimer disease at any age and is 3 times more prevalent at age 85 years among both women and men. This difference is mostly driven by asymptomatic individuals with biological Alzheimer disease. These findings illustrate the magnitude of the consequences on public health that potentially exist by intervening with disease-specific treatments to prevent symptom onset.


Since 1984, a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer disease has been based on clinical findings of a progressive amnestic multidomain cognitive impairment culminating in dementia after other potential causes were excluded.1-3 Neuropathologic identification of β-amyloid plaques and tau tangles has always been required for a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. Numerous studies have identified discrepancies between the clinical syndrome and the neuropathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer disease.4 Many individuals who meet neuropathologic criteria either do not have symptoms or have symptoms that differ from the classic amnestic presentation. National Institute on Aging–Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) committees in 2011 and the International Work Group addressed this conundrum by adding biomarkers to clinical criteria to improve the specificity of the clinical diagnosis.3,5-8 These modified clinical diagnostic criteria cast Alzheimer disease as a clinical biomarker entity, but the diagnosis was not divorced from clinical impairment.3,5-8 The NIA-AA 2011 preclinical Alzheimer disease recommendations were an exception,9 as were the 2012 NIA-AA neuropathologic guidelines, which separated the neuropathologic definition of Alzheimer disease from the clinical syndrome.10,11

Building on the work above, a workgroup commissioned by the NIA-AA recently published a research framework12 defining Alzheimer disease biologically throughout its entire course. Alzheimer disease was defined either by neuropathologic examination or, in living persons, by positron emission tomography (PET) or biofluid biomarkers of the 2 hallmark diagnostic proteinopathies, namely, β-amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles. The NIA-AA research framework harmonized the in vivo with the previously established neuropathologic10,11 definition of Alzheimer disease.

Epidemiologic studies estimating the prevalence of Alzheimer disease have typically used the clinical criteria by McKhann et al1,3 to define the condition. The new NIA-AA research framework12 leads to the following question: what is the prevalence of Alzheimer disease defined biologically using biomarkers compared with the prevalence using conventional definitions based on clinical symptoms? To address this question in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA) population, we estimated the sex- and age-specific prevalence of 3 imaging biomarker–based definitions of the Alzheimer disease spectrum from the NIA-AA research framework and compared these estimates with the prevalence of clinically defined diagnostic entities commonly linked with Alzheimer disease. Although biomarkers are now commonly used in aging and dementia research, most cohorts deeply phenotyped by biomarkers are clinic based and not population based. However, the MCSA is a population-based sample (ie, a random sample from a defined geographic area) with deep biomarker phenotyping.

In Discussion:

A biological definition leads to an increase in the apparent prevalence of Alzheimer disease compared with a syndromal definition. This is not surprising; the same is true for any other disease (eg, cancer, diabetes, etc) in which tests can detect disease in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Even though there are no therapies proven to alter clinical outcomes, our data illustrate that a significant opportunity exists to influence public health by intervention in the preclinical phase of the disease if that proves to be efficacious.56-58 As other late-life diseases become better controlled, there is an imperative to delay or prevent symptoms due to Alzheimer disease; otherwise, those gains in life expectancy will be transformed into longer life with dementia. Intervention to prevent symptom onset was explicitly identified as a major public health objective in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.36

13,871 children aged 9 to 12: Weak relationships emerged between digital media use & subjective well-being; heavy users nonetheless are almost twice as likely to suffer from low levels of well-being

Does the use of digital media affect psychological well-being? An empirical test among children aged 9 to 12. Helena Bruggeman et al. Computers in Human Behavior, July 16 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.07.015

•    A sample of 13,871 children aged 9 to 12 was collected.
•    Weak relationships emerged between digital media use and subjective well-being. Heavy users nonetheless are almost twice as likely to suffer from low levels of well-being.
•    Almost 20% of the children had a Facebook profile.
•    Online social network effects on well-being dissipated when taking into account offline relations.
•    Studies should investigate the long term effects of digital media use of young children.

Abstract: Does digital media use support or undermine psychological well-being? This question has not only elicited a lot of attention in the popular media, but it also has been investigated empirically in scientific literature. Much of these studies have been conducted in samples of adolescents and adults, reporting both positive and negative effects of digital media use on well-being, leading to at least four theoretical positions about this relationship. In each of these theories the relationship between digital media use and well-being is explained by people's social network. In the present study, we address the question whether digital media use is related to psychological well-being in a large sample (N = 13,871) of children aged 9–12 year. The results revealed rather weak linear relationships (r's < 0.10), but at the same time it has been shown that highest frequency users of digital media in terms of daily use had a relative risk of 2.0 and beyond to score lower on well-being. In the specific group of children who have a Facebook profile (N = 2,528, 18.2%), their offline social network was a much stronger predictor of well-being compared to their online social network. Based on these cross sectional results, it is concluded that heavy use of digital media by young children has an adverse impact on their psychological well-being, but that mild use of such media has very limited effects in this respect.

Rolf Deggen summarizing... Sex differences in personality are large if measured in combination. Successful replication of provocative finding.

Global Sex Differences in Personality: Replication with an Open Online Dataset. Tim Kaiser, Marco del Giudice, Tom Booth. Journal of Personality, July 2019. DOI: 10.1111/jopy.12500

Objective: Sex differences in personality are a matter of continuing debate. In a study on the US standardization sample of Cattell’s 16PF (fifth edition), Del Giudice and colleagues (2012; PLoS ONE, 7, e29265) estimated global sex differences in personality with multigroup covariance and mean structure analysis (MG-CMSA). The study found a surprisingly large multivariate effect, D = 2.71. Here we replicated the original analysis with an open online dataset employing an equivalent version of the 16PF.

Method: We closely replicated the original MG-MCSA analysis on N = 21,567 US participants (63% females, age 16-90); for robustness, we also analyzed N = 31,637 participants across English-speaking countries (61% females, age 16-90).

Results: The size of global sex differences was D = 2.06 in the US and D = 2.10 across English-speaking countries. Parcel-allocation variability analysis showed that results were robust to changes in parceling (US: median D = 2.09, IQR [1.89, 2.37]; English-speaking countries: median D = 2.17, IQR [1.98, 2.47]).

Conclusions: Our results corroborate the original study (with a comparable if somewhat smaller effect size) and provide new information on the impact of parcel allocation. We discuss the implications of these and similar findings for the psychology of sex differences

Nighttime crime: Interaction of full moon light and street light

Kaplan, Jacob, The Effect of Moonlight on Outdoor Nighttime Crime (April 9, 2019). SSRN, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3369228

Abstract: The use of outdoor lighting, particularly through street lights, is a common tool for policy makers attempting to reduce crime. Research on the effect of lights on crime, however, are limited as installing or improving street lighting may affect the community in ways beyond merely increasing outdoor lighting. Welsh and Farrington’s (2008) study suggested that improving street lighting may also improve informal social control in the area as it reflects improved street usage and investments in the community. This paper uses moonlight as a unique measure of outdoor ambient lighting that avoids the issue of community cohesion and examines the effect of lighting directly. The amount of actual moonlight a city receives each night is measured using the interaction between the percent of the moon illuminated and the proportion of the night without clouds. This interaction creates significant variation in moonlight between cities and across nights in the same city. Contrary to past research on lighting, this study finds that brighter nights, those with a full moon and no clouds, have significantly more crime than nights without any moonlight. These results suggest that there are heterogeneous effects of outdoor lighting by dosage and that more research on possible criminogenic effects of low dosages of outdoor lights are needed.

Keywords: CPTED, crime prevention, school crime

Perceived differences in moral values increased hurting & decreased helping behavior, and are strongly correlated to perceived differences in political ideology, for both liberals & conservatives

When moral identity harms: The impact of perceived differences in core values on helping and hurting. Sarah Gotowie. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 151, December 1 2019, 109489, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.06.032

•    Moral identity does not unequivocally predict helping behavior.
•    Conservatism and liberalism do not predict willingness to harm.
•    Moral values are central to political values.

Abstract: This research investigates moral self-regulatory individual differences and perceived differences in core moral-political values as predictors of helping and hurting behavior in liberals and conservatives. Study 1 (N = 249) demonstrated that self-reported liberals and conservatives do not differ on moral disengagement, moral identity, or trait aggression. Study 2 (N = 149) used an online version of the Tangram Task paradigm and showed that perceived differences in moral values: i) predict increased hurting and decreased helping behavior, ii) interact with moral identity to strengthen the relationship between moral disengagement and hurting behavior, and iii) are strongly correlated to perceived differences in political ideology. These patterns were similar for both liberals and conservatives. These studies demonstrate that moral identity does not unequivocally predict helping behavior, conservatism and liberalism do not predict willingness to harm one another, and that moral values are central to political values. The findings are discussed in relation to ideological conflict hypothesis and moral self-regulation literature, along with applied implications.

