Tuesday, February 5, 2019

draft - Letters To A Spanish Girl I

Letters To A Spanish Girl I
A la atención de Su Señoría / [xxx]
De: rendido admirador / [xxx]

Su Señoría xxx,

I finally dare, for the reason I explain later▼, to write to Your Grace after many months since the moment in which I had the privilege of breathing for the first time in the same room that You were in, blessed person.

(Although [tanto tengo para decirle que no me atrevo a empezar.]*    :-)    )

This cannot be done in any other way than speaking to You in an extremely respectful manner, so that it is made explicit the enormous distance between such a special person as Your Honor and Your devout admirer, who absentmindedly wait for the day to contemplate You in a so elevated position from the pedestal of that altar** in which You are*:

        "I' benedico il loco e 'l tempo et l'ora               [Y bendigo el lugar y el tiempo y la hora
        che sì alto miraron gli occhi mei,                     en que mis ojos tan alto miraron,
        et dico: "Anima, assai ringraziar dei                y digo: Alma, mucho has de agradecer,
        che fosti a tanto onor degnata allora."              que de tanto honor entonces fuiste honrada.]

Maybe I misspoke saying "admirer," mi señora. A passionate poet, if any other class is possible, is, actually, ADORADOR. In imitation of the true poets, even knowing I have no talent to be of their numbers, I consider myself an idolater of Your complex person–the combination of the visible person and the essence, we could say spiritual essence, that we envision there is beyond what is visible (la intuición me la ha dado verla sonreír cuando habla con compañeros Suyos).

These prodigies of Your character, hidden from us at first because they were not immediately apparent, comprise the enigmatic and mysterious component of a Grace we all were waiting for.

Those unfortunate artists of past centuries didn't paint or carve a fourth Grace because Your sacred steps had not marked their imprint on this sad planet and there was no certainty, until recently, that there were more than three ones.

Pero nosotros, Sus súbditos de hoy, no tenemos dudas: somos más afortunados, hemos coincidido en el tiempo con Su presencia y sabemos que el cuarto regalo que nos hacen los dioses a los hombres es Su Señoría, de nombre ignoto.


It is difficult to take the decision to write down some words, and much harder to deliver them. Many good poets and musicians regret to leave extant their poor works, always defective, insufficient ... and I'm just a troubadour. Although these texts are not worthy of Your Honor's attention, I finally found the courage and audacity to communicate with You.

Le hago llegar estas líneas con motivo del Primer Día Internacional de Glorificación de la Mujer Mágica, que se celebra hoy y que acabo de instituir ayer mismo tras pensar en Vd.

(No se preocupe Su Señoría, no es que deje de pensar en Su persona por muchos minutos... Simplemente se me ocurrió ayer tras una de las veces en que me acordé de lo agradable que resulta verla y escucharla cuando tengo la oportunidad.)

On the occasion of this solemn day I dare to steal some of Your time to read some thoughts† that I believe are very beautiful and appropriate for this day, even risking that they are just funny to You:
[Woman is certainly within her rights, and she even performs a kind of duty when she endeavors to appear magical and supernatural; she should dazzle men and charm them; she is an idol who should be covered with gold in order to be worshipped.
She should therefore borrow from all the arts the means of arising above nature in order better to subjugate all hearts and impress all minds.

It is of no consequence that her ruse and artifice be known by all, if their success is certain and their effects always irresistible.]

(Of course I do not necessarily agree with all the texts I print here, nor do I endorse the authors' inclinations, politics, life, etc.)

I am fully conscious that if the writings that I make mention of in this and following (!) letters are of Your liking, it is applicable to me what Sir John Suckling said‡:

        "But the spite on ’t is, no praise                              [Pero a pesar de esto, ningún encomio
        Is due at all to me:";                                              me es debido];

is Your Grace, la señora mística, the one that inspire to uncover beautiful things to be able to send them to You.

Yo quiero que pueda Vd. disfrutar de lo que es bello y agradable. Por eso, además de lo que otros escriben de forma admirable, adjunto una imagen y su calco. No tengo dote ninguna para pintar, así que, para Vd., reduzco a líneas básicas cosas hermosas que veo y se las muestro. Sé que es de muy poco valor, pero en ausencia de capacidad artística, pongo mi esfuerzo, aunque sea una pobre compensación     :-(    .

I've got several letters like this in preparation. May Your Honor authorize me to share them with You? You may authorize me writing to my e-mail֍. There is no need for me to see Your name, Your Honor, I may send them to the name of a good friend of Yours in the same office and then she will pass the letters to You. This way, Your identity will be safe. Simplemente recibe cartas bonitas y sonríe mientras las lee     :-)        .

Of course it is advisable, for Your peace of mind, to write me from an e-mail not connected to You.

I even got an idea: [...] :-)

Soy consciente de que no debería decir a nadie que le estoy escribiendo, mi señora, pero no puedo hacerle llegar estas notas si no lo comento al menos una vez. Tomando palabras de una poetisa rusa¶,

        [Ya me es indiferente en qué lenguaje no seré comprendida por el hombre.].

