Thursday, May 2, 2019

Scientists explore the evolution of animal homosexuality... and its correlate in humans

Scientists explore the evolution of animal homosexuality... and its correlate in humans. Juanita Bawagan, Imperial College London, May 2, 2019.

Imperial researchers are using a new approach to understand why same-sex behaviour is so common across the animal kingdom.

In 1910, a team of scientists set off on the Terra Nova Expedition to explore Antarctica. Among them was George Murray Levick, a zoologist and photographer who would be the first researcher to study the world's largest Adélie penguin colony. He chronicled the animals' daily activities in great detail.

In his notebooks, he described their sexual behaviour, including sex between male birds. However, none of these notes would appear in Levick's published papers. Concerned by the graphic content, he only printed 100 copies of Sexual Habits of the Adélie Penguin to circulate privately. The last remaining copy was recently unearthed providing valuable insights into animal homosexuality research.

But forays into animal homosexuality research long predate Levick, with observations published as far back as the 1700s and 1800s. More than 200 years later, research has moved past some of the taboos those early researchers faced and shown that homosexuality is much more common than previously thought.

Same-sex behaviour ranging from co-parenting to sex has been observed in over 1,000 species with likely many more as researchers begin to look for the behaviour explicitly. Homosexuality is widespread, with bisexuality even more prevalent across species.

Researchers are now going beyond just observing it though, with researchers at Imperial leading the way in unravelling how, and why, homosexuality is found across nature.

[Many more details at the link above]

Did not find a significant association between changes in the frequency of adolescents’ pornography use over time and their sexual satisfaction; these patterns were similar across genders

Longitudinal Assessment of the Association Between Pornography Use and Sexual Satisfaction in Adolescence. Goran Milas, Paul Wright & Aleksandar Štulhofer. The Journal of Sex Research, May 1 2019.

Abstract: Pornography has been theorized to affect sexual satisfaction for decades, yet only two prospective studies, both conducted in the Netherlands, have explored this link among adolescents. Given the unprecedented availability of (online) sexually explicit content and the potential importance of its relationship to sexual satisfaction for young people, we have revisited the association between these variables in a less sexually permissive society. Using a panel sample of 775 female and 514 male Croatian high school students (Mage at baseline = 15.9 years, SD = 0.52) and latent growth curve modeling with six observation points, we did not find a significant association between changes in the frequency of adolescents’ pornography use over time and their sexual satisfaction at wave six. The association between the initial levels of pornography use and sexual satisfaction, which, if present, would have indicated a possible relationship during middle adolescence, was also null. These patterns were similar across genders. Possible explanations for the difference between our results and the results of the previous studies are discussed.

Wolves acted prosocially to in-group partners; providing significantly more food to a pack-member compared to a control where the partner had no access to the food; dogs did not

Wolves, but not dogs, are prosocial in a touch screen task. Rachel Dale, Sylvain Palma-Jacinto, Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Friederike Range. PLOS, May 1, 2019.

Abstract: Prosociality is important for initiating cooperation. Interestingly, while wolves rely heavily on cooperation, dogs’ do so substantially less thus leading to the prediction that wolves are more prosocial than dogs. However, domestication hypotheses suggest dogs have been selected for higher cooperation, leading to the opposing prediction- increased prosocial tendencies in dogs. To tease apart these hypotheses we adapted a paradigm previously used with pet dogs to directly compare dogs and wolves. In a prosocial choice task, wolves acted prosocially to in-group partners; providing significantly more food to a pack-member compared to a control where the partner had no access to the food. Dogs did not. Additionally, wolves did not show a prosocial response to non-pack members, in line with previous research that social relationships are important for prosociality. In sum, when kept in the same conditions, wolves are more prosocial than their domestic counterpart, further supporting suggestions that reliance on cooperation is a driving force for prosocial attitudes.

Anjelica Huston on Roman Polanski, older guys hitting on young girls, statutory rape, almost daily MeToo experiences, and girls and boys

In Conversation: Anjelica Huston On growing up in Hollywood, the cost of beating Oprah at the Oscars, and why Jack Nicholson doesn’t act anymore. Andrew Goldman. Vulture, May 1 2019.

You were actually arrested for cocaine possession at Jack’s house in 1977. What did your father say?
Not a thing. He was a prince. Never mentioned it. It was like, “You need my help, honey?” Princely.

Was the arrest embarrassing to you?
Oh, awful. So embarrassing, humiliating. I was really ashamed.