Harlequin romance novels' covert art: As time progresses, the covers focus more on the couple (at the exclusion of other individuals), & portray stronger intimacy, given shifts in socio-cultural permissiveness

A temporal analysis of cover art on Harlequin romance novels. Maryanne L. Fisher, Tami M. Meredith. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: We present an analysis of Harlequin romance novel cover images that we used to determine women’s evolved mating behaviours, as well socio-cultural change in issues such as gender norms. We analyzed 500 covers from the 1950s until 2014. Our findings show that as time progresses, the covers focus more on the couple (at the exclusion of other individuals), and portray stronger intimacy as indicated by more reclining poses, more physical contact, more interaction, and increased direct eye gaze between the couple. We contend that although the covers have always addressed female mate preferences and interests due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of readers are women, the covers have become increasingly explicit in terms of sexuality and intimacy given shifts in socio-cultural permissiveness. Therefore, Harlequin romance novel covers represent an innovative way to examine evolutionary and sociocultural forces pertaining to women’s sexuality and mating interests

Those women who espoused anti-feminist values—that is, those high in hostile sexism—had faked significantly more orgasms over their lifetime

Beliefs About Gender Predict Faking Orgasm in Heterosexual Women. Emily A. Harris, Matthew J. Hornsey, Hannah F. Larsen, Fiona Kate Barlow. Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 15 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-01510-2

Abstract: The majority of women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. In the current study, we assessed how women’s worldviews about gender relate to their faking orgasm behavior. A survey of 462 heterosexual women from the UK (Mage=38.38 years) found that those who espoused anti-feminist values—that is, those high in hostile sexism—had faked significantly more orgasms over their lifetime. In contrast, those who espoused ostensibly positive but restrictive ideas of gender relations—that is, those high in benevolent sexism—had faked significantly fewer orgasms over their lifetime. Furthermore, the more that women believed female orgasm was necessary for men’s sexual gratification, the more likely they were to have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives compared to women who had never faked an orgasm. These effects were small to moderate and emerged after controlling for demographics, sexual history, ease of orgasm, and previously established psychological correlates of faking orgasm, including suspected partner infidelity and intrasexual competition.

Keywords: Faking orgasm Ideology Hostile sexism Benevolent sexism Gender

Check also Motivations for faking orgasm and orgasm consistency among young adult women. Michael D. Barnett et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, 15 October 2019, Pages 83-87. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/06/women-who-faked-orgasm-in-order-to.html

Monday, July 15, 2019

Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most sub-groups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels

Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham's Happiness for All? David G. Blanchflower, Andrew Oswald. NBER Working Paper No. 24087, November 2017. https://www.nber.org/papers/w24087

In Happiness for All?, Carol Graham raises disquieting ideas about today’s United States. The challenge she puts forward is an important one. Here we review the intellectual case and offer additional evidence. We conclude broadly on the author’s side. Strikingly, Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most sub-groups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels. There is, however, one bright side to an otherwise dark story. The happiness of black Americans has risen strongly since the 1970s. It is now almost equal to that of white Americans.

Humans go through a dramatic developmental shift during the second year of life in the way they evaluate individuals based on the outcomes of conflict

Infants prefer those who 'bow out' of zero-sum. conflicts. Ashley J. Thomas, Barbara W. Sarnecka. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Cooperation and conflict are basic to human social life. From early infancy, humans seem to recognize cooperation and to prefer cooperative individuals. They also seem to recognize conflict, expecting larger individuals or those with more allies to prevail. The present paper asks how infants feel about others who either win or lose (by yielding) in a conflict. We present a total of nine experiments. In four of the experiments, infants ages 10 to 16 months watched vignettes showing two puppets in a conflict. Infants preferred (reached for) the puppet that yielded to another puppet, rather than the puppet who was yielded to. Five more experiments ruled out alternative explanations for the main findings, including that the infants preferred the yielding puppet because it helped the other puppet achieve its goal. These results are striking in light of earlier findings showing that only five months later, at age 21 months, children emphatically prefer the winner (non-yielding puppet) in such conflicts. These results suggest that humans go through a dramatic developmental shift during the second year of life in the way they evaluate individuals based on the outcomes of conflict

Rational, impartial, dispassionate, neutral, above-human scientists to whom the lawmaker must hear: “More scientists are bringing their emotions and hearts to the forefront of their work”

It’s the End of the World as They Know It: The distinct burden of being a climate scientist. David Corn; Photos by Devin Yalkin. Mother Jones, July 8, 2019. https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/07/weight-of-the-world-climate-change-scientist-grief

“More scientists are bringing their emotions and hearts to the forefront of their work—getting bolder, more impassioned, more provocative”

Selection of emotional, sorry, objective statements:
“I’m tired of processing this incredible and immense decline”

”[...] knows of a looming catastrophe but must struggle to function in a world that does not comprehend what is coming and, worse, largely ignores the warnings of those who do.”

“it’s deep grief—having eyes wide open to what is playing out in our world”

“I lose sleep over climate change almost every single night”

“Climate change is its own unique trauma. It has to do with human existence.”

“I have no child and I have one dog, and thank god he’ll be dead in 10 years.”

Infants map pyramidal position to social dominance as soon as they associate it with relative physical size, suggesting that infant concepts of dominance are formed akin to human dominance hierarchies.

The structure of dominance: Preverbal infants map pyramidal position to social dominance. Lotte Thomsen, Erik Kjos Fohn, Joakim Haugane Zahl, Oda Eidjar, Susan Carey. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: The learnability problem of the social world suggests that evolution may have built core relational concepts (Thomsen & Carey, 2013). Indeed, preverbal infants represent social dominance (Thomsen et al, 2011). Across cultures and language families, UP-DOWN is mapped to social hierarchies such that higher-ranked superiors are placed and spoken metaphorically as above lowly inferiors (Fiske, 1992; Lakoff & Johnson,1980). However, human dominance hierarchies are pyramidal, such that more people are at the bottom than at the top. Consistent with this, adults across cultures readily interpret a pyramidal structure as hierarchy, but not a vertical line (Thomsen, 2010). Here, we demonstrate that 11-16 month-olds, after watching six same-size agents “flying” in a pyramidal structure, expect the top agent to prevail in a subsequent right-of-way conflict, looking significantly longer if it yields to a bottom one than vice versa. Study 2 replicated these effects among 9-10 month-olds. A control study instead familiarized infants to an inverted pyramid. These results demonstrate that infants map pyramidal position to social dominance as soon as they associate it with relative physical size, suggesting that infant concepts of dominance are formed as pyramidal structures, akin to human dominance hierarchies.

Coalitions compete in a collective, zero-sum fashion for status (relative entitlement to determine outcomes); lack of support for inflammatory representations, however inaccurate, is seen as immoral & disloyal

Tableaux, camera angles and outrage lock: the political cognition and cultural epidemiology of group-relevant events. John Tooby. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Coalitions compete in a collective, zero-sum fashion for status (relative entitlement to determine outcomes). This selected for an evolved, group-directed motivational system that is designed to link individuals together to act as a unit to enhance, defend or repair their status, or initiate aggression in the interest of exploitive supremacism. The status of the group is a public good to its members. Hence, harms (“outrages”) to one or more members of the ingroup (or proxy members) by one or more members of an outgroup advertise potentially undeterred mistreatment as a new public precedent for tolerated mistreatment and low status. Typically, joint attention on outrages triggers collective responses, and so representations of outrages and grievances function as group-mobilizing resources, and are nurtured, embroidered, and exaggerated for their utility in advancing the group’s interests, including in subordinating outgroup members. Lack of support for inflammatory representations, however inaccurate, is treated as immoral and disloyal, leading to outrage lock, where extreme representations maintain themselves in the group long after whatever underlying reality has dissipated. The cultural epidemiology of representations of significant outrages and emblematic events become cognitively stylized imagery—what might be called tableaux—built out of underlying evolved systems of situation representation.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

People touch their sexual partner’s saliva with little discomfort; partially from such observations, proposal is that pathogen avoidance also depends on target relationship value

More valued relationship partners engender less pathogen avoidance. Joshua Tybur. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: People touch their own infant’s snot and their sexual partner’s saliva with little discomfort. Based partially on such observations, recent models have proposed that interpersonal pathogen avoidance varies not only as a function of perceived infection risk, but also target relationship value. The current work tested this hypothesis. In both of two studies (N’s = 504 and 430), participants were randomly assigned to think of a target who was: (1) their romantic partner; (2) their closest friend; (3) an acquaintance; or (4) a disliked other. They then indicated their comfort with 10 examples of infectious indirect contact with the target (e.g., touching a handkerchief used by the target). Finally, they completed a welfare-tradeoff task, which assessed the value they place on their relationship with the target. Study 1 revealed that comfort with infectious contact was strongly related to target relationship value, r = .68, p < .001; this effect remained after controlling for target category (e.g., romantic partner versus acquaintance), β = .21, p < .001. Study 2 replicated this finding, r = .62, p < .001, and further found that relationship value related to contact comfort independent of target category, attractiveness, and hygiene, β = .28, p < .001.

