Friday, July 19, 2019

Irrelevant non-mathematical knowledge interferes with the identification of basic solutions to arithmetic word problems, even among experts who have mastered abstract, context-independent reasoning

When masters of abstraction run into a concrete wall: Experts failing arithmetic word problems. Hippolyte Gros, Emmanuel Sander, Jean-Pierre Thibaut. June 28 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758%2Fs13423-019-01628-3

Abstract: Can our knowledge about apples, cars, or smurfs hinder our ability to solve mathematical problems involving these entities? We argue that such daily-life knowledge interferes with arithmetic word problem solving, to the extent that experts can be led to failure in problems involving trivial mathematical notions. We created problems evoking different aspects of our non-mathematical, general knowledge. They were solvable by one single subtraction involving small quantities, such as 14 – 2 = 12. A first experiment studied how university-educated adults dealt with seemingly simple arithmetic problems evoking knowledge that was either congruent or incongruent with the problems’ solving procedure. Results showed that in the latter case, the proportion of participants incorrectly deeming the problems “unsolvable” increased significantly, as did response times for correct answers. A second experiment showed that expert mathematicians were also subject to this bias. These results demonstrate that irrelevant non-mathematical knowledge interferes with the identification of basic, single-step solutions to arithmetic word problems, even among experts who have supposedly mastered abstract, context-independent reasoning.

Keywords: Encoding effects Mathematical cognition Mental models Semantics

The relationship between disgust levels and sexual behaviors as moderated by self-perceived pathogen exposure

The relationship between disgust levels and sexual behaviors as moderated by self-perceived pathogen exposure. Jessica K. Hlay, Graham Albert, Zeynep Senveli, Steven Arnocky, Carolyn R. HodgesSimeon. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Many studies have tested if environmental pathogen load affects mating behavior. Here we investigate if: (1) self-perceived pathogen load predicts pathogen and sexual disgust; (2) disgust variables predict respondents’ sociosexual attitude and desire; and (3) sociosexual attitude and desire predict behavior. We analyzed responses from 322 participants (160 women and 162 men) recruited through Amazon’s online platform, MTurk. Respondents reported information on environmental pathogen load, sexual and pathogen disgust, general health, and sociosexual desire, behavior, and attitude. We conducted a structural equation model and interpreted the regressions and correlations between latent variables, as well as between latent and observed variables. Self-reported pathogen load, along with general health, significantly predicted levels of sexual disgust, but not pathogen disgust. Those with a significantly higher level of sexual disgust had more conservative sociosexual attitudes and lower levels of sociosexual desire. Individuals’ sociosexual attitude and their levels of sexual disgust, but not sociosexual desire, positively predicted sexual behavior. These results support a growing body of literature on the behavioral immune system, as individuals who perceive themselves to be more exposed to pathogens experience higher rates of sexual disgust and alter their sociosexual behavior, perhaps as a means to prevent infection.

Vocal signals linked to emotions (e.g., laughter, screams) are in part conserved among phylogenetically related species, which may yield cross-species recognition of affective information

Is there phylogenetic continuity in emotional vocalizations? Roza Kamilo─člu, Katie E. Slocombe, Frank Eisner, Daniel B. M. Haun, Disa A. Sauter. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Vocal signals linked to emotions (e.g., laughter, screams) are in part conserved among phylogenetically related species. Such shared evolutionary roots of emotional vocalizations may yield cross-species recognition of affective information from vocalizations. We draw on two main approaches to phylogenetic continuity in emotional expressions, and test whether human listeners can identify 1) the context in which chimpanzee vocalizations were produced, and 2) core affect dimensions (arousal and valence) from chimpanzee vocalizations. In a laboratory experiment, participants (N = 310) listened to 155 chimpanzee vocalizations produced in 10 different behavioral contexts. Listeners judged the context in which they thought each vocalization was produced and indicated the extent to which they thought the individual who produced the vocalization was feeling negative/positive and aroused. The results show that listeners were able to accurately recognize the levels of arousal (high, medium, low) and valence (positive, negative) from the vocalizations, but not the production context. Judgments of arousal level and valence of vocalizations produced in negative contexts were more accurate compared to vocalizations of positive contexts. The greater crossspecies continuity in information transfer might be linked to evolutionary mechanisms that cross-species emotion recognition is more successful for negative contexts bearing high survival costs.

