Sunday, November 24, 2019

Happiness Enrichment and Sustainable Happiness: Model of future research framework

Happiness Enrichment and Sustainable Happiness. Eyal Eckhaus, Zachary Sheaffer. Applied Research in Quality of Life, September 2019, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1079–1097.

Abstract: Sustainable happiness research has recently received renewed attention. Studies present exercises intended to enhance happiness. A comprehensive process by which to sustain happiness has not thus far been studied comprehensively. Drawing on the Goal-Setting and Experimental Learning theories, we endeavour to form a Happiness Enrichment Perspective (HSP). A cyclic Happiness Sustainability Model of four stages is presented aimed at advancing a future research framework. Predicated on data gleaned from 458 respondents, we applied SEM aimed at validating HSP. Findings corroborate the proposed Happiness Sustainability Cycle (HSC). Implications and suggestions for future studies on happiness sustainability are proposed in order to further validate the proposed model.

Keywords: Sustainable happiness Well-being Goal-setting Experiential learning

The results indicate the adequacy of ELT and GST as theoretical bases to the formation
of a comprehensive process of sustainable happiness. ELT illustrates a continuous
cycle, where conclusions based on concrete experience are key to improving the
learning process (Tomkins and Ulus 2016), and the ability to enhance and sustain
happiness. Exercising happiness and the following conclusion phase form the two
foundations of our HSC model. Findings corroborate that much like in ELT, each of the
phases affect the next in a continuous and logically evolving cycle which gradually
augments and sustains happiness. GST complements EST because both focus on the
goal itself, stating that a challenging goal leads to higher performance (Gary P. Latham
2016), and that individuals must be able to monitor progress (Bruhn et al. 2016), in
order to achieve their goal. Accordance with the GST approach, our findings imply that
a continuous work is required in order to reach sustainable happiness, where feedback
from experience enables the conclusion phase that, ultimately allows for undertaking
improvements in performance.
Concurrent with the prevailing view that discounts the inability to attain sustainable
happiness, and constitutes an obstacle to research on the sustainable happiness (Seligman
2004), we explore the process by which happiness may be enriched and sustained.
Largely findings corroborate the Cognitive Appraisal Theory (CAT), positing that
appraisal or perceptions of events elicit emotional response (Rooij et al. 2015).
Accordingly, goal-conduciveness and goal-obstruction refer to the way in which an
event affects progress towards attaining individuals goals (Kreibig et al. 2012). ‘Meaning, evaluation of whether an event is indicative of being helpful or it hinders goal
attainment, which in-turn stimulates positive or negative emotions (Aue and Scherer
2008). Our HSP approach postulates that individuals can control and shape happiness
iteratively through the process exemplified by the HSC model. The progress towards
goal that individuals experience by following HSC phases, gradually enhances positive
emotions and encourages happiness sustainability, as argued by both CAT and GST.
An example of personal control of happiness offered by following the HSC
model, may be observed by the Facial Feedback Hypothesis, which states that
facial muscles do not only express emotions, but also initiate emotions
(Dimberg and Söderkvist 2011). That is, by performing a voluntary action or exercise,
individuals can augment positive emotions.
The study offers several contributions.
First, despite growing awareness regarding the possibility of sustainable happiness
(cf. O'Brien 2016), few studies provide evidence as to how to reach sustainable
happiness (Ganser 2012), and no study has yet to present a comprehensive process
by which lasting happiness may be sustained. We argue that human beings have the
power to boost and sustain their lasting happiness, by following the Happiness Sustainability Cycle Model.
Second, while goals attainment has been shown to be a factor that impacts happiness
positively (Headey 2008), scholars have recently suggested to set happiness itself as a
goal (cf. Kagan 2016). We corroborate this supposition and provide empirical evidence
showing that by setting happiness itself as a goal, it may be enriched and sustained.
Third, drawing on the GST and the ELT perspectives, we offer a tentative Happiness
Enrichment Model, or the four-stage HSC model. This model may serve as a framework for future research in the domain of happiness sustainability.