27 societies around the world: Long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression

Ko, Ahra, Cari M. Pick, Jung Y. Kwon, Michael Barlev, Jaimie Krems, Michael E. W. Varnum, PhD, Rebecca Neel, et al. 2019. “Family Matters: Rethinking the Psychology of Human Social Motivation.” PsyArXiv. July 14. doi:10.31234/osf.io/u8h3x

Abstract: What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic partner choice (mate-seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly connected to relevant comparative and evolutionary work on other species, and in the case of kin care, less well researched. Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance, and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. College students, single people, and males place relatively higher emphasis on mate-seeking, but even those samples rated kin care motives as more important. Further, motives linked to long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate-seeking, and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals. Reallocating relatively greater research effort toward long-term familial relationships would likely yield many interesting new findings relevant to everyday people’s highest social priorities.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The positive lessons learned from previous sex, romance, & cohabitation seem overwhelmed by the negative carryover, affecting relationship attitudes, sexual satisfaction, commitment, & stability

Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J., & McDonald, M. L. (2019). Is it the sex, the romance, or the living together? The differential impact of past sexual, romantic, and cohabitation histories on current relationship functioning. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 8(2), 90-104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000117

Abstract: Before their current relationship, individuals may have had a variety of previous relationships such as romantic relationships, sexual relationships, and cohabiting relationships. In this study we explored the common or shared influence of these 3 types of previous relationships, and the unique influence of each type, on current relationship functioning. With a sample of more than 4,000 individuals we found that there was a significantly negative shared influence for previous romantic, sexual, and cohabiting relationships on current relationship attitudes, sexual satisfaction, commitment, and stability. Above and beyond the shared influence, there was also a unique negative influence for previous sexual and cohabiting relationships on current relationship stability. The effects were largely similar for women and for men. It appears that on average the positive lessons that are learned from previous relationship experiences are likely being overwhelmed by the negative carryover, especially in regard to relationship attitudes and relationship stability.

Sensitive periods are widespread in nature; for plasticity to be adaptive, organisms require reliable information about the environment, but information's reliability varies

Phenotypic plasticity across the lifespan: a model of sensitive periods when the reliability of information varies. Nicole Walasek, Willem Frankenhuis. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Sensitive periods are widespread in nature. Much work investigates the neuralphysiological underpinnings of variation in sensitive periods between and within species. Recently, complementary research using formal theoretical modeling has explored the evolutionary pressures that shape the development of sensitive periods. Most models acknowledge that, for plasticity to be adaptive, organisms require reliable information about the environment. However, they have yet to explore how withinlifetime variation in the reliability of information affects the development of sensitive periods. Our model fills this gap. We consider organisms that incrementally tailor their phenotype to their environment by using cues (i.e. sampled information) and assume that cue reliability is not fixed, but instead varies across time. We then simulate developmental trajectories over a range of ecologies. Additionally, we offer multiple ways to quantify sensitive periods in order to closely match a variety of empirical study paradigms (e.g. migration, adoption, and cross-fostering studies). Our model shows that natural selection may favor sensitive periods in developmental windows other than early life (e.g., adolescence), and generates testable predictions about the environmental conditions in which "mid-life sensitive periods" are likely to evolve, and about individual differences in the onset and offset of such periods as a function of experience.


Aggressive Video Games are Not a Risk Factor for Future Aggression in Youth: A Longitudinal Study

Aggressive Video Games are Not a Risk Factor for Future Aggression in Youth: A Longitudinal Study. Christopher J. Ferguson1●C. K. John Wang. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Accepted June 20 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-019-01069-01

Abstract: The issue of whether video games with aggressive or violent content (henceforth aggressive video games) contribute to aggressive behavior in youth remains an issue of significant debate. One issue that has been raised is that some studies may inadvertently inflate effect sizes by use of questionable researcher practices and unstandardized assessments of predictors and outcomes, or lack of proper theory-driven controls. In the current article, a large sample of 3034 youth (72.8% male12Mage=11.2) in Singapore were assessed for links between aggressive game play and seven aggression or prosocial outcomes 2 years later. Theoretically relevant controls for prior aggression, poor impulse control, gender and family involvement were used. Effect sizes were compared to sixnonsenseoutcomes specifically chosen to be theoretically unrelated to aggressive game play. The use of nonsense outcomes allows for a comparison of effect sizes between theoretically relevant and irrelevant outcomes, to help assess whether any statistically significant outcomes may be spurious in large datasets. Preregistration was employed to reduce questionable researcher practices. Results indicate that aggressive video games were unrelated to any of the outcomes using the study criteria for significance. It would take 27 h/day of M-rated game play to produce clinically noticeable changes in aggression. Effect sizes for aggression/prosocial outcomes were little different than for nonsense outcomes. Evidence from this study does not support the conclusion that aggressive video games are a predictor of later aggression or reduced prosocial behavior in youth.

Keywords: Video games●Aggression●Violence●Preregistration

Friday, July 12, 2019

Psychiatric diagnostic classification: DSM-5 contains heterogeneous diagnostic categories; pragmatic criteria give clinical flexibility but undermine the diagnostic model, which is a disingenious categorical system

Heterogeneity in psychiatric diagnostic classification. Kate Allsopp, John Read, Rhiannon Corcoran, Peter Kinderman. Psychiatry Research, Volume 279, September 2019, Pages 15-22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.07.005

•    Theory and practice of diagnostic assessment is central yet contentious in psychiatry.
•    DSM-5 contains heterogeneous diagnostic categories.
•    Pragmatic criteria give clinical flexibility but undermine the diagnostic model.
•    Trauma has a limited causal role in DSM-5, despite research evidence to the contrary.

Abstract: The theory and practice of psychiatric diagnosis are central yet contentious. This paper examines the heterogeneous nature of categories within the DSM-5, how this heterogeneity is expressed across diagnostic criteria, and its consequences for clinicians, clients, and the diagnostic model. Selected chapters of the DSM-5 were thematically analysed: schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; bipolar and related disorders; depressive disorders; anxiety disorders; and trauma- and stressor-related disorders. Themes identified heterogeneity in specific diagnostic criteria, including symptom comparators, duration of difficulties, indicators of severity, and perspective used to assess difficulties. Wider variations across diagnostic categories examined symptom overlap across categories, and the role of trauma. Pragmatic criteria and difficulties that recur across multiple diagnostic categories offer flexibility for the clinician, but undermine the model of discrete categories of disorder. This nevertheless has implications for the way cause is conceptualised, such as implying that trauma affects only a limited number of diagnoses despite increasing evidence to the contrary. Individual experiences and specific causal pathways within diagnostic categories may also be obscured. A pragmatic approach to psychiatric assessment, allowing for recognition of individual experience, may therefore be a more effective way of understanding distress than maintaining commitment to a disingenuous categorical system.

Ineffective altruism: "Doing the “most good” can actually come to be viewed as less moral when it incurs the opportunity cost of helping someone socially closer in much less severe need."

Law, Kyle F., Dylan Campbell, and Brendan Gaesser. 2019. “Biased Benevolence: The Morality of Effective Altruism.” PsyArXiv. July 11. doi:10.31234/osf.io/qzx67

Abstract: A great deal of work across psychology and philosophy on altruism has been devoted to increasing helping behavior, decreasing social biases, and documenting the positive moral judgments associated with helping others in need. But is altruism always morally good, or is the morality of altruism fundamentally shaped by the social opportunity costs that often accompany helping decisions? Across four studies, we reveal that, although helping both socially closer and socially distant others is generally perceived favorably (Study 1), in cases of realistic tradeoffs in social distance and gains in welfare where helping socially distant others (e.g., strangers in a distant country) necessitates not helping socially closer others (e.g., friends and family) with the same resources, helping is deemed as less morally acceptable (Studies 2-4). Further, making helping decisions at a cost to socially closer others negatively affects judgments of relationship quality, leading one to be perceived as a worse family member, friend, community member, and countryperson (Study 3), and in turn, decreases cooperative behavior with the helper (Study 4). Yet individual differences in identification with humanity consistently attenuated the effect of social distance on people’s moral judgments of helping. Considered together, these findings challenge notions that more helping will always be viewed as more moral and reveal that attempts to decrease biases in helping may have previously unconsidered consequences for moral judgments, relationships, and cooperation.

