Thursday, October 17, 2019

European Social Survey (n = 235,339): Does Gender Equality Cause Gender Differences in Values? Inconclusive results

Does Gender Equality Cause Gender Differences in Values?: Reassessing the Gender-Equality-Personality Paradox. Fors Connolly, Filip; Goossen, Mikael; Hjerm, Mikael. Sex Roles, accepted. OCt 10 2019.

Abstract: The Gender-Equality-Personality Paradox (GEPP) is the finding that gender differences in personality are at their largest in the most gender equal countries. Previous known studies have not examined this relationship over time. Examining this linkage is crucial to our understanding of gender differences and personality development. In the present study, we contrast evolutionary perspectives predicting a gender divergence in personality due to progression in gender equality against biosocial perspectives predicting convergence. Using data from all eight rounds of the European Social Survey (n = 235,339) across 32 European countries, we report three findings. First, in accordance with the evolutionary perspective, country-level gender equality is positively associated with gender differences in basic human values. Second, in accordance with the biosocial perspective, we find evidence supporting gender convergence in basic human values. Third, contradicting both evolutionary and biosocial assumptions, we find no evidence that gender equality causes gender differences in values. We argue that there is a need to explore alternative explanations to the observed cross-sectional association between gender equality and personality differences, as well as gender convergence in personality over time.

Masturbation is associated with psychopathological and reproduction health conditions: an online survey among campus male students

Masturbation is associated with psychopathological and reproduction health conditions: an online survey among campus male students. Timei Jiao, Juelei Chen & Yubai Niu. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, Oct 16 2019.

Abstract: In order to investigate the association between masturbation and psychopathological and reproduction relative conditions, an online survey was conducted among campus male students of Zhejiang University, which comprised of basic personal information, and questions for reproduction related health, masturbation frequency, and psychological well-being. Psychological status was evaluated with Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire (MHQ). The psychological and reproduction health related parameters were compared among the groups divided according to masturbation frequency. Finally 143 students were included in analysis. Floating anxiety, somatic, and hysteric scores were significantly associated with masturbation, with higher scores in group with highest masturbation frequency; masturbation is significantly associated with fatigue, soreness and weakness of the lumbar region, memory decline, immunity decline, insomnia dreaminess and gradual increase of frequency of masturbation, and the rates of most of the reproduction related symptoms increased accompanying the increase of the masturbation frequency. MQH scores of obsession, phobic anxiety, and depression were not associated with masturbation. It was concluded that masturbation may adversely affect psychological health as well as reproductive well-being.

Keywords: Masturbation, psychological, reproductive health, depression, anxiety

I find this doubful. Check from 2013... Macaques: Male masturbation may help maintain a high sexual arousal to decrease the length of the next mount & increase the probability of ejaculating through mating:
Effect of mating activity and dominance rank on male masturbation among free-ranging male rhesus macaques. Constance Dubuc, Sean P. Coyne, and Dario Maestripieri. Ethology. 2013 Nov 1; 119(11): 10.1111/eth.12146.

From 2013... Macaques: Male masturbation may help maintain a high sexual arousal to decrease the length of the next mount & increase the probability of ejaculating through mating

From 2013... Effect of mating activity and dominance rank on male masturbation among free-ranging male rhesus macaques. Constance Dubuc, Sean P. Coyne, and Dario Maestripieri
Ethology. 2013 Nov 1; 119(11): 10.1111/eth.12146.

Abstract: The adaptive function of male masturbation is still poorly understood, despite its high prevalence in humans and other animals. In non-human primates, male masturbation is most frequent among anthropoid monkeys and apes living in multimale-multifemale groups with a promiscuous mating system. In these species, male masturbation may be a non-functional by-product of high sexual arousal or be adaptive by providing advantages in terms of sperm competition or by decreasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections. We investigated the possible functional significance of male masturbation using behavioral data collected on 21 free-ranging male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) at the peak of the mating season. We found some evidence that masturbation is linked to low mating opportunities: regardless of rank, males were most likely to be observed masturbating on days in which they were not observed mating, and lower-ranking males mated less and tended to masturbate more frequently than higher-ranking males. These results echo the findings obtained for two other species of macaques, but contrast those obtained in red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius) and Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris). Interestingly, however, male masturbation events ended with ejaculation in only 15% of the observed masturbation time, suggesting that new hypotheses are needed to explain masturbation in this species. More studies are needed to establish whether male masturbation is adaptive and whether it serves similar or different functions in different sexually promiscuous species.