Limitations and Future Studies

Whilst we have managed to successfully validate key theoretical constructs, they
should be critically reassessed predicated on different research populations and in
different research loci. Specifically, research shows that the concept and prediction of
happiness vary cross-culturally (Oishi and Gilbert 2016). Future studies may benefit
from examining our model in diverse cultures.
According to O'Brien (2016), “Sustainable happiness is happiness that contributes to
individual, community, or global well-being without exploiting other people, the
environment, or future generations.” (p. 1). This definition places individual happiness
and wellbeing in a broader context and underscores that happiness and well-being do
not exist in isolation (Harwood 2011). Accordingly, O’Brien (ibid) describes activities
for encouraging one’s gratitude towards the environment, seeing the environment as
key for personal development of happiness. For instance, “what feeling and images
come to mind when you think about the environment?”…., “what feeling and images
come to mind when you think about nature?”…“compare the comments about the
environments and nature, does this reveal anything to you?” (p. 17). O’Brien also
outlines the Earth Charter Project (, an ethical framework for
building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the twenty-first century. This
is followed by suggestions of activities that highlights how this framework enhances
sustainable happiness. Also outlined by O’Brien is the World Happiness Report, which
describes sustainable development as “a holistic approach to well-being that calls on
societies to pursue economic, social, and environmental objectives in an integrated
manner” (World Happiness Report 2016, p.6). The World Happiness Report is a
groundbreaking survey of the state of happiness around the world (White 2017). Since
2012 this report has been manually updating the rank of 156 countries based on their
happiness levels (Ngoo 2017). The report reflects an emerging worldwide awareness to
happiness as a criterion for government policy (Folgieri et al. 2017). Noteworthy are
studies that address happiness at a national level including the Ecological Well-being
Performance (IEWP). This study aims at measuring the efficiency of transforming
ecological consumption to human wellbeing (Zhang et al. 2018). The Happy Planet
Index measures how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives
(Suciu et al. 2018), and wellbeing environmental efficiency also referred to as the
ecological intensity of wellbeing (Mayer 2017). This is a sustainability measure
affected by economic development, climate, and social factors (Lv 2017).
A valuable future research may be to introduce sustainable happiness practices and
explore if the HSC Model is viable and if these interventions engender Lasting
Sustainable Happiness rather than simply lasting happiness, embracing a broader,
interdisciplinary perspective of happiness.
Additionally, numerous studies show a significant association between religiousness, measured by attendance at religious services, and happiness (Sander 2017). This
view is also supported and presented in the qualitative findings section. We encourage
therefore future investigators to extend the HSC Model by integrating religiousness in
order to examine the extent to which it affects happiness. Such controls as demographics, including gender, and ethnic origin have also been found to affect happiness
(Glaeser et al. 2016), where woman, white Caucasians, and married people are shown
to be happier (ibid). Hence, we would recommend investigators to integrate and
examine such and other demographic effects on happiness employing the HSC Model.
An additional and potentially revealing factor would be national culture. Cultures differ
in the way happiness is perceived and achieved (Bieda et al. 2017; Oishi and Gilbert
2016), and hence a comparative study that examines cultural differences with respect to
the HSC model would be of interest.

The Effect of Unemployment on Life Satisfaction: A Cross-National Comparison Between Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States

The Effect of Unemployment on Life Satisfaction: A Cross-National Comparison Between Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Wen-Hao Chen, Feng Hou. Applied Research in Quality of Life, September 2019, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1035–1058.

Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of unemployment on life satisfaction from a comparative perspective. It also tests whether the link between unemployment and life satisfaction is moderated or reinforced by contextual unemployment across regions within a country—either through a negative spillover or a positive social-norm effect, or both. The results suggest that noticeable non-pecuniary costs are associated with unemployment in the four countries studied. Cross-national differences also emerged in the impact of the moderating factors. Regional unemployment is a strong moderating factor of own unemployment in Canada and to a lesser extent in the United States; the effect is ambiguous in the United Kingdom and exacerbating in Germany. The results also support a negative spillover effect of regional unemployment on the employed in the United States and Germany, no spillover effect in the United Kingdom and, surprisingly, a positive overall spillover effect in Canada. Sensitivity testing further revealed that this Canadian anomaly was a phenomenon mainly in Atlantic Canada, not across the whole country.

Keywords: Unemployment Subjective well-being Employment insecurity Social norm

Cross-National Differences and Possible Explanations
The results reveal some interesting cross-country similarities and differences in the well-being of the employed and the unemployed among the four countries studied. In all cases, noticeable non-pecuniary costs are associated with unemployment, net of observable characteristics. Unemployed Canadians, like the unemployed in the other countries, tend to have lower levels of life satisfaction than the employed, witheverything else held equal. The estimated employed–unemployed life satisfaction gap looks remarkably similar in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. It is significantly wider in Germany.

This overall pattern is consistent withour prior expectation that the negativeeffect of own unemployment on life satisfaction is exacerbated in countries where employment protection legislation (EPL) is strict. Empirical studies often find that strict EPL negatively affects unemployment inflow and outflow,because stricter EPL entails higher firing costs and reduces the propensity tohire by employers (for a review, see OECD2013). The differences in EPL among the four countries (over their respective sample periods) reported inTable5 support this claim. Germany had relatively more stringent EPL againstdismissals for regular and temporary workers than, in order, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Job Security and Prospects
The other possible explanation for the wide employed–unemployed life satisfaction gapin Germany is labour market security and prospects. Knabe and Ratzel (2011) showed that individuals’ perceptions of labour market risk have a greater impact on their well-being than their employment status. Clark et al. (2010) divided sample in the labourforce into four mutually exclusive groups according to their job security and prospects. They found that the employed with high job security had the highest life satisfaction, while the unemployed with poor job prospects had the lowest life satisfaction. Interestingly, the average life satisfaction of the insecurely employed and of the unemployed with good job prospects is similar. The wide employed–unemployed life satisfactiongap in Germany may indicate a polarized labour market, where the employed are secure and the unemployed have poor job prospects (as a result of, for instance, significantentry or re-entry barriers).

