Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sanctification and Cheating Among Emerging Adults

Sanctification and Cheating Among Emerging Adults. Paige McAllister, Elena Henderson, Meghan Maddock, Krista Dowdle, Frank D. Fincham & Scott R. Braithwaite. Archives of Sexual Behavior volume 49, pages1177–1188, Mar 16 2020.

Abstract: Cheating—a general term for extradyadic romantic or sexual behavior that violates expectations in a committed romantic relationship—is common and leads to a number of poor outcomes. Religion has historically influenced conceptions of romantic relationships, but societal attitudes about religion are in flux as many seek to retain spirituality even as affiliations with formal religion decrease. The present study evaluated a potential predictor of cheating that is more spiritual than formally religious, the “psychospiritual” concept of relationship sanctification (i.e., the idea that one’s relationship itself is sacred). In a sample of college students in committed relationships (N = 716), we found that higher levels of self-reported relationship sanctification were associated with a lower likelihood of both physical and emotional cheating even when accounting for plausible alternate explanations (general religiosity, problematic alcohol use, and trait self-control). This association was mediated via permissive sexual attitudes; specifically, higher levels of sanctification were associated with less permissive sexual attitudes which, in turn, predicted a lower likelihood of emotional and physical cheating.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Long‐term potentiation serves as one of the mechanisms affording learning and memory storage in neuronal circuits

The history of long‐term potentiation as a memory mechanism: Controversies, confirmation, and some lessons to remember. Hans C. Dringenberg. Hippocampus, May 22 2020.

ABSTRACT: The discovery of long‐term potentiation (LTP) provided the first, direct evidence for long‐lasting synaptic plasticity in the living brain. Consequently, LTP was proposed to serve as a mechanism for information storage among neurons, thus providing the basis for the behavioral and psychological phenomena of learning and long‐term memory formation. However, for several decades, the LTP‐memory hypothesis remained highly controversial, with inconsistent and contradictory evidence providing a barrier to its general acceptance. This review summarizes the history of these early debates, challenges, and experimental strategies (successful and unsuccessful) to establish a link between LTP and memory. Together, the empirical evidence, gathered over a period of about four decades, strongly suggests that LTP serves as one of the mechanisms affording learning and memory storage in neuronal circuits. Notably, this body of work also offers some important lessons that apply to the broader fields of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. As such, the history of LTP as a learning mechanism provides valuable insights to neuroscientists exploring the relations between brain and psychological states.

Investment in stocks led to a more right‐leaning outlook merit & deservingness, personal responsibility, & equality, & a shift to the right on policy questions, driven by decreasing distrust of markets

How Markets Shape Values and Political Preferences: A Field Experiment. Yotam Margalit  Moses Shayo. American Journal of Political Science, May 22 2020.

Abstract: How does engagement with markets affect socioeconomic values and political preferences? A long line of thinkers has debated the nature and direction of such effects, but claims are difficult to assess empirically because market engagement is endogenous. We designed a large field experiment to evaluate the impact of financial markets, which have grown dramatically in recent decades. Participants from a national sample in England received substantial sums they could invest over a 6‐week period. We assigned them into several treatments designed to distinguish between different theoretical channels of influence. Results show that investment in stocks led to a more right‐leaning outlook on issues such as merit and deservingness, personal responsibility, and equality. Subjects also shifted to the right on policy questions. These results appear to be driven by growing familiarity with, and decreasing distrust of markets. The spread of financial markets thus has important and underappreciated political ramifications.


Financial markets have an increasing presence in countries throughout the world. From the stock market tickers on the TV screens at the local store, through the ups and downs in people's pension savings, to the torrent of tweets of the current U.S. president about the Dow Jones' performance, more and more people are exposed to financial markets. However, little is known about the political ramifications of this trend. This article presents the first experimental analysis of how mass exposure to financial markets affects social values and preferences over economic policies. We find that engagement with financial markets brings about a rightward shift in values and attitudes. This effect is quite general and, if anything, appears to be stronger among voters on the left. Furthermore, the effect is most pronounced when individuals invest in actual stocks rather than in nonfinancial assets, a pattern consistent with an Exposure Channel. The most likely mechanism underlying these shifts is growing familiarity with and decreasing distrust of markets. This is reflected in growing confidence in people's ability to successfully invest in the market.
These results suggest a rather inconspicuous effect of the growing financial sector on politics, an effect that goes beyond the visible and widely discussed channels of influence, such as large campaign contributions, lobbying activity, or the prominence of Goldman Sachs executives in the U.S. government. By encouraging a pro‐market social and political outlook, markets may engender a self‐sustaining dynamic whereby their growing reach leads to wider support for their further expansion.
Our findings suggest a link between growing trust in financial markets and more right‐leaning socioeconomic values. A pertinent question is whether the opposite effects also hold true. Put differently, would growing distrust in financial (or other) markets lead to a leftward shift? Exploiting instances when markets were tainted by scandals (e.g., Barclays' Libor manipulation, Enron, Madoff), future research may be able to isolate the effect of trust in markets on socioeconomic preferences.
This is a first attempt at evaluating experimentally the impact of exposure to investing in the stock market on social values. The volatility of the market during the experimental treatment was higher than average because of the Brexit. While of course both treatment and control groups experienced the same external conditions, it is an open question whether lower market volatility would have produced weaker or stronger effects. Assuming that greater market uncertainty tends to decrease trust in markets, it seems reasonable to conjecture that the results we report underestimate the magnitude of the general effect. Future replications of this type of study will help shed light on this conjecture.
The interpretation and policy implications of our results depend, to some extent, on one's ideological dispositions. Some might find it troubling, for example, that engagement in financial markets decreases participants' appreciation of the need for a social safety net and for regulation of markets. Others, however, may applaud the effect of market participation on the way people think about personal responsibility for individual choices and achievements. Some may also celebrate the reduced support for market regulation. Similarly, people may disagree in how they interpret the finding that exposure to investment activity generates confidence (or, perhaps, overconfidence) in financial markets as a savings vehicle for the masses, including for people's pensions.
This latter point speaks to a growing policy trend of governments encouraging citizens to invest in the stock market via subsidies and tax breaks. The United States, for example, seeks to encourage savings by allowing tax‐deferred retirement funds for those making investments in Roth IRAs. In 2017, the Israeli government replaced some of the traditional child‐rearing assistance funds with a savings plan for every child. Rather than receiving cash, parents receive funds that they can invest in various savings vehicles, such as mutual funds. To date, these policies were assessed and debated with respect to their economic effects. Our findings suggest that such policies may also have meaningful political repercussions.

