Sunday, September 29, 2019

3G Internet reduces government approval and increases the perception of corruption in government when the internet is not censored; effect is stronger when traditional media is censored

Guriev, Sergei and Melnikov, Nikita and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 3G Internet and Confidence in Government (June 30, 2019). SSRN:

Abstract: How does the internet affect government approval? Using surveys of 840,537 individuals from 2,232 subnational regions in 116 countries in 2008-2017 from the Gallup World Poll and the global expansion of 3G networks, we show that an increase in internet access reduces government approval and increases the perception of corruption in government. This effect is present only when the internet is not censored and is stronger when traditional media is censored. Actual incidents of corruption translate into higher corruption perception only in places covered by 3G. In Europe, the expansion of mobile internet increased vote shares of anti-establishment populist parties.

Binge drinking as a costly sexual signal (the drinker is capable of bearing the harmful consequences of alcohol consumption): Having more eligible men in a district compared to women was associated with higher male drinking rates

Operational Sex Ratio Predicts Binge Drinking Across U.S. Counties. Toe Aung et al. Evolutionary Psychology, September 29, 2019.

Abstract: Previous research suggests that binge drinking among young men serves as a “costly signal” to potential mates, such that the binge drinker is capable of bearing the harmful consequences of alcohol consumption. Here, we propose that binge drinking among young adults is conditionally dependent upon the signaler’s willingness to take risks, which is influenced by the local operational sex ratio (OSR). Using archived binge drinking estimates from 2009 to 2012 and Census Bureau records of OSRs, we tested the relationship between OSR and binge drinking rates at the county level across 3,143 U.S. counties against hypotheses drawn from evolutionary theory. Results from our mixed-effects models revealed that a higher overall OSR (i.e., more eligible men compared to women) was associated with higher male binge drinking rates but lower female binge drinking rates. A higher OSR particularly in the 20–29 and 50+ age groups predicted higher male binge drinking rates but lower female binge drinking rates. Our findings generally support predictions derived from evolutionary theory and suggest that binge drinking may function as a costly sexual signal, conditionally regulated by age and the local sex ratio.

Keywords: costly signaling, binge drinking, sex ratio, operational sex ratio, sexual signaling, young adults, alcohol consumption, risk-taking behavior, drinking

Rebellious music genres (rap, punk & heavy metal) are not linked to maladaptive personality traits; conservative music (country, gospel) was weakly linked to neurotic, hostile, & eccentric tendencies

Maladaptive personality and psychopathy dimensions as predictors of music and movie preferences in US adults. Pavel S Blagov et al. Psychology of Music, August 13, 2019.

Abstract: We link modern conceptualizations of maladaptive personality and psychopathy dimensions to music and movie genre preferences. Participants, N = 379, completed the Personality Inventory (5th ed.; PID-5), Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM), and music and movie preferences questionnaires. The structure of some, but not all, music preferences factors aligned with previous reports. Overall, maladaptive traits had meaningful, albeit modest links to entertainment media preferences, but not to the kinds of intense or rebellious music genres sometimes labeled as “problem” entertainment in prior literature. Support emerged for several a priori hypotheses, but some predictions based on the three- and five-factor normal personality trait and entertainment preferences literature did not generalize to a five-factor formulation of maladaptive personality. We discuss the findings’ implications and several likely sources of inconsistencies in the literature on music and movie preferences and personality.

Keywords: clinical issues, everyday life, genre, individual differences, personality

Alcohol by night: People were motivated to preload to save money & socialise, were likely to drink more than they predicted, & were more surprised by their alcohol reading the more they drank

Drinking to go out or going out to drink? A longitudinal study of alcohol in night-time entertainment districts. Grant J. Devilly et al. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, September 29 2019, 107603.

• End of night intoxication is predicted by beginning of night intoxication.
• Personality and demographics differentially predict drinking for males and females.
• People drink more than they anticipate within night time entertainment districts.
• Drinkers are surprised by the degree of their intoxication the more they drink.

