Saturday, October 5, 2019

“Sorry, I already have a boyfriend”: Masculine honor beliefs and perceptions of women’s use of deceptive rejection behaviors to avert unwanted romantic advances

“Sorry, I already have a boyfriend”: Masculine honor beliefs and perceptions of women’s use of deceptive rejection behaviors to avert unwanted romantic advances. Evelyn Stratmoen, Emilio D. Rivera, Donald A. Saucier. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, August 7, 2019.

Abstract: We examined the relationships between masculine honor beliefs (MHB) and women’s endorsement of various rejection-related behaviors, as well as both men’s and women’s perceptions of men’s aggressive responses after being romantically rejected by a woman who uses an avoidant/deceptive rejection technique. In Study 1, women with stronger MHB were more likely to endorse their own use of an avoidant/deceptive rejection technique and expressed fewer expectations of men aggressing against them after their overt rejection. In Study 2, men with stronger MHB perceived a woman’s use of deception to reject a man’s unwanted romantic advance as a greater threat to the rejected man’s honor, while women with stronger MHB expressed greater expectations of retaliatory aggression from the rejected man, regardless of the use of deception. These results suggest women who adhere to masculine honor norms may be in a difficult predicament when faced with rejecting men and may choose to mitigate the honor threat to the rejected man by using avoidance/deception to avert his unwanted romantic advance to avoid potential retaliatory aggression.

Keywords: Aggression, avoidant behaviors, masculine honor beliefs, romantic rejection

Masculine honor beliefs

Masculine honor ideology—cultural norms based on the American Southern culture of honor—dictates expectations for men’s behavior, specifically regarding construction and maintenance of their social status and reputation (i.e., their honor) (e.g., Nisbett, 1993; Nisbett & Cohen, 1996; Wyatt-Brown, 1982). Due to the herding lifestyle that was predominant in the American South where families’ livelihoods (i.e., livestock) were easily stolen, men were expected to respond aggressively and even violently to threats to protect their livestock, as well as their property and families (Nisbett, 1993; Nisbett & Cohen, 1996). These aggressive responses not only protected men and their property from current threats, but also helped them develop intimidating reputations, which then deterred future threats. The possibility of men losing their livelihoods coupled with their need to maintain these reputations evolved into masculine honor ideology, where men must respond aggressively to any threat, provocation, or insult to preserve their formidable reputation (i.e., their sense of honor) (e.g., Brown, 2016; Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle, & Schwarz, 1996; Nisbett, 1993; Vandello & Bosson, 2013).

Men from honor cultures (e.g., American South) compared to men from nonhonor cultures (e.g., American North) respond more aggressively to insults and threats to their honor (e.g., Barnes, Brown, & Osterman, 2012; Cohen & Nisbett, 1997; Cohen, Vandello, & Rantilla, 1998; Rodriguez Mosquera, Manstead, & Fischer, 2002; Saucier & McManus, 2014; Vandello & Cohen, 2008). This has been demonstrated in a wide variety of studies, including those examining attitudes toward “honorable” violence (Cohen & Nisbett, 1994; Saucier, Miller, Martens, O’Dea, & Jones, 2018), school mass shootings (Brown, 2016; Brown, Osterman, & Barnes, 2009), and homicide (Nisbett, Polly, & Lang, 1995). Behavioral experiments further indicate men from honor cultures are more likely to respond aggressively (e.g., emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, and physiologically) when their honor has been threatened through provocation (e.g., physically bumping a man’s shoulder) and insult (e.g., calling him an “asshole”; Cohen et al., 1996).

Recent research has conceptualized adherence to masculine honor ideology as an individual difference in one’s endorsement of MHB, suggesting men and women from nonhonor cultures may also endorse masculine honor ideology (e.g., Barnes et al., 2012; Saucier & McManus, 2014; Saucier et al., 2016). Influenced by previous honor research, Saucier et al. (2016) developed the Masculine Honor Beliefs Scale (MHBS) to measure seven facets (e.g., pride in manhood and provocation) representing MHB. MHB explain regional differences in honor-related responses to provocation (see Saucier, Miller, et al., 2018). Furthermore, the MHBS has been used to examine relationships between adherence to MHB and various attitudes and perceptions of social behaviors, such as perceptions of the world being a “competitive jungle” (Saucier, Webster, et al., 2018), men’s motivations for muscularity (Saucier, O’Dea, & Stratmoen, 2017), perceptions of slurs against men’s masculinity as insulting and deserving of retaliatory aggression (Saucier, Till, Miller, O’Dea, & Andres, 2015), expectations for men to physically confront honor threats (O’Dea, Chalman, Castro Bueno, & Saucier, 2018), and negative perceptions of those who do not (O’Dea, Bueno, & Saucier, 2017). MHB are associated with various political attitudes, including greater endorsement of agentic male candidates for President of the U.S. (Martens, Stratmoen, & Saucier, 2018), negative perceptions of football players who knelt during the National Anthem to protest police violence against racial minorities (Stratmoen, Lawless, & Saucier, 2018), and greater support for restrictive national security policies and endorsement of war (Saucier, Webster, et al., 2018). Furthermore, MHB are associated with negative perceptions of rape survivors and increased support for punishment for rapists (Saucier, Strain, Hockett, & McManus, 2015), as well as with perceptions of romantic rejection as threatening men’s honor and consequently expecting increased aggression by men toward women who reject their romantic advances (Stratmoen, Greer, Martens, & Saucier, 2018).