Keywords: Masturbation, auto-erotism, male-male competition, sexually-transmitted disease, sexual arousal, mating success, dominance rank, rhesus macaques


Masturbation, or self-manipulation of the genitalia, is part of the natural behavioral repertoire of many animal species (reviewed in Bagemihl 1999; Thomsen et al. 2003; Dixson 2012), including humans (Laqueur 2003; Dixson 2012), but whether this behavior has an adaptive function is still poorly understood. Although comparative behavioral data on masturbation could help us understand the adaptive function and evolution of this behavior, very few data are available to date.

Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the function of male masturbation (reviewed by Waterman 2010; see also Dixson 2012). The “sexual-outlet” hypothesis proposes that masturbation is a non-adaptive by-product of sexual arousal and serves as an alternative outlet to copulation (Kinsey et al. 1948; Dixson & Anderson 2004; Dixon 2012). This by-product hypothesis implies that males do not gain any fitness benefits, in terms of their health or survival, or increased mating or reproductive success, from masturbation. Second, the “ejaculate-quality-improvement” hypothesis posits that masturbation is an adaptive behavior that serves to eliminate degraded gametes or avoid polyzoospermy in order to increase the overall ejaculate quality, thus increasing the probability of impregnation when males copulate with a fertile female (Zimmerman et al. 1965; Baker & Bellis 1993, 1995; Thomsen et al. 2003; Thomsen & Soltis 2004). While suggesting very different functions of masturbation, these two hypotheses both predict that masturbation should be more frequent among males that have little or no opportunity to mate, and/or occur in periods of infrequent mating (Thomsen et al. 2003; Thomsen & Soltis 2004; Dixson & Anderson 2004; Waterman 2010; Dixon 2012). In addition, the ejaculate-quality-improvement hypothesis predicts that males who have infrequent access to females but masturbate frequently should have higher sperm quality and higher probability of impregnation when compared to males who masturbate less frequently, other things being equal. Finally, according to the “STI-reduction” hypothesis, masturbation serves to cleanse the male reproductive tract to decrease the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (Waterman 2010). This hypothesis has been developed more recently to explain the behavioral pattern observed in the highly promiscuous Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris; Waterman 2010). Contrary to the two other hypotheses, the STI-reduction hypothesis predicts that male masturbation should be more prevalent in periods of high sexual activity, performed by males who mate successfully, and occur shortly after copulation (Waterman 2010). Moreover, it predicts that males who masturbate frequently in these circumstances should be less likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases than males who do not masturbate or do so less frequently, and should thus be in overall better health. It should be noted that all three hypotheses are based on the assumption that male masturbation typically leads to ejaculation.

Among nonhuman primates, the occurrence of male masturbation has been documented at the qualitative level for 30 species of Old World monkeys and apes, whereas it is rare or even absent in New World monkeys and prosimians (reviewed in Thomsen et al. 2003; Dixson 2012). Male masturbation is most frequent in anthropoid primates that live in multimale-multifemale groups (Thomsen et al. 2003) and have large testis volume relative to their body size (Dixson & Anderson 2004). While this observation has been interpreted as being suggestive that male masturbation is functionally linked to sperm competition (ejaculate-quality-improvement hypothesis; Thomsen et al. 2003), this observation is also consistent with the sexual-outlet hypothesis because in sexually promiscuous species “males possess neuroendocrine specializations for greater sexual arousal and performance” (Dixson & Anderson 2004, p. 366; see also Dixon 2012, p. 192). Such pattern could also be explained by the STI-hypothesis because sexually transmitted infections are more likely to spread in species with promiscuous mating system (Waterman 2010).

