Saturday, July 20, 2019

Women’s subtle, safe, & often solitary, competitive tactics: Maintaining a few long-term alliances and gaining advantages when competitors are not present; when present, low-cost forms of competition

Contest versus Scramble Competition: Sex Differences in the Quest for Status. Joyce F Benenson, Helen Abadzi. Current Opinion in Psychology, July 15 2019.

Abstract: Both sexes benefit from attaining higher status than same-sex peers, but each sex employs distinctive competitive tactics. Men engage in conspicuous public contests for status and directly interfere with others’ success. Despite frequent and intense contests which occasionally turn lethal, men typically employ ritualized tactics and accept status differentials within a group. More recently, research has examined women’s subtle, safe, and often solitary, competitive tactics. Women’s main competitive tactics consist of maintaining a few long-term alliances and gaining advantages when competitors are not present. When competitors are present, women utilize leveling, social exclusion, and low-cost forms of contest competition to best other women.

From 2017: Rhythmic variations of mood

From 2017: Rhythmic variations of mood. Augustin Mutak. Gyrus, Accepted November 29, 2017.

Abstract: In this article, an overview of studies on circadian (daily), circaseptan (weekly) and circannual (yearly) variations of positive affect, negative affect and total mood is given. Studies on circadian mood rhythms, which were mostly focused on fluctuations of positive and negative affect, indicate that positive affect displays circadian variations, while negative affect does not. Such findings are linked to predictive and reactive homeostasis, respectively. The function of positive affect could be to energize the organism to be more active during the middle of the day, while the function of negative affect could be to respond to immediate threats which can appear during any time of the day. Research on circaseptan mood rhythms often also explored total mood in addition to positive and negative affect. Current findings show that mood is higher during the weekend than during the working week. It is possible that such variations are culturally determined, however, more research is needed to reach stable conclusions. Studies on circannual mood rhythms were mostly focused on seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD rates are highest in the winter, although a smaller number of patients report depressive symptoms during the summer months. Predictive homeostasis is also thought to be the underlying evolved mechanism responsible for SAD since SAD makes the organism less active, thus reducing the quantity of food the organism needs to consume in the winter months when the sources of food are scarce. An overview of differences between yearly fluctuations of SAD rates and suicide rates is given.

KEYWORDS: affect, circadian clocks, circaseptan, periodicity, seasonal mood disorder


In psychological science, mood is a construct which is, along with emotions, encompassed within a broader term called affect. Although all intrapsychical processes are interlaced, affects are distinct from cognitive (e.g. thinking, perception) and conative (e.g. personality traits) constructs because they possess a subjective component. In other words, affects are composed of characteristic “feelings” that can be experienced only from the first-person perspective and are difficult to verbalize or explain to other persons. This subjective quality is mutually shared between emotions and mood.

Mood and emotions

Mood is, however, distinct from emotions in several important characteristics. Firstly, emotions are more intensive than mood. Both measures of subjective feelings and measures of physiological reactions clearly show that emotions elicit stronger psychological and physiological reactions than mood. Secondly, emotions are triggered by significant life events, while the determinants of mood are more dispersed and are less likely to be known by the person experiencing the affective state. For example, a person may become frightened because of the imminent danger which poses a threat to his/her well-being, sad because of a loss of a loved one, angry because another person usurped his rightful interests. On the other hand, a person may be in a bad mood throughout the day without clear reasons for such mood and the reasons may even be unknown to the person experiencing the described mood. Thirdly, emotions are of shorter duration than mood. While emotions are usually quick to appear and fade, the duration of mood is significantly longer. Modern research shows that, unlike emotions, mood actually never ceases to be present and can be felt in any moment from the first-person perspective.1

Research has shown that mood consists of two separate dimensions: positive and negative affect. Positive affect is characterized by pleasant, happy, joyful and energized mood, while negative affect is characterized by unpleasant feelings of subtle anger, fear, sadness and anxiety. The finding that these two dimensions are separate was unusual to many laypeople and scientists alike because the conventional viewpoint held that the positive and negative affect are two poles of the same continuum.2 At first, researchers insisted that the positive and negative affect are two completely separate, orthogonal dimensions. However, newer studies have shown that, while these two dimensions indeed are separate, they are not completely distinct, but are instead in a low-to-moderate negative correlation. Thus, these two dimensions are sometimes referred to as quasiorthogonal.3 Some self-report instruments for measurement of mood have separate measures for positive and negative affect and the measure of “total affect” is mathematically calculated as the difference between positive and negative affect.2 Apart from self-report inventories, behavioral indicators can also be used as a measure of a person’s current mood. For example, laughter and sobbing are reliable indicators of positive and negative affect, respectively. However, studies that have used behavioral indicators as a measure of mood are rare, because the data collection process is difficult and time-consuming. Recently, there have been developments in implicit measurements of mood (e.g. a person is asked to rate the emotional valence of non-existent words). While the results of the first validation studies were promising, more studies are needed to fully validate this type of measure, which is why implicit mood measures have not yet been used in other studies besides the validation studies.4

Types of rhythmic variations of mood

[Full text at the link above]

A preadvertised sequel makes the original movie seem more interesting and produces higher levels of satisfaction and word of mouth

Tomorrow never dies: preadvertised sequels boost movie satisfaction and WOM. Helge Thorbjørnsen, Micael Dahlén & Fredrik Lange. International Journal of Advertising, Jul 15 2019.

Abstract: The movie industry benefits financially from creating sequels with links to previous movies. Sequels build on the success of the original movie and generally attain high box office revenues and generate positive word-of-mouth. In the current study, however, the converse effect is investigated; namely how preadvertising a sequel may lead to bigger success for the current (original) movie. Three studies demonstrate that a preadvertised sequel makes the original movie seem more interesting and produces higher levels of satisfaction and word of mouth. Results suggest that entertainment brands likely benefit from preannouncing sequels and follow-up concepts already at the time of launch of the original movie.

Keywords: Movie sequels, preannouncements, word of mouth, satisfaction

Why deflecting direct questions? It causes significantly less reputational harm than detected deception & causes significantly less interpersonal harm than directly declining to answer a question

Bitterly, T. B., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2019). The economic and interpersonal consequences of deflecting direct questions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,

Abstract: Direct, difficult questions (e.g., Do you have other offers? When do you plan on having children?) pose a challenge. Respondents may incur economic costs for honestly revealing information, reputational costs for engaging in deception, and interpersonal costs, including harm to perceptions of trust and liking, for directly declining to answer the question (e.g., I would rather not answer that question.). Across 8 experiments, we explore the relative economic and interpersonal consequences of a fourth approach: deflection, answering a direct question with another question. We describe how individuals infer the respondent’s communication motive from their response (e.g., a motive to seek or hide information), and how these inferences influence perceptions of the respondent’s trust and likability. We contrast deflection with other types of responses and show that deflection causes significantly less reputational harm than detected deception and causes significantly less interpersonal harm than directly declining to answer a question. In some cases, deflection even yields better interpersonal and economic outcomes than honest disclosures (e.g., deflecting questions about prior acts of untrustworthy behavior).