The Myth of the Stupid Believer: The Negative Religiousness–IQ Nexus is Not on General Intelligence (g) and is Likely a Product of the Relations Between IQ and Autism Spectrum

The Myth of the Stupid Believer: The Negative Religiousness–IQ Nexus is Not on General Intelligence (g) and is Likely a Product of the Relations Between IQ and Autism Spectrum. Edward Dutton et al. Journal of Religion and Health, Oct 5 2019.

Numerous studies have found a negative relationship between religiousness and IQ. It is in the region of − 0.2, according to meta-analyses. The reasons for this relationship are, however, unknown. It has been suggested that higher intelligence leads to greater attraction to science, or that it helps to override evolved cognitive dispositions such as for religiousness. Either way, such explanations assume that the religion–IQ nexus is on general intelligence (g), rather than some subset of specialized cognitive abilities. In other words, they assume it is a Jensen effect. Two large datasets comparing groups with different levels of religiousness show that their IQ differences are not on g and must, therefore, be attributed to specialized abilities. An analysis of the specialized abilities on which the religious and non-religious groups differ reveals no clear pattern. We cautiously suggest that this may be explicable in terms of autism spectrum disorder traits among people with high IQ scores, because such traits are negatively associated with religiousness.

Keywords: Intelligence Jensen effect Religion IQ Autism spectrum disorder

Since the 1920s (e.g. Gilkey 1924; Howells 1928), a substantial number of studies have found a weak but consistent negative relationship between religiousness and IQ. Meta-analyses have shown that this relationship is in the region of − 0.2 in the general population, and around − 0.1 among college students (e.g. Zuckerman et al. 2013; Dutton 2014). Similar negative correlations are also found between religiousness and diverse proxies for IQ, such as educational level and income (Meisenberg et al. 2012). The association is greater at the level of countries, with estimates of national average IQ being correlated with national average levels of religiosity at about − 0.6 (Lynn and Vanhanen 2012). The negative religiousness–IQ nexus is found within most countries, with only a small number of exceptions (Meisenberg et al. 2012). The association can be found both among young and elderly samples (Ritchie et al. 2014). The more pronounced in its religiosity a group is, the lower the average IQ its members tend to possess (Lewis et al. 2011; Nyborg 2009), whereas members of high IQ organizations, such as the Royal Society, tend to be overwhelmingly atheist (Larsen and Witham 1998). The evidence for a negative association between religiousness and IQ is thus robust.
The precise causes of this relationship are less clear. Nyborg (2009) argues that people are attracted to different ways of understanding the world based on their ability to deal with complexity. Science is too complex for those with lower intelligence, who therefore resort to the simpler explanations and life-guiding rules that religions typically provide. Dutton (2014) suggests that the elevated reasoning ability entailed by higher intelligence fosters the ability to see through what he regards as the fallacious arguments for the existence of God, and to therefore conclude that there is no God in the absence of supporting evidence. Kanazawa’s (2012) Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis rests on the assumption that our ancestors were most strongly adapted to the ecology of the Savannah. Accordingly, this is our ‘evolutionarily familiar’ environment, because, having spent so long in it, this ecology selected certain evolved modules useful for dealing with the recurrent problems found in that ecology. One set of modules that this ancestral environment selected for might have been those associated with the generation of social behaviors undergirding religiousness. As humans left the Savannah, they began to encounter evolutionarily novel problems that these modules could not solve, and developed higher intelligence that could successfully solve these novel problems. Thus, intelligence became associated with ‘evolutionarily novel preferences’, such as atheism. There are several conceptual and empirical problems with this hypothesis, highlighted by Dutton and van der Linden (2017). One is that evolution continued, and maybe even accelerated, during the Holocene (Cochran and Harpending 2009; Woodley of Menie et al. 2017) which the Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis assumes is not the case. Dutton and van der Linden (2017) proposed the Intelligence Mismatch Association Model. It suggests that one aspect of intelligence is the ability to rise above our evolved cognitive biases, as this allows us to better solve new cognitive problems by being more open to unusual potential solutions. The difference between the original Savanna–IQ Interaction hypothesis and the Intelligence Mismatch Association model is that the latter applies to any evolved behavioural or cognitive repertoire, thereby avoiding the alleged subjective distinction between ‘evolutionarily novel’ and ‘evolutionarily familiar’ problem content. Dutton and van der Linden’s argument is simply that humans have certain cognitive biases, intelligence is associated with rising above them in order to solve problems more flexibly, and as religious belief is a cognitive bias, intelligence should be negatively associated with it.
However, all these models assume that the negative religion–IQ nexus is predominantly related to general intelligence (g), as they all assume that religious people are less intelligent than atheists. The g factor is likely the construct that best represents the heritable components of intelligence, and hence that which evolution has most strongly acted upon historically in human, and more broadly, primate populations, as indicated by comparative phylogenetic analyses of the evolutionary rates for different cognitive abilities, where there are strong indications that such rates increase in proportion to the loading of these abilities onto a Big-G factor of inter-specific cognitive ability (Fernandes et al. 2014). An IQ test score is typically the sum of several subtests that measure specific cognitive abilities and will therefore include these specific abilities. A proper measure of g should rather ignore the specific abilities, but capture the variance that is common among them. This is achieved by factor analysis, the first unrotated factor of which typically explains 50–60% of the variance among all subtests across a number of individuals. Factor analysis also yields the factor loadings for each subtest, corresponding to the proportion of the common variance between the subtest and g, referred to as its g loading (Jensen 1998). The Jensen effect refers to a situation in which subtest g-loadings positively moderate a given effect size, indicating that g variance is the source of that effect size. Jensen effects manifest as positive correlations between the column vector of the effect sizes associated with each subtest (e.g. the strength of a subtest’s correlation with religiosity) and the column vector of their associated g loadings (Jensen 1998). The present study asks specifically whether the negative religion–IQ nexus is a Jensen effect. Finding that it is not (indeed it is an anti-Jensen effect), it explores possible explanations for the existence of this nexus, leading us to examine the role of autism spectrum traits.

