Tuesday, October 29, 2019

We now know that disgust sensitivity is heritable, and that parental modeling does not appear to shape it; but idiosyncratic experience does shape it

Tybur, Joshua M., and Annika Karinen. 2019. “Measurement and Theory in Disgust Sensitivity.” PsyArXiv. October 29. doi:10.31234/osf.io/64fvp

Abstract: This chapter covers the 20+ year history of disgust sensitivity research by summarizing and contrasting different disgust sensitivity instruments and discussing how these instruments are used and interpreted.

Surveys conducted in the United States show that people report disgust toward actions and objects that inhabit some of the most important corners of our lives. We are disgusted by the prospect of eating certain foods, the sights and smells of other people’s bodies, the thought of sexual contact with most of the people on earth, and considerations of others’ moral shortcomings (Haidt et al., 1994; Tybur et al., 2009). International surveys indicate that disgust’s relevance to food choice, mating, and morality is not a quirk of US culture (Curtis and Biran, 2001; Haidt et al., 1997; cf. Kollareth and Russell, in 2017). Despite disgust’s far-reaching consequences, only scarce work was devoted to understanding the emotion through most of the twentieth century (Rozin et al., 2009). In the 1990s, however, the dearth of research to the topic caught the attention of a handful of scientists, who described disgust as both the ‘forgotten emotion of psychiatry’ (Phillips et al., 1998) and as a scarcely investigated – yet key – cog in the mechanisms that underlie our moral psychology (Haidt et al., 1993; Haidt et al., 1997). Calls for greater interest in disgust were heard across the behavioral sciences, with researchers using the science of disgust to better understand political attitudes (Inbar et al., 2012), food preferences (Fessler et al., 2003), health behavior (Reynolds et al., 2014), personality (Tybur and De Vries, 2013), psychopathology (Olatunji and Sawchuk, 2005), aggression (Pond et al., 2012), and moral judgments (Chapman and Anderson, 2013, 2014).

Although much of this work on disgust has focused on understanding the psychological processes underlying disgust and their resulting effects on behavior (e.g., Tybur and Lieberman, 2016), the majority of disgust research has focused on individual differences. Largely using self report instruments, researchers have tested how disgust sensitivity (DS) – that is, reported intensity of disgust toward the types of things that arouse at least a little disgust in most healthy adults – relates to the variety of topics detailed earlier. Results from these studies portray the disgust sensitive individual as someone who is averse toward new experiences (Tybur and De Vries, 2013), politically conservative (Inbar et al., 2012), prone to moral judgment (Chapman and Anderson, 2014), and more likely to have anxiety disorders (Olatunji and Sawchuk, 2005). Relative to the prodigious measurement of DS, though, little work has critically analyzed the validity of the multiple DS instruments used in the literature and the nature of DS as a construct. This chapter aims to provide a survey of the DS literature and, in doing so, comment on the dimensionality of DS, the mechanistic roots of DS, the developmental origins of DS, and a theoretical framework that can organize the literature.

Concluding thoughts

Researchers have been excited to find that DS relates to phenomena such as political ideology and psychopathology. Such findings promise to provide novel understandings of why individuals adopt liberal vs. conservative political positions, or why they experience potentially debilitating anxieties about washing and cleansing. The potential knowledge gleaned from these studies is constrained by our understanding of DS itself, though. Much recent progress has been made in understanding disgust as an emotion, and in understanding the dimensionality of DS, relation with personality, and heritability. Every slice of new information about DS can raise further questions. We now know that DS is heritable, and that parental modeling does not appear to shape DS. But what are the genetic and environmental sources shaping DS? Pathogen DS appears to relate to behavioral avoidance of pathogen cues, but perhaps not facial responses to pathogen cues. Do null relations with facial response reflect a disjunction between experienced and expressed disgust, or do they reflect underpowered studies? And, further, what differentiates pathogen DS from other variables used in the behavioral immune system literature, and what differentiates sexual DS from sociosexuality? Questions like these suggest that DS research has entered a second generation of sorts – it has matured from a new venture that shows promise for understanding a variety of phenomena to a multidisciplinary undertaking dedicated to understanding dimensionality, development, and cross-cultural variation. We hope that this chapter has sketched out promising directions for this second generation of research, and that future overviews of DS can provide answers to some of the questions posed.

