Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Same-sex competitors’ attractiveness influenced women’s, but not men’s, attitudes concerning benevolent sexism & traditional family values; competitors’ income affected men’s attitudes towards wealth redistribution

Can mating market competition shift socio-political attitudes? An experimental test. Francesca Romana Luberti, Khandis R. Blake, Robert C. Brooks. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Socio-political attitudes, such as preferring progressive or conservative social norms, markedly vary among individuals. Here we investigated whether these attitudes are influenced by the characteristics of the mating market one is engaged in. In two studies, we manipulated the attractiveness or income of same-sex competitors in an individual’s local mating market. In Study 1, a between-subjects design randomly allocated single participants (N = 151 women and 229 men) to experimental conditions where the same-sex peers in their local county were attractive, average-looking, or unattractive, or to a control group. In Study 2, a between-subjects design randomly allocated single participants (N = 173 women and 234 men) to experimental conditions where the same-sex peers in their local county had high incomes, average incomes, or low incomes, or again to a control group. Results showed that same-sex competitors’ attractiveness influenced women’s, but not men’s, attitudes concerning benevolent sexism and traditional family values. Same-sex competitors’ income affected both men’s attitudes towards wealth redistribution, and women’s attitudes towards traditional family values. We interpret these results in light of the costs and benefits of holding specific socio-political attitudes given the degree of romantic competition in the local mating market.

The evolution of innovation and economic complexity: Four-factor model of intelligence, adolescent fertility, population density, and atmospheric cold

The evolution of innovation and economic complexity. Severi Luoto. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Evolution causes biological diversity through adaptation to environmental conditions. With a dataset comprising 122 nations, I explored ecological and demographic predictors of global variation in innovation and economic complexity. The results show that economic complexity is higher in countries with colder winters (r = .58, p < .00001), an effect mediated almost completely by intelligence. Economic complexity is constrained by population-level adolescent fertility rates (r = −.75, p < .00001), showing a tradeoff between early reproduction and investment into economic development and innovation. Population density is another demographic variable that significantly predicts global variation in economic complexity (r = .27, p < .003). A four-factor model of intelligence, adolescent fertility, population density, and atmospheric cold demands predicts 64% of global variation in economic complexity in 1995 and 72% of the variation in 2016. With the exception of adolescent fertility rate, these results remain robust even after controlling for per capita GDP, population size, and trade distance from Europe. This research sheds light on the ways in which evolutionary processes shape human adaptation to local environments. The results indicate that these adaptive processes occur both at the level of psychological traits (intelligence, innovative capacity) and realised behaviours, indexed by global variation in reproductive timing, innovation, and economic complexity.

Check also Response to Commentaries: Life History Genetics, Fluid Intelligence, and Extended Phenotypes. S Luoto. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, March 2019, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 112–115. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-018-0103-6

and An Updated Theoretical Framework for Human Sexual Selection: from Ecology, Genetics, and Life History to Extended Phenotypes. Severi Luoto. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2018/12/sexual-selection-typically-centers-on.html

Do humans reason about cultural group identities as if they were fixed? Participants must decide the group identity of a hypothetical child who is born to parents from one group, but raised by parents from a different group

Do humans reason about cultural group identities as if they were fixed? Cristina Moya, Richard McElreath, Joseph Henrich. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: In some societies people expect children will inherit social group identities from their birth parents, even in their absence. This belief in intergenerationally inherited and fixed identities is puzzling given the importance of socialization for membership in most cultural groups. We meta-analyse results from over 3000 decisions made by children and adults from different societies in switched-at-birth vignette studies. In these, participants must decide the group identity of a hypothetical child who is born to parents from one group, but raised by parents from a different group. We compare these to studies where people were asked about the species identities of animals in a similar scenario. We find that across development beliefs about species identity beliefs homogenize towards notions of identity being stable, whereas social identity beliefs diversify and tend to move towards beliefs that identities are not fixed at birth. This diversity of beliefs is patterned, with groups marked by status differences being associated with more fixed notions about identity. Importantly, phenotypic differences are not particularly likely to trigger essentialist inferences in children or adults. These patterns suggest that the cognitive mechanisms used for reasoning about human cultural groups are qualitatively different than those used for reasoning about species.