We tested the assumption inferred from the theories discussed in the introduction that the relationship between IQ differences between religious groups with different average IQs and their g loadings constitutes a Jensen effect, and may therefore indicate a role for g as a source of positive moderation of the group differences. As it clearly does not, when members of the same ethnic group are compared, evolutionary theories that purport to explain the weak, but robust negative religiousness–IQ nexus become somewhat less convincing. We would have expected, therefore, that a specific pattern of specialized cognitive abilities would have driven the negative religious–IQ nexus. However, contrary to our expectations, the analyses of the subtests differences did not reveal a clear pattern with regard to which specific cognitive abilities may drive the IQ differences between the different groups. In Verhage (1964), the largest differences seemed to occur on vocabulary. In the Steppan (2010) study, the subtest effect sizes showed less variation than in the Verhage study, but the largest effect sizes in the expected direction were found on mental rotation and medical–scientific reasoning. In the Steppan (2010) sample, the presumably more religious group did relatively better on mathematical reasoning.

A possible way of making sense of our findings is through the influence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is a growing body of research on the negative relationship between ASD and religiosity. The evidence indicates, overall, that ASD is negatively associated with religious belief and that empathy is the mediating factor: autism, in part, may actually cause people to be less religious (see the systematic literature review by Dutton et al. 2018). Caldwell-Harris et al. (2011) studied discussions by 192 different contributors on an autism website, from which they were able to discern the views on religion held by the contributors. High-functioning autistic (HFA) individuals significantly demonstrated the highest rates of ‘non-belief identities’: Atheism (26%) and Agnosticism (17%). In the neurotypical (NT) group used as non-autistic controls, 17% were atheists and 10% were agnostics. The same authors conducted a survey with a sample of 61 people who self-identified as autistic. They found that those who regarded themselves as atheists scored significantly higher than those who were believers did on the Autism Quotient Scale, an instrument that quantifies the extent of autism. Barnes and Gibson (2013) found that those who had undergone religious experiences had elevated empathy, contrary to those with ASD. Jack et al. (2016) found that ‘moral concern’, which is also conceivably lower in those with ASD, predicted strength of religious belief and was negatively associated with analytic thinking. This implies that low religiousness is predicted by analytic thinking—which those with ASD are particularly adept at. Norenzayan et al. (2012) showed that autism predicted reduced religious belief, based on Canadian and American samples. Importantly, they found that it was the ability to mentalize that mediated the negative relationship between autism and religious belief. Lowicki and Zajenkowski (2016, 2017) and Vonk and Pitzen (2017) note that aspects of ASD—such as low emotional intelligence—are negatively associated with religious belief. Again, these are the aspects of ASD that relate to the ability to develop a sound theory of mind. The only counter-study of which we are aware is Reddish et al. (2016), which did not find any significant difference in religious behaviour or belief between an HFA group and an NT control group. However, this was based on a very small sample of 21 people.

So, all available studies with reasonable sample sizes are consistent with the notion that theory of mind is an important factor in the association between ASD and religious belief. Autistics tend to perceive the world in a mechanistic fashion, as a system. Accordingly, they should not perceive the complexity of the world as the workings of a sentient being, because they are unable to think about or even notice mental states. In this regard, they stand in stark contrast with schizotypal personality. Schizophrenia (a particularly pronounced manifestation of schizotypal personality) is associated with being extremely religious, as well as with belief in the paranormal and in conspiracy theories (see Dutton et al. 2018). This is because schizophrenics are so highly attuned to inferring mental states from external markers that they perceive evidence of mental states even in the world itself; it is as if the world has feelings and meaning; thus, schizophrenics routinely experience the presence of God. There are a variety of models which have attempted to make sense of religious experiences or the feeling that there is a god. Azari et al. (2005) used brain scans to conclude that religious experience is primarily a cognitive phenomenon rather than an emotional one. Religious experience, they concluded, relates to neural processes involved in ‘relational cognitivity’—thinking about relationships. Schjoedt et al. (2009) assessed which areas of the brain were active when participants engaged in informal prayer compared to when wishing to Santa Claus. They found that brain activity during prayer more closely resembled that which occurred while talking to a real person than to an imaginary figure. Religious experience appears to involve the ability to empathize with somebody else. Although it is currently small, the extant brain imaging evidence indicates that religious experience involves brain areas that are associated with mentalizing and relating to other people.

This raises the question of how people with ASD perform in IQ tests. There is no clear direction to these results. A literature review by Ghaziuddin and Mountain-Kimchi (2004) reported that some studies have found that those with Asperger’s syndrome—a middle-level ASD—have high-level verbal IQ and but can be deficient on performance IQ. Other studies have revealed that those with pronounced ASD, such as high-functioning autism, show a reversal in this pattern: poor verbal IQ and high mathematical IQ. Consistent with this, Karpinski et al. (2018) have recently presented evidence that highly intelligent people seem to manifest autism traits, in terms of an enhanced tendency to systematize and a diminished ability to empathize (see also Baron-Cohen 2002 and Crespi 2016). Tests of the IQ of HFA persons have found that their scores are high in fluid intelligence, in other words on matrix and similarities reasoning subtests (e.g. Hayashi et al. 2008). Dawson et al. (2007) have shown that HFA persons score strongly on Raven’s (a matrix test) relative to broader IQ test batteries, on average 30 percentile points, and in some cases 70 percentile points higher than they score on the WISC. However, it is not high-functioning autism (HFA) which predicts low religiosity but rather ASD more broadly, and here the IQ profile pattern is much less clear cut. In this regard, a recent study found that possessing genetic risk factors for ASD was associated with logical memory, verbal intelligence and g, meaning it would confer a small advantage in IQ tests even in the absence of greater g (Clarke et al. 2016). So, such an explanation would potentially make sense of the otherwise difficult to explain results which we find. However, more research must be conducted to discover why we did not find any positive moderating effect of g. Our finding that the more religious scored better on Mathematics would seem to be consistent with the results of some studies which have found deficiencies on performance IQ among those with ASD.