Suicide terrorists may have been subject to over-theorization: Countries with higher share of deaths from suicide displayed higher incidences of suicide attacks but similar incidences of non- suicide ones

Varaine, Simon. 2020. “The Statistical Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” PsyArXiv. May 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The self-sacrifice of suicide terrorists is subject to sophisticated models of altruistic sacrifice. Yet, a simpler account is that it reflects common suicidal tendencies. This paper offers new micro and macro evidence supportive of this hypothesis. Study 1 compared a sample of suicide and non-suicide terrorists in the United States from 1948 to 2017. Results indicated that suicide terrorists were more likely to display various established suicidal risk factors including history of child abuse, absent parent/s and relationship troubles. Study 2 took advantage of the cross-national variations in suicidal tendencies to explain the incidence of suicide and non-suicide terrorist attacks worldwide from 1991 to 2014. Results revealed that countries with higher share of deaths from suicide displayed higher incidences of suicide attacks but similar incidences of non- suicide attacks. The decision of some terrorists to sacrifice their life may well have been subject to over-theorization.

Demonstrate Values: Behavioral Displays of Moral Outrage as a Cue to Long-term Mate Potential

Brown, Mitch, Lucas A. Keefer, Donald F. Sacco, and Faith L. Brown. 2020. “Demonstrate Values: Behavioral Displays of Moral Outrage as a Cue to Long-term Mate Potential.” PsyArXiv. May 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Recent findings suggest that moral outrage serves an interpersonal function of signaling trustworthiness to others and such perceptions play a uniquely important role in identifying social opportunities. We conducted four studies investigating how behavioral displays of moral outrage are perceived in the specific context of mating. Results indicated participants (particularly women) found prospective mates espousing outrage more desirable for long-term mating (Study 1), and this perception of desirability was similarly inferred among same-sex raters (Study 2). We further replicated findings in Study 1, while additionally considering the basis of women’s attraction toward outraged behavior through candidate mediators (Studies 3 and 4). Although we found consistent evidence for the long-term desirability of outraged behavior, in addition, to trustworthiness, evidence remained mixed on the extent to which evaluations of a prospective mate’s outrage was the basis of effects. We frame results from complementary perspectives of trust signaling and sexual strategies theory.

Statistical occurrence of words about body parts in very different languages, nearly 4 billion native speakers: The body as extracted from language resembles the distorted human-like sensory homunculus

Guenther, Fritz, and Luca Rinaldi. 2020. “Cortical Maps Recovered from Language Statistics.” PsyArXiv. May 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Large-scale linguistic data is nowadays available in abundance. Here, we demonstrate that the surface-level statistical structure of language alone opens a window into how our brain represents the world. To this end, we examine the statistical occurrence of words referring to body parts in very different languages, covering nearly 4 billions of native speakers. Our findings indicate that the human body as extracted from language resembles the distorted human-like figure known as the sensory homunculus, whose form depicts the amount of cortical area dedicated to somatosensory functions of each body part. This links the way conceptual knowledge is represented and communicated in language to how the brain processes information from the sensory systems.

Friday, May 22, 2020

In Marx’s time, many competing sociological traditions and socialist political movements espoused similar ideas from different origin points; how did Marx emerge as preeminent?

Magness, Phillip and Makovi, Michael, The Mainstreaming of Marx: Measuring the Effect of the Russian Revolution on Karl Marx’s Influence (April 17, 2020). SSRN:

Abstract: Today, Karl Marx is considered one of the preeminent social scientists of the last two centuries, and ranks among the most frequently assigned authors in university syllabi. However in Marx’s time, many competing sociological traditions and socialist political movements espoused similar ideas from different origin points. How did Marx emerge as preeminent? We hypothesize that the 1917 Russian Revolution is responsible for elevating Marx’s fame and intellectual following above his contemporary competitors. Using the synthetic control method and Google Ngram data, we construct a synthetic counterfactual for Marx’s citation patterns. This allows us to predict how often Marx would have been cited if the Russian Revolution had not happened. We find a significant treatment effect, meaning that Marx’s intellectual influence may be partly due to political accidents.

Keywords: Marx, Russian Revolution, Russian Civil War, socialism, synthetic control
JEL Classification: B14, B24, B31, B51, Z10

Our analysis suggests that an important part of the dissemination of fake news takes place through mainstream news media

Causes and consequences of mainstream media dissemination of fake news: literature review and synthesis. Yariv Tsfati et al. Annals of the International Communication Association, Volume 44, 2020 - Issue 2, May 19 2020.

ABSTRACT: Research indicates that the reach of fake news websites is limited to small parts of the population. On the other hand, data demonstrate that large proportions of the public know about notable fake news stories and believe them. These findings imply the possibility that most people hear about fake news stories not from fake news websites but through their coverage in mainstream news outlets. Thus far, only limited attention has been directed to the role of mainstream media in the dissemination of disinformation. To remedy this, this article synthesizes the literature pertaining to understand the role mainstream media play in the dissemination of fake news, the reasons for such coverage and its influences on the audience.

