Thursday, July 11, 2019

For women, having a child/children, higher scores on neuroticism, substance abuse predicted relationship formation; for men, age & openness were predictors

Demographics, Personality and Substance-Use Characteristics Associated with Forming Romantic Relationships. Eilin K Erevik et al. Evolutionary Psychological Science, July 11 2019.

Abstract: The current study aimed to identify demographic, personality and substance-use characteristics associated with forming romantic relationships. Data were collected by two online surveys among students in Bergen, Norway, during the autumn of 2015 (T1) and by a follow-up survey that was conducted 12 months later (T2). The current sample consists of the 2404 participants who reported being single at T1 (mean age 23.2) and who participated in both waves of the survey. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted. Separate analyses were conducted for both sexes and for the entire sample of participants. High extroversion scores predicted relationship formation. For women, having a child/children, higher scores on neuroticism, alcohol use and illegal substance use positively predicted relationship formation, while for men, age and openness were positive predictors. The study contributes with several novel findings. In general, characteristics related to a need for support predicted romantic relationship formation among women, while characteristics associated with increased resource acquisition potential predicted relationship formation among men. The general pattern of findings is in line with established evolutionary theories such as the sexual strategies theory and the parental investment theory.

Keywords: Romantic relationships Students Personality Substance use Parental status Sex

Romantic relationships are typically considered as relatively long-term, mainly monogamous commitments between two individuals. Romantic relationships play a pivotal role in human societies and seem to be preferred over short-term mating (Lovejoy 1981; Waal 2006). Individuals in romantic relationships tend to be healthier and live longer than single individuals suggesting that pair-bonding may involve survival advantages (Averett et al. 2008; Kiecolt-Glaser and Newton 2001). Several evolutionary explanations have been suggested as to why humans commonly arrange intersex mating through monogamous romantic relationships. For one, monogamy may have reduced infanticide, as being close to the mother and offspring would enable the biological father to protect the offspring from infanticidal males (Opie et al. 2013). Monogamy may also have increased the offspring’s likelihood of survival in general, as having two caretakers would imply more resources and protection compared to having only one caretaker (Opie et al. 2013). Furthermore, monogamy may have been adaptive through reducing same-sex competition, hence fostering same-sex cooperation and increasing the likelihood of group survival (Desmond 1967; Waal and Gavrilets 2013). Finally, some evolutionary scholars have argued that monogamy may have evolved because food shortage forced women to live quite isolated from their group of origin (Lukas and Clutton-Brock 2013; Waal and Gavrilets 2013). This isolation of women would make a long-term mating strategy adaptive for men, as short-term and/or polygamic mating strategies would involve too much migration (Lukas and Clutton-Brock 2013). Evolutionary research on romantic relationships has traditionally centred on opposite-sex couples, but same-sex romantic relationships are suggested to entail survival and reproductive advantages as well (Kirkpatrick et al. 2000).

There are individual differences in the ability/tendency to engage in romantic relationships. Moreover, an increasing percentage of single and childless individuals in many Western and Asian societies have raised concern about the sustainability of social welfare systems (Adamczyk 2017; Nargund 2009). Knowledge of characteristics predicting relationship formation may be conducive if one wishes to understand the mechanisms promoting relationship formation and pregnancies. From an evolutionary perspective, one can expect factors such as demographics, personality and substance use to predict who forms romantic relationships (Buss 2007, 2009; Petraitis et al. 2014). Individual characteristics may affect the likelihood of forming a romantic relationship in three main ways. Firstly, individual characteristics relate to mate value, where potential mates perceive some characteristics (e.g. physical attractiveness) as compelling traits (Buss 2007). Secondly, individual characteristics may affect the individual’s motivation for different mating strategies (i.e. short-term versus long-term mating strategies) (Buss 2007). For instance, paternal absence during childhood has been found to predict short-term mating strategies (Draper and Harpending 1982). Finally, some individual characteristics, like humour, may make the individual better equipped to chase off same-sex competitors and consequently make the person more successful at securing a long-term mate (Buss 1989). Existing research has primarily investigated the mate value of different individual characteristics, while the associations between individual characteristics and actual relationship outcomes have received less attention.