The summary labour market and institution indicators for the four countries reported in Table5 were used to determine whether the labour market in Germanyis polarized.23The results support the idea of a polarization between job security and job prospects in the German labour market. Germany stands out as having the lowest incidence of short job tenures, as well as the highest incidence of long job tenures, among the four countries. Over the study period, nearly 60% of German employees had five years or more of tenure with their current employer. Only 46%to 48% of employees in the three other countries had five years of more of tenure with their current employers over their corresponding periods. The employee turnover rate was lower in Germany: only about 15% of employees experienced a short job tenure of less than a year, versus 20% or more of employees in thethree other countries. These results suggest that German employees are relatively more secure in their jobs. Table 5 also confirms that prospects for job seekers are relatively gloomy in Germany: over 50% of the unemployed were out of work longer than one year. The long-term unemployment rates are much lower in thethree other countries, at 12%for Canada, 15% for the United States and 27% United Kingdom. This also explains why unemployed Germans had significantly lower predicted life satisfaction scores (see Section 4.3) than their otherwise-equal counterparts in other countries.

Happier Indonesians in 2007 earned more money, were more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or unemployed, and in better health when the survey was conducted again seven years later

Does Happiness Pays? A Longitudinal Family Life Survey. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto. Applied Research in Quality of Life, November 23 2019.

Abstract: Most of the research on happiness has documented that income, marriage, employment and health affect happiness. Very few studies examine whether happiness itself affect income, marriage, employment and health. This study does so, benefiting from data drawn from the panel longitudinal Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) 2007 and 2014. The survey includes 23,776 individuals from 15,067 households living in about 262 neighborhoods between 2007 and 2014. The findings show that happier Indonesians in 2007 earned more money, were more likely to be married, were less likely to be divorced or unemployed, and were in better health when the survey was conducted again seven years later. Policy makers may consider that increasing citizen happiness is vital to achieve citizen success on labor markets, to improve their job performance and to maintain their health.

Keywords: Happiness Positive cognitive bias Income Indonesia

Check also Individual and Contextual Factors of Happiness and Life Satisfaction in a Low Middle Income Country. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto, Gindo Tampubolon, Adi Cilik Pierewan. Applied Research in Quality of Life 13(4), October 2017. DOI: 10.1007/s11482-017-9567-y:
Abstract: Understanding individual and contextual factors of happiness and life satisfaction in a low- and middle-income country setting are important in the study of subjective well-being. This study aims to examine individual and contextual factors of happiness and life satisfaction in one of the happiest countries in the world: Indonesia. Data comes from the Indonesian Family Life Survey 2014 (N individual = 31,403; N household = 15,160; N district = 297). Results from a three-level ordered logit model show that factors of happiness and life satisfaction are beyond individual factors. Happiness and life satisfaction are also strongly associated with factors within an individual’s household and at the district government level. Individuals living in households with better economic welfare are happier and more satisfy. Poor health and unemployment have a detrimental effect on happiness and life satisfaction. Individuals living in districts whose governments’ better deliver public services are happier and more satisfy. In contrast, those living in areas with conflict and violence is less happy and satisfy. Individual religiosity and community social capital in the form of indigenous tradition benefit individual happiness and life satisfaction.

People higher in dark-personality constructs may perceive others’ dark characteristics as less undesirable (“darkness tolerance”); it may result from similarity-liking mechanisms

Desirability of others' dark characteristics: The role of perceivers’ dark personality. William Hart, Kyle Richardson. Personality and Individual Differences, November 22 2019, 109722.

Abstract: Previous research suggests people higher in dark-personality constructs may perceive others’ dark characteristics as less undesirable (“darkness tolerance”). To advance understanding, we examined darkness tolerance in the context of various dark-personality constructs and addressed different explanations for its occurrence. Participants (N = 567) indicated the desirability of dark characteristics in others under conditions where dark characteristics would be either highly or less undesirable; also, participants self-reported possession of these characteristics and completed measures of dark-personality constructs (narcissism constructs, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy). Dark-personality constructs related to enhanced desirability ratings for dark characteristics in ways that generally matched how the constructs related to enhanced self-ratings on the same characteristics; also, dark characteristics were rated less favorably under highly-undesirable vs. less-undesirable conditions, and this effect was not modified by any dark-personality construct. In sum, darkness tolerance occurs across dark-personality constructs; it may result from similarity-liking mechanisms but not from insensitivity to contextual features that make dark characteristics particularly undesirable.