Seguiré escribiéndole si Su compasión me lo permite. ¿Sería correcto una carta por semana? Intentaré que no sean más largas que esta.

Con profundo respeto y un beso en  una  de las huellas [xxx], se despide

                 admirador rendido‡‡  ante Su Señoría

‡‡ (I cannot think of printing my name in the same paper than Your Honor's unless it is done in non-capital letters.)


*  Adapted from Petrarch Songs and Sonnets, A Bilingual Selection, translated by Richard Kilmer (London: Anvil Press Poetry, 2011), Petrarch: The Canzoniere, or Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, translated by Mark Musa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), and Atilio Pentimalli's translation (Barcelona: Ediciones Orbis, 1998),  CLXIX, 14; XIII, 5-8.

English version:

[I bless the place, the time and hour of the day
that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,
and say: 'My soul, you must be very grateful
that you were found worthy of such great honour.]

Todos los defectos del texto no son atribuibles a nadie salvo a mí.

Esto es válido para cualquier escrito mío. "Traduttore, traditore".

**  Plato's Phaedrus, 254b. Available at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedrus.html:

"And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty of the beloved; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is carried to the true beauty, whom he beholds in company with Modesty like an image placed upon a holy pedestal."

This is a bad translation, it substitutes a girl for a boy ("the beloved" of the "flashing beauty")... But it suits me because Your Honor is a girl          :-)        .

†  Charles Baudelaire translated by Wallace Fowlie. New York: Bantam Books, 1964. Eloge du maquillage.

‡  Sir John Suckling's 'The Constant Lover', ca. 1630. Available at http://www.bartleby.com/40/234.html.

֍  [xxx]

¶  Marina Tsvetaeva's Antología poética. Madrid: Hiperión, 2014. Translated by Lola Díaz, version by Severo Sarduy, p. 163.

The presence of an observing other curbs unethical behaviour; the mere presence of others does not reduce unethical behaviour if they do not observe the participant

Köbis, Nils, Simone van der Lingen, Terence D. Dores Cruz, Daniel Iragorri-Carter, Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Francesca Righetti, and Paul van Lange. 2019. “The Look over Your Shoulder: Unethical Behaviour Decreases in the Physical Presence of Observers.” PsyArXiv. February 5. doi:10.31234/osf.io/gxu96

Abstract: Research in behavioural ethics repeatedly emphasizes the importance of others for people’s decisions to break ethical rules. Yet, in most lab experiments participants faced ethical dilemmas in full privacy settings. We conducted three experiments in which we compare such private set-ups to situations in which a second person is co-present in the lab. Study 1 manipulated whether that second person was a mere observer or co-benefitted from the participants’ unethical behaviour. Study 2 investigated social proximity between participant and observer –being a friend versus a stranger. Study 3 tested whether the mere presence of another person who cannot observe the participant’s behaviour suffices to decrease unethical behaviour. By using different behavioural paradigms of unethical behaviour, we obtain three main results: first, the presence of an observing other curbs unethical behaviour. Second, neither the payoff structure (Study 1) nor the social proximity towards the observing other (Study 2) qualifies this effect. Third, the mere presence of others does not reduce unethical behaviour if they do not observe the participant (Study 3). Implications, limitations and avenues for future research are discussed.

The Gender Gap in Orgasms–We find a strong association between women’s orgasms & the type of sexual behavior in which partners engage: Women who receive oral sex are more likely to reach orgasm

The Gender Gap in Orgasms: Survey Data from a Mid-Sized Canadian City. Nicole Andrejek & Tina Fetner. International Journal of Sexual Health, https://doi.org/10.1080/19317611.2018.1563014


Objective: Previous research has established a gap in orgasm frequency between men and women. This study investigates explanations for the gender gap in orgasm.

Methods: Crosstab analysis and logistic regression are used to examine the gender gap in orgasms from one Canadian city: Hamilton, Ontario (N = 194).

Results: We find a strong association between women’s orgasms and the type of sexual behavior in which partners engage. Women who receive oral sex are more likely to reach orgasm.

Conclusion: Sexual practices focused on clitoral stimulation are important to reducing the gender gap in orgasms.

Keywords: Sexualities, orgasm, gender, survey, sexual behavior

The subjective nature of humor in Internet trolling depends on whether an individual has trolled; the groups that indicated trolling as a “bullying” behavior were the groups who had never been trolled

A Qualitative Analysis of Internet Trolling. Evita March, and Jessica Marrington. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/cyber.2018.0210

Abstract: Internet trolling is receiving increasing research attention and exploration; however, disagreement and confusion surround definitions of the behavior. In the current study, 379 participants (60 percent women) completed an online questionnaire providing qualitative responses to the following: How do you define Internet trolling? What kind of behaviors constitutes Internet trolling? Does Internet trolling differ from Internet cyberbullying? Have you ever been trolled online, and if so how did it feel? Word frequency analyses indicated that Internet trolling is most commonly characterized as an abusive aggressive behavior. Responses also highlight the subjective nature of humor in trolling depending on whether an individual has trolled. Interestingly, the groups that indicated trolling as a “bullying” behavior were the groups who had never been trolled. Results of the current study highlight the need to differentiate between “kudos” trolling and Cyber Abuse.