While no primate studies to date have directly investigated the potential fitness benefits of male masturbation, a handful of studies have investigated the functional hypotheses indirectly, by testing their predictions concerning the frequency of masturbation and its potential association with rank and mating activity within species. In free-ranging red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius), masturbation was performed very rarely (5 instances in 8,950h of observation collected over 5 years) mainly by alpha males and specifically during intergroup encounters (i.e. when rivals are present) taking place when some females were sexually active, with no copulations reported for either resident or extra-group males (Starin 2004). Male masturbation was much more frequent in two macaques species, in which hundreds of instances were observed over less than 1000 hours of observation collected over 1–2 years (Nieuwenhuijsen et al. 1987; Thomsen & Soltis 2004). In free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), masturbation is more frequent in males of lower mating success and those of lower dominance rank (Thomsen & Soltis 2004; see also Inoue, 2012). No such relation between dominance rank and masturbation frequency was revealed in captive group-living stump-tail macaques (M. arctoides; Nieuwenhuijsen et al. 1987). A closer investigation of the latter study’s data, however, revealed an opposite pattern of distribution of mating and masturbation rate between the alpha male (409 copulations vs. 30 masturbation bouts) and the beta male (30 copulations vs. 543 masturbation bouts), which suggests a relation between rank, mating, and masturbation similar to that reported in Japanese macaques (cf. Table 3 in Nieuwenhuijsen et al. 1987). Overall, the results obtained for macaques seem more consistent with the ejaculate-quality-improvement and sexual-outlet hypotheses than with the STI-reduction one.

In the present study, we examined whether and how access to fertile females influences masturbation rate in free-ranging male rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. Rhesus macaques are seasonal breeders and on Cayo Santiago that they live in unusually large troops (50–300 individuals). In this rhesus population, male mating and reproductive success are linked to dominance rank, although not strongly (e.g. Berard et al. 1994; Dubuc et al. 2011). High-ranking males form extended consortships with estrous females characterized by frequent copulations and ejaculations, while lower-ranking males mate less frequently and mainly through sneak copulations and short-term associations (e.g. Carpenter 1942; Altmann 1962; Chapais 1983; Berard et al. 1994; Higham et al. 2011). However, middle- and low-ranking males can still enjoy a relatively high reproductive success (e.g. Berard et al. 1994; Dubuc et al. 2011) because high-ranking males are generally unsuccessful at mate-guarding females over the entire course of their fertile phase (Dubuc et al. 2012), thus making it possible for other males to fertilize females through sneaky copulations and sperm competition (see also Bercovitch 1992). While male masturbation has long been known for this species (e.g. Carpenter 1942; Phoenix & Jenson 1973), little is known about the relationship between masturbation and mating activity. Work on captive rhesus macaques has shown that male masturbation takes place even without any sensory contact with females (e.g. Phoenix & Jenson 1973), is eliminated by castration (Phoenix & Jenson 1973; Slimp et al. 1978; Loy et al., 1984), but not by brain lesions that eliminate sexual interactions with females (Slimp et al. 1978).

Here, we explored the possible functional significance of male masturbation by investigating the correlation between masturbation frequency and male dominance rank, and investigating how mating activity influences masturbation behavior in two different ways, by testing (i) whether there is a correlation between masturbation rate and overall mating frequency, and (ii) whether or not males were more likely to masturbate on days in which they were seen mating. Based on previous findings obtained in macaques, we predicted that the pattern of male masturbations will be more consistent with the sexual-outlet and ejaculate-quality-improvement hypotheses than with the STI hypothesis. Specifically, we predicted that (1) low-ranking males and/or least successful males of a social group should be more likely to be observed masturbating, and (2) males should be more likely to masturbate on days in which they do not mate. In addition, we expected (3) masturbation to lead to ejaculation.