Links: https://osf.io/mkde8/?view_only=55c61b406eb44714bc723643ae7c94c0


Experimental evidence for sex differences in sexual novelty preferences

Experimental evidence for sex differences in sexual novelty preferences. Susan M. Hughes, Marissa A. Harrison, Toe Aung, Gordon G. Gallup, Jr. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: We examined sex differences in preferences for sexual novelty to explore whether the Coolidge Effect plays a role in human sexuality. In an experimental task, participants were asked to play a hypothetical dating game and select between novel and familiar faces as short-term dating partners. Participants were presented with two facial images on a screen and were asked to select the person they would prefer to date short term. The presentation software was response-adaptive, and depending upon participant choice, the next pairing included a presentation of their previously selected photo with a novel photo. We found that men were more likely than women to select a novel person to date. Further, when participants selected a repeated picture over a novel picture, men took longer to make this decision than women. It seems women exhibited greater cognitive ease than men when selecting a familiar individual to date, whereas men needed more time to deliberate between selecting a familiar mate over a novel mate. These findings lend support to the idea that sex differences in preferences for sexual novelty are a salient sex-specific evolved component of the repertoire of human mating strategies.

Men perceive sexual images quite differently than women; some of this difference may be due to sex differences in to disgust, in particular, disgust related to pathogen avoidance

Predictors of perceptions of sexual images. Jessica Hehman, Catherine Salmon. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. http://tiny.cc/aa1w6y

Abstract: Much of the debate over pornography has focused on whether it is inherently degrading toward women. Previous work has examined this question through content analysis of heterosexual and homosexual pornography, demonstrating no significant differences between these two genres (other than the sex of the participants). However, the question remains that some individuals perceive pornographic images differently than others and some evidence suggests that men perceive such images quite differently than women. Some of this difference may be due to sex differences in to disgust, in particular, disgust related to pathogen avoidance. There is a large literature that focuses on how pathogen avoidance has shaped human behavior from political ideology to in-group/outgroup behavior to sexual risk taking/avoidance. This study examined sex differences in perceptions and how they are influenced by the emotional context of the image as well as participant variables including disgust sensitivity, mate value, and sexual behaviors and attitudes. Males tend to have more positive perceptions of female sexual images whereas females tend to have more positive perceptions of male sexual images. The exception being when there is a negative emotional context in the male sexual images. Further analyses predicting perceptions and their implications will be discussed.

These findings suggest that both nucleus accumbens activation and self-reported pleasure may be heritable and that their phenotypic correlation may be partially explained by shared genetic variation

Inheritance of Neural Substrates for Motivation and Pleasure. Zhi Li et al. Psychological Science, July 18, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619859340

Abstract: Despite advances in the understanding of the reward system and the role of dopamine in recent decades, the heritability of the underlying neural mechanisms is not known. In the present study, we examined the hemodynamic activation of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a key hub of the reward system, in 86 healthy monozygotic twins and 88 healthy dizygotic twins during a monetary-incentive-delay task. The participants also completed self-report measures of pleasure. Using voxelwise heritability mapping, we found that activation of the bilateral NAcc during the anticipation of monetary gains had significant heritability (h2 = .20–.49). Moreover, significant shared genetic covariance was observed between pleasure and NAcc activation during the anticipation of monetary gain. These findings suggest that both NAcc activation and self-reported pleasure may be heritable and that their phenotypic correlation may be partially explained by shared genetic variation.

Keywords: reward system, nucleus accumbens, heritability, motivation, pleasure