Keywords: Dark personalityPerson perceptionPersonality

3. Discussion

Prior work had generally focused on darkness tolerance in the context of narcissism, but the present findings suggest that darkness tolerance is a common thread running through dark-personality constructs; darkness tolerance was present across six dark-personality constructs, albeit it appeared smaller for arguably the least “dark” constructs (GN, VN, and NARQ-A). Indeed, Lamkin et al. (2018) showed darkness tolerance as a function of trait antagonism, and trait antagonism might unite dark-personality constructs. This study provided novel insights on the underpinnings of darkness tolerance. Theorists suggested that darkness tolerance could spring from similarity-liking mechanisms and/or an apparent tone-deafness (Adams et al., 2015; Wallace et al., 2015). The present study provided novel tests of these accounts. Inconsistent with the tone-deafness account, perceivers high and low in dark-personality constructs agreed on the extent to which dark (and bright) characteristics were undesirable as a function of the darkness-desirability manipulation. These null interaction findings are unlikely due to limited power or the un-modifiable nature of the darkness-desirability effect on desirability ratings; indeed, the darkness-desirability effect was moderated by scenario. Hence, darkness tolerance might not arise from tone-deafness. The present data supported the similarity-liking account using a novel method for testing this account (for other support, Burton et al., 2017; Hart & Adams, 2014); specifically, dark-personality constructs generally related to desirability ratings of the dark/bright characteristics in ways that matched how they related to self-ratings on these characteristics.5 But, this matching was less impressive for vulnerable narcissism. Perhaps people high in VN showed weak similarity-liking effects because they have low self-esteem (Klohnen & Mendelsohn, 1998); in this study, VN inversely related to self-esteem (r = −0.34). To check on this idea, we first removed self-esteem variance from VN; we predicted VN from self-esteem and saved the residual. Second, we related this residualized version of VN to (a) the 13 desirability ratings and (b) the 13 self-ratings (for these rs, see supplemental Table S4). Finally, we computed the relation between these two “sets” of rs (i.e., set “a” and set “b” rs). This computation revealed weak profile mismatch (r = −0.18). So, it seems that low self-esteem, if anything, contributed similarity-liking effects in VN. Perhaps people high in VN showed weak similarity-liking effects because their self-views are not held with much confidence (Hart, Adams, Burton & Tortoriello, 2017) and are therefore less likely to factor into evaluating others’ characteristics. The present study is not without limitations. First, because we used superficial methods to investigate darkness tolerance and examined the phenomenon in a college sample with a high proportion of females, it remains unclear whether the results are applicable to different settings or populations. Second, because the study was limited to unidimensional indicators of Machiavellianism and psychopathy, it remains unclear whether the present results are applicable to all features of these constructs. Third, we used single items to assess desirability and selfratings of the 13 dark/bright characteristics, and single item indicators are prone to low reliability. This suggests findings pertaining to analyses of the single items might not be highly precise. Finally, although evidence was consistent with a similarity-liking mechanism, this evidence was correlational and does not show causation.

Moral foundations (Care/Injury, Fairness/Deception, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, Sacred/Fallen) are based on emotions and intuitions, but are substantially associated with cognitive ability

Moral foundations and cognitive ability: Results from a Japanese sample. Tetsuya Kawamoto, Takahiro Mieda, Atsushi Oshio. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, October 15 2019, Pages 31-36.

Abstract: Research has indicated that human morality is associated with cognitive ability. However, morality is not a unified concept but rather is a multi-faceted concept. Moral Foundation Theory suggests that human beings have at least five innate moral foundations: Care/Injury, Fairness/Deception, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sacred/Fallen. The present study aimed to investigate the associations between these moral values and cognitive ability. A large-scale cross-sectional survey was conducted online, which was completed by a total of 4863 Japanese adults (2922 females, 1935 males, and 6 “other;” Mage = 48.78, SDage = 10.93, range 20–70). Correlation and multiple regression analyses revealed that cognitive ability was positively linked to Care/Injury, Fairness/Deception, and Sacred/Fallen. Notably, the positive associations of cognitive ability with Loyalty/Betrayal and Authority/Subversion were statistically significant only for people below the age of approximately 50. These findings indicate that although moral foundations are based on emotions and intuitions, they are substantially associated with cognitive ability. In addition, the positive direction of associations of cognitive ability with Loyalty/Betrayal and Authority/Subversion was inconsistent with previous findings in Western countries, which suggests that these associations are culture-dependent.

Keywords: Cognitive abilitySyllogism-solvingMoral foundationMoral decision-makingAgeJapanese