Scary and nasty beasts: Self‐reported fear and disgust of common phobic animals

Scary and nasty beasts: Self‐reported fear and disgust of common phobic animals. Jakub Polák et al. British Journal of Psychology, June 11 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12409

Abstract: Animal phobias are one of the most prevalent mental disorders. We analysed how fear and disgust, two emotions involved in their onset and maintenance, are elicited by common phobic animals. In an online survey, the subjects rated 25 animal images according to elicited fear and disgust. Additionally, they completed four psychometrics, the Fear Survey Schedule II (FSS), Disgust Scale – Revised (DS‐R), Snake Questionnaire (SNAQ), and Spider Questionnaire (SPQ). Based on a redundancy analysis, fear and disgust image ratings could be described by two axes, one reflecting a general negative perception of animals associated with higher FSS and DS‐R scores and the second one describing a specific aversion to snakes and spiders associated with higher SNAQ and SPQ scores. The animals can be separated into five distinct clusters: (1) non‐slimy invertebrates; (2) snakes; (3) mice, rats, and bats; (4) human endo‐ and exoparasites (intestinal helminths and louse); and (5) farm/pet animals. However, only snakes, spiders, and parasites evoke intense fear and disgust in the non‐clinical population. In conclusion, rating animal images according to fear and disgust can be an alternative and reliable method to standard scales. Moreover, tendencies to overgeneralize irrational fears onto other harmless species from the same category can be used for quick animal phobia detection.

Rolf Degen summarizing: Belief in the paranormal was not linked to any reasoning deficits and showed little relationship with personality

Personality, cognition, and morbidity in the understanding of paranormal belief. José M. Pérez Navarro, Xana Martínez Guerra. PsyCh Journal, June 11 2019. https://doi.org/10.1002/pchj.295

Abstract: A large number of theories about the development and maintenance of paranormal beliefs have been raised in the literature. There is, however, a lack of studies designed to integrate the different perspectives. We reviewed the literature and explored a series of factors in a sample of 180 individuals. Seven variables showed significant correlation indices at α = .01. A regression analysis revealed subjective paranormal experience as the variable that contributed the most to the explanation of paranormal belief, z = .43, 95% confidence interval (CI) [.24, .56]. Need for achievement (z = .31, 95% CI [.11, to .46]), conditional reasoning (z = .10, 95% CI [.09, .28]), and schizotypy (z = .29, 95% CI [.09, .45]) also contributed significantly in the equation. The associations found between the subscales of the Needs Questionnaire and belief in the paranormal support the hipothesis that paranormal belief may serve basic psychological needs. Similarly, the association found in the case of schizotypy suggests that paranormal belief might be held within the context of psychopathology. There was no evidence, however, supporting the hypothesis of a reasoning deficit in believers. It was concluded that, once paranormal beliefs develop, there is an interaction between belief and experience that strongly contributes towards its maintenance.

Wild chimpanzees deprived a leopard of its kill: Implications for the origin of hominin confrontational scavenging

Wild chimpanzees deprived a leopard of its kill: Implications for the origin of hominin confrontational scavenging. Michio Nakamura et al. Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 131, June 2019, Pages 129-138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.03.011

Abstract: This study reports the first observed case of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) obtaining animal prey freshly killed by a sympatric leopard (Panthera pardus) and scavenging it with the leopard still nearby. This observation has important implications for the emergence of confrontational scavenging, which may have played a significant role in human evolution. Many scholars agree that eating meat became important during human evolution, and hominins first obtained meat by scavenging. However, it is debatable whether scavenging behavior was “passive” or “confrontational (power).” The latter is more dangerous, as it requires facing the original predator, and it is thus considered to have been important for the evolution of several human traits, including cooperation and language. Chimpanzees do scavenge meat, although rarely, but no previous evidence of confrontational scavenging has hitherto emerged. Thus, it was assumed that they are averse to confrontation with even leopard-sized predators. However, in the observed case the chimpanzees frequently emitted waa barks, which indicated that they were aware of the leopard's presence but they nevertheless continued to eat the scavenged meat. In addition, we compiled and reviewed 49 cases of chimpanzee encounters with animal carcasses in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania in 1980–2017. Chimpanzees scavenged meat in 36.7% of these cases, and tended to eat the meat when it was fresh or if the animal species was usually hunted by chimpanzees. However, no evidence indicated that carcasses were avoided when leopard involvement was likely. These results suggest that chimpanzee-sized hominins could potentially confront and deprive leopard-size carnivores of meat.

Infidelity and Its Associated Factors: A Systematic Review

Haseli A, Shariati M, Nazari AM, et al. Infidelity and Its Associated Factors: A Systematic Review. J Sex Med 2019, June 10 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.04.011

Background: Infidelity can be facilitated and/or inhibited as a result of interrelations among multilevel contexts. Despite the existence of numerous studies about infidelity, there is no developmental model that considers multilevel contexts of factors associated with infidelity.