Trigger warnings are not helpful for trauma survivors; it is less clear whether trigger warnings are explicitly harmful

Jones, Payton J., Benjamin W. Bellet, and Richard J. McNally. 2019. “Helping or Harming? The Effect of Trigger Warnings on Individuals with Trauma Histories.” OSF Preprints. July 10. doi:10.31219/

Objective: Trigger warnings alert trauma survivors about potentially disturbing forthcoming content. However, most empirical studies on trigger warnings indicate that they are either functionally inert or cause small adverse side effects. These evaluations have been limited to either trauma-naïve participants or mixed samples. Accordingly, we tested whether trigger warnings would be psychologically beneficial in the most relevant population: survivors of serious trauma.
Method: Our experiment was a preregistered replication and extension of a previous one (Bellet, Jones, & McNally, 2018); 451 trauma survivors were randomly assigned to either receive or not receive trigger warnings prior to reading potentially distressing passages from world literature. They provided their emotional reactions to each passage; self-reported anxiety was the primary dependent variable. 
Results: We found no evidence that trigger warnings were helpful for trauma survivors, for those who self-reported a PTSD diagnosis, or for those who qualified for probable PTSD, even when survivors' trauma matched the passages’ content. We found substantial evidence that trigger warnings countertherapeutically reinforce survivors' view of their trauma as central to their identity. Regarding replication hypotheses, the evidence was either ambiguous or substantially favored the hypothesis that trigger warnings have no effect.
Conclusions: Trigger warnings are not helpful for trauma survivors. It is less clear whether trigger warnings are explicitly harmful. However, such knowledge is unnecessary to adjudicate whether to use trigger warnings – because trigger warnings are consistently unhelpful, there is no evidence-based reason to use them.

Chemophobia: Most laypeople are unaware of the similarities between natural & synthetic chemicals in terms of certain toxicological principles; view of “chemical substances” are mostly negative

“Chemophobia” Today: Consumers’ Knowledge and Perceptions of Chemicals. Rita Saleh, Angela Bearth, Michael Siegrist. Risk Analysis, July 9 2019.

Abstract: This mixed‐methods study investigated consumers’ knowledge of chemicals in terms of basic principles of toxicology and then related this knowledge, in addition to other factors, to their fear of chemical substances (i.e., chemophobia). Both qualitative interviews and a large‐scale online survey were conducted in the German‐speaking part of Switzerland. A Mokken scale was developed to measure laypeople's toxicological knowledge. The results indicate that most laypeople are unaware of the similarities between natural and synthetic chemicals in terms of certain toxicological principles. Furthermore, their associations with the term “chemical substances” and the self‐reported affect prompted by these associations are mostly negative. The results also suggest that knowledge of basic principles of toxicology, self‐reported affect evoked by the term “chemical substances,” risk‐benefit perceptions concerning synthetic chemicals, and trust in regulation processes are all negatively associated with chemophobia, while general health concerns are positively related to chemophobia. Thus, to enhance informed consumer decision-making, it might be necessary to tackle the stigmatization of the term “chemical substances” as well as address and clarify prevalent misconceptions.

Those who reported engaging in extramarital sex at baseline were significantly more likely to be separated or divorced 2 years later; extramarital sex with a close personal friend made things much worse

Extramarital Sex and Marital Dissolution: Does Identity of the Extramarital Partner Matter? Lindsay T. Labrecque, Mark A. Whisman. Family Process, July 9 2019.

Abstract: Panel data from married adults (N = 1,853) in the General Social Survey, a probability sample of the adult household population of the United States, were used to evaluate (a) the longitudinal association between extramarital sex and marital dissolution 2 years later, (b) whether probability of marital dissolution differed as a function of the type of relationship people reported having with their extramarital sex partner, and (c) the degree to which these associations were incremental to participants’ level of marital satisfaction at baseline. Compared to people who reported not engaging in extramarital sex, those who reported engaging in extramarital sex at baseline were significantly more likely to be separated or divorced 2 years later. Furthermore, the association between having extramarital sex with a close personal friend and marital dissolution was particularly strong. These associations remained statistically significant after adjusting for marital satisfaction. Results suggest that the identity of the extramarital sex partner and the type of relationship a person has with him or her has important implications for probability of marital dissolution above and beyond the contribution of marital satisfaction.

Beliefs about the manifestation of personality traits in facial features: Those with stronger beliefs are more confident in their inferences & rely more on them when making decisions

Jaeger, Bastian, Anthony M. Evans, Marielle Stel, and Ilja van Beest. 2019. “Who Judges a Book by Its Cover? The Prevalence, Structure, and Correlates of Physiognomic Beliefs.” PsyArXiv. July 10. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The question of whether personality can be inferred from faces is contentiously debated. We propose that, irrespective of the actual accuracy of trait inferences from faces, lay beliefs about the manifestation of personality traits in facial features (i.e., physiognomic beliefs) have important consequences for social cognition and behavior. In five studies (N = 3,861), we examine the prevalence, structure, and correlates of physiognomic beliefs. We find that belief in physiognomy is common among students (Study 1) and in a large, representative sample of the Dutch population (Study 2). Physiognomic beliefs are relatively stable over time and associated with an intuitive thinking style (Study 3). However, the strength of physiognomic beliefs varies across different personality dimensions: sociability is believed to be more reflected in facial appearance than morality or competence (Studies 1-5). Crucially, individual differences in belief strength predict how people form and use first impressions. People with stronger physiognomic beliefs are more confident in their trait inferences (Study 4) and rely more on them when making decisions (Study 5). Yet, this increased confidence is not explained by superior accuracy of personality inferences, and the endorsement of physiognomic beliefs is associated with overconfidence (Study 4). Overall, there is widespread belief in physiognomy among laypeople, and individual differences in belief strength relate to various social-cognitive processes and behaviors.