Parenthood leads to considerable changes in individual risk attitudes over time; risk aversion increase as early as two years before becoming a parent; effects disappear when the child becomes older

Parenthood, risk attitudes and risky behavior. Katja Görlitz, Marcus Tamm. Journal of Economic Psychology, July 11 2019, 102189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2019.102189

•    Parenthood leads to considerable changes in individual risk attitudes over time.
•    Risk aversion increase as early as two years before becoming a parent.
•    Effects disappear when the child becomes older.
•    Risky labor market behavior remains unaffected by parenthood.

Abstract: This study analyzes how risk attitudes change when individuals experience the major life event of becoming a parent by using longitudinal data for a large and representative sample of individuals from Germany. The analysis uses a survey-based measure of risk aversion. The estimation is based on an individual fixed effects model similar to an event study. On average, men and women experience a considerable increase in risk aversion around the time of first childbirth. This increase already starts as early as two years before they become parents, it is largest shortly after childbirth and it disappears when the child becomes older. When analyzing risky choices, the results indicate that risky labor market behavior remains unaffected by parenthood.

Brain activity and connectivity changes in response to nutritive natural sugars, non-nutritive natural sugar replacements and artificial sweeteners

Brain activity and connectivity changes in response to nutritive natural sugars, non-nutritive natural sugar replacements and artificial sweeteners. Anna M. Van Opstal et al. Nutritional Neuroscience, Jul 10 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/1028415X.2019.1639306

Introduction: The brain plays an important regulatory role in directing energy homeostasis and eating behavior. The increased ingestion of sugars and sweeteners over the last decades makes investigating the effects of these substances on the regulatory function of the brain of particular interest. We investigated whole brain functional response to the ingestion of nutrient shakes sweetened with either the nutritive natural sugars glucose and fructose, the low- nutritive natural sugar replacement allulose or the non-nutritive artificial sweetener sucralose.

Methods: Twenty healthy, normal weight, adult males underwent functional MRI on four separate visits. In a double-blind randomized study setup, participants received shakes sweetened with glucose, fructose, allulose or sucralose. Resting state functional MRI was performed before and after ingestion. Changes in Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signal, functional network connectivity and voxel based connectivity by Eigenvector Centrality Mapping (ECM) were measured.

Results: Glucose and fructose led to significant decreased BOLD signal in the cingulate cortex, insula and the basal ganglia. Glucose led to a significant increase in eigen vector centrality throughout the brain and a significant decrease in eigen vector centrality in the midbrain. Sucralose and allulose had no effect on BOLD signal or network connectivity but sucralose did lead to a significant increase in eigen vector centrality values in the cingulate cortex, central gyri and temporal lobe.

Discussion: Taken together our findings show that even in a shake containing fat and protein, the type of sweetener can affect brain responses and might thus affect reward and satiety responses and feeding behavior. The sweet taste without the corresponding energy content of the non-nutritive sweeteners appeared to have only small effects on the brain. Indicating that the while ingestion of nutritive sugars could have a strong effect on feeding behavior, both in a satiety aspect as well as rewarding aspects, non-nutritive sweeteners appear to not have these effects.

KEYWORDS: MRI, energy ingestion, brain activity, eigen vector centrality, functional network connectivity, nutritive sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, artificial sweeteners

Analyzed over 1 million posts from over 4,000 individuals, several social media platforms: Human behavior qualitatively and quantitatively conforms to the principles of reward learning (like rats)

Lindström, Björn, Martin Bellander, Allen Chang, Philippe N. Tobler, and David M. Amodio. 2019. “A Computational Reinforcement Learning Account of Social Media Engagement.” PsyArXiv. July 11. doi:10.31234/osf.io/78mh5

Abstract: Social media has become the modern arena for human life, with billions of daily users worldwide. The intense popularity of social media is often attributed to a psychological need for social rewards (“likes”), which turns the online world into a “Skinner Box” for the modern human. Yet despite such common portrayals, empirical evidence for social media engagement as reward-based behavior remains scant. We applied a computational approach to directly test whether reward learning mechanisms contribute to social media behavior. We analyzed over one million posts from over 4,000 individuals on several social media platforms, using computational models based on reward reinforcement learning theory. Our results consistently show that human behavior on social media qualitatively and quantitatively conforms to the principles of reward learning. Results further reveal meaningful individual differences in social reward learning on social media, explained in part by variability in users’ tendency for social comparison. Together, these findings support the social reinforcement learning view of social media engagement and offer key new insights into this emergent mode of modern human behavior on an unprecedented scale.

Urban Civility: City Dwellers Are Not Less Prososcial Than Their Rural Counterparts

Urban Civility: City Dwellers Are Not Less Prososcial Than Their Rural Counterparts. Grace Westlake, David Coall. Evolutionary Psychological Science, July 11 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-019-00206-z

Abstract: Urban living is often thought to promote incivility, but the existing sociological evidence paints a mixed picture. We aimed to examine the urban incivility phenomenon from an evolutionist’s perspective. Small communities are expected to show a higher incidence of helping because the applicability of theories such as kin selection, direct reciprocity and indirect reciprocity to acts of cooperative behaviour is augmented in small-scale demographic settings. Smaller communities have a reduced total pool of individuals to interact with, increasing the likelihood of encountering any given individual multiple times. This makes it easier for individuals to form cooperative relationships with one another, which may facilitate prosociality within smaller communities. Using the lost letter technique, our results show that city dwelling, compared with rural residence, per se does not negatively influence prosociality. This contradicts the expected erosion of cooperative behaviour in anonymous cities and adds to our understanding of the interplay between human macroecology and individual behavioural tendencies.

Keywords: Cooperation Prosociality Lost letter experiment Urban incivility

Those who possess extreme political views are also found to report higher levels of happiness

Happy partisans and extreme political views: The impact of national versus local representation on well-being. Jeremy Jackson. European Journal of Political Economy, Volume 58, June 2019, Pages 192-202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2018.12.002

Abstract: The political party of elected officials can affect the happiness of the voting public through several different channels. Partisan voters will be happier whenever a member of their party controls political office regardless of the policies implemented. It is hypothesized that congruence between individual party identity and state politician affiliations should have a greater impact on citizen happiness than congruence with politicians at the national level due to results from the literature on Tiebout sorting. It is further hypothesized that individuals with extreme ideological views may report greater happiness as their ideology fulfills basic psychological needs for certainty and structure. Using data from the Generalized Social Survey the effect of party congruence of individuals with national and state politicians on happiness is estimated. The effect of extreme ideological political views on happiness is also estimated. Results find that congruence with presidential party affiliation has a much greater impact on happiness than congruence with national legislative affiliation, gubernatorial, or state legislative affiliation contradicting the hypothesis. Those who possess extreme political views are also found to report higher levels of happiness.

Check also Political Extremity, Social Media Use, Social Support, and Well-Being for Emerging Adults During the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign. Dana C. Leighton, Mark J. Brandt, Lindsay A. Kennedy. Emerging Adulthood, January 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696818810618
Abstract: The 2016 U.S. presidential election was marked by hostile political discourse, often on social media, where users were exposed to divergent, and potentially distressing, political discourse. This research explores the effects of this election on the well-being of emerging adults who receive the majority of their news via social media. Using data from the Emerging Adulthood Measured at Multiple Institutions 2 Study, we expected greater social media use to be associated with greater perceived stress, and lower well-being, among emerging adults who are more politically extreme, and expected these relationships would be moderated by social support and social media use. Our preregistered analysis did not support our hypotheses. Although there were some effects of extremity on stress and well-being, overall the direction of the effects were inconsistent and neither social media use nor social support was found to moderate the effects of extremity on stress and well-being.