Aim: To review published articles addressing factors associated with infidelity and to apply the ecological model to these factors.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and PsychoInfo. Literature search was restricted to articles published in English up to June 2018. All quantitative and full-text studies that addressed associated factors with infidelity were included. This study was conducted following PRISMA guidelines.

Main Outcome Measures: This article reports a review of the literature on the factors associated with infidelity based on the ecological model.

Results: We retrieved 5,159 titles, of which 82 were qualified after the qualitative synthesis. The Ecological Couples Systems Diagram (ECSD) is proposed as a developmental model similar to Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Model. There was an inconsistency between variables of microsystem and infidelity engagement. However, the results of some studies indicated the impact of demographic factors, personality traits, and sexual information on infidelity, considering partner characteristics. Variables belonging to a mesosystem had a more stable association with infidelity than those from other systems. In addition, the review reveals the complexity of infidelity, associated with following factors: 68.3% (n = 56) of the studies were based on microsystem variables, 48.8% (n = 40) used mesosystem variables, 19.5% (n = 16) used exosystem variables, 26.8% (n = 22) used macrosystem variables, 6.1% (n = 5) used chronosystem variables, and 50% (n = 41) included variables from 2 or more levels.

Clinical Implications: The ECSD can be used not only for assessing couple compatibility in premarital counseling, but also for consulting couples who want to have a long-term romantic relationship. As a potential clinical application, therapists can use the ECSD to assess unfaithful clients and their partners, improving the quality of counseling.

Strengths & Limitations: This study reveals different environmental layers of various variables related to infidelity. Determining the effect size of variables associated with infidelity was not possible due to the heterogeneity of infidelity assessment tools and test analysis.

Conclusion: Apparently, incompatibility of interpersonal characteristics is more likely associated with infidelity than incompatibility of intrapersonal characteristics. It is important to consider couple compatibility before starting an exclusive relationship, such as marriage, for individuals who intend to maintain a long-term exclusive romantic relationship.

To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles would take near 2 times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the world's neodymium, 3/4 the world’s lithium & at least 1/2 the world’s copper in 2018

Leading scientists set out resource challenge of meeting net zero emissions in the UK by 2050. National History Museum, Jun 5 2019. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

The metal resource needed to make all cars and vans electric by 2050 and all sales to be purely battery electric by 2035. To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles (not including the LGV and HGV fleets), assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation NMC 811 batteries, would take 207,900 tonnes cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate (LCE), at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium, in addition to 2,362,500 tonnes copper. This represents, just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production during 2018. Even ensuring the annual supply of electric vehicles only, from 2035 as pledged, will require the UK to annually import the equivalent of the entire annual cobalt needs of European industry.

The worldwide impact: If this analysis is extrapolated to the currently projected estimate of two billion cars worldwide, based on 2018 figures, annual production would have to increase for neodymium and dysprosium by 70%, copper output would need to more than double and cobalt output would need to increase at least three and a half times for the entire period from now until 2050 to satisfy the demand.

Energy cost of metal production: This choice of vehicle comes with an energy cost too.  Energy costs for cobalt production are estimated at 7000-8000 kWh for every tonne of metal produced and for copper 9000 kWh/t.  The rare-earth energy costs are at least 3350 kWh/t, so for the target of all 31.5 million cars that requires 22.5 TWh of power to produce the new metals for the UK fleet, amounting to 6% of the UK’s current annual electrical usage.  Extrapolated to 2 billion cars worldwide, the energy demand for extracting and processing the metals is almost 4 times the total annual UK electrical output

Energy cost of charging electric cars: There are serious implications for the electrical power generation in the UK needed to recharge these vehicles. Using figures published for current EVs (Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe), driving 252.5 billion miles uses at least 63 TWh of power. This will demand a 20% increase in UK generated electricity.

Challenges of using ‘green energy’ to power electric cars: If wind farms are chosen to generate the power for the projected two billion cars at UK average usage, this requires the equivalent of a further years’ worth of total global copper supply and 10 years’ worth of global neodymium and dysprosium production to build the windfarms.

Solar power is also problematic – it is also resource hungry; all the photovoltaic systems currently on the market are reliant on one or more raw materials classed as “critical” or “near critical” by the EU and/ or US Department of Energy (high purity silicon, indium, tellurium, gallium) because of their natural scarcity or their recovery as minor-by-products of other commodities. With a capacity factor of only ~10%, the UK would require ~72GW of photovoltaic input to fuel the EV fleet; over five times the current installed capacity. If CdTe-type photovoltaic power is used, that would consume over thirty years of current annual tellurium supply.