KEYWORDS: Fake news, disinformation, fact checking

4. Implications: audience processing of news coverage of fake news

Thus far, our analysis suggests that an important part of the dissemination of fake news takes place through mainstream news media, and that journalistic role perceptions, news values, social validation, and the fact that news media institutions have the infrastructure both for the detection and for the correction of fake news stories are reasons why mainstream news media pay attention to fake news. In this section we will address the third research question, namely, what are the potential influences of mainstream news coverage of fake news on their audiences?
Important to remember is that for the most part, when mainstream media cover fake news stories, they do so with an explicit intention to correct the false information. Are journalists successful in their attempts to set the record straight? Is it possible that parts of the audience retain the wrong information despite the fact that news media had covered it as fake news? While no empirical research to date has examined precisely how people respond to media reports about fake news, quite a bit of research in psychology and adjacent areas has addressed the question of misinformation correction. While this research relates to misinformation in general (without distinguishing between misinformation and disinformation3) and the current article relates to a specific type of disinformation, we argue that it is possible to import the findings to the context of mainstream news correction of fake news. First, because the studies we cite below were mostly experimental and used invented scenarios and (dis)information. Second, because in the psychological studies on misinformation correction, participants were typically not presented with information regarding the motivation of the disseminator of the information, not knowing whether these disseminators knowingly and intentionally deceived. Similarly, information about the motivation of the disseminator or intentionality is not always available to audiences reading news media reports about fake news outside the lab.
While findings on the effects of the correction of misinformation are not fully consistent (Walter & Murphy, 2018), social psychological research has demonstrated time and again that retractions often fail to completely eliminate the influence of misinformation (Lewandowsky et al., 2012, p. 112). For example, a recent meta-analysis aggregating 32 studies (Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019) found evidence for the continued influence of misinformation, meaning that mis- or disinformation continued to shape people’s beliefs in the face of correction (r = -.05, p = .045).The findings suggest that after people are exposed to misinformation, corrective messages cannot fully revert people’s beliefs to baseline.
Theoretically, the empirical observation that exposure to correction does not always result in correct attitudes is argued to be the result of different information processing mechanisms. In order to comprehend a statement, people must at least temporarily accept it as true (Gilbert et al., 1993). From this perspective, believing even false information is part of processing it. The cognitive explanation for this argument states that when we encounter a report that tries to correct wrong information, for example that ‘Hillary Clinton is related to a pedophile ring’ is a wrong report, we first create a mental model that connects the nodes for ‘Hillary Clinton’ and ‘pedophile,’ and this mental model persists, especially in the absence of a complete and coherent alternative mental model. If the fake news item is reported with an explanation of why the fake news might be true or if the disinformation is consistent with an explanation that is already stored in other mental models (e.g. connecting, ‘Hillary Clinton’ with ‘crooked’), the psychological literature on misinformation suggests that eliminating the mental model will be particularly difficult (Anderson et al., 1980).
An extension of this cognitive explanation for the resilience of misinformation to correction is related to retrieval failures due to negation (Lewandowsky et al., 2012, p. 115). According to this explanation, ‘people encode negative memories by creating a positive memory with a negative tag’ (Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019, p. 8). That is, the statement ‘Hillary Clinton is not connected to pedophile ring’ is encoded as ‘Hillary Clinton, pedophile – not.’ The negation tag on the connection (‘not’) can however be forgotten or otherwise lost, especially for audiences suffering from impaired strategic memory or in situations of high cognitive load (Lewandowsky et al., 2012, p. 115). The ramification is that, for example, old people consuming news reports about fake news may retain the false information in spite of its negation (Wilson & Park, 2008), given the higher likelihood of suffering from strategic memory impairments in old age. In addition, if negations are lost in the retrieval process and thus confirm the misinformation, it stands to reason that corrective messages will be more effective if they attempt to debunk misinformation without explicitly negating it.
One advantage of news reports about fake news stories over the more thoroughly studied ‘fact checks’ or ‘adwatches’ is however that for the most part, there is no time lag between the delivery of misinformation and its correction. This is important, as the literature points out that corrections are less effective when time passes between exposure to misinformation and its negation (Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019, p. 15). With some notable exceptions, in which media organizations mistakenly fall prey to the fake news and report it as real news, the false ‘fake news’ information is reported by mainstream media together with a retraction. This explains why only a minority of respondents, around 30% in the U.S. (Frankovic, 2016; regarding Pizzagate) or 20% in Israel (regarding the wife of opposition leader Benny Gantz being a member of a pro-Palestinian group) believed widely reported fake news stories. However, it is also important to mention that only 29% in the U.S., and 22% in Israel, were sure that these are fake news stories. The modal audience response, in both cases, was thus uncertainty. This suggests that despite media refutations, sizeable shares of the audience deduce that there is a chance that the ‘fake’ information might be right. Thus, doubt (instead of an outright rejection) may be the undesirable consequence of mainstream news coverage of fake news.
Despite the advantage of simultaneously receiving the false information with its correction, a major problem with news coverage of fake news is that, in order to report about fake news stories, mainstream journalists have to repeat the false information. This is problematic, as repetition is known to be a major problem in attempts to correct disinformation (Lewandowsky et al., 2012; Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019). This can be explained by the ‘mere exposure’-effect (Zajonc, 2001) and the ‘truth effect’ (Dechene et al., 2010), according to which mere exposure and repetition of statements increases the likelihood that statements are perceived as true. One key explanation is that repetition breeds familiarity and people tend to perceive familiar information as correct and trustworthy, given the sense of ease and processing fluency that accompanies familiar information (Schwarz et al., 2007; Dechene et al., 2010). As succinctly argued by Schwarz et al. (2016), ‘when thoughts flow smoothly, people nod along’ (p. 85). Repeating false information, even as part of a retraction or a correction, enhances its familiarity, and thus retractions can backfire. Remarkably, studies have also found that people infer the accuracy and consensus of an opinion from the number of times it has been repeated, even when the repeated expression is associated with only one person (Weaver et al., 2007; see also Dechene et al., 2010).
In addition to increasing the familiarity of wrong information, there are other reasons to believe that some audiences will retain the disinformation despite the fact that news media report about it as ‘fake news.’ Research on the psychology of truth assessment has for example found that people tend to believe not only familiar, but also simple and coherent statements (Lewandowsky et al., 2012). Media refutations of fake news stories may thus be less effective when the fake news story is clear and coherent, and the refutation complicated and detailed. In line with this logic, Walter et al. (2019) found that lexical complexity (calculated using such indicators as noun and verb variation) of fact-checking messages was negatively associated with correction of misinformation. Simply put, the more complex the correction, the less fluent the processing will be, and the less likely it is to be effective.
The literature also suggests that the richness of the incorrect mental model makes it harder to substitute it with a correct model (Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019). For example, a model connecting ‘Hillary’ with ‘pedophile’ and ‘pizzeria’ is richer than the model connecting just ‘Hillary’ and ‘pedophile.’ Creating an alternative mental model will necessitate including a coherent explanation for the pizzeria aspect of the story, which is a more mentally difficult task. Research also points out that simple refutations leave remnants of the misinformation untouched (Cappella et al., 2015). To fully remove the false linkages, more ‘enhanced’ refutations are needed, which engage emotions or offer causal linkages. While some news stories about fake news seem to offer refutations that include narratives that provide a fuller account of the misinformation, such coverage is typically found in magazines and other in-depth genres, that do not reach all the audience of mainstream news media.4
Congruence between the misinformation and audiences’ prior attitudes, beliefs and opinions also shapes audience retention of the misinformation from media reports about fake news, given findings demonstrating that the ability to correct misinformation is attenuated by audience's preexisting beliefs (Walter & Tukachinsky, 2019). Unsurprisingly, audiences who already view Hillary Clinton negatively will be more likely to accept a false story demonstrating her negative behavior, as well as more likely to resist corrective information that highlights her positive actions. These findings can be understood as an extension of the motivated reasoning approach – whereby people can process information either with accuracy goals (i.e. trying to reach the most accurate conclusion) or directional goals (i.e. trying to reach a conclusion that is consistent with their broader worldview; see Kunda, 1990). When it comes to value-laden beliefs and polarizing issues, research suggests that information is processed with directional rather than accuracy goals in mind.
Also important in this context is that news stories reporting about fake news in an attempt to correct misinformation are not necessarily perceived as more credible than the fake news they try to expose or correct. Audience trust in the mainstream media is low in many countries, and in about half of the countries studied in the World Values Surveys and European Values Surveys, it is decreasing (Hanitzsch et al., 2018; For a recent overview of research on media trust, see Strömbäck et al., 2020). Even in societies where media trust is high, such as the Philippines or Japan (Hanitzsch et al., 2018, Table 1), rather large segments of society (25% of adults or more) distrust the media. This is important since research has demonstrated that trusting audiences have a stronger tendency to accept media facts and narratives, compared to audience scoring low on trust in media (Ladd, 2012). In a situation in which news outlets try to refute an ideologically-congruent claim (and label it ‘fake news’), and when the audience member does not trust the media, it is thus possible that the retraction will fail or even backfire among large segments of the public, given that it comes from a non-credible source (the news media).

Compared with liberals and Democrats, conservatives and Republicans express more concern about autonomous vehicles and more support for restrictively regulating autonomous vehicles

The ideological divide in public perceptions of self-driving cars. Yilang Peng. Public Understanding of Science, May 20, 2020.