In our study, masturbation that did not lead to ejaculation took place in two main contexts (25% of all masturbation bouts each): (1) males manipulated their in penis only once in a period of time in which they emitted a large amount of self-directed behaviors; and (2) males stopped masturbating and started interacting with females in a sexual context, a third of which led to mating (Fig. 3). In the remaining cases, the male changed activity or simply stopped with no obvious change of activity. Based on these observations, we propose two hypotheses to explain male masturbation in rhesus macaques. Firstly, we propose that it may be a form of self-directed behavior emitted in context of intense anxiety (Maestripieri et al. 1992), which could or could not be created by a sexual context itself (‘masturbation-as-SDB’ hypothesis). Masturbation could be more frequent among low-ranked males if their position creates more emotional stress. Alternatively, male masturbation could be aimed at maintaining high level of sexual arousal for males in order to decrease the length of the next mount series and increase the probability of ejaculating through mating (‘sexual-arousal’ hypothesis). In rhesus macaques, mount series can last from 1 to 56 minutes, and long series are more likely to be interrupted by higher-ranking males (Manson 1996). This would be more frequent among non-dominant males that have a low access to females and mate mainly during short-term associations and sneak copulations.

An unequivocal rejection of the null hypothesis that male masturbation is a non-functional by-product of frustrated sexual arousal would require evidence that inter-individual variation in masturbation behavior is associated with variation in male health, emotional stress, ejaculate quality, and/or in fertilization success. While Inoue (2012) showed no correlation between masturbation rate and reproductive success, the fact that mating rate or dominance rank was not taken into account provides little insights about whether males masturbating produced more offspring than predicted based on their mating rate. Some insights into the function of masturbation could also be provided by comparing closely-related primate species that live in multi-male multi-female groups that differ in the extent to which the alpha male effectively monopolizes access to fertile females (and in turn, the intensity of sperm competition) or in their mating pattern (i.e. multiple-mounters vs. single-mounters). Comparing prevalence of male masturbation, the frequency at which it leads to ejaculation, and context in which it takes place within these species could shed some light on whether maintaining a steady supply of high-quality sperm through frequent masturbation is needed to take full advantage of rare opportunities for copulation that become available to individuals who are otherwise consistently prevented from copulating.

In the nations with the most abject poverty, we observed substantial (~30–40%) genetic influence on cognitive abilities; shared environmental influences were similar to those found in adolescents growing in affluent countries

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Cognitive Abilities in Extreme Poverty. Yoon-Mi Hur and Timothy Bates. Twin Research and Human Genetics, October 17 2019.

Abstract: To improve global human capital, an understanding of the interplay of endowment across the full range of socioeconomic status (SES) is needed. Relevant data, however, are absent in the nations with the most abject poverty (Tucker-Drob & Bates, 2016), where the lowest heritability and strong effects of SES are predicted. Here we report the first study of biopsychosocial gene–environment interaction in extreme poverty. In a sub-Saharan sample of early teenage twins (N = 3192), we observed substantial (~30–40%) genetic influence on cognitive abilities. Surprisingly, shared environmental influences were similar to those found in adolescents growing in Western affluent countries (25–28%). G × SES moderation was estimated at aˋ = .06 (p = .355). Family chaos did not moderate genetic effects but did moderate shared environment influence. Heritability of cognitive abilities in extreme poverty appears comparable to Western data. Reduced family chaos may be a modifiable factor promoting cognitive development.

From 2016... Participants were reminded of death (vs. control) and evaluated new, 20‐, or 100‐year‐old objects; death reminders resulted in greater valuation of older objects

From 2016... When existence is not futile: The influence of mortality salience on the longer‐is‐better effect. Simon McCabe, Melissa R. Spina, Jamie Arndt. British Journal of Social Psychology, April 4 2016.

Abstract: This research examines how death reminders impact the valuation of objects of various ages. Building from the existence bias, the longer‐is‐better effect posits that which exists is good and that which has existed for longer is better. Integrating terror management theory, it was reasoned that mortality reminders fostering a motivation to at least symbolically transcend death would lead participants to evaluate older object more positively as they signal robustness of existence. Participants were reminded of death (vs. control) and evaluated new, 20‐, or 100‐year‐old objects. Results indicated death reminders resulted in greater valuation of older objects. Findings are discussed with implications for terror management theory, the longer‐is‐better effect, ageism, materialism, and consumer behaviour.

