Friday, February 1, 2019

Towards an Archaeology of Pain? Assessing the Evidence from Later Prehistoric Bog Bodies

Towards an Archaeology of Pain? Assessing the Evidence from Later Prehistoric Bog Bodies. Henry P. Chapman, Benjamin R. Gearey. Oxford Journal of Archaeology,

Summary: This paper highlights the potential for what could be termed an ‘archaeology of pain’, reflecting on the potential significance and role of the infliction, suffering, endurance and observation of pain by individuals in the past. It presents a case study of ‘bog bodies’, human remains recovered from wetland which, due to the anoxic, waterlogged conditions, preserves human flesh and associated evidence, including injuries and cause of death. The central argument is that evidence from pathological investigations of certain later prehistoric bodies provides hitherto neglected information concerning the embodied experience of pain, in particular its duration and intensity, which may be central to the interpretation of these events. This understanding can be framed not only in terms of the experience of pain by the victims, but also in the potential perception of pain and suffering by those inflicting these and potentially by any observers of the final moments of these individuals.

Is NATO Deterrence a Paper Tiger? NATO is too slow of thought, decision, & foot to fight a contemporary war; on the eve of a short war, the US would put together a high-end coalition to do the fighting

Judy Asks: Is NATO Deterrence a Paper Tiger? Judy Dempsey. Carnegie Europe, Jan 31 2019.

The same stale judgement of every single day:
Jan Techau. Senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at the German Marshal Fund of the United States
It increasingly seems so. Let’s leave the militarily weak Europeans aside for a moment. For NATO’s deterrence to be credible, only one question really matters: Is the United States fully behind its commitments? This depends on two factors. First, how much of a military footprint does the United States have in the countries it has vowed to defend? Only troops on the ground give real-life meaning to the stipulation that “an attack on one is an attack on all.” Second, how much confidence do the allies have in the U.S. president’s strategic reliability? The commander in chief matters because only he (or she) can commit troops to combat or trigger America’s nuclear arsenal.

The first metric is the smaller problem. America’s footprint in Europe is much smaller than it was twenty years ago. But Washington has recently reinvested in Europe; troop numbers are slightly up. It is the second factor that causes the headache. The current U.S. president has publicly questioned NATO’s usefulness and has had to be talked out of leaving the alliance altogether. Few people are convinced that he would go to war for Europe if need be. This lack of trust in Donald Trump is hugely corrosive for NATO’s credibility. It makes the allies nervous, and it emboldens the adversaries. Should Trump’s unreliability become a full certainty, NATO’s deterrent could soon look like a paper tiger indeed.

The reality:
Julian Lindley-French. Member of the George C. Marshall Centre-Munich Security Conference U.S.-German Loisach Group, senior fellow at the Institute for Statecraft in London, director of Europa Analytica in the Netherlands, Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the National Defense University in Washington, and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Paper tiger? No, more cardboard elephant. Thomas Schelling said that deterrence is the power to hurt as bargaining and best held in reserve. NATO has become a collective deterrent rather than a collective defender. On the eve of a short but violent war NATO would be the last place the Americans would turn to. Rather, as NATO continued to talk deterrence, Washington would put together a high-end coalition under its command to do the fighting.

NATO is too slow of thought, decision, and foot to fight a contemporary war. The conduct of war will become far faster with new technologies appearing in a battlespace that will stretch across air, sea, land, cyber, space, information, and knowledge. The Russians understand this and have built a thirty-day “wham, bam, thank you Vlad” war machine that would exploit NATO’s slowness of force generation and military mobility. NATO assumes at least thirty days of warning. Adaptation is thus buttressing deterrent value by accelerating NATO’s speed of response and extending its power to hurt.  NATO could fight a short war if it had the warning, or a long war if it was given the chance. Hmmm . . .

Old Dog, New Tricks: Age Differences in Dog Personality Traits, Associations with Human Personality Traits, and Links to Important Outcomes

Chopik, William J., and Jonathan R. Weaver. 2019. “Old Dog, New Tricks: Age Differences in Dog Personality Traits, Associations with Human Personality Traits, and Links to Important Outcomes.” PsyArXiv. February 1. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Work examining dog personality is relatively new, so the degree to which dog personality differs by age, predicts important dog outcomes, and is correlated with human personality is unclear. In a sample of 1,681 dogs (Mage = 6.44 years, SD = 3.82; 46.2% Female; 50% purebred) and their owners, older dogs were less active/excitable compared to younger dogs. Aggression toward people, responsiveness to training, and aggression toward other animals was highest among 6 to 8 year old dogs. Dog personality was associated with important dog outcomes—chronic health conditions, biting history, and human-dog relationships. We build on previous research by examining demographic differences in dog personality and associations between dog personality and outcomes for both dogs and humans.