Abstract: Applications in artificial intelligence such as self-driving cars may profoundly transform our society, yet emerging technologies are frequently faced with suspicion or even hostility. Meanwhile, public opinions about scientific issues are increasingly polarized along the ideological line. By analyzing a nationally representative panel in the United States, we reveal an emerging ideological divide in public reactions to self-driving cars. Compared with liberals and Democrats, conservatives and Republicans express more concern about autonomous vehicles and more support for restrictively regulating autonomous vehicles. This ideological gap is largely driven by social conservatism. Moreover, both familiarity with driverless vehicles and scientific literacy reduce respondents’ concerns over driverless vehicles and support for regulation policies. Still, the effects of familiarity and scientific literacy are weaker among social conservatives, indicating that people may assimilate new information in a biased manner that promotes their worldviews.

Keywords: political ideology, economic and social conservatism, risk perception, scientific literacy, self-driving cars

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Coolidge Effect in Humans: Sex differences in preferences for sexual variety and novelty are a salient sex-specific evolved component of the repertoire of human mating strategies

Experimental Evidence for Sex Differences in Sexual Variety Preferences: Support for the Coolidge Effect in Humans. Susan M. Hughes, Toe Aung, Marissa A. Harrison, Jack N. LaFayette & Gordon G. Gallup Jr.. Archives of Sexual Behavior, May 20 2020.

Abstract: We examined sex differences in preferences for sexual variety and novelty to determine whether the Coolidge effect plays a role in human sexuality. In two experimental studies that employed different manipulations, we found converging evidence that men showed a greater preference for variety in potential short-term mates than did women. In the first study, men (n = 281) were more likely than women (n = 353) to select a variety of mates when given the opportunity to distribute chances to have sex with different individuals in hypothetical situations. This sex difference was evident regardless of the targets’ attractiveness and age. Further, men found it more appealing if their committed romantic/sexual partners frequently changed their physical appearance, while women reported that they modified their physical appearance more frequently than did men, potentially appealing to male desires for novelty. In the second study, when participants were given a hypothetical dating task using photographs of potential short-term mates, men (n = 40) were more likely than women (n = 56) to select a novel person to date. Collectively, these findings lend support to the idea that sex differences in preferences for sexual variety and novelty are a salient sex-specific evolved component of the repertoire of human mating strategies.

Positive mood resulted in more creative and humorous messages, supporting recent theories linking affect to cognition

Mood Effects on Humor Production: Positive Mood Improves the Verbal Ability to Be Funny. Joseph P. Forgas, Diana Matovic. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, May 21, 2020.

Abstract: Can mood influence people’s ability to produce humorous verbal messages? Based on recent theories linking affect to social cognition and information-processing strategies, this experiment predicted and found that positive mood increased people’s ability to generate more creative, humorous, and elaborate verbal contents. Participants viewed positive, neutral, or negative videos, then produced verbal captions to fit four different cartoon images. Their messages were rated for creativity, humor, and elaboration by two trained raters, and the processing latency to produce each message was also recorded. Results showed that positive mood resulted in more creative and humorous messages, and that this effect was significantly mediated by mood-induced differences in information-processing strategies. The results are interpreted as supporting recent theories linking affect to cognition, and the theoretical and practical implications of the findings for everyday verbal communication are considered.

Keywords: affect, verbal humor, information processing, mood, social communication

In over 40% of the elevator dreams the dreamer was using an elevator that showed unusual or even bizarre features, for example, elevator moving horizontally or flying, transforming into a subway, etc.

“What Goes Up Must Come Down”—Elevators in a Long Dream Series. Michael Schredl. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, May 21, 2020.

Abstract: Since the formulation of the continuity hypothesis in 1971, research findings have supported the thematic and emotional continuity between waking and dreaming. However, dreams that include experiences that never occurred in the dreamer’s waking life, this is, discontinuous dreams, have not been studied extensively. In a long series (N = 11,575 dreams), elevator dreams (about 1% of the dreams) were analyzed whether they were continuous or discontinuous to the waking life of the dreamer. Although many elevator dreams are likely to reflect waking life, in over 40% of the elevator dreams the dreamer was using an elevator that showed unusual or even bizarre features, for example, elevator moving horizontally or flying, transforming into a subway, and so on. Often these dreams were associated with anxiety, and the question is whether these dreams—discontinuous on a thematic level—represent a continuity of emotions and/or are a metaphorical expression of the dreamer’s waking life situation, for example, ups and downs.

Keywords: dream series, elevator dreams, anxiety in dreams, continuity hypothesis, metaphors

Antecedents and consequences of problematic smartphone use: Our review suggests that people who are young, female, and highly educated are more prone to PSU

Antecedents and consequences of problematic smartphone use: A systematic literature review of an emerging research area. Peter André Busch, Stephen McCarthy. Computers in Human Behavior, May 20 2020, 106414.

• It is timely and important to summarize what we already know about PSU.
• Research focuses on users, phone use, antecedents/consequences of PSU, and corrective measures.
• The research area to date is presented including an integrated visual representation.
• A future research agenda is proposed consisting of seven key research questions.

Abstract: This article provides a systematic review of existing research on problematic smartphone use (PSU) to guide other researchers in search of relevant studies, and to propose areas for future research. In total, 293 studies were analyzed leading to the development of an overview model in the field of PSU, presenting findings on demographic factors, explanations for smartphone use and why this use becomes problematic, consequences of PSU, and how such use can be corrected. In addition, we considered in which contexts, with which methods, and with which theoretical lenses this stream of research has been studied to date. Smartphone use is most often explained by the smartphone design, and users' emotional health and their ability to control smartphone use. Our review suggests that people who are young, female, and highly educated are more prone to PSU. Emotional health issues are the most frequently identified consequence of PSU. Strategies for correcting PSU fall into three categories: information-enhancing, capacity-enhancing, and behavior reinforcement strategies. The studies on PSU are most often conducted using quantitative surveys with university and college participants considering their personal smartphone use. Whereas a variety of theoretical frameworks have been adopted to investigate PSU, they are often related to identifying factors explaining use and problematic use, and more seldom to analyze the findings. A future research agenda for PSU is proposed consisting of seven key research questions which can be investigated by researchers going forward.

Average male height in Puerto Rico increased by about 4.2 cm from 1890 to 1940, a rate more than twice the regional average; Puerto Ricans at mid-century were among the tallest Latin Americans

Economic Development in Puerto Rico after US Annexation: Anthropometric Evidence. Brian Marein. Economics & Human Biology, May 19 2020, 100892.

• Average male height in Puerto Rico increased by about 4.2 cm. from 1890 to 1940.
• Height increased at a rate more than twice the regional average from 1890 to 1940.
• Puerto Ricans at mid-century were among the tallest Latin Americans.
• The prevailing view that US annexation impoverished Puerto Rico is incorrect.