Attractiveness is positively related to World Cup performance in male, but not female, biathletes

Attractiveness is positively related to World Cup performance in male, but not female, biathletes. Tim W Fawcett Jack Ewans Alice Lawrence Andrew N Radford. Behavioral Ecology, arz097, July 10 2019.

Abstract: Whole-organism performance capacity is thought to play a key role in sexual selection, through its impacts on both intrasexual competition and intersexual mate choice. Based on data from elite sports, several studies have reported a positive association between facial attractiveness and athletic performance in humans, leading to claims that facial correlates of sporting prowess in men reveal heritable or nonheritable mate quality. However, for most of the sports studied (soccer, ice hockey, American football, and cycling), it is not possible to separate individual performance from team performance. Here, using photographs of athletes who compete annually in a multi-event World Cup, we examine the relationship between facial attractiveness and individual career-best performance metrics in the biathlon, a multidisciplinary sport that combines target shooting and cross-country skiing. Unlike all previous studies, which considered only male athletes, we report relationships for both sportsmen and sportswomen. As predicted by evolutionary arguments, we found that male biathletes were judged more attractive if (unknown to the raters) they had achieved a higher peak performance (World Cup points score) in their career, whereas there was no significant relationship for female biathletes. Our findings show that elite male athletes display visible, attractive cues that reliably reflect their athletic performance.

Europe: Even minor forms of criminal justice contact may affect health; police-initiated contact was associated with worse health & wellbeing; stronger effect when police treatment was unsatisfactory

The thin blue line of health: Police contact and wellbeing in Europe. Valerio Baćak, Robert Apel. Social Science & Medicine, July 9 2019, 112404.

•    Even minor forms of criminal justice contact may affect health.
•    Police-initiated contact was associated with worse health and wellbeing.
•    Adverse associations were pronounced when police treatment was unsatisfactory.

Abstract: Increasing evidence suggests that even minor forms of contact with the criminal justice system—such as being stopped by police—may be implicated in poor health. Police use of force can increase the risk of physical injury, whereas interactions accompanied by abusive rhetoric or threats can lead to psychological and emotional harm. Police contact may also have no health consequences for individuals or even be linked to good health because of an increased sense of public safety and confidence in law enforcement. This is the first study that explores whether contact with law enforcement is related to health and wellbeing in Europe. We estimated multilevel models with data from 26 countries that participated in the 2010 round of the European Social Survey. Across all outcomes—self-rated health, functional limitations, happiness, loneliness, and emotional wellbeing—having been approached, stopped or contacted by police was associated with worse health and wellbeing, especially when police treatment was perceived as unsatisfactory.

Absolute pitch: Myths, evidence and relevance to music education and performance

Absolute pitch: Myths, evidence and relevance to music education and performance. Jill Carden, Tony Cline. Psychology of Music, July 9, 2019.

Abstract: The assumed extreme rarity of absolute pitch (AP), sometimes known as “perfect pitch”, is not supported by empirical evidence. Instead, studies indicate a prevalence of at least 4% for music students, making AP of potential importance to everyday music education. Considerable scientific curiosity about AP exists, though rarely have research findings been practically applied to music education. This review looks at the evidence of the origins of AP and of the distinct neurological, language and cognitive features of possessors, and considers the relevance of these to music students. The absence of systematically gathered data from those with AP about their experiences is discussed, and implications for the educational needs of this group considered.

Keywords: Absolute pitch, music, education

Life Events and Prosocial Behaviors Among Young Adults: Considering the Roles of Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern

Life Events and Prosocial Behaviors Among Young Adults: Considering the Roles of Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern. Alexandra N. Davis, Ashley Martin-Cuellar & Haley Luce. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, Jul 8 2019.

Abstract: The authors examined the altruism born of suffering model in a culturally diverse sample of young adults. They hypothesized that major life events would interact with perspective taking to predict empathic concern, which would predict multiple types of prosocial behaviors among young adults. The sample included 202 young adults (M age = 20.94 years; 76.5% girls; 36.5% White, 50.5% Latino) who reported on their exposure to major life events, perspective taking and empathic responding, and tendency to engage in six forms of prosocial behaviors. Life events indirectly, positively predicted prosocial behaviors via empathic concern. Empathic concern and perspective taking also interacted to predict empathic responding. The results demonstrated links that support the altruism born of suffering model, suggesting that life stressors might not always be negative and might promote resilience and social connection among young adults under specific conditions.

Keywords: Life events, perspective taking, empathic concern, prosocial behaviors