From 2012: Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila

Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila. G. Shohat-Ophir et al. Science Mar 16 2012: Vol. 335, Issue 6074, pp. 1351-1355. DOI: 10.1126/science.1215932

Abstract: The brain’s reward systems reinforce behaviors required for species survival, including sex, food consumption, and social interaction. Drugs of abuse co-opt these neural pathways, which can lead to addiction. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the relationship between natural and drug rewards. In males, mating increased, whereas sexual deprivation reduced, neuropeptide F (NPF) levels. Activation or inhibition of the NPF system in turn reduced or enhanced ethanol preference. These results thus link sexual experience, NPF system activity, and ethanol consumption. Artificial activation of NPF neurons was in itself rewarding and precluded the ability of ethanol to act as a reward. We propose that activity of the NPF–NPF receptor axis represents the state of the fly reward system and modifies behavior accordingly.

Children, especially girls, of gay fathers received significantly lower scores on internalizing (anxiety, depression) & externalizing (aggression, rule-breaking) than children in the comparison sample

Green, R.-J., Rubio, R. J., Rothblum, E. D., Bergman, K., & Katuzny, K. E. (2019). Gay fathers by surrogacy: Prejudice, parenting, and well-being of female and male children. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity,

Abstract: This research focused on behavioral functioning of children conceived via gestational surrogacy and raised by gay fathers. Gay fathers from 68 families with children aged 3–10 years completed the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. Their scores were compared to those from a normative sample of parents matched for parent’s occupation and children’s gender, age, and race/ethnicity. Children of gay fathers received significantly lower scores on internalizing (anxiety, depression) and externalizing (aggression, rule-breaking) than children in the comparison sample. Most notably, daughters of gay fathers had significantly lower internalizing scores than did daughters in the national database. Gay fathers also completed measures of parenting styles, social support, and perceived prejudice. Fathers who reported less authoritarian or permissive parenting, more positive coparenting, and more social support from friends had children with fewer behavior problems. Gay fathers’ reports of family members receiving higher levels of antigay microaggressions were associated with parents’ greater stigma consciousness, more anger/aggression from spouse/partner, and less positive parenting and coparenting. Results are discussed in terms of gay and heterosexual parents’ gender-related socialization of daughters’ internalizing problems and the impact of minority stress on same-sex couples’ parenting.

Facial disfigurement: Viewed significantly negatively in terms of personality (emotional stability, conscientiousness), internal attributes (happiness, intelligence), & social attributes (trustworthiness, popularity)

Jamrozik, A., Oraa Ali, M., Sarwer, D. B., & Chatterjee, A. (2019). More than skin deep: Judgments of individuals with facial disfigurement. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 13(1), 117-129.

Abstract: People’s physical appearance can have a profound impact on their social interactions. Faces are often the first thing we notice about people and the basis on which we form our first impressions of them. People with facial disfigurement are discriminated against throughout their lives. Currently, we do not know why this discrimination occurs. In order to develop viable interventions, we must first understand the nature of people’s reactions to disfigurement. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that a “disfigured is bad” stereotype exists, wherein people attribute negative characteristics to individuals with facial disfigurement. People made judgments of individuals before and after they received corrective treatment for their disfigurement. Observers reported lower emotional valence (i.e., more negative emotion), higher arousal, and lower dominance when viewing pretreatment (vs. posttreatment) photographs. Moreover, pictured pretreatment individuals were viewed significantly more negatively in terms of personality (e.g., emotional stability, conscientiousness), internal attributes (e.g., happiness, intelligence), and social attributes (e.g., trustworthiness, popularity). These subjective judgments further reduced to people with disfigurement being regarded as less sociable and happy, less dominant, less emotionally stable, and more as objects of curiosity compared with those with corrected facial disfigurement. Our findings suggest that negative stereotype of people with facial disfigurement may drive discrimination in social, academic, and professional contexts. Knowing what inferences people draw on the basis of disfigurement will make it possible to design interventions to improve the way people with disfigurement are viewed and ultimately treated by others.