Abstract: I consider economic development in Puerto Rico following its annexation by the United States in 1898, a watershed moment in the history of the island and the pinnacle of American imperialism in Latin America. Drawing on data from three surveys, I show that male height in Puerto Rico increased at more than twice the average rate for Latin America and the Caribbean between 1890 and 1940. I also show that Puerto Ricans at mid-century were among the tallest Latin Americans outside of Argentina and Uruguay. The evidence supports the conclusion that conditions improved substantially after US annexation, in stark contrast to the prevailing view in the literature.

Keywords: AnthropometricsImperialismEconomic developmentPuerto RicoUnited States

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Feeling Superior Is a Bipartisan Issue: Extremity (not Direction) of Political Views Predicts Perceived Belief Superiority

Harris, Elizabeth A., and Jay J. Van Bavel. 2020. “Preregistered Replication of “feeling Superior Is a Bipartisan Issue: Extremity (not Direction) of Political Views Predicts Perceived Belief Superiority”” PsyArXiv. May 20. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: There is currently a debate in political psychology about whether dogmatism and belief superiority are symmetric or asymmetric across the ideological spectrum. One study found that dogmatism was higher amongst conservatives than liberals, but both conservatives and liberals with extreme attitudes reported higher perceived superiority of beliefs (Toner et al., 2013). In the current study, we conducted a pre-registered direct and conceptual replication of this previous research using a large nationally representative sample. Consistent with prior research, we found that conservatives had higher dogmatism scores than liberals while both conservative and liberal extreme attitudes were associated with higher belief superiority compared to more moderate attitudes. As in the prior research we also found that whether conservative or liberal attitudes were associated with higher belief superiority was topic dependent. Different from prior research, we found that ideologically extreme individuals had higher dogmatism. Implications of these results for theoretical debates in political psychology are discussed.

Individuals are most willing to commit perjury for a significant other and a family member, and least likely to commit perjury for oneself and a friend

And Nothing but the Truth: an Exploration of Perjury. Stephanie D. Crank & Drew A. Curtis. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, May 20 2020.

Abstract: Perjury is a deception that occurs within the legal system. Research indicates that legal personnel, including police officers, detectives, and secret service agents, detect deception slightly above chance levels (Bond and DePaulo 2006). Scant research has been conducted to examine the frequencies and motivations of perjury. Thus, we conducted two studies to explore the rates of perjury and incentives to engage in perjury. Study one examined the reported frequencies of perjury, finding that it occurs in 29.9% of the interactions with legal personnel. Study two was designed to examine perjury-like behaviors using the Ariely (2012) shredder paradigm. Over half (54%) of participants in study 2 engaged in perjury-like behaviors and those who received money as an incentive were equally likely to engage in perjury behaviors as those who did not. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.

People who overestimated their ability‐level of personal intelligence were positive in their outlook & more sociable; those more accurate were higher in verbal & personal intelligences, more open, & more conscientious than others

When People Estimate their Personal Intelligence Who is Overconfident? Who is Accurate? John D. Mayer  A.T. Panter  David R. Caruso. Journal of Personality, May 19 2020,

Objective: We explore accurate self‐knowledge versus overconfidence in personal intelligence—a “broad” intelligence about personality. The theory of personal intelligence proposes that people vary in their ability to understand the traits, goals, plans, and actions of themselves and others. We wondered who accurately knew that they were higher in personal intelligence and who did not, and whether individuals with more accurate estimates were distinguishable from others in their psychological characteristics.

Method: Three archival data sets were identified that included both self‐estimates and objective measures of personal intelligence: The measures were the Self‐Estimated Personal Intelligence scale (SEPI) and the Test of Personal Intelligence (TOPI).

Results: People who were over‐confident—overestimating their ability‐level of personal intelligence—were positive in their outlook and more sociable. People who provided the most accurate self‐estimates were higher in verbal and personal intelligences, more open, and more conscientious than others.

Conclusions: People who were accurate about themselves have not been studied before in this context but may, for example, serve as the monitors and thinkers who help keep themselves and others reasonable and on track.

Situational Experience around the World: A Replication and Extension in 62 Countries

Situational Experience around the World: A Replication and Extension in 62 Countries. Daniel I. Lee  Gwendolyn Gardiner  Erica Baranski  David C. Funder  The International Situations Project. Journal of Personality, May 19 2020.

Objective: The current study seeks to replicate and extend principal findings reported in The World at 7:00 (Guillaume et al., 2016), a project that examined the psychological experience of situations in 20 countries.

Method: Data were collected from participants in 62 countries (N = 15,318), recruited from universities by local collaborators to complete the study via a custom‐built website using 42 languages.

Results: Several findings of the previous study were replicated. The average reported situational experience around the world was mildly positive. The same countries tended to be most alike in reported situational experience (r = .60) across the two studies, among the countries included in both. As in the previous study, the homogeneity of reported situational experience was significantly greater within than between countries, although the difference was small. The previously reported exploratory finding that negative aspects of situations varied more across countries than positive aspects did not replicate. Correlations between aspects of reported situational experience and country‐level average value scores, personality, and demographic variables were largely similar between the two studies.

Conclusion: The findings underscore the importance of cross‐cultural situational research and the need to replicate its results, and highlight the complex interplay of culture and situational experience.

Predictive Mathematical Models of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Underlying Principles and Value of Projections

Predictive Mathematical Models of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Underlying Principles and Value of Projections. Nicholas P. Jewell, Joseph A. Lewnard, Britta L. Jewell. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1893-1894, April 16, 2020, doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6585

Numerous mathematical models are being produced to forecast the future of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemics in the US and worldwide. These predictions have far-reaching consequences regarding how quickly and how strongly governments move to curb an epidemic. However, the primary and most effective use of epidemiological models is to estimate the relative effect of various interventions in reducing disease burden rather than to produce precise quantitative predictions about extent or duration of disease burdens. For predictions, “models are not crystal balls,” as Ferguson noted in a recent overview of the role of modeling.1

Nevertheless, consumers of epidemiological models, including politicians, the public, and the media, often focus on the quantitative predictions of infections and mortality estimates. Such measures of potential disease burden are necessary for planners who consider future outcomes in light of health care capacity. How then should such estimates be assessed?