People’s tendency to deem bearers of bad news as unlikeable stems in part from their desire to make sense of chance processes; dislike is mitigated when messenger’s motives are benevolent

John, L. K., Blunden, H., & Liu, H. (2019). Shooting the messenger. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(4), 644-666. OCt 2019.

Abstract: Eleven experiments provide evidence that people have a tendency to “shoot the messenger,” deeming innocent bearers of bad news unlikeable. In a preregistered lab experiment, participants rated messengers who delivered bad news from a random drawing as relatively unlikeable (Study 1). A second set of studies points to the specificity of the effect: Study 2A shows that it is unique to the (innocent) messenger, and not mere bystanders. Study 2B shows that it is distinct from merely receiving information with which one disagrees. We suggest that people’s tendency to deem bearers of bad news as unlikeable stems in part from their desire to make sense of chance processes. Consistent with this account, receiving bad news activates the desire to sense-make (Study 3A), and in turn, activating this desire enhances the tendency to dislike bearers of bad news (Study 3B). Next, stemming from the idea that unexpected outcomes heighten the desire to sense-make, Study 4 shows that when bad news is unexpected, messenger dislike is pronounced. Finally, consistent with the notion that people fulfill the desire to sense-make by attributing agency to entities adjacent to chance events, messenger dislike is correlated with the erroneous belief that the messenger had malevolent motives (Studies 5A, 5B, and 5C). Studies 6A and 6B go further, manipulating messenger motives independently from news valence to suggest their causal role in our process account: the tendency to dislike bearers of bad news is mitigated when recipients are made aware of the benevolence of the messenger’s motives.

There is no indication for potential devastating effects of social media on school achievement; social media use and school grades are unrelated for adolescents

Are Social Media Ruining Our Lives? A Review of Meta-Analytic Evidence. Markus Appel, Caroline Marker, Timo Gnambs. Review of General Psychology, October 16, 2019.

Abstract: A growing number of studies have examined the psychological corollaries of using social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (often called social media). The interdisciplinary research area and conflicting evidence from primary studies complicate the assessment of current scholarly knowledge in this field of high public attention. We review meta-analytic evidence on three hotly debated topics regarding the effects of SNSs: well-being, academic achievement, and narcissism. Meta-analyses from different laboratories draw a rather equivocal picture. They show small associations in the r = .10 range between the intensity of SNS use and loneliness, self-esteem, life satisfaction, or self-reported depression, and somewhat stronger links to a thin body ideal and higher social capital. There is no indication for potential devastating effects of social media on school achievement; social media use and school grades are unrelated for adolescents. The meta-analyses revealed small to moderate associations between narcissism and SNS use. In sum, meta-analytic evidence is not in support of dramatic claims relating social media use to mischief.

Keywords social media, meta-analysis, narcissism, achievement, well-being

Enriched Environment Exposure Accelerates Rodent Driving Skills

Enriched Environment Exposure Accelerates Rodent Driving Skills. L.E.Crawford et al. Behavioural Brain Research, October 16 2019, 112309.

• Rats can learn the complex task of navigating a car to a desired goal area.
• Enriched environments enhance competency in a rodent driving task.
• Driving rats maintained an interest in the car through extinction.
• Tasks incorporating complex skill mastery are important for translational research.

ABSTRACT: Although rarely used, long-term behavioral training protocols provide opportunities to shape complex skills in rodent laboratory investigations that incorporate cognitive, motor, visuospatial and temporal functions to achieve desired goals. In the current study, following preliminary research establishing that rats could be taught to drive a rodent operated vehicle (ROV) in a forward direction, as well as steer in more complex navigational patterns, male rats housed in an enriched environment were exposed to the rodent driving regime. Compared to standard-housed rats, enriched-housed rats demonstrated more robust learning in driving performance and their interest in the ROV persisted through extinction trials. Dehydroepiandrosterone/corticosterone (DHEA/CORT) metabolite ratios in fecal samples increased in accordance with training in all animals, suggesting that driving training, regardless of housing group, enhanced markers of emotional resilience. These results confirm the importance of enriched environments in preparing animals to engage in complex behavioral tasks. Further, behavioral models that include trained motor skills enable researchers to assess subtle alterations in motivation and behavioral response patterns that are relevant for translational research related to neurodegenerative disease and psychiatric illness.