Keywords: political ideology, political extremity, social media, well-being, health, social support, emerging adults, elections

Thursday, July 11, 2019

For women, having a child/children, higher scores on neuroticism, substance abuse predicted relationship formation; for men, age & openness were predictors

Demographics, Personality and Substance-Use Characteristics Associated with Forming Romantic Relationships. Eilin K Erevik et al. Evolutionary Psychological Science, July 11 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-019-00203-2

Abstract: The current study aimed to identify demographic, personality and substance-use characteristics associated with forming romantic relationships. Data were collected by two online surveys among students in Bergen, Norway, during the autumn of 2015 (T1) and by a follow-up survey that was conducted 12 months later (T2). The current sample consists of the 2404 participants who reported being single at T1 (mean age 23.2) and who participated in both waves of the survey. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted. Separate analyses were conducted for both sexes and for the entire sample of participants. High extroversion scores predicted relationship formation. For women, having a child/children, higher scores on neuroticism, alcohol use and illegal substance use positively predicted relationship formation, while for men, age and openness were positive predictors. The study contributes with several novel findings. In general, characteristics related to a need for support predicted romantic relationship formation among women, while characteristics associated with increased resource acquisition potential predicted relationship formation among men. The general pattern of findings is in line with established evolutionary theories such as the sexual strategies theory and the parental investment theory.

Keywords: Romantic relationships Students Personality Substance use Parental status Sex

Romantic relationships are typically considered as relatively long-term, mainly monogamous commitments between two individuals. Romantic relationships play a pivotal role in human societies and seem to be preferred over short-term mating (Lovejoy 1981; Waal 2006). Individuals in romantic relationships tend to be healthier and live longer than single individuals suggesting that pair-bonding may involve survival advantages (Averett et al. 2008; Kiecolt-Glaser and Newton 2001). Several evolutionary explanations have been suggested as to why humans commonly arrange intersex mating through monogamous romantic relationships. For one, monogamy may have reduced infanticide, as being close to the mother and offspring would enable the biological father to protect the offspring from infanticidal males (Opie et al. 2013). Monogamy may also have increased the offspring’s likelihood of survival in general, as having two caretakers would imply more resources and protection compared to having only one caretaker (Opie et al. 2013). Furthermore, monogamy may have been adaptive through reducing same-sex competition, hence fostering same-sex cooperation and increasing the likelihood of group survival (Desmond 1967; Waal and Gavrilets 2013). Finally, some evolutionary scholars have argued that monogamy may have evolved because food shortage forced women to live quite isolated from their group of origin (Lukas and Clutton-Brock 2013; Waal and Gavrilets 2013). This isolation of women would make a long-term mating strategy adaptive for men, as short-term and/or polygamic mating strategies would involve too much migration (Lukas and Clutton-Brock 2013). Evolutionary research on romantic relationships has traditionally centred on opposite-sex couples, but same-sex romantic relationships are suggested to entail survival and reproductive advantages as well (Kirkpatrick et al. 2000).

There are individual differences in the ability/tendency to engage in romantic relationships. Moreover, an increasing percentage of single and childless individuals in many Western and Asian societies have raised concern about the sustainability of social welfare systems (Adamczyk 2017; Nargund 2009). Knowledge of characteristics predicting relationship formation may be conducive if one wishes to understand the mechanisms promoting relationship formation and pregnancies. From an evolutionary perspective, one can expect factors such as demographics, personality and substance use to predict who forms romantic relationships (Buss 2007, 2009; Petraitis et al. 2014). Individual characteristics may affect the likelihood of forming a romantic relationship in three main ways. Firstly, individual characteristics relate to mate value, where potential mates perceive some characteristics (e.g. physical attractiveness) as compelling traits (Buss 2007). Secondly, individual characteristics may affect the individual’s motivation for different mating strategies (i.e. short-term versus long-term mating strategies) (Buss 2007). For instance, paternal absence during childhood has been found to predict short-term mating strategies (Draper and Harpending 1982). Finally, some individual characteristics, like humour, may make the individual better equipped to chase off same-sex competitors and consequently make the person more successful at securing a long-term mate (Buss 1989). Existing research has primarily investigated the mate value of different individual characteristics, while the associations between individual characteristics and actual relationship outcomes have received less attention.

Liberal & conservative partisans are motivated to believe fake news & dismiss true news that contradicts their position as being fake

Harper, Craig A., and Thom Baguley. 2019. ““you Are Fake News”: Ideological (a)symmetries in Perceptions of Media Legitimacy” PsyArXiv. January 23. doi:10.31234/osf.io/ym6t5

Abstract: The concept of ‘fake news’ has exploded into the public’s consciousness since the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in late 2016. However, this concept has received surprisingly little attention within the social psychological literature. We present three studies (N = 2,275) exploring whether liberal and conservative partisans are motivated to believe fake news (Study 1; n = 722) or dismiss true news that contradicts their position as being fake (Study 2; n = 570). We found support for both of these hypotheses. These effects were asymmetrically moderated by collective narcissism, need for cognition, and faith in intuition (Study 3; n = 983). These findings suggest that partisans across the political spectrum engage with the ‘fake news’ label in a motivated manner, though these motivations appear to differ between-groups. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Trigger warnings are not helpful for trauma survivors; it is less clear whether trigger warnings are explicitly harmful

Jones, Payton J., Benjamin W. Bellet, and Richard J. McNally. 2019. “Helping or Harming? The Effect of Trigger Warnings on Individuals with Trauma Histories.” OSF Preprints. July 10. doi:10.31219/osf.io/axn6z

Objective: Trigger warnings alert trauma survivors about potentially disturbing forthcoming content. However, most empirical studies on trigger warnings indicate that they are either functionally inert or cause small adverse side effects. These evaluations have been limited to either trauma-naïve participants or mixed samples. Accordingly, we tested whether trigger warnings would be psychologically beneficial in the most relevant population: survivors of serious trauma.
Method: Our experiment was a preregistered replication and extension of a previous one (Bellet, Jones, & McNally, 2018); 451 trauma survivors were randomly assigned to either receive or not receive trigger warnings prior to reading potentially distressing passages from world literature. They provided their emotional reactions to each passage; self-reported anxiety was the primary dependent variable. 
Results: We found no evidence that trigger warnings were helpful for trauma survivors, for those who self-reported a PTSD diagnosis, or for those who qualified for probable PTSD, even when survivors' trauma matched the passages’ content. We found substantial evidence that trigger warnings countertherapeutically reinforce survivors' view of their trauma as central to their identity. Regarding replication hypotheses, the evidence was either ambiguous or substantially favored the hypothesis that trigger warnings have no effect.
Conclusions: Trigger warnings are not helpful for trauma survivors. It is less clear whether trigger warnings are explicitly harmful. However, such knowledge is unnecessary to adjudicate whether to use trigger warnings – because trigger warnings are consistently unhelpful, there is no evidence-based reason to use them.

Chemophobia: Most laypeople are unaware of the similarities between natural & synthetic chemicals in terms of certain toxicological principles; view of “chemical substances” are mostly negative

“Chemophobia” Today: Consumers’ Knowledge and Perceptions of Chemicals. Rita Saleh, Angela Bearth, Michael Siegrist. Risk Analysis, July 9 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13375

Abstract: This mixed‐methods study investigated consumers’ knowledge of chemicals in terms of basic principles of toxicology and then related this knowledge, in addition to other factors, to their fear of chemical substances (i.e., chemophobia). Both qualitative interviews and a large‐scale online survey were conducted in the German‐speaking part of Switzerland. A Mokken scale was developed to measure laypeople's toxicological knowledge. The results indicate that most laypeople are unaware of the similarities between natural and synthetic chemicals in terms of certain toxicological principles. Furthermore, their associations with the term “chemical substances” and the self‐reported affect prompted by these associations are mostly negative. The results also suggest that knowledge of basic principles of toxicology, self‐reported affect evoked by the term “chemical substances,” risk‐benefit perceptions concerning synthetic chemicals, and trust in regulation processes are all negatively associated with chemophobia, while general health concerns are positively related to chemophobia. Thus, to enhance informed consumer decision-making, it might be necessary to tackle the stigmatization of the term “chemical substances” as well as address and clarify prevalent misconceptions.

Those who reported engaging in extramarital sex at baseline were significantly more likely to be separated or divorced 2 years later; extramarital sex with a close personal friend made things much worse

Extramarital Sex and Marital Dissolution: Does Identity of the Extramarital Partner Matter? Lindsay T. Labrecque, Mark A. Whisman. Family Process, July 9 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12472

Abstract: Panel data from married adults (N = 1,853) in the General Social Survey, a probability sample of the adult household population of the United States, were used to evaluate (a) the longitudinal association between extramarital sex and marital dissolution 2 years later, (b) whether probability of marital dissolution differed as a function of the type of relationship people reported having with their extramarital sex partner, and (c) the degree to which these associations were incremental to participants’ level of marital satisfaction at baseline. Compared to people who reported not engaging in extramarital sex, those who reported engaging in extramarital sex at baseline were significantly more likely to be separated or divorced 2 years later. Furthermore, the association between having extramarital sex with a close personal friend and marital dissolution was particularly strong. These associations remained statistically significant after adjusting for marital satisfaction. Results suggest that the identity of the extramarital sex partner and the type of relationship a person has with him or her has important implications for probability of marital dissolution above and beyond the contribution of marital satisfaction.