Participants (n = 828) reported how they perceived sexual & romantic fantasizing; despite the current sentiment on socially & morally unacceptable physical acts, fantasizing towards themselves are not perceived as unacceptable

Perceived Acceptability of Sexual and Romantic Fantasizing. Tara M. Busch. Sexuality & Culture, October 29 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-019-09668-6

Abstract: To better understand the social norms surrounding fantasizing behavior, the current research aimed to assess how acceptable various types of fantasizing (romantic or sexual) are perceived. Understanding and abiding by social norms helps people avoid criticism, social sanctions, and ostracism. Thus, better understanding the social norms surrounding various types of fantasies can help people better navigate their social worlds, especially with respect to sexuality, dating, and relationships. Participants (n = 828) reported how acceptable, violating, and bothersome they perceived sexual and romantic fantasizing to be towards themselves and others. Results suggest that despite the current sentiment on socially and morally unacceptable physical acts, mental acts of fantasizing are not perceived as unacceptable or violating. No gender differences arose between men and women’s perceptions of fantasy acceptability. Demographic differences in perceived fantasy acceptability by race, sexual orientation, relationship status, and age are discussed. These findings deepen the understanding of how society views fantasizing behavior and help begin to define boundaries for acceptable versus violating thoughts.

Keywords: Sexual fantasies Romantic fantasies Fantasizing Social norms Moral issue

Male husbands: These results reflect the stress associated with being the sole breadwinner, & more significantly, with gender norm deviance due to husbands being outearned by their wives

Spousal Relative Income and Male Psychological Distress. Joanna Syrda. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, October 28, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167219883611

Abstract: Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics 2001-2015 dataset (6,035 households, 19,688 observations), this study takes a new approach to investigating the relationship between wife’s relative income and husband’s psychological distress, and finds it to be significantly U-shaped. Controlling for total household income, predicted male psychological distress reaches a minimum at a point where wives make 40% of total household income and proceeds to increase, to reach highest level when men are entirely economically dependent on their wives. These results reflect the stress associated with being the sole breadwinner, and more significantly, with gender norm deviance due to husbands being outearned by their wives. Interestingly, the relationship between wife’s relative income and husband’s psychological distress is not found among couples where wives outearned husbands at the beginning of their marriage pointing to importance of marital selection. Finally, patterns reported by wives are not as pronouncedly U-shaped as those reported by husbands.

Keywords male psychological distress, spousal relative income, marriage, gender, panel data estimation

Self-driving cars are sensitive to color patches attacks, patches artfully made to interfere with optical estimation

Attacking Optical Flow. Anurag Ranjan, Joel Janai, Andreas Geiger, Michael J. Black. arXiv, Oct 22 2019. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1910.10053.pdf

Abstract: Deep neural nets achieve state-of-the-art performanceon the problem of optical flow estimation. Since optical flow is used in several safety-critical applications like self-driving cars, it is important to gain insights into the robustness of those techniques. Recently, it has been shown thatadversarial attacks easily fool deep neural networks to misclassify objects. The robustness of optical flow networks to adversarial attacks, however, has not been studied so far. In this paper, we extend adversarial patch attacks to optical flow networks and show that such attacks can compromise their performance. We show that corrupting a small patch of less than 1% of the image size can significantly affect optical flow estimates. Our attacks lead to noisy flow estimatesthat extend significantly beyond the region of the attack, inmany cases even completely erasing the motion of objects in the scene. While networks using an encoder-decoder architecture are very sensitive to these attacks, we found that networks using a spatial pyramid architecture are less affected. We analyse the success and failure of attacking both architectures by visualizing their feature maps and comparing them to classical optical flow techniques which are robust to these attacks. We also demonstrate that such attacks are practical by placing a printed pattern into real scenes.

Volitional Control of Piloerection: Objective Evidence and Its Potential Utility in Neuroscience Research

Katahira, Kenji, Ai Kawakami, Akitoshi Tomita, and Noriko Nagata. 2019. “Volitional Control of Piloerection: Objective Evidence and Its Potential Utility in Neuroscience Research.” PsyArXiv. October 29. doi:10.31234/osf.io/dpvsb

Abstract: The ability of volitional control of piloerection has been reported in a rare subset of individuals. This ability may be useful to study involuntary emotional piloerection, as research on this phenomenon has suffered from low reproducibility. However, objective evidence at a group-level and stability under experimental constraints remain to be examined. The present study aimed to validate existing findings of voluntary generated piloerection (VGP) and to examine its potential contribution to neuroscientific research based on objective evidence of this ability. In Study 1, to confirm the characteristics of VGP reported in previous studies and identify individuals with VGP capability, an online survey of VGP candidates found through a large-scale screening was conducted. In Study 2, a total of 18 VGP holders participated in a mail-based piloerection measurement experiment, and the nature of VGP was examined based on the objective evidence obtained by image-based analysis (GooseLab). The results of the web survey largely recapitulated the characteristics of VGP reported in previous studies, and objective measurements revealed the utility of this ability in neuroscientific research. For some participants, VGP appeared to be emotionally promoted, which suggests that VGP shares the emotional nature of involuntary piloerection. The findings from this study demonstrated the possible contribution of VGP to elucidating the mechanism of involuntary emotional piloerection and the neural basis of piloerection itself.