Thursday, February 14, 2019

On the relative preponderance of empathic sorrow and its relation to commonsense morality

On the relative preponderance of empathic sorrow and its relation to commonsense morality. Edward B. Royzman, Rahul Kumar. New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 19, Issue 2, August 2001, Pages 131-144.

Abstract: Empathy is a nominally neutral term: in principle, the affective tone of empathic concern may be either negative (insofar as the relevant experience is that of apprehending and sharing in another's aversive state) or positive (i.e., apprehending and sharing in another's joy). Yet, we propose (Section 1) that, contrary to this standard conception of empathy as a potentially bivalent, generalized disposition towards emotional perspective-taking, in actuality, negative empathic responses, as a rule, (a) are more common, (b) are more differentiated, and (c) span a broader range of human relationships than their positive counterparts. Furthermore, we suggest that, barring certain types of privileged relationships, a failure to be empathetically aroused by another's good fortune is subject to far less severe (if any) social disapproval than the failure to share in another's aversive state. In Section 2, we posit that the negativity bias evident in the nature of our empathic concern may well be at the base of the negative–positive asymmetry found in the structure of commonsense morality, particularly as it expresses itself in the view that the furtherance of another's good has a greater moral claim on us in its negative form (e.g., the relief of suffering) than in its positive form (the promotion of “enjoyment”). We conclude by asking whether this moral (and the underlying empathic) asymmetry warrants our normative concern and we suggest that there are at least two reasons to think otherwise.

Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology: Study of more than 65 million papers, patents and software products that span the period 1954–2014

Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology. Lingfei Wu, Dashun Wang & James A. Evans. Nature (2019),

Abstract: One of the most universal trends in science and technology today is the growth of large teams in all areas, as solitary researchers and small teams diminish in prevalence1,2,3. Increases in team size have been attributed to the specialization of scientific activities3, improvements in communication technology4,5, or the complexity of modern problems that require interdisciplinary solutions6,7,8. This shift in team size raises the question of whether and how the character of the science and technology produced by large teams differs from that of small teams. Here we analyse more than 65 million papers, patents and software products that span the period 1954–2014, and demonstrate that across this period smaller teams have tended to disrupt science and technology with new ideas and opportunities, whereas larger teams have tended to develop existing ones. Work from larger teams builds on more-recent and popular developments, and attention to their work comes immediately. By contrast, contributions by smaller teams search more deeply into the past, are viewed as disruptive to science and technology and succeed further into the future—if at all. Observed differences between small and large teams are magnified for higher-impact work, with small teams known for disruptive work and large teams for developing work. Differences in topic and research design account for a small part of the relationship between team size and disruption; most of the effect occurs at the level of the individual, as people move between smaller and larger teams. These results demonstrate that both small and large teams are essential to a flourishing ecology of science and technology, and suggest that, to achieve this, science policies should aim to support a diversity of team sizes.

Refugees in Denmark between 1986-1998: Evidence for steeper returns to experience in big cities; an individual’s lifetime wage path depends strongly on placement in the country’s capital, Copenhagen

Fabian Eckert & Conor Walsh & Mads Hejlesen, 2018. "The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees," 2018 Meeting Papers 1214, Society for Economic Dynamics.

Abstract: Using a random settlement policy for refugees in Denmark between 1986-1998, we provide evidence for steeper returns to experience in big cities. Exploiting exogenous variation in initial placement, we show that the slope of an individual’s lifetime wage path depends strongly on placement in the country’s capital, Copenhagen. Conditional on observables, settled refugees initially earn similar hourly wages across regions, but those placed in Copenhagen see their wages grow 0.63% faster than others with each year of experience they accumulate. We further show that this premium is driven by greater acquisition of experience at high-wage establishments, and differential sorting across occupations. Finally, to account for dynamic selection within the city, we develop and estimate a structural model of earnings dynamics.

When Evolution Works Against the Future: Disgust's Contributions to the Acceptance of New Food Technologies

When Evolution Works Against the Future: Disgust's Contributions to the Acceptance of New Food Technologies. Aisha Egolf, Christina Hartmann, Michael Siegrist. Risk Analysis, Feb 13 2019.

