Monday, August 19, 2019

Are Attitudes Contagious? Exposure to Biased Nonverbal Signals Can Create Novel Social Attitudes

Are Attitudes Contagious? Exposure to Biased Nonverbal Signals Can Create Novel Social Attitudes. Allison L. Skinner, Sylvia Perry. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, August 19, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167219862616

Abstract: Prior work has established that nonverbal signals that capitalize on existing cultural biases can shift attitudes toward members of familiar social groups (e.g., racial minority group members). This research is the first to examine whether nonverbal signals can influence adults’ attitudes toward unfamiliar individuals outside the context of existing cultural biases. In a series of studies, we examined whether seeing one individual receive more cold, unfriendly nonverbal signals than another individual would lead to biases in favor of the target of more positive nonverbal signals. Consistent with our preregistered hypotheses, exposure to nonverbal bias in favor of one individual over another led participants to develop nonverbal signal-consistent explicit biases. Moreover, a combined analysis of the data from all four samples indicated that participants also formed nonverbal signal-consistent implicit biases. Taken together, these findings suggest that nonverbal signals have the potential to create and spread attitudes toward others.

Keywords: nonverbal signals, attitude formation, explicit bias, implicit bias

Watching Television in a Home Environment: Effect on Children’s Attention, Comprehension and Behavior

Rose, Sarah E., Dr, Alexandra Lamont, and Nicholas Reyland. 2019. “Watching Television in a Home Environment: Effect on Children’s Attention, Comprehension and Behavior.” PsyArXiv. August 19. doi:10.31234/osf.io/8yma9

Abstract: Correlational studies have suggested some harmful effects of television (TV) viewing in early childhood, especially for the viewing of fast-paced entertainment programs. However, this has not been consistently supported by experimental studies, many of which have lacked ecological validity.  The current study explores the effects of pace of program on the attention, problem solving and comprehension of 41 3- and 4-year-olds using an ecologically valid experimental design.  Children were visited twice at home; on each visit they were shown an episode of a popular animated entertainment program which differed in pace: one faster paced, one slower paced. Children’s behavior was coded for attention and arousal during viewing, attention, effort and performance after viewing during a problem-solving task, and comprehension of the program. The faster paced program was attended to more, but this had no impact on comprehension. Although 3-year-olds showed more attention and effort on the problem-solving task after watching the slower program, both 3- and 4-year-olds completed more problems successfully after watching the faster program.  The results provide evidence to counter the ‘harm’ perceived in young children watching fast-paced entertainment programs as where differences were found it was the fast-paced program which appeared to have a cognitive facilitation effect.

Preparing for the Worst: Evidence that Older Adults Proactively Downregulate Negative Affect

Preparing for the Worst: Evidence that Older Adults Proactively Downregulate Negative Affect. Brittany Corbett, M Natasha Rajah, Audrey Duarte. Cerebral Cortex, bhz166, August 19 2019, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz166

Abstract: Previous studies have only investigated age-related differences in emotional processing and encoding in response to, not in anticipation of, emotional stimuli. In the current study, we investigated age-related differences in the impact of emotional anticipation on affective responses and episodic memory for emotional images. Young and older adults were scanned while encoding negative and neutral images preceded by cues that were either valid or invalid predictors of image valence. Participants were asked to rate the emotional intensity of the images and to complete a recognition task. Using multivariate behavioral partial least squares (PLS) analysis, we found that greater anticipatory recruitment of the amygdala, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and hippocampus in older adults predicted reduced memory for negative than neutral images and the opposite for young adults. Seed PLS analysis further showed that following negative cues older adults, but not young adults, exhibited greater activation of vmPFC, reduced activation of amygdala, and worse memory for negative compared with neutral images. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence that the “positivity effect” seen in older adults’ memory performance may be related to the spontaneous emotional suppression of negative affect in anticipation of, not just in response to, negative stimuli.