4. Discussion

The present study examined the associations between moral foundations and cognitive ability and the moderating effect of age on these
associations using a large Japanese adult sample. Cognitive ability was
positively associated with individualizing foundations (Care/Injury and
Fairness/Deception) in this study. This result is basically consistent
with previous findings (Carl, 2014, 2015; Deary et al., 2008; Schoon
et al., 2010; Van Leeuwen et al., 2014). In addition, cognitive ability
was also positively correlated with binding foundations (Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sacred/Fallen). These associations
were inconsistent with previous Western findings (Pennycook et al.,
2014; Sidanius et al., 1996; Stankov, 2009). However, as Kemmelmeier
(2008) noted, the associations between cognitive ability and
conservatism-related values might be moderated by environmental
political interest. Since Japanese people, especially young ones, have
among the lowest political interest and engagement rates (Cabinet
Office, 2014), the positive associations of cognitive ability with binding
foundations were expected. Hence, the present hypotheses on the
moral-cognitive ability associations were supported by this study. As for
age as a moderator, interaction terms were significant for all moral
foundations. A subsequent simple slope test showed that the links to
each moral foundation were stronger for younger people. Moreover, the
Johnson–Neyman test revealed that the moral-cognitive ability links
became significant among people below the age of approximately 50 for
binding foundations other than Sacred/Fallen. Therefore, the present
age-as-moderator hypothesis was partially supported in this study.
Five moral foundations are considered as innate psychological
systems that give rise to moral intuitions throughout the world (Graham
et al., 2009, 2011, 2013). According to the MFT, the five intuitive
systems are respectively linked to distinct moral values: Care/Injury,
Fairness/Deception, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and
Sacred/Fallen (Graham et al., 2009, 2011, 2013). The MFT focuses on
the role of emotional intutions in determining moral judgment and
insists that moral judgements derive almost entirely from intuitive
processes (Graham et al., 2013). That is, although they do not deny the
role of cognitive reasoning processes (Graham et al., 2011), deliberate
cognitive reasoning is not overly assumed in MFT. The present results
showed that higher cognitive ability is linked to higher levels of every
moral foundation, especially Care/Injury, Fairness/Deception, and
Sacred/Fallen. While the present results basically conformed to previous findings (Carl, 2014, 2015; Deary et al., 2008; Schoon et al.,
2010; Van Leeuwen et al., 2014), the underlying reason why these
foundations are positively related to cognitive ability remains unknown. Moreover, the present study showed that age exerted a moderating effect on the associations between cognitive ability and moral
foundations. In particular, with respect to Loyalty/Betrayal and Authority/Subversion, the associations with cognitive ability were observed only in younger people. Considering that Japanese young people
show low political interest and engagement (Cabinet Office, 2014), this
age-by-cognitive ability interaction is consistent with previous research
findings (Kemmelmeier, 2008; Kemmelmeier et al., 1999; Krosnick,
1988, 1990).
The associations between cognitive ability and moral foundations
observed in this study can be interpreted from the viewpoint of social
learning or enculturation. According to MFT, moral foundations are
basically innate (Graham et al., 2011, 2013). However, they also note
that these foundations are malleable, and there is room for cultural
learning (Graham et al., 2013). Cognitive ability is a fundamental tool
for human learning, and is also a useful tool for social learning
(Christie, 2017). Although there are some differences in the moral values regarded as important among various cultures or societies, care
and justice are seen as basic morality in at least developed countries.
Children socially learn their importance as moral principles and become
socialized (Smetana, 1999). Cognitive ability plays an important role in
this social learning process, which promotes positive associations with
Care/Injury and Fairness/Deception, that is, individualizing foundations.
Sacred/Fallen is considered as one of the binding foundations
(Graham et al., 2009). However, the present results on Sacred/Fallen
were not consistent with Loyalty/Betrayal and Authority/Subversion,
but rather similar with Care/Injury and Fairness/Deception. Considering the raw inter-scale correlations among moral foundations,
Sacred/Fallen can be construed as more closely associated with individualizing foundations in Japanese people. Previous research also
showed that openness to experience and honesty-humility are positively
associated with Care/Injury, Fairness/Deception and Sacred/Fallen in
Japanese (Kawamoto et al., 2017). Based on these findings, the location
of Sacred/Fallen in moral foundation factor structure for Japanese
people may be different from that for Westerners.
The present results pointing to age as a moderator of the associations between cognitive ability and moral foundations are novel. In
particular, the associations with Loyalty/Betrayal and Authority/
Subversion were observed only for people below the age of 50. Loyalty/
Betrayal and Authority/Subversion are linked to social conservatism
(Graham et al., 2009, 2011). People with little political interest tend to
have less opportunities to think about and discuss political issues; this
tendency is conducive to maintaining high consistency between values
and beliefs (Kemmelmeier et al., 1999; Krosnick, 1988, 1990). Besides,
Japanese young people have little political interest and engagement
(Cabinet Office, 2014). Considering these previous findings, Japanese
young people may passively accept conservative values that are widely
endorsed in the Japanese society without questioning them, since their
surroundings are characterized by low political interest. This holds
especially true for young individuals with relatively high cognitive
ability, since the processes involved in learning social values or norms
necessitate high cognitive ability (Buckholtz & Marois, 2012; Christie,
2017). Therefore, it is plausible to argue that younger and smarter
people are more likely to passively accept conservative values, which
are widely endorsed in Japan, without analyzing them.
The present study had some strengths including a sufficient sample
size and the use of a Japanese sample. As research on moral foundations
has been mainly conducted in Western countries, the present results
extended previous findings. Despite these strengths, this study also had
some limitations. First, we relied on self-reported moral foundation
scores; mono-rater measures of psychological traits are vulnerable to
random and systematic errors (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). Future research ought to use other self-rating measures or other methods to assess people's morality. Second, the present sample was composed only
of Japanese individuals. Accordingly, future research should recruit
culturally and ethnically diverse samples. Third, cognitive ability was
measured with the BAROCO Short, which has been well validated but is
a relatively simple test. In order to further examine the associations
between moral foundations and detailed facets of cognitive ability,
future research should use tests that can capture the multiple facets of
cognitive ability.
This study offered the positive associations between binding foundations and cognitive ability. Notably, the associations were significantly moderated by the participants' age. These findings were
novel, and additionally, suggested that the associations between moral
values and cognitive ability could be modified by external factors. This
study focused only on the participants' age as a moderator, however,
future research should explore possible interactions between cognitive
ability and other factors. In addition, the present findings implied that
lower political interest predispose people to accept moral values that
widely prevailed in their society without thinking. We can say that it is
important to encourage younger people to get an interest in their society and politics in education.