Although relative effects on infections associated with various interventions are likely more reliable, accompanying estimates from models about COVID-19 can contribute to uncertainty and anxiety. For instance, will the US have tens of thousands or possibly even hundreds of thousands of deaths? The main focus should be on the kinds of interventions that could help reduce these numbers because the interventions undertaken will, of course, determine the eventual numerical reality. Model projections are needed to forecast future health care demand, including how many intensive care unit beds will be needed, where and when shortages of ventilators will most likely occur, and the number of health care workers required to respond effectively. Short-term projections can be crucial to assist planning, but it is usually unnecessary to focus on long-term “guesses” for such purposes. In addition, forecasts from computational models are being used to establish local, state, and national policy. When is the peak of cases expected? If social distancing is effective and the number of new cases that require hospitalization is stable or declining, when is it time to consider a return to work or school? Can large gatherings once again be safe? For these purposes, models likely only give insight into the scale of what is ahead and cannot predict the exact trajectory of the epidemic weeks or months in advance. According to Whitty, models should not be presented as scientific truth; they are most helpful when they present more than what is predictable by common sense.2

Estimates that emerge from modeling studies are only as good as the validity of the epidemiological or statistical model used; the extent and accuracy of the assumptions made; and, perhaps most importantly, the quality of the data to which models are calibrated. Early in an epidemic, the quality of data on infections, deaths, tests, and other factors often are limited by underdetection or inconsistent detection of cases, reporting delays, and poor documentation, all of which affect the quality of any model output. Simpler models may provide less valid forecasts because they cannot capture complex and unobserved human mixing patterns and other time-varying characteristics of infectious disease spread. On the other hand, as Kucharski noted, “complex models may be no more reliable than simple ones if they miss key aspects of the biology. Complex models can create the illusion of realism, and make it harder to spot crucial omissions.”3 A greater level of detail in a model may provide a more adequate description of an epidemic, but outputs are sensitive to changes in parametric assumptions and are particularly dependent on external preliminary estimates of disease and transmission characteristics, such as the length of the incubation and infectious periods.

In predicting the future of the COVID-19 pandemic, many key assumptions have been based on limited data. Models may capture aspects of epidemics effectively while neglecting to account for other factors, such as the accuracy of diagnostic tests; whether immunity will wane quickly; if reinfection could occur; or population characteristics, such as age distribution, percentage of older adults with comorbidities, and risk factors (eg, smoking, exposure to air pollution). Some critical variables, including the reproductive number (the average number of new infections associated with 1 infected person) and social distancing effects, can also change over time. However, many reports of models do not clearly report key assumptions that have been included or the sensitivity to errors in these assumptions.

Predictive models for large countries, such as the US, are even more problematic because they aggregate heterogeneous subepidemics in local areas. Individual characteristics, such as age and comorbidities, influence risk of serious disease from COVID-19, but population distributions of these factors vary widely in the US. For example, the population of Colorado is characterized by a lower percentage of comorbidities than many southern states. The population in Florida is older than the population in Utah. Even within a state, key variables can vary substantially, such as the prevalence of important prognostic factors (eg, cardiovascular or pulmonary disease) or environmental factors (eg, population density, outdoor air pollution). Social distancing is more difficult to achieve in urban than in suburban or rural areas. In addition, variation in the accuracy of disease incidence and prevalence estimates may occur because of differences in testing between areas. Consequently, projections from various models have resulted in a wide range of possible outcomes. For instance, an early estimate suggested that COVID-19 could account for 480 000 deaths in the US,4 whereas later models quoted by the White House Coronavirus Task Force indicated between 100 000 and 240 000 deaths, and more recent forecasts (as of April 12) suggest between 60 000 and 80 000 deaths.

A recent model from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has received considerable attention and has been widely quoted by government officials.5 On the surface, the model yields specific predictions of the day on which COVID-19 deaths will peak in each state and the cumulative number of deaths expected over the next 4 months (with substantial uncertainty intervals). However, caveats in these projections may not be widely appreciated by the public or policy makers because the model has some important but opaque limitations. For instance, the predictions assumed similar effects from social distancing as were observed elsewhere in the world (particularly in Hubei, China), which is likely optimistic. The projected fatality model was not based on any epidemiological science and depended on current data on the reported prior increasing number of fatalities in each region—data that are widely acknowledged to be undercounted and poorly reported6—and did not consider the possibility of any second wave of infections. Although the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation is continuously updating projections as more data become available and they adapt their methods,7 long-term mortality projections already have shown substantial volatility; in New York, the model predicted a total of 10 243 COVID-19 deaths on March 27, 2020, but the projected number of deaths had increased to 16 262 by April 4, 2020—a 60% increase in a matter of days. Some original projections were quickly at the edge of earlier uncertainty bands that were apparently not sufficiently wide.

Models can be useful tools but should not be overinterpreted, particularly for long-term projections or subtle characteristics, such as the exact date of a peak number of infections. First, models need to be dynamic and not fixed to allow for important and unanticipated effects, which makes them only useful in the short term if accurate predictions are needed. To paraphrase Fauci: models do not determine the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.

Second, necessary assumptions should be clearly articulated and the sensitivity to these assumptions must be discussed. Other factors that are already known or thought to be associated with the pandemic, but not included in the model, should be delineated together with their qualitative implications for model performance. Third, rather than providing fixed, precise numbers, all forecasts from these models should be transparent by reporting ranges (such as CIs or uncertainty intervals) so that the variability and uncertainty of the predictions is clear. It is crucial that such intervals account for all potential sources of uncertainty, including data reporting errors and variation and effects of model misspecification, to the extent possible. Fourth, models should incorporate measures of their accuracy as additional or better data becomes available. If the projection from a model differs from other published predictions, it is important to resolve such differences. Fifth, the public reporting of estimates from these models, in scientific journals and especially in the media, must be appropriately circumspect and include key caveats to avoid the misinterpretation that these forecasts represent scientific truth.

Models should also seek to use the best possible data for local predictions. It is unlikely that epidemics will follow identical paths in all regions of the world, even when important factors such as age distribution are considered. Local data should be used as soon as those data become available with reasonable accuracy. For projections of hospital needs, data on clinical outcomes among patients in local settings are likely to enable more accurate conclusions than poorly reported mortality data from across the world.

At a time when numbers of cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to increase with alarming speed, accurate forecasts from mathematical models are increasingly important for physicians; epidemiologists; politicians; the public; and, most importantly, for individuals responsible for organizing care for the populations they serve. Given the unpredictable behavior of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, it is best to acknowledge that short-term projections are the most that can be expected with reasonable accuracy. Always assuming the worst-case scenario at state and national levels will lead to inefficiencies and competition for beds and supplies and may compromise effective delivery and quality of care, while assuming the best-case scenario can lead to disastrous underpreparation.

Modeling studies have contributed vital insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, and will undoubtedly continue to do so. Early models pointed to areas in which infection was likely widespread before large numbers of cases were detected; contributed to estimating the reproductive number, case fatality rate, and how long the virus had been circulating in a community; and helped to establish evidence that a significant amount of transmission occurs prior to symptom onset. Mathematical models can be profoundly helpful tools to make public health decisions and ensure optimal use of resources to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if they are rigorously evaluated and valid and their projections are robust and reliable.

Check also Pandemic researchers — recruit your own best critics. Daniël Lakens. Nature, May 11 2020.

