Saturday, January 5, 2019

Beauty ranking of mammalian species kept in the Prague Zoo: does beauty of animals increase the respondents’ willingness to protect them?

Beauty ranking of mammalian species kept in the Prague Zoo: does beauty of animals increase the respondents’ willingness to protect them? Eva Landová et al. The Science of Nature,

Abstract: Aesthetic preferences for animals correspond with the species’ presence in the worldwide zoos and influence the conservation priorities. Here, we investigated the relationship between the willingness of respondents to protect mammals and some attributed characteristics such as their aesthetic beauty. Further, several methodological aspects of measuring mammalian beauty were assessed. Animal beauty was associated not only with the respondents’ willingness to protect the species but also with its attributed dangerousness and usefulness. We found that the most preferred animals were carnivores and ungulates, whilst smaller species of rodents and afrosoricids were unpopular. The main characteristics determining that an animal will be ranked as beautiful were complex fur pattern and body shape. We demonstrated that the position of mammalian species along the ‘beauty’ axis is surprisingly stable, no matter the form (illustrations vs photographs), context of stimulus presentation (several number of stimuli per family vs one randomly selected species per family), or the method of beauty evaluation (relative order vs Likert’s scale).

Evolutionary Perspectives on Male Homosexuality: A Literature Review. Yasmina Mashmoushi, Mitan Mzouri

Evolutionary Perspectives on Male Homosexuality: A Literature Review. Yasmina Mashmoushi, Mitan Mzouri. Proceedings of Manitoba's Undergraduate Science and Engineering Research, Vol 4, issue 1, 2018,

Abstract: This review provides a comprehensive coverage of the leading evolutionary hypotheses to date on male homosexuality (namely the sexual antagonism model, the tipping-point model, and the kin selection hypothesis). It does so by first (1), surveying prominent findings on the nature and biological causes of male homosexuality; second (2), discussing the effects of male homosexuality on individual fitness; and third (3), outlining the contending evolutionary theories on male homosexuality and critically evaluating each against current pertinent empirical evidence. This review reveals that male homosexuality is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon influenced by an interplay of genomic and environmental factors that may have had unique evolutionary trajectories. Thus, there is likely more than one evolutionary mechanism at play responsible for the maintenance of gay alleles in the human population. Current research largely supports the notion that gay alleles bestow fitness benefits on heterosexual carriers. The tipping-point model and sexual antagonism model, but not the kin selection hypothesis, are in line with current empirical evidence. Future research into the genomic underpinnings of sexual orientation in homosexual males and its genetic equivalents in heterosexual males and females may allow for further evaluation of these hypotheses.

Keywords: human evolution, evolutionary psychology, mating preferences, sexual orientation, homosexuality