Both these wind turbine and solar generation options for the added electrical power generation capacity have substantial demands for steel, aluminium, cement and glass.

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility and possible solutions, like opening things up: Consensual non-monogamy works for many people by allowing them to maintain wonderful, close relationships

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility. Posted by Stylist Team for People. Stylist, Jun 10 2019. https://www.stylist.co.uk/people/sexual-incompatibility-relationship-taboo-advice/271732


But often, incompatibility comes down to a contrast in sexual tastes and appetites – most notably, a mismatch in libidos. Data from Natsal, the British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (one of the broadest and most detailed scientific studies of its kind worldwide) indicates one in four UK couples are imbalanced in their desire for sex.

“It’s common, but it can be devastatingly destructive,” observes psychosexual therapist Aoife Drury. “If the higher-libido individual pushes for sex, the partner with the lower drive can feel anxious or angry, thus losing desire further. The higher-libido individual may then stop initiating sex for fear of rejection or being seen to nag. Intimacy grinds to a halt, creating feelings of resentment or disconnect.”

A survey by dating site eHarmony found that 20% of Brits feel they’re somehow sexually incompatible with their partners. Problems cited include one person being more focused on the physical rather than emotional side of sex and differences in degrees of erotic adventurousness or allure towards a fetish. Yet there are two commonalities running through virtually all incidences.

“Firstly, people expect sex to be unrealistically harmonised in a way nothing else in relationships, or life, is,” says Kate Moyle, resident therapist on BBC Three’s new counselling series Sex On The Couch. “And secondly, perhaps because Brits find sex excruciating to talk about, they may write issues off as inherent, unfixable incompatibility and move on, rather than attempt to address them in any real, practical manner.”

Graham believes this second factor is key. “Natsal’s report showed the strongest predictor of sexual problems, short and long-term, to be a lack of effective communication,” she adds. Learning to communicate and collaborate is the best thing anyone can do for their love life.

But what does that actually look like? If you and your lover decide that trying to increase your sexual rapport is worth a shot, the following advice – while not comprehensive – is better than taking a clueless shot in the dark. Consider it a jumping-off point. It might give you hope that you don’t need to jump ship. Start by viewing sex as something most people work on, rather than something that should just work. “If we see incompatibility as inevitable, we can remove some of the shame and start to think creatively and constructively about it,” suggests Meg-John Barker, co-author of Enjoy Sex: How, When And If You Want To.

Acknowledge the awkward

Therapeutic exercises can feel excruciatingly contrived when you first attempt them. Many have a tree-huggy vibe that makes you cringe. “Recognising how silly and vulnerable you feel out loud helps break the tension, and laughing about it together is bonding,” says psychosexual therapist Sarah Berry. Studiously pretending that embarrassment doesn’t exist is a form of performance, when your real goal should be to share authentic, honest experiences.

Darrell, 31, was suffering from erectile dysfunction (along with 11.7 million other men in the UK, according to online medical service Zava), in his case caused by anxiety, so he and his partner Sheena, also 31, tried rebooting their strained sex life using the ‘sensate focus’ method.

“You start by touching each other while still fully clothed, avoiding erogenous zones, then gradually build up intensity over a series of weeks, to help you tune into sensations and emotions,” he explains. “We both felt like dicks, but by week four, my dick worked. Removing expectations I had to get it up helped, but so too did giggling at the ridiculousness. For months our bedroom had been the site of tearful rows.”

Make peace with the situation

Certain couples do find that they never erotically align, so some decide to draw a line under their relationship. “I grafted at sex for eight years with a man I loved but whose natural drive was far lower and plainer than mine,” says Kathryn, 32. “We both tried so hard, but I hit a stage where whatever I was learning by trying to meet him in the middle was outweighed by what I lost by leaving my satisfaction on the sidelines.”

Yet even if sexual incompatibility remains, ‘sadly stay’ or ‘go, gutted’ are not the only options. “I challenge that binary,” says Barker. “You might consider opening things up. Consensual non-monogamy works for many people by allowing them to maintain wonderful, close relationships while having their sexual needs met elsewhere.

But there are also many folks who simply decide sex isn’t important to them after all, especially over time. I undertook a study into ‘enduring love’ with Jacqui Gabb, professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University, which found that many, if not most, long-term couples had sincerely happy relationships that didn’t feature much sex together.”

For some ‘incompatible’ pairings, concluding that sex isn’t the be-all and end-all is the key to a happy ending. But for others, taking sex seriously enough to wholeheartedly commit to discovering and nurturing the parts where their individual Venn diagrams of sexuality overlap – that’s what prevents it being over.