It should be cautioned that it is likely that the findings of our analysis only hold for within-population comparisons, where the differences in g might be expected to be relatively small. If we were to make comparisons between populations, such as between Middle Eastern Muslims and European Catholics, it is probable that, in line with Spearman’s hypothesis, the differences would indeed be on g. Moreover, insofar as the groups that are being compared in the present study may not be precisely equal in terms of g, there is room for small group differences in g to attenuate the anti-Jensen effect which we have found. But, naturally, it would be very difficult to find two groups that were precisely equal in terms of g. A second limitation is that our results are not comprehensive. However, there are two substantial datasets and, for this reason, our results are likely to generalize to religious differences in other countries. A third limitation is that the Steppan dataset makes comparisons between regions rather than individuals or groups, which leaves room for anomalies. Finally, it is worth cautioning that our ASD explanation for apparent oddities in our results is paralleled by similar anomalies in terms of the IQ profile of those with normal range IQ who have an ASD ranging all the way up to HFA. This may lead us to question the conceptual validity of ASD, or how accurately we can measure it, something which others have already done (e.g. Lundqvist and Lindner 2017; Ghaziuddin and Mountain-Kimchi 2004).

When evaluating faces as potential romantic partners, participants’ preferences focused in attractiveness even when task instructions imply that warmth or status should be of primary importance

From 2018... Facial and self-report questionnaire measures capture different aspects of romantic partner preferences. Jennifer Kay South Palomares and Andrew William Young. British journal of psychology, September 30 2018

Abstract: Romantic relationship researchers often use self‐report measures of partner preferences based on verbal questionnaires. These questionnaires show that partner preferences involve an evaluation in terms of underlying factors of vitality–attractiveness, status‐resources, and warmth–trustworthiness. However, when people first encounter a potential partner, they can usually derive a wealth of impressions from their face, and little is known about the relationship between verbal self‐reports and impressions derived from faces. We conducted four studies investigating potential parallels and differences between facial impressions and verbal self‐reports. Study 1 showed that when evaluating highly variable everyday face images in a context that does not require considering them as potential partners, participants can reliably perceive the traits and factors that are related to partner preferences. However, despite being capable of these nuanced evaluations, Study 2 found that when asked to evaluate images of faces as potential romantic partners, participants’ preferences become dominated by attractiveness‐related concerns. Study 3 confirmed this dominance of facial attractiveness using morphed face‐like images. Study 4 showed that attractiveness dominates partner preferences for faces even when task instructions imply that warmth–trustworthiness or status–resources should be of primary importance. In contrast to verbal questionnaire measures of partner preferences, evaluations of faces focus heavily on attractiveness, whereas questionnaire self‐reports tend on average to prioritize warmth–trustworthiness over attractiveness. Evaluations of faces and verbal self‐report measures therefore capture different aspects of partner preferences.

The belief in repressed memories occurs on a nontrivial scale (58%) and appears to have increased among clinical psychologists since the 1990s

The Return of the Repressed: The Persistent and Problematic Claims of Long-Forgotten Trauma. Henry Otgaar et al. Perspectives on Psychological Science, October 4, 2019.

Abstract: Can purely psychological trauma lead to a complete blockage of autobiographical memories? This long-standing question about the existence of repressed memories has been at the heart of one of the most heated debates in modern psychology. These so-called memory wars originated in the 1990s, and many scholars have assumed that they are over. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect and that the controversial issue of repressed memories is alive and well and may even be on the rise. We review converging research and data from legal cases indicating that the topic of repressed memories remains active in clinical, legal, and academic settings. We show that the belief in repressed memories occurs on a nontrivial scale (58%) and appears to have increased among clinical psychologists since the 1990s. We also demonstrate that the scientifically controversial concept of dissociative amnesia, which we argue is a substitute term for memory repression, has gained in popularity. Finally, we review work on the adverse side effects of certain psychotherapeutic techniques, some of which may be linked to the recovery of repressed memories. The memory wars have not vanished. They have continued to endure and contribute to potentially damaging consequences in clinical, legal, and academic contexts.

Keywords: memory wars, repressed memory, repression, false memory, recovered memory, therapy

From 2009... Masturbation in Urban China

From 2009... Masturbation in Urban China. Aniruddha Das, William L. Parish, Edward O. Laumann. Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 2009, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 108–120.

Abstract: This study examined the prevalence and sources of masturbatory practice in a nationally representative sample from China completed in the year 2000, with analysis of sources focused on 2,828 urban respondents aged 20–59. In this subpopulation, 13% (95% CI, 10–18) of women and 35% (CI, 26–44) of men reported any masturbation in the preceding year. Prevalence for people in their 20s was higher, and closer to US and European levels, especially for men. Particularly for women, masturbation not only compensated for absent partners but also complemented the high sexual interests of a subset of participants. For both women and men, practicing masturbation appeared to be a two-step process. In the first step, events such as sexual contact in childhood, early puberty, and early sex were related to sexualization and the “gateway event” of adolescent masturbation. In the second step, other factors, such as liberal sexual values and sexual knowledge, further increased the current probability of masturbation. Overall, the results suggest that masturbation is readily adopted even at more modest levels of economic and social development, that masturbation is often more than simply compensatory behavior for regular partnered sex, that masturbatory patterns are heavily influenced by early sexualization, and that a complex model is needed to comprehend masturbatory practice, particularly for women.