Abstract: New food technologies have a high potential to transform the current resource‐consuming food system to a more efficient and sustainable one, but public acceptance of new food technologies is rather low. Such an avoidance might be maintained by a deeply preserved risk avoidance system called disgust. In an online survey, participants (N = 313) received information about a variety of new food technology applications (i.e., genetically modified meat/fish, edible nanotechnology coating film, nanotechnology food box, artificial meat/milk, and a synthetic food additive). Every new food technology application was rated according to the respondent's willingness to eat (WTE) it (i.e., acceptance), risk, benefit, and disgust perceptions. Furthermore, food disgust sensitivity was measured using the Food Disgust Scale. Overall, the WTE both gene‐technology applications and meat coated with an edible nanotechnology film were low and disgust responses toward all three applications were high. In full mediation models, food disgust sensitivity predicted the disgust response toward each new food technology application, which in turn influenced WTE them. Effects of disgust responses on the WTE a synthetic food additive were highest for and lowest for the edible nanotechnology coating film compared to the other technologies. Results indicate that direct disgust responses influence acceptance and risk and benefit perceptions of new food technologies. Beyond the discussion of this study, implications for future research and strategies to increase acceptance of new food technologies are discussed.

Asexual women were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure or fun than their sexual counterparts, & asexual men were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure than sexual men

Sexual Fantasy and Masturbation Among Asexual Individuals: An In-Depth Exploration. Morag A. Yule, Lori A. Brotto, Boris B. Gorzalka. Archives of Sexual Behavior, January 2017, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 311–328.

Abstract: Human asexuality is generally defined as a lack of sexual attraction. We used online questionnaires to investigate reasons for masturbation, and explored and compared the contents of sexual fantasies of asexual individuals (identified using the Asexual Identification Scale) with those of sexual individuals. A total of 351 asexual participants (292 women, 59 men) and 388 sexual participants (221 women, 167 men) participated. Asexual women were significantly less likely to masturbate than sexual women, sexual men, and asexual men. Asexual women were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure or fun than their sexual counterparts, and asexual men were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure than sexual men. Both asexual women and men were significantly more likely than sexual women and men to report that they had never had a sexual fantasy. Of those who have had a sexual fantasy, asexual women and men were significantly more likely to endorse the response “my fantasies do not involve other people” compared to sexual participants, and consistently scored each sexual fantasy on a questionnaire as being less sexually exciting than did sexual participants. When using an open-ended format, asexual participants were more likely to report having fantasies about sexual activities that did not involve themselves, and were less likely to fantasize about topics such as group sex, public sex, and having an affair. Interestingly, there was a large amount of overlap between sexual fantasies of asexual and sexual participants. Notably, both asexual and sexual participants (both men and women) were equally likely to fantasize about topics such as fetishes and BDSM.

h/t: Usman Muhammad

People use algorithmic advice more than human advice; appreciate algorithmic advice despite blindness to algorithm’s process; that appreciation holds even as people underweight advice more generally

Algorithm appreciation: People prefer algorithmic to human judgment. Jennifer M.Logg, Julia A. Minson, Don A. Moore. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 151, March 2019, Pages 90-103,

•    We challenge prevailing idea that people prefer human to algorithmic judgment.
•    In head-to-head comparisons, people use algorithmic advice more than human advice.
•    We compare usage of advice using the continuous weighting of advice (WOA) measure.
•    People appreciate algorithmic advice despite blindness to algorithm’s process.
•    Algorithm appreciation holds even as people underweight advice more generally.

Abstract: Even though computational algorithms often outperform human judgment, received wisdom suggests that people may be skeptical of relying on them (Dawes, 1979). Counter to this notion, results from six experiments show that lay people adhere more to advice when they think it comes from an algorithm than from a person. People showed this effect, what we call algorithm appreciation, when making numeric estimates about a visual stimulus (Experiment 1A) and forecasts about the popularity of songs and romantic attraction (Experiments 1B and 1C). Yet, researchers predicted the opposite result (Experiment 1D). Algorithm appreciation persisted when advice appeared jointly or separately (Experiment 2). However, algorithm appreciation waned when: people chose between an algorithm’s estimate and their own (versus an external advisor’s; Experiment 3) and they had expertise in forecasting (Experiment 4). Paradoxically, experienced professionals, who make forecasts on a regular basis, relied less on algorithmic advice than lay people did, which hurt their accuracy. These results shed light on the important question of when people rely on algorithmic advice over advice from people and have implications for the use of “big data” and algorithmic advice it generates.