You were arrested because you happened to be in Jack’s house when Roman Polanski raped 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. How did you feel about that?
Well, see, it’s a story that could’ve happened ten years before in England or France or Italy or Spain or Portugal, and no one would’ve heard anything about it. And that’s how these guys enjoy their time. It was a whole playboy movement in France when I was a young girl, 15, 16 years old, doing my first collections. You would go to Régine or Castel in Paris, and the older guys would all hit on you. Any club you cared to mention in Europe. It was de rigueur for most of those guys like Roman who had grown up with the European sensibility.

Among a lot of Hollywood men, it was acceptable at that time to treat women as though they were disposable.
I think they’re still doing it. I was at the hairdresser’s yesterday, and I heard tales of such horror from women. There was one other client and two girls who were working in this rather small hairdressing shop. And one of the girls had been passed a Mickey Finn in a bar and had woken up on a couch with a guy ejaculating wildly all over her face. And as she was telling the story, another girl who worked in the salon came in and said, “The weirdest thing happened to my friend last night. She was found at four in the morning in the Wilshire district, coatless, shoeless, with scratches and bruises all over her body. She doesn’t know whether she was raped. So, I’m trying to stop her from having a bath because we need to get her to the police.”

So you don’t think anything has changed?
No, I don’t. And frankly, I think there’s a whole element of guys who will get up to what they want to get up to. I didn’t think Brett Kavanaugh was all that believable. And yet this whole thing continues to be whitewashed and whitewashed and whitewashed. On the other hand, there is a thing called a male imperative, and it is maybe stronger than any #MeToo movement, because it happens at birth. I have a great 3-year-old nephew who made his way over to my umbrella rack the other day and pulled an Irish walking stick out and said, “I am the leader of the universe.” Girls don’t do that.

Did you have what would have qualified as #MeToo experiences?
Yeah, yeah.

What happened?
You’d have to ask me that on a daily basis, practically. That’s how often it happens, that you’re objectified, or misread, or put down. I think men do it a lot, and I don’t really think half the time they know what they’re doing. That’s how inured they are.

You were certainly objectified. Elia Kazan wasn’t great to you when he was casting The Last Tycoon.
He said, to a random woman waiting at a bus stop, “Do you think she’s beautiful?” She said, “I wouldn’t say ‘beautiful.’ Interesting, maybe.” I watched the part fly out the door. It was the “right girl” in The Last Tycoon,the part Ingrid Boulting got. I got the “wrong girl” part. But that was mild, compared to some shit that goes down.

You were in two Woody Allen films, Crimes and Misdemeanors, alongside Mia Farrow, and then Manhattan Murder Mystery. Woody Allen is basically unable to make films now because of the outcry about the molestation allegations.
I think that’s after two states investigated him, and neither of them prosecuted him.

Well, the industry seems to be treating him as though he’s guilty. Would you work with him again?
Yeah, in a second.

Jeffrey Tambor, whose girlfriend you played on seasons two and three of Transparent, was accused by his former assistant and an actress on the show of behaving inappropriately toward them. Did you know the two women?
I’ve met them both. At least insofar as I was concerned, nobody did or said anything inappropriate. I do think in this work we have to feel freedom. We have to feel as though we can say and do things that are not necessarily judged, particularly by the other people in the cast or crew.

So you think what happens on the set should stay on the set, and there are processes that make the rules of behavior a little different from what you might find at a corporate job?
That’s absolutely what I’m saying.

So would it be fair to say this is a defense of things that Jeffrey might have said that were possibly misinterpreted?
Yes, that is fair. He certainly never said or did anything inappropriate with me.

How did you come down on Polanski when people were signing petitions to have him readmitted to the U.S.?
My opinion is: He’s paid his price, and at the time that it happened, it was kind of unprecedented. This was not an unusual situation. You know that movie An Education with Carey Mulligan? That happened to me. It’s about a schoolgirl in England who falls in love with an older dude, Peter Sarsgaard. My first serious boyfriend I met when he was 42 and I was 18.

The photographer Bob Richardson. It wasn’t illegal though.
He was way older than me. I mean, old enough to know better. But these things happen, that’s what I’m saying. These things weren’t judged on the same basis that they’re judged on now. So you can’t compare them.