Public discourse is often caustic and conflict-filled; the present work sought to examine a potentially novel explanatory mechanism defined in philosophical literature: Moral Grandstanding

Grubbs JB, Warmke B, Tosi J, James AS, Campbell WK (2019) Moral grandstanding in public discourse: Status-seeking motives as a potential explanatory mechanism in predicting conflict. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0223749, October 16, 2019.

Abstract: Public discourse is often caustic and conflict-filled. This trend seems to be particularly evident when the content of such discourse is around moral issues (broadly defined) and when the discourse occurs on social media. Several explanatory mechanisms for such conflict have been explored in recent psychological and social-science literatures. The present work sought to examine a potentially novel explanatory mechanism defined in philosophical literature: Moral Grandstanding. According to philosophical accounts, Moral Grandstanding is the use of moral talk to seek social status. For the present work, we conducted six studies, using two undergraduate samples (Study 1, N = 361; Study 2, N = 356); a sample matched to U.S. norms for age, gender, race, income, Census region (Study 3, N = 1,063); a YouGov sample matched to U.S. demographic norms (Study 4, N = 2,000); and a brief, one-month longitudinal study of Mechanical Turk workers in the U.S. (Study 5, Baseline N = 499, follow-up n = 296), and a large, one-week YouGov sample matched to U.S. demographic norms (Baseline N = 2,519, follow-up n = 1,776). Across studies, we found initial support for the validity of Moral Grandstanding as a construct. Specifically, moral grandstanding motivation was associated with status-seeking personality traits, as well as greater political and moral conflict in daily life.

Amateurs pay trainers $1000 to $10,000 to enter marathons with them; ‘like a little concierge service’

Want to Win That Race? Hire a Coach to Stay Alongside You and Carry Your Phone. Hilary Potkewitz. The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2019.

Amateurs pay trainers to enter marathons with them; ‘like a little concierge service’

Diane Reynolds had been racing for a few months when she won her first amateur cycling event, the Farm to Fork Fondo near upstate New York’s Finger Lakes in August. She left more than 500 riders in the dust, including all the men.
A little help

The win earned the 49-year-old novice a jersey decorated with polka-dot chickens, but it didn’t come cheap: She paid about $1,000 for former pro cyclist Hunter Allen to ride all 84 miles with her as a private coach.

Mr. Allen, 50, gave her real-time pointers on pacing, technical skills and race strategy. He also ran interference for her. “Early on, there were about 10 guys riding hard taking turns up front—I was one of them—and I knew we were going to break away from the peloton,” or main group of riders, he says. “I made sure Diane stayed with us, sheltered in the middle and conserved her energy as we widened the gap.”

Dr. Reynolds, an anesthesiologist in Knoxville, Tenn., ended up setting a record as the only female overall winner in 27 Farm to Fork Fondo events, according to organizers. “It wasn’t like I qualified for the Olympics, but I hit my personal goal and that was a great feeling,” she says.

While coaches have long attended amateur races to support their clients from the sidelines, more are joining them on the starting line as pacers-for-hire. Instead of competing outright, they agree to race alongside their client as an ally. That means registering, putting on a bib and finishing with an official time—often torpedoing their own race to help a client achieve a goal.

“I haven’t run a marathon for myself since 2010,” says New York-based running coach John Honerkamp, who is training for November’s New York City Marathon.

This will be his ninth year of shepherding celebrity clients through the finish line. Not that he’s complaining: In 2017, he helped supermodel Karlie Kloss cross the tape in 4 hours, 41 minutes and 49 seconds. In 2014 he paced tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki to a sterling time of 3:26.33. The last time he marathoned alone he finished in 2:44.22.

When he’s working a race, he’ll carry his client’s energy gels and cellphone, zip ahead to grab water or Gatorade, and block the wind to let them run in his draft. “I’m like a little concierge service,” Mr. Honerkamp says.

His fee starts at $5,000 and increases on a sliding scale based on time and effort involved. For a sub-three-hour finish, he charges about $10,000.