Father absence, sociosexual orientation, and same‐sex sexuality in women and men

Father absence, sociosexual orientation, and same‐sex sexuality in women and men. Satoshi Kanazawa. International Journal of Psychology,

Abstract: A recent evolutionary theory of female sexual fluidity suggests that women may not have sexual orientations in the same sense that men do, and that women's apparent sexual orientation may instead be a byproduct of their sociosexual orientation. One developmental factor that has consistently been shown to influence sociosexual orientation is father absence in childhood. Consistent with the prediction of the theory, the analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) data show that father absence significantly increases women's, but not men's, same‐sex sexuality in adulthood, whether it is measured by self identity, sexual behaviour, or romantic attraction. Further consistent with the theory, the association between father absence and same‐sex sexuality in women is entirely mediated by their sociosexual orientation.

Challenging anxious cognitions or accepting them? Efficacy of the cognitive elements of cognitive behaviour therapy & acceptance & commitment therapy in the reduction of children’s fear of the dark

Challenging anxious cognitions or accepting them? Exploring the efficacy of the cognitive elements ofcognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy in the reduction of children’s fear of the dark. Ellin Simon et al. International Journal of Psychology, 2019. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12540

Abstract: Anxiety is highly prevalent in pre-adolescent children. Distorted cognitions are characteristic for dysfunctional levelsof anxiety. However, applying cognitive elements in pre-adolescent children cannot be fully ascertained, as it is notuntil adolescence before children can apply logical and abstract reasoning in a sophisticated manner. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) both target distorted cognitions. Whereas CBT encourages children to change the content of negative cognitions by applying cognitive restructuring, ACT stimulates youth to have amore accepting attitude towards these thoughts by applying cognitive defusion. The current study examined the efficacy of applying cognitive elements and compared the cognitive elements of CBT and ACT in pre-adolescent children. Weincluded no behavioural elements to specifically study the developmental appropriateness of the cognitive elementsin this age group. Highly anxious children, aged 8–12 years were randomised to a 30-minute cognitive restructuring(n=21) or cognitive defusion intervention (n=22). Subjective fear of the dark levels, behavioural darkness toleration,and comprehension and fun associated with the interventions were assessed. Both interventions had a significantly positiveimpact on children’s fear of the dark. Cognitive restructuring led to more favourable results on subjective fear than cognitive defusion, no differences were found for darkness toleration.

Keywords: Child anxiety; Cognitive restructuring; Cognitive defusion; Fear of the dark; Pre-adolescence.

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from California's Hospital Sector: A substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from California's Hospital Sector. Mark Duggan, Atul Gupta, Emilie Jackson. NBER Working Paper No. 25488, January 2019,

Abstract: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized the largest expansion of public health insurance in the U.S. since the mid-1960s. We exploit ACA-induced changes in the discontinuity in coverage at age 65 using a regression discontinuity based design to examine effects of the expansion on health insurance coverage, hospital use, and patient health. We then link these changes to effects on hospital finances. We show that a substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs. Despite this offset, the expansion produced a substantial increase in hospital revenue and profitability, with larger gains for government hospitals. On the benefits side, we do not detect significant improvements in patient health, although the expansion led to substantially greater hospital and emergency room use, and a reallocation of care from public to private and better-quality hospitals.

There is no advantage of second language on deliberate reasoning in the absence of time pressure; deliberation was not increased by providing items in a second language

Deliberate reasoning is not affected by language. Martin Jensen Mækelæ, Gerit Pfuhl. PLOS January 31, 2019.

Background: Millions of people use a second language every day. Does this have an effect on their decision-making? Are decisions in a second language more deliberate? Two mechanisms have been proposed: reduced emotionality or increased deliberation. Most studies so far used problems where both mechanisms could contribute to a foreign language effect. Here, we aimed to identify whether deliberate reasoning increases for problems that are devoid of any emotional connotation when using a second language or having to switch between native and second language.

Method: We measured deliberate reasoning with items from the cognitive reflection test, ratio bias, a probability matching task, and base rate neglect items. We recruited over 500 participants from Norway and the Netherlands that had English as their second language. Participants were randomly assigned to either the native, switching or second language condition. We measured: number of correctly answered items–deliberate reasoning score, perceived effort, perceived accuracy or confidence, and language proficiency.

Results: Deliberate reasoning was not increased when using a second language or when having to switch between native and second language. All three groups performed equally well. Significant predictors of deliberate reasoning were age, gender, education, perceived effort, and confidence but not the language context. Participants with low English proficiency spent more time reading compared to more fluent speakers.

Conclusion: There is no advantage of second language on deliberate reasoning in the absence of time pressure. Deliberation was not increased by providing items in a second language, but through the willingness to spend cognitive effort and time to read carefully.