Beliefs about the manifestation of personality traits in facial features: Those with stronger beliefs are more confident in their inferences & rely more on them when making decisions

Jaeger, Bastian, Anthony M. Evans, Marielle Stel, and Ilja van Beest. 2019. “Who Judges a Book by Its Cover? The Prevalence, Structure, and Correlates of Physiognomic Beliefs.” PsyArXiv. July 10. doi:10.31234/osf.io/8dq4x

Abstract: The question of whether personality can be inferred from faces is contentiously debated. We propose that, irrespective of the actual accuracy of trait inferences from faces, lay beliefs about the manifestation of personality traits in facial features (i.e., physiognomic beliefs) have important consequences for social cognition and behavior. In five studies (N = 3,861), we examine the prevalence, structure, and correlates of physiognomic beliefs. We find that belief in physiognomy is common among students (Study 1) and in a large, representative sample of the Dutch population (Study 2). Physiognomic beliefs are relatively stable over time and associated with an intuitive thinking style (Study 3). However, the strength of physiognomic beliefs varies across different personality dimensions: sociability is believed to be more reflected in facial appearance than morality or competence (Studies 1-5). Crucially, individual differences in belief strength predict how people form and use first impressions. People with stronger physiognomic beliefs are more confident in their trait inferences (Study 4) and rely more on them when making decisions (Study 5). Yet, this increased confidence is not explained by superior accuracy of personality inferences, and the endorsement of physiognomic beliefs is associated with overconfidence (Study 4). Overall, there is widespread belief in physiognomy among laypeople, and individual differences in belief strength relate to various social-cognitive processes and behaviors.

Attractiveness is positively related to World Cup performance in male, but not female, biathletes

Attractiveness is positively related to World Cup performance in male, but not female, biathletes. Tim W Fawcett Jack Ewans Alice Lawrence Andrew N Radford. Behavioral Ecology, arz097, July 10 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz097

Abstract: Whole-organism performance capacity is thought to play a key role in sexual selection, through its impacts on both intrasexual competition and intersexual mate choice. Based on data from elite sports, several studies have reported a positive association between facial attractiveness and athletic performance in humans, leading to claims that facial correlates of sporting prowess in men reveal heritable or nonheritable mate quality. However, for most of the sports studied (soccer, ice hockey, American football, and cycling), it is not possible to separate individual performance from team performance. Here, using photographs of athletes who compete annually in a multi-event World Cup, we examine the relationship between facial attractiveness and individual career-best performance metrics in the biathlon, a multidisciplinary sport that combines target shooting and cross-country skiing. Unlike all previous studies, which considered only male athletes, we report relationships for both sportsmen and sportswomen. As predicted by evolutionary arguments, we found that male biathletes were judged more attractive if (unknown to the raters) they had achieved a higher peak performance (World Cup points score) in their career, whereas there was no significant relationship for female biathletes. Our findings show that elite male athletes display visible, attractive cues that reliably reflect their athletic performance.

Europe: Even minor forms of criminal justice contact may affect health; police-initiated contact was associated with worse health & wellbeing; stronger effect when police treatment was unsatisfactory

The thin blue line of health: Police contact and wellbeing in Europe. Valerio Baćak, Robert Apel. Social Science & Medicine, July 9 2019, 112404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112404

•    Even minor forms of criminal justice contact may affect health.
•    Police-initiated contact was associated with worse health and wellbeing.
•    Adverse associations were pronounced when police treatment was unsatisfactory.

Abstract: Increasing evidence suggests that even minor forms of contact with the criminal justice system—such as being stopped by police—may be implicated in poor health. Police use of force can increase the risk of physical injury, whereas interactions accompanied by abusive rhetoric or threats can lead to psychological and emotional harm. Police contact may also have no health consequences for individuals or even be linked to good health because of an increased sense of public safety and confidence in law enforcement. This is the first study that explores whether contact with law enforcement is related to health and wellbeing in Europe. We estimated multilevel models with data from 26 countries that participated in the 2010 round of the European Social Survey. Across all outcomes—self-rated health, functional limitations, happiness, loneliness, and emotional wellbeing—having been approached, stopped or contacted by police was associated with worse health and wellbeing, especially when police treatment was perceived as unsatisfactory.

Absolute pitch: Myths, evidence and relevance to music education and performance

Absolute pitch: Myths, evidence and relevance to music education and performance. Jill Carden, Tony Cline. Psychology of Music, July 9, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735619856098

Abstract: The assumed extreme rarity of absolute pitch (AP), sometimes known as “perfect pitch”, is not supported by empirical evidence. Instead, studies indicate a prevalence of at least 4% for music students, making AP of potential importance to everyday music education. Considerable scientific curiosity about AP exists, though rarely have research findings been practically applied to music education. This review looks at the evidence of the origins of AP and of the distinct neurological, language and cognitive features of possessors, and considers the relevance of these to music students. The absence of systematically gathered data from those with AP about their experiences is discussed, and implications for the educational needs of this group considered.

Keywords: Absolute pitch, music, education

Life Events and Prosocial Behaviors Among Young Adults: Considering the Roles of Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern

Life Events and Prosocial Behaviors Among Young Adults: Considering the Roles of Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern. Alexandra N. Davis, Ashley Martin-Cuellar & Haley Luce. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, Jul 8 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2019.1632785

Abstract: The authors examined the altruism born of suffering model in a culturally diverse sample of young adults. They hypothesized that major life events would interact with perspective taking to predict empathic concern, which would predict multiple types of prosocial behaviors among young adults. The sample included 202 young adults (M age = 20.94 years; 76.5% girls; 36.5% White, 50.5% Latino) who reported on their exposure to major life events, perspective taking and empathic responding, and tendency to engage in six forms of prosocial behaviors. Life events indirectly, positively predicted prosocial behaviors via empathic concern. Empathic concern and perspective taking also interacted to predict empathic responding. The results demonstrated links that support the altruism born of suffering model, suggesting that life stressors might not always be negative and might promote resilience and social connection among young adults under specific conditions.

Keywords: Life events, perspective taking, empathic concern, prosocial behaviors

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Defaults may not directly get people to behave as intended, such as saving more, eating healthy food or donating to charity

Abstract: Defaults may not directly get people to behave as intended, such as saving more, eating healthy food or donating to charity. Rather, defaults often only put people on the ‘right’ path, such as joining a savings plan, buying healthy food or pledging money to charity. This an issue because getting more people to take those first steps does not necessarily motivate them to go on with further steps. Indeed, the default does little to help them understand the benefit of doing so. This can greatly reduce the impact of the default. We test this idea in a charitable giving experiment where people first can promise to give to charity (‘pledge’) and then can go on to donate. We find that participants pledge more often when that is the default, but those who pledge in that case are less likely to take further steps to donate than those who pledge when pledging is against the default. We interpret this in terms of motivation and transaction costs. Some people pledge only to avoid the psychological costs of going against the default. Those people are closest to indifference between donating or not and are therefore less motivated to go on to donate. We also show that the intrinsic motivation of pledgers is lower when pledging is the default and that making pledges the default does not change attitudes to charities.

Author proposes that depression, addictions, self-harm are evolutionary, adaptive solutions to avoid suicide

Adaptation to the Suicidal Niche. C. A. Soper. Evolutionary Psychological Science, July 9 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40806-019-00202-3

Abstract: Primarily a precis of the book The Evolution of Suicide (Soper 2018), this article argues that behaviorally modern humans are specifically adapted to survive in what the author calls the “suicidal niche,” an ecological arena characterized by the endemic fitness threat of deliberate self-killing. A “pain-and-brain” model of suicide’s evolution is proposed, which explains suicide as a noxious by-product of two adaptations combined: the aversiveness of pain, which demands that the organism act to end or escape it, and the cognitive sophistication of the mature human brain, which offers self-killing as an effective means to satisfy that demand for escape. These “pain” and “brain” primary adaptations are posited to be both sufficient conditions for suicide and universal among mature humans, which suggests that the fitness threat of suicide would have posed a predictable and severe adaptive problem in the evolution of our species. Adaptive solutions, which emerged to address the problem, are hypothesized to be psychological and sometimes culturally informed mechanisms that either dull the “pain” motivation for suicide or deny the “brain” means to conceive and enact suicide—or, most likely, a combination of the two strategies. Evolved antisuicide defenses may account for many otherwise puzzling aspects of human behavior and psychology, including susceptibilities to depression, addictions, self-harm, and certain other common psychiatric symptoms, which the author posits to be protective, autonomic responses to suicidogenic pain. The precision of human adaptation to the suicidal niche makes it unlikely that deliberate self-killings can, even in principle, be predicted with useful accuracy at the individual level.