He was abusive, correct?
Yeah. In modern terms. We wouldn’t have known what to call it then. I don’t think he set out to be abusive, but he was manic-depressive. He was schizophrenic.Richardson, whose schizophrenia was diagnosed in the ’60s and exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, was periodically homeless, and often living on Southern California beaches. His son, the photographer Terry Richardson, got him off the streets in 1984. He died in Manhattan in 2005 at 77. So you can’t really say that schizophrenic is abusive, although to live with a schizophrenic is about as difficult.

You wrote that you once made him a steak and he threw it against the wall because it took too long.
At first I said, “What have I done?” And then at a certain point, I just had to get away. My mother had just died, so I think I was looking for someone to take care of me. And not take care of me at the same time. It was very dramatic. He also was extremely controlling, so he hated when I worked with other photographers.

Visual Deep Neural Networks: Trained with impoverished data, lack adaptations to attentional mechanisms, visual working memory, & compressed mental representations that preserve relevant abstractions

Comparing the Visual Representations and Performance of Humans and Deep Neural Networks. Robert A. Jacobs, Christopher J. Bates. Current Directions in Psychological Science, November 27, 2018.

Abstract: Although deep neural networks (DNNs) are state-of-the-art artificial intelligence systems, it is unclear what insights, if any, they provide about human intelligence. We address this issue in the domain of visual perception. After briefly describing DNNs, we provide an overview of recent results comparing human visual representations and performance with those of DNNs. In many cases, DNNs acquire visual representations and processing strategies that are very different from those used by people. We conjecture that there are at least two factors preventing them from serving as better psychological models. First, DNNs are currently trained with impoverished data, such as data lacking important visual cues to three-dimensional structure, data lacking multisensory statistical regularities, and data in which stimuli are unconnected to an observer’s actions and goals. Second, DNNs typically lack adaptations to capacity limits, such as attentional mechanisms, visual working memory, and compressed mental representations biased toward preserving task-relevant abstractions.

Keywords: perception, vision, artificial intelligence, deep neural networks

Hansen & Wänke 2010 (participants judge concretely worded trivia items as more likely to be true than abstractly worded ones) is non-replicable

Henderson, E. L., Vallée-Tourangeau, F., & Simons, D. J. (2019). The Effect of Concrete Wording on Truth Judgements: A Preregistered Replication and Extension of Hansen & Wänke (2010). Collabra: Psychology, 5(1), 19. DOI:

Abstract: When you lack the facts, how do you decide what is true and what is not? In the absence of knowledge, we sometimes rely on non-probative information. For example, participants judge concretely worded trivia items as more likely to be true than abstractly worded ones (the linguistic truth effect; Hansen & Wänke, 2010). If minor language differences affect truth judgements, ultimately they could influence more consequential political, legal, health, and interpersonal choices. This Registered Report includes two high-powered replication attempts of Experiment 1 from Hansen and Wänke (2010). Experiment 1a was a dual-site, in-person replication of the linguistic concreteness effect in the original paper-and-pencil format (n = 253, n = 246 in analyses). Experiment 1b replicated the study with an online sample (n = 237, n = 220 in analyses). In Experiment 1a, the effect of concreteness on judgements of truth (Cohen’s dz = 0.08; 95% CI: [–0.03, 0.18]) was smaller than that of the original study. Similarly, in Experiment 1b the effect (Cohen’s dz = 0.11; 95% CI [–0.01, 0.22]) was smaller than that of the original study. Collectively, the pattern of results is inconsistent with that of the original study.

Keywords: replication ,   truth judgements ,   truth effect ,   concreteness ,   language ,   Registered Report

Adolescent Sexting: Myths, Facts, and Advice

Adolescent Sexting: Myths, Facts, and Advice. Joris Van Ouytsel et al. NASN School Nurse, April 25, 2019.

Abstract: Adolescent sexting remains an important public health issue because of the potential for psychosocial and legal consequences. This article briefly reviews the current state of the science of adolescent sexting research. It serves as an up-to-date and data-driven resource to school nurses and school staff to help augment understanding and facilitate discussion regarding teen sexting. The review is structured along popular myths about sexting.

Keywords: sexting, sexual risk behavior, electronic media: public health, cyberbullying

Myth 1: The Prevalence of Sexting Is Drastically on the Rise
Myth 2: Girls Are More Likely to Sext Than BoysAnother common
Myth 3: If Teenagers Are Engaging in Online Sexual Risk Behaviors, They Must Be Engaging in Offline Sexual Risk Behaviors
Myth 4: Sexts Are Meant as a Means to “Hook Up” (i.e., Engage in Casual Sexual Behavior)