Even psychological placebos have an effect

Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale – Three Randomized-Controlled Studies. Jens Gaab, Joe Kossowsky, Ulrike Ehlert, Cosima Locher. Scientific Reports (2019), doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37945-1

Abstract: In recent years, placebos have evolved from a mean to control for ‘therapeutic chaff’ to something that has clinically relevant effects with biological underpinning and that is considered to have clinical as well as scientific potential. However, the wealth of scientific placebo research is conceptualized in a biomedical context, i.e. based on placebos provided with a biomedical treatment rationale, whereas little is known about effects and mechanisms of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale. This has important repercussions not only on placebo research, but also on attempts to establish specificity of psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy. Therefore, we set out to assess the effects and possible components of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale in three experiments on healthy subjects. We show that placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale are effective in short- as well as mid-term, but only when provided by a trustworthy, friendly and empathetic experimenter. These findings indicate that placebos are effective outside the medical context and thus need be controlled for in non-medical trials. Furthermore, it highlights and confirms the importance of a plausible psychological treatment rationale in the context of a therapeutic alliance for psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy.

Press release: Even psychological placebos have an effect. Reto Caluori. Universität Basel Kommunikation & Marketing, Feb 05 2019. https://idw-online.de/de/news710065

Women’s preferences for more masculine looking men are stronger in countries with higher sociosexuality and where national health indices and human development indices are higher

Marcinkowska UM, Rantala MJ, Lee AJ, Kozlov MV, Aavik T, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, David OA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Pazhoohi F, Prokop P & Rosales Cardozo SL (2018) Women's preferences for men's facial masculinity are strongest under favourable ecological conditions. Scientific Reports. https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/handle/1893/28677

Abstract: The strength of sexual selection on secondary sexual traits varies depending on prevailing economic and ecological conditions. In humans, cross-cultural evidence suggesting women's preferences for men’s testosterone dependent masculine facial traits are stronger under conditions where health is compromised, male mortality rates are higher and economic development is higher. Here we use a sample of 4483 exclusively heterosexual women from 34 countries and employ mixed effects modelling to test how social, ecological and economic variables predict women’s facial masculinity preferences. We report women’s preferences for more masculine looking men are stronger in countries with higher sociosexuality and where national health indices and human development indices are higher, while no associations were found between preferences and indices of intra-sexual competition. Our results show that women’s preferences for masculine faces are stronger under conditions where offspring survival is higher and economic conditions more favorable.

Both Republicans and Democrats exhibit a strong tendency to consume news stories depicting disunity in the outparty

Fight Clubs: Media Coverage of Party (Dis)unity and Citizens’ Selective Exposure to It. John V. Kane. Political Research Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912919827106

Abstract: News media play a key role in communicating information about political parties to the American public. However, our understanding of how media depict relations between elites and the broader party coalitions remains limited. Moreover, while research suggests that forced exposure to such information can affect political attitudes, it remains unclear whether citizens are willing to selectively expose themselves to such communications. To address these two interrelated questions, this study first employs a content analysis to explore patterns in news coverage of inter- and intra-party relations throughout the Obama presidency. Next, two survey experiments investigate the degree to which such relations affect citizens’ self-exposure to such information. Taken together, the analyses uncover two important asymmetries. First, throughout Obama’s presidency, mass media depicted a Republican coalition virtually always against the president, yet substantial discord within the Democratic Party. Second, though partisans show no propensity to consume news depicting inparty unity (vs. disunity), both Republicans and Democrats exhibit a strong tendency to consume news stories depicting disunity in the outparty. Insofar as partisans’ self-exposure to such information is a necessary precondition for attitudinal and behavioral change, these findings have notable implications for how mass media stand to shape partisanship in the United States.

Keywords: media, self-exposure, partisanship, party unity, cognitive dissonance, schadenfreude

The survey experiments reveal a second asymmetry. Specifically, the experimental results indicate that, while partisans were nearly equally likely to select news arti-cles discussing inparty unity (vs. news articles discussing inparty disunity), both Republicans and Democrats were far more likely to select a news story depicting outparty disunity (vs. outparty unity or the control condition)—that is, the story in which the president was reported to have alienated a key group in his party’s base. The finding concerning inparty members’ behavior deviates somewhat from the “cognitive dissonance” argument, which would suggest that partisans will avoid self-exposure to information that challenges their existing beliefs and loyalties (Festinger 1962). At the same time, the findings regarding outparty members’ behavior offer additional support for the notion that partisans seek out information that is likely to result in “political schaden-freude” (Combs et al. 2009; Hareli and Weiner 2002).

Again, in light of research which argues that beliefs about the parties’ relations with groups are consequential for citizens’ partisan orientations (Green, Palmquist, and Schickler 2002), as well as recent research on how information about partisan polarization and partisan infighting can affect citizens’ policy attitudes and willingness to compromise (Druckman, Peterson, and Slothuus 2013; Groeling 2010; Kane 2016b), the findings of the present study come with important implications for the manner by which mass media can shape partisanship