Background: Recent research has highlighted the growing trend of alcohol preloading before a night out. We wished to look at people’s motivations for preloading, their estimation for drinking during the night, and assess the impact that preloading has on how inebriated people become across the night as measured by Breath Approximated blood Alcohol Content (BrAC).
Method: We randomly surveyed and breath-tested patrons as they entered and exited Night Time Entertainment Districts (NEDs) in Brisbane, Queensland. We obtained 360 participants who were encouraged to contact us at the end of their night, compensating them for their time with a taxi voucher. Of these, 143 people returned and completed an exit questionnaire.
Findings: We found that people were motivated to preload in order to save money and socialise, were likely to drink more than they predicted over the course of the night, and were more surprised by their alcohol reading the higher their BrAC; this trajectory displayed little difference between men and women. It was further found that, for men, personality contributed 19% of the variance to exit BrAC, but entry BrAC accounted for nearly 38% of unique variance. For women, body mass index significantly predicted exit BrAC (9% unique variance), but entry BrAC accounted for nearly 30% unique variance.
Interpretation: To reduce general levels of intoxication in city NEDs, interventions should focus on having people come in earlier, less drunk, and be taught to have more realistic appraisals of their drinking.

Keywords: Alcohol UseNight-Time Entertainment DistrictsPreloadingEnd-of-NightLongitudinal StudyLegislation

The roots of intolerance and opposition to compromise: The effects of absolutism on political attitudes

The roots of intolerance and opposition to compromise: The effects of absolutism on political attitudes. Kevin Arceneaux. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 151, December 1 2019, 109498.

Abstract: Compromise and tolerance are often considered to be virtues, especially in the realm of democratic politics. Without them, it would be difficult for democratic institutions to fulfill their intended purpose: resolving disputes peacefully. Yet many controversial political issues reduce to moral imperatives that engender strong, uncompromising opinions. There is a tendency to conceptualize moralizing as an aspect of issues, but considerable evidence suggests that the tendency to think about the world in absolutist terms is also a psychological predisposition. In this project, I seek to elaborate the correlates and consequences of individual differences in absolutism. A suite of observational analyses and an experimental test conforms that there is a great deal of variance in ethical predispositions across individuals and that these differences matter politically. Absolutists are more likely to adopt extreme opinions, display intolerance toward political disagreement, and punish politicians who make compromises.

James Hankins' Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy. James Hankins. Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press, Dec 2019.

Convulsed by a civilizational crisis, the great thinkers of the Renaissance set out to reconceive the nature of society. Everywhere they saw problems. Corrupt and reckless tyrants sowing discord and ruling through fear; elites who prized wealth and status over the common good; military leaders waging endless wars. Their solution was at once simple and radical. “Men, not walls, make a city,” as Thucydides so memorably said. They would rebuild their city, and their civilization, by transforming the moral character of its citizens. Soulcraft, they believed, was a precondition of successful statecraft.

A dazzlingly ambitious reappraisal of Renaissance political thought by one of our generation’s foremost intellectual historians, Virtue Politics challenges the traditional narrative that looks to the Renaissance as the seedbed of modern republicanism and sees Machiavelli as its exemplary thinker. James Hankins reveals that what most concerned the humanists was not reforming laws or institutions so much as shaping citizens. If character mattered more than constitutions, it would have to be nurtured through a new program of education they called the studia humanitatis: the humanities.

We owe liberal arts education and much else besides to the bold experiment of these passionate and principled thinkers. The questions they asked―Should a good man serve a corrupt regime? What virtues are necessary in a leader? What is the source of political legitimacy? Is wealth concentration detrimental to social cohesion? Should citizens be expected to fight for their country?―would have a profound impact on later debates about good government and seem as vital today as they did then.