“I have to put a lot of work in to break three hours. I can’t just wing it,” the 44-year-old says. As a rule of thumb, he says he needs to train at a pace about 20 minutes faster than his client’s target. “The key is to be as relaxed as possible during the race so the person I’m pacing is comforted,” he says. “If I’m gasping for air, I can’t do that as well.”

Not all endurance sports take the same view of this bespoke training. Some see it as an unfair advantage to a few highly competitive amateurs who can afford it. Others are more blunt. “It’s cheating,” says Melissa Mantak, a triathlon coach in Denver. She was at a recent Ironman event in Boulder, Colo., coaching one of her athletes—from the sidelines, she says, where a coach belongs—when a nearby runner started to flag. The young woman’s pacer kept her in the race. “I could see him physically pushing her forward,” Ms. Mantak says. “I wish I’d taken a picture.”

The young woman finished second in her age group, nabbing a coveted entry to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Ms. Mantak’s client finished third and missed the cut. “It was very upsetting,” Ms. Mantak says.

Ironman and internationally sanctioned triathlons forbid racing as a team, among other rules. “The race is meant to be as much of an individual effort as possible,” says Jimmy Riccitello, Ironman head referee.

The rules don’t address coach-client racing specifically, he says, and violations are hard to prove. If a racer competing for herself sees a client struggling midrace and gives encouragement or helps with a flat bike tire, that’s probably OK, he says. But if someone’s sole purpose for racing is to help a client qualify for Kona? “That goes against the spirit of triathlon,” Mr. Riccitello says.

Cycling is often a team sport, and a coach-client pairing is just another team, says Farm to Fork Fondo director Tyler Wren. He says the rides often draw cycling clubs and people with coaches training for other events.

This year’s Finger Lakes course had several flat sections ideal for race training, says Mr. Allen, the coach. When crosswinds picked up, he organized their group of 10 riders into a diagonal line called an echelon, a strategy to conserve energy more common in elite cycling.

“Hunter was doing his coaching thing, telling everyone how to ride in the wind and showing how an echelon worked,” Ms. Reynolds says. “They were all pretty psyched.”

Most marathons, including New York, have official pacers who run designated finish times for racers wondering about their own pace. Hiring a private pacer is just an iteration of that, says Rich Harshbarger, CEO of Running USA.

Mr. Honerkamp is training harder than usual for this year’s New York Marathon because he’s pacing chef Daniel Humm, a longtime client on a mission to break three hours. The pair teamed up for the 2018 race, running most of the way with retired competitive marathon star and mutual friend Meb Keflezighi and finishing with a time of about 3:10. That disappointed Mr. Humm.

“I think we could have broken three hours last year, but we were having fun with Meb and joking around a bit,” says Mr. Humm, 43. “I told John, ‘That won’t happen this year.’ ”

Long-married couples recall their wedding day: the influence of collaboration and gender on autobiographical memory recall

Long-married couples recall their wedding day: the influence of collaboration and gender on autobiographical memory recall. Azriel Grysman et al. Memory, Oct 15 2019.

ABSTRACT: The current study examined the influence of collaboration, expertise, and communication on autobiographical memory, by considering gender differences in recall and how they may influence the products and processes of remembering when male-female couples recall events together. Thirty-nine long-married, male-female couples recalled their memories of their wedding day. In Session 1, they recalled it individually for an experimenter. One week later, in Session 2, they recalled the same event jointly as a collaborative pair. Women reported more details, especially episodic details, than men across both sessions. Notably, collaborative recall included many new details that neither spouse had recalled individually. Exploratory analyses suggest that women were less influenced by collaboration than were men: women’s communication behaviours influenced men’s recall, but the reverse was not found for men’s communication. Additionally, when couples’ individual recall was more similar in content, men were more likely to decrease their contribution to the collaborative session. We consider these findings in light of transactive memory theory, in which joint meta-memory and the distribution of expertise influence the processes and products of recall in the interdependent system of a couple who extensively share their autobiographical memories.

KEYWORDS: Autobiographical memory, memory collaboration, gender, transactive memory