Spearman’s g Found in 31 Non-Western Nations, 52000 people: Strong Evidence That g Is a Universal Phenomenon

Spearman’s g Found in 31 Non-Western Nations: Strong Evidence That g Is a Universal Phenomenon. Russell T. Warne. Psychological Bulletin, 145(3), 237-272. Nov 2010.

Abstract: Spearman’s g is the name for the shared variance across a set of intercorrelating cognitive tasks. For some—but not all—theorists, g is defined as general intelligence. While g is robustly observed in Western populations, it is questionable whether g is manifested in cognitive data from other cultural groups. To test whether g is a cross-cultural phenomenon, we searched for correlation matrices or data files containing cognitive variables collected from individuals in non-Western, nonindustrialized nations. We subjected these data to exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using promax rotation and 2 modern methods of selecting the number of factors. Samples that produced more than 1 factor were then subjected to a second-order EFA using the same procedures and a Schmid-Leiman solution. Across 97 samples from 31 countries totaling 52,340 individuals, we found that a single factor emerged unambiguously from 71 samples (73.2%) and that 23 of the remaining 26 samples (88.5%) produced a single second-order factor. The first factor in the initial EFA explained an average of 45.9% of observed variable variance (SD = 12.9%), which is similar to what is seen in Western samples. One sample that produced multiple second-order factors only did so with 1 method of selecting the number of factors in the initial EFA; the alternate method of selecting the number of factors produced a single higher-order factor. Factor extraction in a higher-order EFA was not possible in 2 samples. These results show that g appears in many cultures and is likely a universal phenomenon in humans.

Public Significance Statement: This study shows that one conceptualization of intelligence—called Spearman’s g—is present in over 90 samples from 31 non-Western, nonindustrialized nations. This means that intelligence is likely a universal trait in humans. Therefore, it is theoretically possible to conduct cross-cultural research on intelligence, though culturally appropriate tests are necessary for any such research.

KEYWORDS: Spearman’s g, cross-cultural psychology, general cognitive ability, human intelligence, factor analysis

General Discussion of Results

We conducted this study to create a strong test of the theory that general cognitive ability is a cross-cultural trait by searching for g in human populations where g would be the least likely to be present or would be weakest. The results of this study are remarkably similar to results of EFA studies of Western samples, which show that g accounts for approximately half of the variance among a set of cognitive variables (e.g., Canivez & Watkins, 2010). In our study, the first extracted factor in 97 EFAs of data sets from non-Western, nonindustrialized countries was 45.9%.
Moreover, 73.2% of the data sets unambiguously produced a single factor, regardless of the method used to select the number of factors in the EFA. Of the remaining data sets, almost every one in which a second-order EFA was possible produced a single general factor. The only exceptions were from Grigorenko, Ngorosho, Jukes, and Bundy (2006) and Gurven et al. (2017). The Grigorenko et al. (2006) dataset produced two general factors only if one sees the modified Guttman method of selecting the number of first-order factors as being a more realistic solution than MAP. Given the modified Guttman rule’s penchant for overfactoring and the generally accurate results from MAP in simulation studies (Warne & Larsen, 2014), it seems more likely that even the Grigorenko et al. (2006) dataset has two first-order factors and one general factor that accounts for 49.9% of extracted variance. The Gurven et al. (2017) samples both produced two factors in an initial EFA, but the factor extraction process failed for the second-order EFAs for both samples. The inability to test whether the two initial factors could form a general factor makes the Gurven et al. (2017) data ambiguous in regards to the evidence of the presence of g in its Bolivian samples.
Although we did not preregister any exact predictions for our study, we are astonished at the uniformity of these results. We expected before this study began that many samples would produce g, but that there would have been enough samples for us to conduct a post hoc exploratory analysis to investigate why some samples were more likely to produce g than others. With only three samples that did not produce g, we were unable to undertake our plans for exploratory results because g appeared too consistently in the data.
Thus, Spearman’s g appeared in at least 94 of the 97 data sets (97.0%) from 31 countries that we investigated, and the remaining three samples produced ambiguous results. Because these data sets originated in cultures and countries where g would be least likely to appear if it were a cultural artifact, we conclude that general cognitive ability is likely a universal human trait. The characteristics of the original studies that reported these data support this conclusion. For example, some of these data sets were collected by individuals who are skeptical of the existence or primacy of g in general or in non-Western cultures (e.g., Hashmi et al., 2010Hashmi, Tirmizi, Shah, & Khan, 2011O’Donnell et al., 2012Pitchford & Outhwaite, 2016Stemler et al., 2009Sternberg et al., 20012002). One would think that these investigators would be most likely to include variables in their data sets that would form an additional factor. Yet, with only three ambiguous exceptions (Grigorenko et al., 2006Gurven et al., 2017), these researchers’ data still produced g. Additionally, many of these data sets were collected with no intention of searching for g (e.g., Bangirana et al., 2015Berry et al., 1986Engle, Klein, Kagan, & Yarbrough, 1977Kagan et al., 1979McCoy, Zuilkowski, Yoshikawa, & Fink, 2017Mourgues et al., 2016Ord, 1970Rehna & Hanif, 2017Reyes et al., 2010Tan, Reich, Hart, Thuma, & Grigorenko, 2014). And yet a general factor still developed anyway. It is important to recognize, though, that the g factor explained more observed variable variance in some samples than in others.
For those who wish to equate g with a Western view of “intelligence,” this study presents several problems for the argument that Western views of intelligence are too narrow. First, in our search, we discovered many examples of non-Western psychologists using Western intelligence tests with little adaptation and without expressing concern about the tests’ overly narrow measurement techniques. Theorists who argue that the Western perspective of intelligence is too culturally narrow must explain why these authors use Western (or Western-style) intelligence tests and why these tests have found widespread acceptance in the countries we investigated (Oakland, Douglas, & Kane, 2016). Another difficulty for the argument that Western views of intelligence are too narrow is the fact that tests developed in these nonindustrialized, non-Western cultures positively correlate with Western intelligence tests (Mahmood, 2013van den Briel et al., 2000). This implies that these indigenous instruments are also g-loaded to some extent, which would support Spearman’s (1927) belief in the indifference of the indicator.
One final issue bears mention. Two peer reviewers raised the possibility that developmental differences across age groups could be a confounding variable because a g factor may be weaker in children than adults. To investigate this possibility, we conducted two post hoc nonpreregistered analyses. First, we found the correlation between the age of the sample (either its mean or the midpoint of the sample’s age range) and the variance explained by the first factor in the dataset was r = .127 (r2 = .016, n = 84, p = .256). Because a more discrete developmental change in the presence of strength of a g factor was plausible, we also divided the data sets five age groups: <7 years (10 samples), 7–12.99 years (34 samples), 13–17.99 years (12 samples), 18–40.99 years (21 samples), and ≥41 years (five samples). All of these age groups had a mean first factor that had a similar strength (between 41.79% and 49.63%), and the null hypothesis that all age groups had statistically equal means could not be rejected (p = .654, η2 = .031) These analyses indicate that there was no statistical relationship between sample age and the strength of the g factor in a dataset.