Tyler Cowen excerpts (Sep 29 2019,

I have sought to present the political ideas of the humanists as the expression of a movement of thought and action, similar in its physiognomy if not in its content to the movement of the philosophes of the Enlightenment.  It was a movement that was stimulated by a crisis of legitimacy in late medieval Italy and by widespread disgust with its political and religious leadership.  Its adherents were men who had wide experience -- often bitter, personal experience -- with tyranny.  They knew that oligarchs and even popular governments could be as tyrannical as princes.  Their movement was largely in agreement about its goals: to rebuild Europe's depleted reserves of good character, true piety, and practical wisdom.  They also agreed widely about means: the revival of classical antiquity, which the humanists presented as an inspiring pageant, rich in examples of noble conduct, eloquent speech, selfless dedication to country, and inner moral strength, nourished by philosophy and uncorrupt Christianity.  The humanist movement yearned after greatness, moral and political.  Its most pressing historical questions were how ancient Rome had achieved her vast and enduring empire, and whether it was possible to bring that greatness to life again under modern conditions.  This led to the question of whether it was the Roman Republic or the Principate that should be emulated; and, once the humanists had learned Greek, it provoked the further question of whether Rome was the only possible ancient model to emulate, or whether Athens or Sparta, or even the Persia of Xenophon's Cyrus, held lessons for contemporary statesmen.

Women & men want a partner that is funnier than themselves; only women want a partner that is also more trustworthy than they are; none want a partner more intelligent

From 2018... The Persistence of Established Dating Theories in a Real-Life Dyadic Blind Date Study. Yannick Nout, MSci Thesis, Applied Cognitive Psychology. Leiden Uni, Aug 2018.

Abstract: Mating is fundamental for reproduction and family life and the drive to mate stands high on the hierarchy of human needs. Consequently, there are many theories and concepts regarding dating. However, studies done on this topic are usually conducted in a laboratory setting, while dating normally occurs in much less controlled conditions. This study aimed to test if several established dating theories (partner preferences, Attractiveness Halo Effect, (nonverbal) communication and expressions, mimicry and physiological synchrony) hold up in a more realistic real-life dating experiment. This study was conducted at public events and combined questionnaires, behavioural expressions and physiological measures (eye tracking, heart rate, skin conductance). Participants (N = 140) were formed into opposite-sex dyads and interacted three times during their ‘date’ (first impression, verbal and nonverbal interaction). Many of our findings were in line with previous research. Partner preferences seem to be in line with research; the Attractiveness Halo Effect occurred; participants were not accurate in guessing if they were liked by their partner; submissive behaviour reflected liking, sexual attraction and attraction to some degree, however results regarding affiliative behaviour contradicted previous research; only female sexual attraction is affected by submissive and affiliative behaviour; there is evidence that mimicry occurs; physiological synchrony affected females’ opinions, male date outcome and date outcome match. These results suggest that most dating theories and concepts to a certain degree hold up in real-life contexts.

Keywords: dating, real-life, partner preferences, attractiveness halo effect, nonverbal communication, mimicry, physiological synchrony

Alan Blinder's influential estimate, 2007: 25pct more of U.S. jobs were at risk of being offshored; instead, more jobs were added than lost, against the scaremongering that millions would be lost

Report: Overboard on Offshore Fears. Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. Sep 27 2019.

In 2007 an economist predicted U.S. service sector jobs were at high risk of being offshored. Data now shows that instead they are going remote.

Executive Summary

Advancing technology is unlocking great potential in remote work opportunities by making it increasingly easy for work that used to be done in person to now be done remotely. Yet these changes have led some researchers to worry about the offshoring of U.S. jobs. In one influential estimate from 2007, economist Alan Blinder projected that a quarter or more of U.S. jobs were at risk of being offshored.

In this report, we take a look at the data from the decade-plus since this warning was issued and find that the techno-pessimism was misplaced. Instead of being offshored, the types of work predicted to be at risk of offshoring are increasingly being performed remotely by workers within the U.S. While technology may be giving firms the choice of hiring workers from around the globe, this is not translating to job loss. Instead, it’s leading to more U.S. workers enjoying the greater freedom, flexibility, and shorter commutes of remote work.

