Sunday, October 13, 2019

Some people share knowledge online, often without tangible compensation; they are motivated to signal general intelligence g; observers infer g from contributions' quality

The quality of online knowledge sharing signals general intelligence. Christian N.Yoder, Scott A.Reid. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 148, 1 October 2019, Pages 90-94.

Abstract: Some people share knowledge online, often without tangible compensation. Who does this, when, and why? According to costly signaling theory people use behavioral displays to provide observers with useful information about traits or states in exchange for fitness benefits. We tested whether individuals higher in general intelligence, g, provided better quality contributions to an information pool under high than low identifiability, and whether observers could infer signaler g from contribution quality. Using a putative online wiki (N = 98) we found that as individuals' scores on Ravens Progressive Matrices (RPM) increased, participants were judged to have written better quality articles, but only when identifiable and not when anonymous. Further, the effect of RPM scores on inferred intelligence was mediated by article quality, but only when signalers were identifiable. Consistent with costly signaling theory, signalers are extrinsically motivated and observers act as “naive psychometricians.” We discuss the implications for understanding online information pools and altruism.

Brain Syndrome Can Make Owners Think Pets Are Impostors

Herzog, Harold, "Brain Syndrome Can Make Owners Think Pets Are Impostors" (2018). 'Animals and Us' Blog Posts. 103, Apr 25, 2018.

Mary was 40 years old when she became convinced that Sarah, her 9 year old daughter, was an impostor.  The real Sarah, she told relatives, had been taken away and placed into a foster home. She claimed social workers had replaced her actual child with an identical-looking impostor.  Mary was so convinced of this substitution that she would sometimes refuse to pick her daughter up at school. Mary would scream to the teachers, “Give me my real daughter back, I know what you have done!”
To no avail, her family and health care providers tried to convince Mary that no substitution had occurred, that Sarah was indeed her real daughter.  But even after Mary was treated with risperiodone, a powerful anti-psychotic drug, she held on to the delusion. The local Department of Social Services became concerned about her ability to raise a child. And when it became apparent that Mary could no longer provide care for the daughter who she believed was an impostor, they successfully sought legal guardianship for Sarah. At one point during the hearing, Sarah told the court, “I love my mother, except when she doesn’t believe I’m me.”

As described in an article by Drs. Jeremy Matuszak and Matthew Parra in the journal Psychiatric Times, Mary was suffering from Capgras Syndrome. This is a rare variant of a group of neuropsychiatric conditions called delusional misidentification disorders.  First identified in 1923 by the French psychiatrists Joseph Capgras and Reboul-Lachaux, individuals with the Capgras delusion come to believe that a person they know has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. Usually the target of the delusion is a family member or a loved one. In Mary’s case, it was her young daughter.


What Causes Animal Capgras Delusions?

I admit that nine cases is a small sample, but some interesting patterns did emerge among this group of patients. For example, twice as many women as men thought they were living with impostor animals.  And, as group, the patients tended to be on the old side. Six of eight individuals were over 50, and half were in their late 60’s or older. While only two of the patients had suffered identifiable brain damage, nearly all the patients had been diagnosed with a functional psychosis, usually a form of schizophrenia.  Finally, all seven of the patients which there was information on treatments were given anti-psychotic drugs. In nearly all of these cases, their pet impostor delusions diminished, and in several cases, they seemed to have disappeared.

Speculations about the causes of Capras syndrome abound. The some researchers argue that impostor delusions are a way of subconsciously dealing with love-hate conflicts. V. S. Ramachandran believes that imposter delusions result from disconnections between emotional and face recognition centers in the brain.  Others argue it is usually the result of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Lewy body disease. Indeed, impostor delusions have been associated with a wide array of conditions including psychiatric disorders, strokes, tumors, epilepsy, and even vitamin deficiencies and drug use.

Targeted Memory Reactivation During Sleep Improves Next-Day Problem Solving

Targeted Memory Reactivation During Sleep Improves Next-Day Problem Solving. Kristin E. G. Sanders et al. Psychological Science, October 11, 2019.

Abstract: Many people have claimed that sleep has helped them solve a difficult problem, but empirical support for this assertion remains tentative. The current experiment tested whether manipulating information processing during sleep impacts problem incubation and solving. In memory studies, delivering learning-associated sound cues during sleep can reactivate memories. We therefore predicted that reactivating previously unsolved problems could help people solve them. In the evening, we presented 57 participants with puzzles, each arbitrarily associated with a different sound. While participants slept overnight, half of the sounds associated with the puzzles they had not solved were surreptitiously presented. The next morning, participants solved 31.7% of cued puzzles, compared with 20.5% of uncued puzzles (a 55% improvement). Moreover, cued-puzzle solving correlated with cued-puzzle memory. Overall, these results demonstrate that cuing puzzle information during sleep can facilitate solving, thus supporting sleep’s role in problem incubation and establishing a new technique to advance understanding of problem solving and sleep cognition.

Keywords problem solving, incubation, sleep, targeted memory reactivation, restructuring, creative cognition

When recipients open a gift from a friend, they like it less when the giver has wrapped it neatly as opposed to sloppily and we draw on expectation disconfirmation theory to explain the effect

Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes. Jessica M. Rixom  Erick M. Mas  Brett A. Rixom. Journal of Consumer Psychology, October 11 2019.

Abstract: While gift‐givers typically wrap gifts prior to presenting them, little is known about the effect of how the gift is wrapped on recipients’ expectations and attitudes toward the gift inside. We propose that when recipients open a gift from a friend, they like it less when the giver has wrapped it neatly as opposed to sloppily and we draw on expectation disconfirmation theory to explain the effect. Specifically, recipients set higher (lower) expectations for neatly (sloppily)‐wrapped gifts, making it harder (easier) for the gifts to meet these expectations, resulting in contrast effects that lead to less (more) positive attitudes toward the gifts once unwrapped. However, when the gift‐giver is an acquaintance, there is ambiguity in the relationship status and wrapping neatness serves as a cue about the relationship rather than the gift itself. This leads to assimilation effects where the recipient likes the gift more when neatly wrapped. We assess these effects across three studies and find that they hold for desirable, neutral, and undesirable gifts, as well as with both hypothetical and real gifts.