Methodological Discussion

A skeptic of g could postulate that our results are a statistical artifact of the decisions we used to conduct a factor analysis. Some data sets in our study had been subjected to EFA in the past, and the results often differed from ours (Attallah et al., 2014Bulatao & Reyes-Juan, 1968Church, Katigbak, & Almario-Velazco, 1985Conant et al., 1999Dasen, 1984Dawson, 1967bElwan, 1996Guthrie, 1963Humble & Dixon, 2017Irvine, 1964Kearney, 1966Lean & Clements, 1981McFie, 1961Miezah, 2015Orbell, 1981Rasheed et al., 2017Ruffieux et al., 2010Sen, Jensen, Sen, & Arora, 1983Sukhatunga et al., 2002van den Briel et al., 2000Warburton, 1951). In response, we wish to emphasize that we chose procedures a priori that are modern methods accepted among experts in factor analysis (e.g., Fabrigar et al., 1999Larsen & Warne, 2010Thompson, 2004Warne & Larsen, 2014). The use of promax rotation, for example, might be seen as an attempt to favor correlated first-order factors—which are mathematically much more likely to produce a second-order g than orthogonal factors. However, promax rotation does not force factors to be correlated, and indeed uncorrelated factors are possible after a promax rotation. Therefore, the use of promax rotation permitted a variety of potential factor solutions—including uncorrelated factors—and permitted the strong test of g theory that we desired.
Another potential source of criticism would be our methods of retaining the number of factors in a dataset. The original Guttman (1954) rule of retaining all factors with an eigenvalue of 1.0 or greater is the most common method used in the social sciences, probably because it is the default method on many popular statistical analysis packages (Fabrigar et al., 1999). However, the method can greatly overfactor, especially when a dataset has a large number of variables, the sample size is large, and when factor loadings are weak (Warne & Larsen, 2014). These circumstances are commonly found in cognitive data sets, which are frequently plagued by overfactoring (Frazier & Youngstrom, 2007). This is why we chose to use more conservative and accurate methods of retaining the number of factors (Warne & Larsen, 2014). The use of MAP is especially justified by its strong performance in simulation studies and its tendency to rarely overfactor. MAP is insensitive to sample size, the correlation among observed variables, factor loading strength, and the number of observed variables (Warne & Larsen, 2014), all of which varied greatly among the 97 analyzable data sets.
Indeed, it is because of our use of modern methods of factor selection and rotation that we believe that prior researchers have never noticed g as a ubiquitous property of cognitive data in non-Western groups. Many prior researchers used varimax rotation and the original Guttman rule, likely because these methods mathematically and computationally were easier in the days before inexpensive personal computers or because both are the default method in popular statistics packages today. (Additionally, the older data sets predate the invention of promax rotation and/or MAP). But both of these methods obscure the presence of g. As an extreme example, Guthrie’s (1963) data consist of 50 observed variables (the most of any dataset in our study) that produced 22 factors when he subjected them to these procedures. Some of Guthrie’s (1963) factors were weak, uninterpretable, or defined by just one or two variables. In our analyses we found five (using MAP) or 10 (using the modified Guttman rule) first-order factors; when subjected to the second-order EFA, the data clearly produced a single factor with an obvious interpretation: g.
The results of this study are highly unlikely to be a measurement artifact because the original researchers used a wide variety of instruments to measure cognitive skills in examinees. While some of these instruments were adaptations of Western intelligence tests (e.g., Abdelhamid, Gómez-Benito, Abdeltawwab, Bakr, & Kazem, 2017), some samples included variables that were based on Piagetian tasks (e.g., Dasen, 1984Kagan et al., 1979Orbell, 1981). Other samples included variables that were created specifically for the examinees’ culture (e.g., Mahmood, 2013Stemler et al., 2009Sternberg et al., 2001van den Briel et al., 2000) or tasks that did not resemble Western intelligence test subtests (Bangirana et al., 2015Berry et al., 1986Gauvain & Munroe, 2009). There were also several samples that included measures of academic achievement in their data sets (e.g., Bulatao & Reyes-Juan, 1968Guthrie, 1963Irvine, 1964). The fact that g emerged from such a diverse array of measurements supports Spearman’s (1927) belief in the “indifference of the indicator” and shows that any cognitive task will correlate with g to some degree.