Keywords: Masturbation China Sexualization Social influence

Perspectives on Masturbation

Much research on the correlates of sexual behavior has advocated multi-causal models subsuming biological and psychosocial factors (Bancroft, 1983, 2002; Hawton, 1987; Kaplan, 1974; Laumann et al., 1994; Lipsith et al., 2003; Riley, 1998; Udry, 1988). A similar broad range of influences has been investigated in studies of masturbation (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Laumann et al., 1994).
This broad approach was repeated in the present study and informed the two central questions outlined above.

Relationship to Partnered Sex: Compensatory or Complementary?
At least implicitly, both early (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953) and more recent studies (Lipsithet al.,2003) have viewed sexuality as a result of fixed individual levels of sexual ‘‘drive’’ (Laumann et al., 1994). From this perspective, masturbation appears to be a suboptimal outlet for sexual tension, compensating for the lack of availability of either partnered sex or satisfactory partnered sex (Langstrom & Hanson, 2006). Empirical data suggest thatmasturbationmay not have such a simple inverse relationship to partnered sex (Laumann et al., 1994). Also, in some societies, the relationships may be in flux, an example being the tendency for more recent generations of Western youth to view masturbation not as a second-best solution but as a relatively autonomous sexual act that can coexist with the availability of partnered sex (Dekker & Schmidt, 2002; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). If masturbation is compensatory, it can be expected to be more common among those with little access to satisfying partnered sex, e.g., no partnered sex of any kind, stable partner often absent, and unsatisfying sex with a stable partner. If complementary, masturbation would be unrelated to the availability of partnered sex. Moreover, if masturbation has a life of its own, it can be expected to be more common among more highly sexualized individuals, including those with multiple partners in the previous year, those who have more varied sexual practices with their stable partner, and those who report frequent thoughts about sex.

Social Origins
Life Trajectory: As with other sexual behavior, the social origins of masturbation are likely to begin with early sexualizing experiences, whose influences persist into adulthood (Browning & Laumann, 1997, 2003; Laumann, Browning, Rijt, & Gatzeva, 2003). Consistent with recent research in human development (Caspi et al., 2003; Shanahan & Hofer, 2005), ‘‘sexualization’’ is conceived here not as a simple outcome of individual-specific biological traits, but of a complex system of interacting biological and social processes. Kontula and Haavio-Mannila (2002) found that patterns of masturbation set early in the life course became a stable feature of sexual expression in adulthood, indicating perhaps that sexualization tends to become a self-sustaining pattern, an argument consistent, for women, with Kinsey et al.’s (1953) early observations. In the same 2002 study, early initiation into partnered sex (whether conceptualized as an indicator of hormonal levels or of social entrainment in a less inhibited sexual career) was associated with a greater propensity to masturbate in adulthood. Early pubertal development has been found to be correlated with higher levels of sexuality in adulthood (Belsky,Steinberg, & Draper, 1991; Moffit, Caspi, Belsky,&Silva,1992),with both differential hormonal levels and different social environments arguably contributing to these patterns (Liao, Missenden, Hallam, & Conway, 2005; Udry, 1988). Though disagreeing on the exact mechanisms involved, studies agree that sexual contact during childhood or adolescence is correlated with an intensification of sexual behaviors in adulthood (Browning & Laumann, 1997, 2003; Laumann et al., 2003). Values/Knowledge: Whether through the direct transmission of ‘‘cultural scenarios’’ of sexual appropriateness (Ellingson, Laumann, Paik, & Mahay,2004) or indirectly by enabling the individual to consume media products carrying globalized or ‘‘modern’’ sexual scripts, higher education arguably increases the propensity to masturbate (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). The individual’s current sexual values, almost by definition, serve as indicators of internalized cultural scripts or norms defining appropriate sexual behavior, including, potentially, masturbation (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Sandfort, Bos, Haavio-Mannila, & Sundet, 1998). Qualitative and small-sample studies in China and Taiwan also indicate the persistence of the belief that excessive ejaculation, and particularly masturbation, causes shenkui, or a loss of virility and energy (So & Cheung, 2005). Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests the recency of ‘‘rediscovery’’ of the clitoris and clitoral orgasms among Western women, an event connected with increased sexual liberalism stemming from the sexual revolution (Angier,2000).Thus, knowledge of the clitoris, apart from indicating greater sexual knowledge, is also arguably a marker of more permissive sexual values.

Several background characteristics were controlled in the analysis, including region, age, and sexual dysfunctions. Arguably, sociocultural context, as proxied by area of current residence, may affect a person’s understandings and modes of sexuality, whether by embedding him or her in a more sexually permissive peer network or by increasing exposure to globalized or ‘‘Westernized’’ media products. Age can also be important, not only in influencing hormone levels and vitality but also because it indexes differential experiences of cohorts who came of age at different times (Abbott, 2005; Ryder, 1965). Both popular literature and academic studies suggest that masturbation can be a route for women to achieve orgasm and, implicitly, relieve sexual difficulties (e.g., Berman & Berman, 2005; Hite, 1976; Leiblum & Rosen,2000; LoPiccolo & Lobitz,1972; McMullen & Rosen, 1979; Meston, Levin, Sipski, Hull, & Heiman,2004), a mechanism that may potentially apply to men as well.