This analysis investigates the growth of remote work in the U.S. using Census Bureau data, unique surveys and data from Upwork, the largest online work website. The key results are as follows:

.  Contrary to popular predictions made in 2007, offshoring risk is not related to job loss for hundreds of occupations.

.  Instead, those jobs predicted as “at risk” of being offshored are significantly more remote work based today.

.  Data from Upwork shows that U.S. knowledge workers retain a competitive advantage even in a global marketplace, and are in demand from both U.S. businesses and businesses around the world.

.  Young business owners and hiring managers are more comfortable with remote work, and younger workers are more likely to want to work remotely, which suggests the remote work trend will continue to grow based on demographic change alone.

.  Instead of focusing on how demand might shift overseas, research should consider how remote work could help shift demand within the U.S. to lower cost of living areas that are currently lacking in economic opportunity.

The White-Collar Job Apocalypse That Didn’t Happen.  Ben Casselman. TNYT, Sep 27 2019.

In a follow-up paper released Friday, another economist, Adam Ozimek, revisited Mr. Blinder’s analysis to see what had happened over the past decade. Some job categories that Mr. Blinder identified as vulnerable [to offshoring], like data-entry workers, have seen a decline in United States employment. But the ranks of others, like actuaries, have continued to grow.

Over all, of the 26 occupations that Mr. Blinder identified as “highly offshorable” and for which Mr. Ozimek had data, 15 have added jobs over the past decade and 11 have cut them. Altogether, those occupations have eliminated fewer than 200,000 jobs over 10 years, hardly the millions that many feared. A second tier of jobs — which Mr. Blinder labeled “offshorable” — has actually added more than 1.5 million jobs.

But Mr. Blinder didn’t miss the mark entirely, said Mr. Ozimek, who is chief economist at Upwork, an online platform for hiring freelancers. The new study found that in the jobs that Mr. Blinder identified as easily offshored, a growing share of workers were now working from home. Mr. Ozimek said he suspected that many more were working in satellite offices or for outside contractors, rather than at a company’s main location. In other words, technology like cloud computing and videoconferencing has enabled these jobs to be done remotely, just not quite as remotely as Mr. Blinder and many others assumed.

Logic, Fast and Slow: The Persistent Difficulty of the Monty Hall Problem

Logic, Fast and Slow: The Persistent Difficulty of the Monty Hall Problem. Jay Kosegarten & Gary Kose. EvoS Journal, 2019, NEEPS XII, pp. 24-42.

ABSTRACT: Evolutionary cognitive psychology is equipped to answer questions regarding not only human reasoning but also its limitations. Given that the field argues for naturally selected reasoning capacities (either broad or modular), the causes of certain cognitive errors and biases are of important interest. Kahneman (2011) has investigated and explicated the many fallacies in human logic that can lead people to make less than optimal judgments and decisions. Evolutionary cognitive psychologists have examined both probability judgments and conditional reasoning. Taken together, it would appear that evolutionary psychology could shed light on the notion that humans think both ‘fast and slow.’ This study examined two aspects of logical problem-solving hypothesized to be necessary for deducing the optimal response to the Monty Hall problem.  The authors investigated the effects of a demonstration designed to emphasize the logic of the Monty Hall problem and to facilitate perspective-change, and the authors investigated the effects of counterfactual reasoning tasks.  Alone, these two conditions—the demonstration and counterfactual reasoning—did not improve performance over controls.  When combined, they did significantly improve subjects’ performance. We argue that subjects’ strong tendency to respond illogically to the Monty Hall problem is an example of fast, System 1 thinking and that the combined cognitive influences of a logical demonstration and counterfactual reasoning facilitated slow, System 2 thinking. Further we argue that slow, System 2 thinking operates with two subsystems called ‘fast logic’ and ‘slow logic.’

KEYWORDS: Problem-Solving, Probabilistic Reasoning, Logic

Check also... Saenen, L. et al., (2018). Why Humans Fail in Solving the Monty Hall Dilemma: A Systematic Review. Psychologica Belgica, 58 (1), pp . 128–158.