Other readers may object to our use of EFA at all, arguing that a truly strong test of g theory would be to create a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) model in which all scores load onto a general factor. However, we considered and rejected this approach because CFA only tests the model(s) at hand and cannot generate new models from a dataset (Thompson, 2004). In this study, EFA procedures did not “know” that we were adherents to g theory when producing the results. Rather, “EFA methods . . . are designed to ‘let the data speak for themselves,’ that is, to let the structure of the data suggest the most probable factor-analytic model” (Carroll, 1993, p. 82). Thus, if a multifactor model of cognitive abilities were more probable in a dataset than a single g factor, then EFA would be more likely to identify it than a CFA would. The fact that these EFAs so consistently produced g in their data is actually a stronger test of g than a set of CFAs would have been because EFA was more likely to produce a model that disproved g than a CFA would. CFA is also problematic in requiring the analyst to generate a plausible statistical model—a fact that Carroll (1993, p. 82) recognized when he wrote:
It might be argued that I should have used CFA. . . . But in view of wide variability in the quality of the analyses applied in published studies, I could not be certain about what kind of hypotheses ought to be tested on this basis. (Carroll, 1993, p. 82)
We agree with Carroll on this point. CFA also requires exactly specifying the appropriate model(s) to be tested. While this is a positive aspect of CFA in most situations, it was a distinct disadvantage when we were merely trying to establish whether g was present in a dataset that may not have been collected for that purpose. This is because most authors usually did not report a plausible theoretical model for the structure of their observed variables, and there was often insufficient information for us to create our own plausible non-g models that could be compared with a theory of the existence of Spearman’s g in the data.3 Indeed, some researchers did not collect their data with any model of intelligence in mind at all (e.g., McCoy et al., 2017). By having EFA to generate a model for us, we allowed plausible competing models to emerge from each dataset and examined them afterward to see if they supported our theory of the existence of Spearman’s g in non-Western cultures. Another problem with CFA’s requirement of prespecified models is that some theories of cognitive abilities include g as part of a larger theoretical structure of human cognition (e.g., Canivez, 2016Carroll, 1993). How the non-g parts of a model might relate to g and to the observed variables is rarely clear.
Another advantage to EFA over CFA is that the former uses data to generate a new model atheoretically, and the subjective decisions (e.g., factor rotation method, second-order procedures, standards used to judge the number of factors) in an EFA are easily preregistered, whereas the subjective decisions in a CFA (e.g., when to use modification indices, how to arrange variables into factors, the number of non-g factors to include in a model) often cannot be realistically preregistered—or even anticipated before knowing which variables were collected—in secondary data analysis if the data were not collected in a theoretically coherent fashion (as was often the case for our data sets). By preregistering the subjective decisions in an EFA, we could ensure that subjective decisions could not bias our results into supporting our preferred view of cognitive abilities.
Finally, we want to remind readers that our dataset search and analysis procedures were preregistered and time stamped at the very beginning of the study before we engaged in any search procedures or analyses. This greatly reduces the chance for us to reverse engineer our methods to ensure that they would produce the results we wanted to obtain. Still, deviations from our preregistration occurred. When we deviated from the preregistration protocol, we stated so explicitly in this article, along with our justification for the deviation. Additionally, some unforeseen circumstances presented themselves as we conducted this study. When these circumstances required subjective decisions after we had found the data, we erred on the side of decisions that would maximize the chances that the study would be a strong test of g theory. Again, we have been transparent about all of these unforeseen circumstances and the decisions we made in response to them.

Full paper, maps, references, etc., at the link at the beginning.