The tipping-point model of male homosexuality, popularized byEdwardMiller, posits that the group of alleles that code for a homosexual orientation in gay men confer strong fitness benefits in heterosexual men by coding in them a certain level of psychological femininity68. According to Miller, if only a few of these alleles are inherited by males, their reproductive success is enhanced via the expression of attractive, albeit feminine traits such as kindness, empathy, andsensitivity68. However, if too many of these alleles are inherited by males, a tipping-point is reached, at which even their mate preferences become feminized68. Miller came up with a simplified version of his theory to better illustrate it. He asks the reader to imagine that there are five different genes that each help code for an individual's place along a masculine-feminine continuum. Each of these five genes have two respective alleles: one that pulls the individual to the masculine side of the continuum and one that pulls the individual to the feminine side of the continuum. According to his simplified model, if a man inherits all five of the "feminine-pulling alleles", he will be homosexual and if he inherits less than five,he will not. Homosexuality would continue to persist in the human populationif a strong reproductive advantage is conferred on individuals possessing some copies of these feminine-pulling alleles. According to Miller, a low doseo f these feminine-pulling  alleles significantly enhances a heterosexual male carrier's reproductive success. But in the less common, spontaneous occasion that a significantly large dose of these feminine-pulling alleles is inherited, the male carrier’s sexual orientation is altered and his fitness adversely affected. Nonetheless, these alleles would continue to persist in the population if they confer an overall reproductive advantage on thei rmale carriers68. Consistent with the tipping-point hypothesis, homosexual men are reported to be more sensitive, kind, and empathetic than heterosexual men,which have been characteristically deemed to be feminine attributes70. Furthermore, studies have found that a higher level of psychological femininity in straight men is associated with a greater number of female partners, suggesting that psychological femininity is attractive to women71,72. This could be because psychological femininity indicates a nurturing disposition which could help rear offspring. In another study, researchers predicted that if the tipping-point model of male homosexuality were correct, then heterosexual men with a homosexual maletwin should have more attractive feminine-pulling alleles and thus more opposite-sex partners than members of heterosexual twin pairs15. The findings of this large community-based twin study(N=4904)supported this prediction; heterosexual males with a homosexual male twin had significantly more children, significantly more opposite sex partners, and were significantly younger at their first age of intercourse than members of heterosexual male twin pairs (p<0.001)15. The results of these and similar studies have made the tipping-point model one of the leading evolutionary theories on male homosexuality to date67.

Another possibility is that the alleles responsible for male homosexuality code for psychologically or physically feminizing traits in both men and women21,67. Thes exual antagonism model suggests that an allele that is detrimental tothe fitnessof one sex could be maintained in the populationso long as it is beneficial to thefitness of the other sex21. An allele that make sits bearer attracted to men and more feminine provides an obvious reproductive advantage to women, but an obvious reproductive disadvantage to men21. This allele would code for same-sex attraction if it appears in a male's genome but would maintainanet evolutionary benefit if this occurs rarely21. There is asignificant amount of evidence for this theory. Numerous studies have found significantly greater fecundity in the female matrilineal relatives of homosexual men (i.e. their mothers, aunts and grand-mothers)as compared to heterosexual men 21,73,74,75. Some other studies have also found that the female relatives of homosexual males have significantly fewer abortions and gestational complications than the female relatives of heterosexual males12,74. Moreover, homosexual men have been found to have an excess of matrilineal but not patrilineal male homosexual relatives as compared to heterosexual men21,73. According to researchers, even a modest increase in the reproductive capacity of females carrying these gay alleles could easily account fort heir maintenance at high levels in the population21,76.

Individuals in a politically homogeneous social networking site environment were more likely to unfriend/hide the political rivals; liberals are more prone to unfriending, as are the educated; the young hide

Social networking site as a Political Filtering Machine: Predicting the Act of Political Unfriending and Hiding on Social Networking Sites. Joseph Yoo, Margaret Yee Man Ng, Thomas Johnson. The Journal of Social Media in Society, Vol 7, No 2 (2018),

Abstract: Social networking sites (SNSs) seem to have become a political filtering machine that allows users to classify their online friends based on their political ideologies. Hiding and unfriending on social media has turned into being a political gesture, discriminating individuals with opposite political views on SNSs. Unfriending activities during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and during the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement are two notable examples. Individuals have the tendency to consume politically congenial information and be surrounded by people who share the same views. The formation of echo chambers and the reason for relationship dissolution on SNSs can be explained by Social Identity Theory.

Through an online panel survey of 386 SNS users, this study examined how factors of political ideologies, social media and offline political participation and likeminded exposure on SNSs can predict hiding and unfriending/unfollowing on Twitter and Facebook. Results from ordinary least square (OLS) regression analysis revealed that if individuals had been in a politically homogeneous SNS environment, they were more likely to unfriend, suggesting the reinforcement of echo chambers in SNSs. Both social media and offline political participations predicted the dissociative, indicating that unfriending and hiding could be regarded as a new form of online political participation to engage in political affairs.

Keywords: Political participation, Hiding, Unfriending, Relationship dissolution, like-minded exposure