Keywords: aging, fMRI, memory, spontaneous emotional regulation, uncertainty


Untangling Intelligence, Psychopathy, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Conduct Problems

Untangling Intelligence, Psychopathy, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Conduct Problems: A Meta‐analytic Review. Olga S├ínchez de Ribera, Nicholas Kavish, Ian M. Katz, Brian B. Boutwell. European Journal of Personality, August 18 2019. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2207

Abstract: Substantial research has investigated the association between intelligence and psychopathic traits. The findings to date have been inconsistent and have not always considered the multidimensional nature of psychopathic traits. Moreover, there has been a tendency to confuse psychopathy with other closely related, clinically significant disorders. The current study represents a meta‐analysis conducted to evaluate the direction and magnitude of the association of intelligence with global psychopathy, as well as its factors and facets, and related disorders (i.e. antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder). Our analyses revealed a small, significant, negative relationship between intelligence and total psychopathy (r = −.07, p = .001). Analysis of factors and facets found differential associations, including both significant positive (e.g. interpersonal facet) and negative (e.g. affective facet) associations, further affirming that psychopathy is a multidimensional construct. Additionally, intelligence was negatively associated with antisocial personality disorder (r = −.13, p = .001) and conduct disorder (r = −.11, p = .001) but positively with oppositional defiant disorder (r = .06, p = .001). There was significant heterogeneity across studies for most effects, but the results of moderator analyses were inconsistent. Finally, bias analyses did not find significant evidence for publication bias or outsized effects of outliers

When an intervention to raise intelligence ends, effects fade away; recursive processes between IQ & the environment are not as strong as once thought; intelligence adapts to environmental demands, both upwards & downwards

The environment in raising early intelligence: A meta-analysis of the fadeout effect. John Protzko. Intelligence, Volume 53, November–December 2015, Pages 202-210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2015.10.006

Highlights
•    We meta-analyze 39 RCTs that raised children's IQ and followed them after the study ended.
•    We confirm that after an intervention that raises intelligence ends, the effects fade away.
•    The fadeout effect occurs because those in the experimental group lose their IQ advantage.
•    This suggests that recursive processes between IQ and the environment are not as strong as once thought.
•    We propose that intelligence adapts to environmental demands, both upwards and downwards.

Abstract: Many theories about the role of the environment in raising IQ have been put forward. There has not been an equal effort, however, in experimentally testing these theories. In this paper, we test whether the role of the environment in raising IQ is bidirectional/reciprocal. We meta-analyze the evidence for the fadeout effect of IQ, determining whether interventions that raise IQ have sustained effects after they end. We analyze 7584 participants across 39 randomized controlled trials, using a mixed-effects analysis with growth curve modeling. We confirm that after an intervention raises intelligence the effects fade away. We further show this is because children in the experimental group lose their IQ advantage and not because those in the control groups catch up. These findings are inconsistent with a bidirectional/reciprocal model of interaction. We discuss explanations for the fadeout effect and posit a unidirectional–reactive model for the role of the environment in the development of intelligence.

Correlation in intelligence of virtual twins, same-age unrelated siblings raised together from early infancy, drops to zero in adulhood; correlation in real twins is high, consistent with genetic roots

Fullerton Virtual Twin Project: Overview and 2019 Update. Nancy L. Segal & Francisca J. Niculae. Twin Research and Human Genetics, July 29 2019. https://doi.org/10.1017/thg.2019.40

Abstract: Virtual twins (VTs) are defined as same-age unrelated siblings raised together from early infancy. This special class of adoptive siblings replays the rearing situation of twins, absent genetic relatedness. The first such pair was identified and studied in 1990 at the University of Minnesota, leading to the creation of the Fullerton Virtual Twin Study (FVTS) at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) the following year. The registry currently includes 169 VT pairs, mostly children, with new pairs identified on a regular basis. These sibling sets provide a direct estimate of environmental influences on developmental traits and, as such, offer informative comparisons with ordinary monozygotic and dizygotic twins, full siblings and adoptive brothers and sisters. The sample characteristics, assessment battery and findings to date are summarized in this 2019 update.

---
Correlation in intelligence of virtual twins, same-age unrelated siblings raised together from early infancy, drops to zero in adulhood; correlation in real twins is high, consistent with genetic roots

I don't buy that there is "strong support" for a significant "increased" risk of children & adolescents who commit animal cruelty to perpetrate interpersonal violence against humans

Childhood and adolescent animal cruelty and subsequent interpersonal violence in adulthood: A review of the literature. Heng Choon Chan (Oliver), Rebecca W. Y. Wong. Aggression and Violent Behavior, August 19 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2019.08.007