A trade-offs theory used to explain patterns of human mating holds that masculine men provide reproductive benefits like higher genetic quality, & feminine men provide greater direct benefits like parental investment

Saxton, Tamsin, Carmen Lefevre, Amy V. Newman, Kris McCarty, and Johannes Honekopp. 2020. “Fathers’ Facial Morphology Does Not Correspond to Their Parental Nurturing Qualities.” PsyArXiv. May 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: A popular trade-offs theory, used to explain patterns of human mating, holds that masculine men provide reproductive benefits that might include higher genetic quality, whereas feminine men provide greater direct benefits such as parental investment. In line with the latter premise, previous studies have found that feminine-faced men are perceived as better parents. However, direct empirical investigations of this premise have been so far lacking. Here, we obtained ratings of the parental qualities of 108 fathers, as assessed by themselves, their grown-up daughters, and/or the daughter’s mother, using the Nurturant Fathering Scale. We also obtained facial photographs of the fathers, and calculated several standard objective measurements of the fathers’ facial masculinity. There was high agreement between the three family members in their assessments of the parenting qualities of the father. However, there was no good evidence that facially feminine men were more investing fathers. Unless evidence for feminine men’s greater parental investment can be found elsewhere, this raises further questions over the application of the trade-offs theory in understanding the appeal of men’s facial femininity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Neurological symptoms occur in more than 90% of patients with SARS-CoV2 infection; women more frequently present subjective neurological symptoms than men

Subjective neurological symptoms frequently occur in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. Claudio Liguori et al. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, May 19 2020.

• COVID-19 is a novel pathology due to SARS-CoV2 infection.
• Nervous system manifestations of SARS-CoV2 infection has been reported.
• Neurological symptoms occur in more than 90% of patients with SARS-CoV2 infection.
• Women more frequently present subjective neurological symptoms than men.

Objective: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a novel pneumonia leading to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Recent studies documented that SARS-Coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV2), responsible for COVID-19, can affect the nervous system. The aim of the present observational study was to prospectively assess subjective neurological symptoms (sNS) in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection.

Methods: We included patients hospitalized at the University Hospital of Rome Tor Vergata, medical center dedicated to the treatment of patients with COVID-19 diagnosis, who underwent an anamnestic interview about sNS consisting of 13 items, each related to a specific symptom, requiring a dichotomized answer.

Results: We included 103 patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. Ninety-four patients (91.3%) reported at least one sNS. Sleep impairment was the most frequent symptom, followed by dysgeusia, headache, hyposmia, and depression. Women more frequently complained hyposmia, dysgeusia, dizziness, numbeness/paresthesias, daytime sleepiness, and muscle ache. Moreover, muscle ache and daytime sleepiness were more frequent in the first 2 days after admission. Conversely, sleep impairment was more frequent in patients with more than 7 days of hospitalization. In these patients we also documented higher white blood cells and lower C-reactive protein levels. These laboratory findings correlated with the occurrence of hyposmia, dysgeusia, headache, daytime sleepiness, and depression.

Conclusions: Patients with SARS-CoV2 infection frequently present with sNS. These symptoms were present from the early phases of the disease. The possibly intrinsic neurotropic properties of SARS-CoV2 may justify the very high frequency of sNS. Further studies targeted at investigating the consequences of SARS-CoV2 infection on the CNS should be planned.

Keywords: SARS-CoV2 infectionCOVID-19neurological symptomscentral nervous systemsex

7. Discussion

This observational study, carried out in 103 patients affected by SARS-CoV2 infection, documented the high prevalence of sNS during the course of the disease, even immediately after admission to the Hospital.
Although the involvement of nervous system during SARS-CoV2 infection has been extensively proposed, [10][11][12] few studies focused the investigation on neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19. [4][7] The largest study examining the neurological manifestations of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was a retrospective analysis achieved by reviewing patients’ clinical charts.4 The authors documented a neurological manifestation in 36.4% of cases, reporting that patients with severe COVID-19 showed more nervous system symptoms than patients with the non-severe form of the infection. [4] Moreover, other reports, not centered on the neurological manifestations of COVID-19, reported the presence of few neurological symptoms in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. [5][6][13][14] However, since all these studies have a retrospective design and data were achieved by the extraction from electronic medical records, detection of slight neurological manifestations, such as sleep and wake impairment, headache, dysgeusia, hyposmia, and dizziness, could be limited HYPERLINK "SPS:refid::bib15" [15]
In the present study, we performed a prospective observation in patients with non-severe respiratory form of SARS-CoV2 by using an anamnestic interview designed to better determinate the occurrence and type of sNS over the course of the disease. Based on the prospective design of this examination, we documented a very high number of patients complaining sNS. Consistently, only 9 out of 103 patients (less than 10%) did not report sNS and more than 65% of the whole sample described three or more sNS at the interview. Namely, in the total group of patients, sleep impairment, dysgeusia, headache and hyposmia were the most frequent complained sNS. Notably, the frequency of sNS was elevated from the early phases of the disease, immediately after the admission to the hospital, remaining high also after a prolonged hospitalization. Considering the different timing of administration of the anamnestic interview in the patients included, we documented that muscle ache and daytime sleepiness were more frequent in the first two days after admission, whereas sleep impairment appeared more frequently after the 7th day of hospitalization.
Taking all the findings of this study into account, it appeared evident that patients with SARS-CoV2 frequently experienced sNS. Accordingly, during the infection, sNS seem to be present from the very early stages of the disease and in some cases prior to the hospitalization, as previously reported. [7][16] We documented that patients may complain more than one sNS during the prolonged hospitalization and sleep impairment was the main complain in patients interviewed after the 7th day from admission. It has been already explained that hospitalization may significantly disrupt sleep, thus clinically producing insomnia symptoms[17] HYPERLINK "SPS:refid::bib17"
The mechanisms at the basis of the high frequency of neurologic complaints in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection are not completely understood and thus they are still hypothetical. [8][18][19] The autoptic studies performed in patients with COVID-19 documented hyperemia, oedema, and neuronal degeneration reflecting nervous system damage. [3] Therefore, the intrinsic properties of this novel coronavirus may represent possible mechanisms for affecting the nervous system. SARS-CoV2 may enter the nervous system through hematogenous or non-hematogenous routes. No study demonstrated the ability of the novel coronavirus to pass the BBB, but only singular case reports documented encephalitis due to SARS-CoV2 possibly passing the BBB by increasing its permeability through the production of cytokines or by the action of concomitant bacteria destroying it. Therefore, the non-hematogenous route of infection has been mostly hypothesized. [8][20][21][22] Considering this latter route of infection, neuronal pathway represents the most suitable mechanism of infection, since it is considered an important vehicle for neurotropic viruses to enter the CNS. In the hypothetical model of CNS invasion, virus can migrate by infecting nerve endings and achieving retrograde or anterograde neuronal transport through the motor proteins, dynein and kinesins. [23] The main gate of CNS infection by neurotropic viruses is the olfactory pathway. [24] As a consequence, SARS-CoV2, as the other coronaviruses affecting the nasal mucosa, can enter the brain through the olfactory tract from the early stages of infection. [8][25][26] Moreover, coronaviruses can migrate from the olfactory bulb to cortex, basal ganglia, and midbrain, which are affected during their spreading. [27] This hypothesis has been confirmed in animal models by the removal of the olfactory bulb, which resulted in a restricted invasion of coronaviruses into CNS. [28] Taken together, the potential neuroinvasive propensity of SARS-CoV2 may justify the sNS complained by patients. Further possible mechanism explaining the involvement of nervous system during COVID-19 is related to ACE2 that represents the functional receptor of SARS-CoV2 and is widely expressed in multiple tissues, including the nervous system. [29][30] Finally, the nervous system can by indirectly affected by SARS-CoV2 due to the mediated effects generated by the immune system. [31] Accordingly, this neurotropic virus can trigger the development of a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). SIRS can be localized also in the nervous system and is mediated by activated glial cells inducing a pro-inflammatory state during the SARS-CoV2 infection. [32] As a consequence, activated glial cells release several inflammatory factors, such as interleukin (IL)-6, which is an important member of the cytokine storm. [28][33] This inflammatory response may be responsible for sNS in patients with COVID-19. Consistently, IL-6, IL-1, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α have been reported to induce symptoms such as impaired mood, anxiety, cognitive disturbances, fatigue, hyperalgesia. [34][35][36] We also included in the analysis the main laboratory findings used for quantifying the immune and inflammatory response, such as WBC and CRP, in order to investigate the relationship between these immune parameters and the occurrence of sNS. Significantly, the increment of CRP was evident in the first days after admission, while WBC count was higher in patients evaluated after a prolonged hospitalization. This finding may reflect the initial inflammatory response and possibly subsequent bacterial co-infection in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. [37] In patients with more than 3 sNS the CRP tended to be higher, but the distribution of patients in the three groups cannot allow achieving the statistical significance. This point needs to be further analyzed in studies focused on the relationship between the inflammatory response and the occurrence of sNS in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. [15]
The sex-based distribution of patients demonstrated that female patients [17] reported more frequently sNS than men. In particular, hyposmia, dysgeusia, headache, dizziness, numbness/paresthesia, daytime sleepiness, and muscle ache were more frequent in women than men. This sex-based difference can be attributed to the humoral and innate immune responses to viral infections more marked in women than men. [38][39][40] However, we documented higher CRP, WBC, and neutrophil cell count in men than women, which can reflect an higher immune response in men possibly driven by the occurrence of a concomitant bacterial infection leading to a more severe infection[37][37][41]
In this study we documented the high frequency of neurological symptoms in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. In particular, sNS were present in patients not admitted to intensive care units and without severe pneumonia. Hence, it is conceivable that the infection per se, more than the severity of pneumonia, prolonged hospitalization, or adverse effects of the anti-COVID treatments, may affect the CNS and thus cause the neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19. [42] To check this hypothesis, we documented the relationship between the occurrence of sNS and the alteration of the main laboratory findings reflecting the immune and inflammatory responses (CRP and WBC); however, this very [41]preliminary impression needs to be further investigated in larger studies evaluating different infection-related biomarkers, inflammatory cytokines, and WBC subsets.