Extramarital guys classified in four classes: Loyal, confiding, deceptive, & unfaithful; individuals differed significantly in ways that are consistent with the investment model and attachment theory

Rodriguez, L., DiBello, A., Øverup, C., & Lin, H. (2018). A Latent Class Analysis Approach to Extradyadic Involvement. Journal of Relationships Research, 9, E7. doi:10.1017/jrr.2018.6

Abstract: Extradyadic involvement — emotional, romantic, or sexual involvement with another person outside of one's romantic relationship — may have serious personal and relational consequences. The current research examines extradyadic involvement in two samples of individuals in relationships and identifies subgroups of people based on their engagement in different types of extradyadic behaviour. To assess involvement in such behaviour, we created a new behavioural inventory intended to broaden the conceptualisation of types of extradyadic behaviours. Subgroups of individuals who engage in these behaviours were extracted using latent class analysis. Study 1 assessed undergraduate students in relationships (N = 339), and results revealed four classes of individuals: loyal, confiding, deceptive, and unfaithful. Follow-up tests demonstrated that these classes of individuals differed significantly in ways that are consistent with the investment model and attachment theory. Study 2 (N = 202) replicated the four-class solution, as well as the group differences in relationship functioning and attachment orientations. Results suggest theoretically consistent typologies of extradyadic behaviour that may be useful in differentiating deceptive behaviour in close relationships in a more precise way.

In contrast, a series of eight studies by DeWall and colleagues (2011) found no association between attachment anxiety and infidelity.Infidelitywasoperationalised in a variety of ways (e.g., attitudes toward infidelity, engagement in overt or physical extradyadic behaviours, interest in meeting alternative partners, a validated selfreport wherein participants rated how emotionally and physically intimate they had been with an alternative partner). This final method of operationalising infidelity most closely resembles the way the current study wished to define levels of extradyadic behaviour, but in DeWall et al. (2011), the ratings were summed to create a composite infidelity index after items showed high reliability. Considering the desire of anxiously attached individuals to feel close and connected to important others (e.g., DeWall et al., 2011), measuring a range of emotional extradyadic behaviours, and not just interest in or physical attraction to alternatives, may be more important for linking anxious attachment to infidelity. This may be why a robust set of studies supporting associations between avoidant attachment and infidelity (described below) did not find significant associations between anxious attachment and infidelity.

Research on attachment avoidance paints a clearerpicture, likely driven by avoidant individuals’ fear of intimacy and desire for more independence (Brennan et al., 1998). Avoidant individuals showed greater interest in alternatives and a greater propensity for infidelity — associations that were mediated by lower levels of relationship commitment (DeWall et al., 2011). Additional work has found associations between attachment avoidance and infidelity (Fish et al., 2012) and that avoidant individuals reported the highest number of extradyadic partners compared with both anxious and secure individuals (Allen & Baucom, 2004). Thus, greater attachment avoidance may be associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in behaviours of sexual infidelity, such as kissing, heavy petting and sexual intercourse, particularly in more casual situations (Feeney, Noller, & Patty, 1993; Fraley, Davis, & Shaver, 1998). Moreover, attachment avoidance might also be associated with the greater use of deceptive extradyadic behaviours, as avoidantly attached individualstendtodislikeconflict(Domingue&Mollen, 2009). Using deception may be a way to avoid potential conflict situations with partners and maintain emotional and general independence. In contrast, Russell et al.’s (2013) longitudinal studies on newlywed couples found no association between one’s own attachment avoidance and infidelity; however, in one of the two studies, a partner effect of attachment avoidance on infidelity emerged, where one was less likely to cheat if his or her partner was higher in avoidance. These studies, which ran for three to four years, asked both spouses to report on their own perpetrated infidelity or discovery of their partner’s infidelity at each time point, with the definition of infidelity being left open to each participant.

Men's relationship satisfaction, passionate love, & liking were more driven by touch, whereas those of women's were more driven by hearing; higher differential valuing predicted higher passionate love for both

Miron, A., Jiang, L., Weisensel, K., Patterson, M., & Rizo, F. (2018). Testing a Transactional Model of Romantic Sensory Interactions in Male and Female Romantic Intimates. Journal of Relationships Research 2018, 9, e2. doi:10.1017/jrr.2018.2

Abstract: We propose a transactional model of romantic sensory interactions, according to which male and female intimates adapt to the specific context of their romantic relationships by adopting different sensory domains of interactions with their partners. To test this model, we measured romantic couples’ orientations toward using sensory modalities of romantic relating, and the importance of these modalities (N = 137 couples). Although not all hypotheses were supported, the findings suggest that men's relationship satisfaction, passionate love, and liking were driven by a stronger orientation toward touch, whereas women's relationship satisfaction, passionate love, liking, and commitment were predicted by a stronger preference for hearing. Higher differential valuing of touch and bodily sensations predicted higher passionate love for both men and women, suggesting that these sensory modalities have similar functions for both genders — to maintain sexual desire and passionate love for the partner. These findings underscore the importance of romantic couples’ differential sensory orientations in maintaining satisfying relationships.