Keywords: Suicide Suicidology Evolution Evolutionary psychology Human evolution Suicidal niche Depression Addiction Mental disorder Positive psychology Fender Keeper Cognitive floor

Alcohol Consumption in Later Life and Mortality in the United States: Results from 9 Waves of the Health and Retirement Study

Alcohol Consumption in Later Life and Mortality in the United States: Results from 9 Waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Katherine M. Keyes et al. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, July 5 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.14125

Background: Alcohol consumption in later life has increased in the past decade, and the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality is controversial. Recent studies suggest little, if any, health benefit to alcohol. Yet most rely on single–time point consumption assessments and minimal confounder adjustments.

Methods: We report on 16 years of follow‐up from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohorts born 1931 to 1941 (N = 7,904, baseline mean age = 61, SD = 3.18). Respondents were queried about drinking frequency/quantity. Mortality was established via exit interviews and confirmed with the national death index. Time‐varying confounders included but were not limited to household assets, smoking, body mass index, health/functioning, depression, chronic disease; time‐invariant confounders included baseline age, education, sex, and race.

Results: After adjustment, current abstainers had the highest risk of subsequent mortality, consistent with sick quitters, and moderate (men: HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.91; women: HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.63 to 1.07) drinking was associated with a lower mortality rate compared with occasional drinking, though smokers and men evidenced less of an inverse association. Quantitative bias analyses indicated that omitted confounders would need to be associated with ~4‐fold increases in mortality rates for men and ~9‐fold increases for women to change the results.

Conclusions: There are consistent associations between moderate/occasional drinking and lower mortality, though residual confounding remains a threat to validity. Continued efforts to conduct large‐scale observational studies of alcohol consumption and mortality are needed to characterize the changing patterns of consumption in older age.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Life-Course Criminal Trajectories of Mafia Members

Life-Course Criminal Trajectories of Mafia Members. Gian Maria Campedelli et al. Crime & Delinquency, July 7, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128719860834

Abstract: Through a novel data set comprising the criminal records of 11,138 convicted mafia offenders, we compute criminal career parameters and trajectories through group-based trajectory modeling. Mafia offenders report prolific and persistent careers (16.1 crimes over 16.5 years on average), with five distinct trajectories (low frequency, high frequency, early starter, moderate persistence, high persistence). While showing some similarities with general offenders, the trajectories of mafia offenders also exhibit significant differences, with several groups offending well into their middle and late adulthood, notwithstanding intense criminal justice sanctions. These patterns suggest that several mafia offenders are life-course persisters and career criminals and that the involvement in the mafias is a negative turning point extending the criminal careers beyond those observed in general offenders.

Keywords: criminal careers, developmental trajectories, life course, organized crime

Replicable: People regard themselves as better than the average, thinking of themselves as better described by positive character traits than the others

Alicke (1985): Pre-registered replication and extension. Pui Yan Mok, Gilad Feldman. Preprint, June 2019. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30198.04164

Abstract: People seem to regard themselves as better than the average other. To revisit this phenomenon, we conducted a pre-registered replication and extension of Alicke's (1985) study on the effect of trait dimensions for self versus average other judgments, collecting data from American Amazon Mechanical Turk workers in two waves (N = 670; N = 903). For more effective analyses, we switched to a correlational design after pre-testing the data. We successfully replicated the effect of trait desirability for the self-ratings in relation to average other ratings, such that participants rated more desirable traits as more descriptive of themselves than of the average American (original: ηp2 = .78, 95% CI [.73, .81]; replication: sr2 = .54, 95% CI [.43, .65]). In line with the original findings, we found that the effect was stronger for traits of higher controllability (original: ηp2 = .21, 95% CI [.12, .28]; replication: sr2 = .07, 95% CI [.02, .12]). As an extension, we measured commonness, the degree to which a trait is frequently displayed among the average American. The extension revealed that more desirable traits were rated as more common (sr2 = .04, 95% CI [-.01, .09]) and this held for the average American (sr2 = .41, 95% CI [.31, .52]) but not the self (sr2 = .00, 95% CI [-.01, .01]). Three decades after the original study, the better-than-average effect appears to remain robust. We discuss implications for future research.

The Impact of Shared Book Reading on Children’s Language Skills: Negligible

Noble, Claire, Giovanni Sala, Michelle Lowe, Jamie Lingwood, Caroline F. Rowland, Fernand Gobet, and Julian Pine. 2018. “The Impact of Shared Book Reading on Children’s Language Skills: A Meta-analysis.” PsyArXiv. October 14. doi:10.31234/osf.io/cu7bk

Abstract: Shared book reading is thought to have a positive impact on young children’s language development, with shared reading interventions often run in an attempt to boost children’s language skills. However, despite the volume of research in this area, a number of issues remain outstanding. The current meta-analysis explored whether shared reading interventions are equally effective (a) across a range of study designs; (b) across a range of different outcome variables; and (c) for children from different SES groups. It also explored the potentially moderating effects of intervention duration, child age, use of dialogic reading techniques, person delivering the intervention and mode of intervention delivery. Our results show that, while there is an effect of shared reading on language development, this effect is smaller than reported in previous meta-analyses (g ̅ = 0.215, p < .001). They also show that this effect is moderated by the type of control group used and is negligible in studies with active control groups (g ̅ = 0.021, p = .783). Finally, they show no significant effects of differences in outcome variable (ps ≥ .400), socio-economic status (p = .654), or any of our other potential moderators (ps ≥ .103), and non-significant effects for studies with follow-ups (g ̅ = 0.145, p = .070). On the basis of these results, we make a number of recommendations for researchers and educators about the design and implementation of future shared reading interventions.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Individuals become more religious if an earthquake recently hit close by; this may help explain why religiosity has not vanished as some scholars once predicted

Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts
Jeanet Sinding Bentzen. The Economic Journal, uez008, May 16 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/ej/uez008

Abstract: Religious beliefs potentially influence individual behavior. But why are some societies more religious than others? One possible answer is religious coping: Individuals turn to religion to deal with unbearable and unpredictable life events. To investigate whether coping can explain global differences in religiosity, I combine a global dataset on individual-level religiosity with spatial data on natural disasters. Individuals become more religious if an earthquake recently hit close by. Even though the effect decreases after a while, data on children of immigrants reveal a persistent effect across generations. The results point to religious coping as the main mediating channel, but alternative explanations such as mutual insurance or migration cannot be ruled out entirely. The findings may help explain why religiosity has not vanished as some scholars once predicted.

How Children Come to Care About Reputation: The tendency to assume that others could evaluate one’s behavior and the default preference to elicit positive instead of negative evaluations

Evaluative Audience Perception (EAP): How Children Come to Care About Reputation. Sara Valencia Botto, Philippe Rochat. Child Development Perspectives, July 7 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12335

Abstract: Despite the fact that reputational concerns are central to human psychology, we know little about when and how children come to care about the evaluation of others. In this article, we review recent studies on reputational concerns in early childhood, and propose that evaluative audience perception (EAP) is necessary to understand the developmental origins of reputation. Specifically, we argue that EAP’s two defining components—the tendency to assume that others could evaluate one’s behavior and the default preference to elicit positive instead of negative evaluations—lay the foundation for the development of reputational concerns. We provide evidence suggesting that EAP would emerge by 24 months and conclude by suggesting possible developmental models of EAP.

Is Empathy the Default Response to Suffering? A Meta-analytic Evaluation of Perspective-taking’s Effect on Empathic Concern

McAuliffe, William H., Evan C. Carter, Juliana Berhane, Alexander Snihur, and Michael E. McCullough. 2019. “Is Empathy the Default Response to Suffering? A Meta-analytic Evaluation of Perspective-taking’s Effect on Empathic Concern.” PsyArXiv. March 5. doi:10.31234/osf.io/bwxm9

Abstract: We conducted a series of meta-analytic tests on experiments in which participants read perspective-taking instructions—i.e., written instructions to imagine a distressed persons’ point of view (“imagine-self” and “imagine-other” instructions), or to inhibit such actions (“remain-objective” instructions)—and afterwards reported how much empathic concern they experienced after learning about the distressed person. If people spontaneously empathize with others, then participants who receive remain-objective instructions should report less empathic concern than do participants who do not receive instructions; if people can deliberately increase how much empathic concern they experience, then imagine-self and imagine-other instructions should increase empathic concern relative to not receiving any instructions. Random-effects models revealed that medium-sized differences between imagine and remain-objective instructions were driven by remain-objective instructions. The results were robust to most corrections for bias. Our conclusions were not qualified by the study characteristics we examined, but most theoretically relevant moderators have not yet been thoroughly studied.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The effects of psychotherapy for depression are small; unadjusted meta-analyses of psychotherapies overestimate the effects considerably: only 23% of the studies are of low risk of bias

Was Eysenck right after all? A reassessment of the effects of psychotherapy for adult depression. P. Cuijpers, E. Karyotaki, M. Reijnders and D. D. Ebert. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, Volume 28, Issue 1, February 2019, pp. 21-30. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796018000057

Aims; In the 1950s, Eysenck suggested that psychotherapies may not be effective at all. Twenty-five years later, the first meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials showed that the effects of psychotherapies were considerable and that Eysenck was wrong. However, since that time methods have become available to assess biases in meta-analyses.