In addition to these factors, several reflections of low social control were considered, such as drunkenness, smoking, and having had commercial sex over the preceding year. However, these effects failed to reach significance net of the other factors, and were therefore dropped in the final analysis.

This study examines the extent to which masculine and feminine gender role orientations predict self-reported anomalous experiences, belief, ability and fear

Gender role orientation, thinking style preference and facets of adult paranormality: A mediation analysis. Paul Rogers et al. Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 76, November 2019, 102821.

• Stronger femininity directly predicts more intuitive thinking.
• Stronger femininity directly predicts more anomalous experiences and belief.
• Less rational thinking directly predicts more anomalous fear.
• More intuitive thinking mediates several gender role-paranormality relationships.
• Findings are consistent with a gender role account of adult paranormality.

Abstract: This study examines the extent to which masculine and feminine gender role orientations predict self-reported anomalous experiences, belief, ability and fear once relevant correlates including biological sex are controlled for. The extent to which rational versus intuitive thinking style preference mediates these relationships is also examined. Path analysis (n = 332) found heightened femininity directly predicts stronger intuitive preference plus more anomalous experiences, belief and fear with, additionally, intuitive preference mediating several gender role-paranormality relationships. By comparison, heightened masculinity directly predicts both thinking styles plus lower anomalous fear. The latter relationship is also shaped by the nature of mediators with (a) more anomalous experiences and belief associated with more anomalous fear and (b) either heightened rationality else more anomalous ability linked to, conversely, less anomalous fear. The extent to which findings support a gender (or social) role account of adult paranormality, together with methodological limitations and ideas for future research, is discussed.

Keywords: Gender roleParanormalAnomalousIntuitionThinking styleDual process

Non-human females that observed others choosing a male were on average 2.71 times more likely to mate with that male; virgin females were more likely to copy mate choices

Mechanisms of social influence: a meta-analysis of the effects of social information on female mate choice decisions. Blake C. Jones and Emily H. DuVal. Front. Ecol. Evol., 10.3389/fevo.2019.00390

Abstract: Social learning about mate choices is taxonomically widespread, and is a potentially important mechanism of social evolution that may affect the strength of sexual selection in a population. We used a meta-analytic approach to estimate the effect of mate-choice copying on reproductive decisions. We evaluated effect sizes across 103 experiments from 40 studies that experimentally measured female mate-choice copying in non-human animals representing Arachnida, Insecta, Malacostraca, Aves, and Actinoperygii. Our goals were to quantify the magnitude of the effect of this form of social influence, and the extent to which it is modified by observer experience, model age relative to the observer, attractiveness of prospective mates, and testing conditions (laboratory vs. free-living). Across all studies, females that observed others choosing a male were on average 2.71 times more likely to mate with that male, or with a phenotypically similar individual, compared to females with no social information (odds ratio 95% credible interval: 1.60-4.80). After corrected for publication bias, this effect remained significant (corrected odds ratio: 1.92, 95% credible interval 1.13-3.40). We found little evidence for phylogenetic effects in the occurrence of mate-choice copying. Indeed, some studies herein found evidence for mate-choice copying in a broad cross-section of species, while others rejected it in their sister taxa. Social information from observed mate choices of others had a considerably stronger effect on mate-choice in free-living subjects than in captive individuals. Inexperienced (virgin) females were more likely to copy mate choices than were experienced females, but the relative age of the model was unrelated to whether copying occurred. Finally, females were more likely to copy the mate choices of others when social information counteracted the observing female’s personal or genetic mating preference. We note the need for increased taxonomic representation in tests of mate-choice copying, given the robust demonstration of effects in taxa studied to date. Such broader information will provide additional insight to the drivers of the differences identified here in tendency to copy mate choices of others.

Keywords: Sexual selection, Cultural inheritance, Social learning, Mate-choice copying, Biological meta-analysis, Mate choice behaviour, Meta-analytic, Drosophila, Poecilia

Current alcohol use is associated cross-sectionally with a favorable multisystem physiologic score known to be associated with better long-term health outcomes

Compared to non-drinkers, individuals who drink alcohol have a more favorable multisystem physiologic risk score as measured by allostatic load. Deena Goldwater, Arun Karlamangla, Sharon Stein Merkin, Teresa Seeman . PLOS September 30, 2019.

Aims: Alcohol use is associated with both positive and negative effects on individual cardiovascular risk factors, depending upon which risk factor is assessed. The present analysis uses a summative multisystem index of biologic risk, known as allostatic load (AL), to evaluate whether the overall balance of alcohol-associated positive and negative cardiovascular risk factors may be favorable or unfavorable.

Methods: This analysis included 1255 adults from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) biomarker substudy. Participants, average age 54.5 (±11) years, were divided into 6 alcohol-use categories based on self-reported drinking habits. Current non-drinkers were classified as lifelong abstainers and former light drinkers, former moderate drinkers, or former heavy drinkers. Current alcohol users were classified as light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. A total AL score was calculated using 24 biomarkers grouped into 7 physiologic systems including cardiovascular, inflammation, glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Mixed-effects regression models were fit to determine the relationship between alcohol use categories and AL with controls for covariates that may influence the relationship between alcohol use and AL.

Results: 468 (37.6%) individuals were current non-drinkers while 776 (62.4%) were current drinkers. In adjusted mixed-effects regression models, all 3 groups of current drinkers had significantly lower average AL scores than the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group (light: -0.23, 95% CI -0.40, -0.07, p < 0.01; moderate: -0.20, 95% CI -0.38, -0.02, p < 0.05; heavy: -0.30, 95% CI -0.57, -0.04, p < 0.05), while the average AL scores of former moderate and former heavy drinkers did not differ from the lifelong abstainer/former light drinker group.