Abstract: Animal cruelty has been a growing concern worldwide, and is broadly defined as all socially unacceptable behaviors that are intentionally perpetrated to cause unnecessary pain, suffering, distress, and/or death to an animal. This review synthesizes more than 87 research studies identified through online databases and manual search of specific studies. Findings denote that beating, hitting, or kicking, shooting, strangling or smothering, stabbing, and sexual abusing are reported to be the commonly used methods in abusing animals. In addition, children and adolescents abused animals for different reasons; and those who exposed to domestic violence are likely to have higher rates of animal cruelty, which in turn increases their subsequent propensity to engage in delinquent behavior. Male children and adolescents are more likely than their female counterparts to commit acts of animal cruelty. It is noteworthy that early onset of animal cruelty acts is suggested to be predictive of subsequent violent or antisocial behavior. Arguably, bestiality is an act of animal abuse, or specifically as interspecies sexual abuse. More importantly, this review has noted a strong support for the increased risk of children and adolescents who commit animal cruelty to perpetrate interpersonal violence against human victims in later life. Five key theoretical models (i.e., social learning theory, frustration theory, deviance generalization hypothesis, graduation hypothesis, and sexual polymorphous theory) are discussed to explain the link between childhood and/or adolescent animal cruelty and subsequent violence against human victims in adulthood. Implications for research and future research are discussed.

Fence construction deters migration because the migration costs faced by prospective migrants are sensitive to the particular set of available crossing locations; plus the fence disproportionately deters low-skilled migrants

Fenced Out: Why Rising Migration Costs Matter. Benjamin Feigenberg. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Forthcoming. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20170231&&from=f

Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on U.S.-Mexico migration by exploiting variation in the timing of U.S. government investment in fence construction. Using Mexican household survey data and data I collected on fence construction, I find that construction in a given municipality reduces migration by 29% from that municipality and by 15% from adjacent municipalities. I also find that construction reduces migration from non-border municipalities by 32%. I employ a standard migration selection model to rationalize evidence that the fence disproportionately deters low-skilled migrants. The estimated cost of the fence per migrant deterred is $2,850 USD.

Old abstract: Spending on border enforcement has risen by 240% in the United States in the last decade and the construction of a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border has become a focal point in the debate over the costs and benefits of increased border security. However, whether and by how much the fence actually reduces migration from Mexico to the United States remains an open question. This paper estimates the impact of the fence on migration flows between Mexico and the United States and investigates the mechanisms driving observed impacts. To conduct this analysis, I exploit variation in the timing of U.S. government tactical infrastructure investment in fence construction in the period after the passage of the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Using Mexican household survey data and data I collected on border fence construction, I find that construction in a given municipality reduces migration by 39% from that municipality and by 26% from adjacent municipalities. I also find evidence that fence construction reduces migration rates for residents of non-border states with historically low access to smugglers by 38%. Based on these estimates, I calculate that the implied cost of the fence per migrant deterred is $4,800 USD. My findings suggest that fence construction deters migration because the migration costs faced by prospective migrants are sensitive to the particular set of available crossing locations. I derive a simple migration selection model to test this hypothesis and find that a left-censoring of the migration cost distribution, consistent with the disproportionate elimination of low-cost crossing options, best rationalizes evidence on changing migration patterns.

Opioids and social bonding: Effect of naltrexone on feelings of social connection and ventral striatum activity to close others

Inagaki, T. K., Hazlett, L. I., & Andreescu, C. (2019). Opioids and social bonding: Effect of naltrexone on feelings of social connection and ventral striatum activity to close others. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000674

Abstract: Close social bonds are critical to immediate and long-term well-being. However, the neurochemical mechanisms by which we remain connected to our closest loved ones are not well understood. Opioids have long been theorized to contribute to social bonding via their actions on the brain. But feelings of social connection toward one’s own close others and direct comparisons of ventral striatum (VS) activity in response to close others and strangers, a neural correlate of social bonding, have not been explored. Therefore, the current clinical trial examined whether opioids causally affect neural and experiential signatures of social bonding. Eighty participants were administered naltrexone (n = 40), an opioid antagonist that blocks natural opioid processing, or placebo (n = 40) before completing a functional MRI scan where they viewed images of their close others and individuals they had not seen before (i.e., strangers). Feelings of social connection to the close others and physical symptoms commonly experienced when taking naltrexone were also collected. In support of hypotheses, naltrexone (vs. placebo) reduced feelings of social connection toward the close others (e.g., family, friends, romantic partners). Furthermore, naltrexone (vs. placebo) reduced left VS activity in response to images of the same close others, but did not alter left VS activity to strangers. Finally, the positive correlation between feelings of connection and VS activity to close others present in the placebo condition was erased by naltrexone. Effects remained after adjusting for physical symptoms. Together, results lend support to theories suggesting that opioids contribute to social bonding, especially with our closest loved ones.