Methods: We examined the influence of these biases on the effects of psychotherapies for adult depression, including risk of bias, publication bias and the exclusion of waiting list control groups.

Results: The unadjusted effect size of psychotherapies compared with control groups was g = 0.70 (limited to Western countries: g = 0.63), which corresponds to a number-needed-to-treat of 4.18. Only 23% of the studies could be considered as a low risk of bias. When adjusting for several sources of bias, the effect size across all types of therapies dropped to g = 0.31.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the effects of psychotherapy for depression are small, above the threshold that has been suggested as the minimal important difference in the treatment of depression, and Eysenck was probably wrong. However, this is still not certain because we could not adjust for all types of bias. Unadjusted meta-analyses of psychotherapies overestimate the effects considerably, and for several types of psychotherapy for adult depression, insufficient evidence is available that they are effective because too few low-risk studies were available, including problem-solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and behavioural activation.

Check also Modest, yet progressive: Effective therapists tend to rate therapeutic change less positively than their patients. Max Ziem & Juergen Hoyer. Psychotherapy Research, Jun 21 2019, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/06/the-more-modest-therapists-estimation.html

And Rethinking psychotherapy. Dan J. Stein, Judith K. Bass, Stefan G. Hofmann, Mark van Ommeren. In Global Mental Health and Psychotherapy: Adapting Psychotherapy for Low- and Middle-Income Countries. 2019. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/03/rethinking-psychotherapy-it-is-perhaps.html

And Rolf Degen summarizing: After decades of research, we still don't have a clue about which specific components of psychotherapy are helpful for clients, or if there are even any...
The Role of Common Factors in Psychotherapy Outcomes. Pim Cuijpers, Mirjam Reijnders, and Marcus J.H. Huibers. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 15:- (Volume publication date May 2019). https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/01/rolf-degen-summarizing-after-decades-of.html

And:  Found little evidence that the accumulation of treatment development & testing across decades increased psychotherapies benefit, 1960-2017
Are Psychotherapies for Young People Growing Stronger? Tracking Trends Over Time for Youth Anxiety, Depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Conduct Problems. John R. Weisz et al. Perspectives on Psychological Science, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/12/found-little-evidence-that-accumulation.html

And  Depression treatments: The effects are probably overestimated, relapse rates for patients who respond are very high (about 50% over 2 years), there is little evidence for long-term effectiveness, & there are the problems of publication bias, sponsorship bias, & others
The Challenges of Improving Treatments for Depression. Pim Cuijpers. JAMA. Published online November 30, 2018. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/11/depression-treatments-effects-are.html

And  Studies with the strongest research designs indicate that psychotherapy may be considerably less effective than we tend to believe; in fact, different psychotherapies may be equally ineffective
Insight Into Insight in Psychotherapy. Per Høglend. American Journal of Psychiatry, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/10/studies-with-strongest-research-designs.html

And  Psychotherapy: Rigorous training, supervision, trying the different methods, yield no improvement in more than forty years
The question of expertise in psychotherapy. Daryl Chow, Scott D. Miller, Mark A. Hubble. Journal of Expertise 2018. Vol. 1(2), https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/09/psychotherapy-rigorous-training.html

Gender differences in orthorexic eating behaviors: Women were more likely to report pathologically healthful eating than men

Gender differences in orthorexic eating behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analytic integration. Jana Strahler. Nutrition, July 4 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2019.06.015

•    This meta-analysis determines the size of gender differences in pathologically healthful eating.
•    Data from 67 studies including 39’255 participants is summarized.
•    Women were more likely to report pathologically healthful eating than men.
•    Similar effects sizes between general population and high-risk samples were shown.
•    Differences were inconsistently and minimally related to sample's mean age or year of publication.

Objective: Besides the ongoing debate about the epidemiological and clinical relevance of pathologically healthful eating, a phenomenon called orthorexia nervosa (ON), there is not much consensus about gender differences in prevalence rates. This study, therefore, provides a systematic review and meta-analytic combination of derived data to better conceptualize the presence and size of gender differences in the prevalence and levels of orthorexic eating behaviors and ON.

Research method: Sixty-seven publications were included in the synthesis providing data from k=89 subsamples (39’255 participants, 67.7% women) for meta-analytic procedures. Separate analyses were conducted for each measurement tool. The impact of four moderators proposed to explain gender differences was examined: sample composition (general population vs. special interest in health population; subgroup analysis), and in a meta-regression sample's mean age, year of publication, and gender distribution.

Results: The results showed significant gender differences in only one of four instruments in use. Studies measuring orthorexic behaviors showed that women were significantly more likely to report pathologically healthful eating than men (small effect size). Studies employing tools to assess tendencies towards healthy eating indicated similar levels in women and men. Subgroup and moderator analyses showed comparable effects sizes in general population and high-risk samples, and that the gender difference was inconsistently and minimally related to the sample's mean age, year of publication, or gender distribution.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that, depending on the instrument in use, tendencies towards healthy eating are comparable between the genders while pathologically healthful eating is slightly more pronounced in women. Future studies will have to adopt valid criteria for diagnosing Orthorexia nervosa and investigate additional factors contributing to pathological healthful eating and ON.

Level of evidence: Level IIa, Systematic review (with homogeneity) of cohort studies.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A balanced review of the literature & evaluation of the data indicate that adult neurogenesis in human brain is improbable; the focus of research should be the preservation of neurons, not replacement

A balanced evaluation of the evidence for adult neurogenesis in humans: implication for neuropsychiatric disorders. Alvaro Duque, Reynold Spector. Brain Structure and Function, July 5 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00429-019-01917-6

Abstract: There is a widespread belief that neurogenesis exists in adult human brain, especially in the dentate gyrus, and it is to be maintained and, if possible, augmented with different stimuli including exercise and certain drugs. Here, we examine the evidence for adult human neurogenesis and note important limitations of the methodologies used to study it. A balanced review of the literature and evaluation of the data indicate that adult neurogenesis in human brain is improbable. In fact, in several high-quality recent studies in adult human brain, unlike in adult brains of other species, neurogenesis was not detectable. These findings suggest that the human brain requires a permanent set of neurons to maintain acquired knowledge for decades, which is essential for complex high cognitive functions unique to humans. Thus, stimulation and/or injection of neural stem cells into human brains may not only disrupt brain homeostatic systems, but also disturb normal neuronal circuits. We propose that the focus of research should be the preservation of brain neurons by prevention of damage, not replacement.

Keywords: Adult neurogenesis Neural stem cells Memory Bromodeoxyuridine Homeostasis Neuronal protection DNA repair/methylation

Rolf Degen summarizing: People who were made feel morally superior actually acted more morally - but only in public, not in private, exposing our penchant for moral hypocrisy

Self-enhancement in moral hypocrisy: Moral superiority and moral identity are about better appearances. Mengchen Dong, Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Paul A. M. van Lange. PLOS, July 5, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219382

Abstract: People often consider themselves as more moral than average others (i.e., moral superiority) and present themselves as more moral than they actually are (i.e., moral hypocrisy). We examined whether feelings of moral superiority—as a manifestation of self-enhancement motives—motivates people’s hypocritical behavior, that is, their discrepant moral performances in public versus private settings. In three studies (total N = 1,151), participants distributed two tasks (one favorable and one unfavorable) between themselves and an anonymous partner, with the option of using an ostensibly fair randomizer (e.g., a self-prepared coin). We found that when experiencing feelings of moral superiority (vs. non-superiority), people, especially those who highly identified with moral values (Studies 1 and 2), were less likely to directly give themselves the favorable task, but they were not less likely to cheat in private after using the randomizer (Studies 1 to 3). Both self-enhancement motives and moral identity have implications for hypocritical behavior, by motivating public moral appearances but not private moral integrity.