Conclusions: Current alcohol use is associated cross-sectionally with a favorable multisystem physiologic score known to be associated with better long-term health outcomes, providing evidence in support of long-term health benefits related to alcohol consumption.

Domestic cats are spontaneously attracted by a well-known motion illusion, the Rotating Snake (RS) illusion; big cats in zoos seem also interested in motion illusions

Motion Illusions as Environmental Enrichment for Zoo Animals: A Preliminary Investigation on Lions (Panthera leo). Barbara Regaiolli et al. Front. Psychol., 04 October 2019.

Abstract: Investigating perceptual and cognitive abilities of zoo animals might help to improve their husbandry and enrich their daily life with new stimuli. Developing new environmental enrichment programs and devices is hence necessary to promote species-specific behaviors that need to be maintained in controlled environments. As far as we are aware, no study has ever tested the potential benefits of motion illusions as visual enrichment for zoo animals. Starting from a recent study showing that domestic cats are spontaneously attracted by a well-known motion illusion, the Rotating Snake (RS) illusion, we studied whether this illusion could be used as a visual enrichment for big cats. We observed the spontaneous behavior of three lionesses when three different visual stimuli were placed in their environment: the RS illusion and two control stimuli. The study involved two different periods: the baseline and the RS period, in which the visual stimuli were provided to the lionesses. To assess whether the lionesses were specifically attracted by the RS illusion, we collected data on the number of interactions with the stimuli, as well as on the total time spent interacting with them. To investigate the effect of the illusion on the animals’ welfare, individual and social behaviors were studied, and compared between the two periods. The results showed that two lionesses out of three interacted more with the RS stimulus than with the two control stimuli. The fact that the lionesses seemed to be more inclined to interact with the RS stimulus indirectly suggests the intriguing possibility that they were attracted by the illusory motion. Moreover, behavioral changes between the two periods were reported for one of the lionesses, highlighting a reduction in self-directed behaviors and an increase in attentive behaviors, and suggesting positive welfare implications. Thus, behavioral observations made before and during the presentation of the stimuli showed that our visual enrichment actually provided positive effects in lionesses. These results call for the development of future studies on the use of visual illusions in the enrichment programs of zoo animals.

Patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (necessary for normal emotion) allocate more lenient third-party punishment to criminals who commit emotionally-evocative, violent crimes

Soft on crime: Patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex damage allocate reduced third-party punishment to violent criminals. Erik W. Asp et al. Cortex, Volume 119, October 2019, Pages 33-45.

Abstract: The human impulse to punish those who have unjustly harmed others (i.e., third-party punishment) is critical for stable, cooperative societies. Punishment selection is influenced by both harm outcome and the intent of the moral agent (i.e., the offender's knowledge of wrongdoing and desire that the prohibited consequence occur). We allocate severe punishments to those who commit violent crimes and milder punishments to those who commit non-violent crimes; and we allocate severe punishments to criminals who have malicious intent and milder punishments to criminals who lack malicious intent. Prior research has indicated that aversive, emotional responses of third-party judges may influence punishment allocation, as increased negative emotion correlates with more punitive punishments. Here, we show that patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC; a region necessary for the normal generation of emotion), compared to other neurological patients and healthy adult participants, allocate more lenient third-party punishment to criminals who commit emotionally-evocative, violent crimes. By contrast, patients with vmPFC damage did not differ from comparison participants on punishment allocation for non-emotional, non-violent crimes. These results demonstrate the necessity of the vmPFC for the integration of emotion into third-party punishment decisions, and indicate that negative emotion influences third-party punishment allocation particularly for scenarios involving physical harm to another.

Keywords: Moral judgmentPrefrontal cortexHarmThird-party punishmentSocial cognition

We identified the “walkability” of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key factor in determining the upward social mobility of its residents

Oishi, S., Koo, M., & Buttrick, N. R. (2019). The socioecological psychology of upward social mobility. American Psychologist, Oct 2019, 74(7), 751-763.

Abstract: Intergenerational upward economic mobility—the opportunity for children from poorer households to pull themselves up the economic ladder in adulthood—is a hallmark of a just society. In the United States, there are large regional differences in upward social mobility. The present research examined why it is easier to get ahead in some cities and harder in others. We identified the “walkability” of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key factor in determining the upward social mobility of its residents. We 1st identified the relationship between walkability and upward mobility using tax data from approximately 10 million Americans born between 1980 and 1982. We found that this relationship is linked to both economic and psychological factors. Using data from the American Community Survey from over 3.66 million Americans, we showed that residents of walkable cities are less reliant on car ownership for employment and wages, significantly reducing 1 barrier to upward mobility. Additionally, in 2 studies, including 1 preregistered study (1,827 Americans; 1,466 Koreans), we found that people living in more walkable neighborhoods felt a greater sense of belonging to their communities, which is associated with actual changes in individual social class.

Chetty et al. (2014) proposed five factors to explain these regional differences: the area’s racial makeup, the level of income inequality, the quality of the K–12 school system, the strength of social capital (measured by voter turnout, the percentage of people who returned their census forms, and various measures of community participation), and the percentage of children living in homes with single parents. These five factors account for a substantial amount of regional variations in upward mobility.
In this article, we identify a new predictor of economic mobility: the way in which cities are organized. We propose that the walkability of one’s area is an important predictor of intergenerational upward mobility. We define walkability as how easily people can live their lives on foot or using public transportation—in highly walkable areas, people can go to work, for example, or to their local grocery store without needing a car. In contrast, in less walkable areas, cars are needed for practically every task. In urban planning, geography, and transportation research, walkability is typically measured by physical characteristics such as intersection density and street connectivity, as well as land use (e.g., mixed residential and commercial use) and dwelling density (see Frank et al., 2006). Walkability is associated with urban vibrancy and recreational opportunities (Forsyth, 2015), and walkable cities tend to have better public transportation than do less walkable cities.

Limitations and Future Directions

We would like to point out several limitations of the current research. The primary limitation is a function of our analytical approach: Because the current analyses are based on correlational data, there is the possibility that unmeasured third variables account for the link between walkability and upward mobility, and thus we cannot make causal claims. In a similar vein, we cannot conclusively demonstrate chains of causality. In Study 3, for example, though we did not find any evidence for the mediational role of upward social mobility in explaining links between walkability and a sense of belonging, it is possible that both walkability and upward social mobility induce a sense of belonging, and our findings could be driven by this alternative specification. Because we could not manipulate either walkability or a sense of belonging, we could not fully disambiguate these two accounts. In Studies 2-4, there is a possibility of selection bias in that people who like to walk chose to live in walkable cities or neighborhoods and vice versa. Study 1 does not have this problem, because children are unlikely to be able to choose where to live during their childhood. In Study 1, the city in which the participants grew up, although not randomly assigned, is not an endogenous variable, and the selection bias in Study 1 is not a major concern. Nevertheless, it is important to explore whether there is a causal effect of living in a walkable city in the future.

Second, our analyses treat walkability and access to public transportation as interchangeable. Although they are strongly correlated, it is likely that each has its own separate impact on upward mobility. For instance, Lachapelle, Frank, Saelens, Sallis, and Conway (2011) found that even within equally walkable neighborhoods, individuals who used public transportation to commute had more moderateintensity physical activity than did those who drove (see also Saelens, Vernez Moudon, Kang, Hurvitz, & Zhou, 2014). The availability and use of public transportation thus could have an independent effect on an individual’s upward social mobility. As measures of public transit availability become more comprehensive (as of now, there are far more cities with Walk Scores than Public Transit scores available at, future work disentangling the two factors will be important for guiding policy recommendations.

Third, Studies 3 and 4 relied on self-reported walkability, whereas other researchers interested in walkability have used more objective measures based on geographic information systems (Todd et al., 2016). As Studies 3 and 4 found, it is related to self-reported frequency of walking. However, because walkability is a multidimensional construct—ranging from purely physical aspects such as intersection density and connectivity to the presence of sidewalks; to proximity to restaurants, banks, and other amenities; to recreational opportunities (Forsyth, 2015)— different aspects of walkability may affect different paths to upward social mobility. In addition to the hardscape (built environment) and accessibility of amenities that is captured in the Walk Score measure used in Studies 1 and 2 and that may have a more direct effect on the link between car ownership and employment, the softscape of a neighborhood,  such as its green spaces and lighting, also affect perceptions of an area’s walkability (Hajna, Dasgupta, Halparin, & Ross, 2013) and may have a more direct effect on a sense of belonging. Our current analyses, based as they are on either the hardscape-limited Walk Score or global individual perceptions of walkability, cannot disentangle all these distinct aspects of walkability, and future studies with more focused definitions of walkability, or which manipulate perceptions of walkability even without changing the hardscape, will be useful, especially when it comes to policy recommendations.

Fourth, whereas we found a robust association between walkability and upward social mobility in the city-level analyses of Study 1, we did not observe the direct association in the individual-level analyses of Studies 3 and 4. It may be that walkability is an emergent property most clearly visible at the level of aggregate, not at the level of each individual. This seeming paradox can be illustrated with a reference to epidemiology. Studies clearly indicate, for example, a strong association between air quality and prevalence of lung cancer when examined at the level of a city or county (e.g., Hemminki & Pershagen, 1994), yet when examined at the level of individuals, the association is null or nonsignificant (e.g., Beelen et al., 2008). This is in part because lung cancer is rare. When examined at the level of a city, cancer prevalence could range from 0% to even more than 10%, with gradation in each level. When observed at the level of individuals, however, most of them do not have cancer, and therefore the effect of air quality is hard to discern. Similarly, the rate of lower SES children’s moving up the economic ladder ranges from 5%–13% between cities, and so when examined at the level of individuals, those who moved up the ladder in adulthood are small in number.

Finally, in an effort to test generalizability, we conducted Study 4 in South Korea. Although we assumed that a sense of belonging would be measured more or less equivalently between the United States and Korea, this assumption must be tested rigorously in the future using sophisticated techniques such as item response theory (e.g., Reise, Widaman, & Pugh, 1993).

Societal progress is often measured by whether the life of the current generation has gotten better than that of the previous generations, with intergenerational upward economic mobility as a critical indicator of the fairness of a society. We found that the walkability of a city is an important predictor of upward social mobility and that this might be due in part to the fact that in walkable cities residents can get access to employment without owning a car and due in part to more walking and a greater sense of belonging, which we showed have real-world relationships with individual upward mobility. We found walking effects (but not perceived walkability effects) cross-nationally and cross-culturally, both in the individualistic United States and in the more collectivist Korea, implying that the link between walking, sense of belonging, and upward social mobility may be widespread and robust. It is not easy to add sidewalks or make public roads more walkable by adding more intersections and crossings. Adding additional bus lines or putting in new train lines is also not cheap (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, & Speck, 2000; Speck, 2012). However, these might be wise societal investments if, as our results suggest, they may help rebuild the fading American dream.