8. Limitations

We are aware that this study presents some limitations. We included patients admitted to a single hospital recognized by the Government for treating patients with SARS-CoV2 infection; more information about patients confined to home isolation can be useful to mitigate the possibly negative effects of hospitalization. We performed an observational, but cross-sectional analysis, in patients at different time points during their hospitalization and a longitudinal evaluation of patients during the course of the disease can give more information about the progression of the sNS. However, the strength of this study is the homogeneous sample of patients prospectively evaluated by using an anamnestic interview centered on sNS, which were categorized for better analyzing their prevalence.

Even for severe cases of childhood maltreatment identified through court records, risk of psychopathology linked to objective measures was minimal in the absence of subjective reports

Objective and subjective experiences of child maltreatment and their relationships with psychopathology. Andrea Danese & Cathy Spatz Widom. Nature Human Behaviour, May 18 2020.

Abstract: Does psychopathology develop as a function of the objective or subjective experience of childhood maltreatment? To address this question, we studied a unique cohort of 1,196 children with both objective, court-documented evidence of maltreatment and subjective reports of their childhood maltreatment histories made once they reached adulthood, along with extensive psychiatric assessment. We found that, even for severe cases of childhood maltreatment identified through court records, risk of psychopathology linked to objective measures was minimal in the absence of subjective reports. In contrast, risk of psychopathology linked to subjective reports of childhood maltreatment was high, whether or not the reports were consistent with objective measures. These findings have important implications for how we study the mechanisms through which child maltreatment affects mental health and how we prevent or treat maltreatment-related psychopathology. Interventions for psychopathology associated with childhood maltreatment can benefit from deeper understanding of the subjective experience.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Like the previous study, magpies showed both social and self-directed behavior more frequently in front of the mirror versus a control cardboard stimulus; but we failed to replicate mirror self-recognition

Soler, M., Colmenero, J. M., Pérez-Contreras, T., & Peralta-Sánchez, J. M. (2020). Replication of the mirror mark test experiment in the magpie (Pica pica) does not provide evidence of self-recognition. Journal of Comparative Psychology. Advance, May 2020.

Abstract: Self-recognition in animals is demonstrated when individuals pass the mark test. Formerly, it was thought that self-recognition was restricted to humans, great apes, and certain mammals with large brains and highly evolved social cognition. However, 1 study showed that 2 out of 5 magpies (Pica pica) passed the mark test, suggesting that magpies have a similar level of cognitive abilities to great apes. The scientific advancement depends on confidence in published science, and this confidence can be reached only after rigorous replication of published studies. Here, we present a close replication of the magpie study but using a larger sample size while following a very similar experimental protocol. Like the previous study, in our experiment, magpies showed both social and self-directed behavior more frequently in front of the mirror versus a control cardboard stimulus. However, during the mark test, self-directed behavior proved more frequent in front of the cardboard than in the mirror. Thus, our replication failed to confirm the previous results. Close replications, while not disproving an earlier study, identify results that should be considered with caution. Therefore, more replication studies and additional experimental work is needed to unambiguously demonstrate that magpies are consistently able to pass the mark test. The existence of compelling evidence of self-recognition in other corvid species is discussed in depth.

HEXACO: National‐level sex differences in Emotionality are larger in wealthy and gender‐egalitarian countries, replicating previous counter‐intuitive findings

Sex Differences in HEXACO Personality Characteristics Across Countries and Ethnicities. Kibeom Lee  Michael C. Ashton. Journal of Personality, May 12 2020.

Objective: We examined sex differences in the HEXACO Personality Inventory—Revised (HEXACO‐PI‐R) factor‐ and facet‐level scales and the associations of national sex differences in those scales with national characteristics such as wealth and gender equality.

Method: HEXACO‐PI‐R self‐reports were collected online from persons in 48 countries (N=347,192).

Results: (1) Women averaged substantially higher than men in Emotionality and in Honesty‐Humility, with (sample‐unweighted) mean differences across countries of d = 0.84 and d = 0.37, respectively; (2) the HEXACO‐PI‐R factor scales showed a rather large multivariate sex difference (D > 1 in most countries), about 16% larger than found in similar samples with the Big Five personality factors, (3) some facet scales belonging to the same factor showed widely varying sex differences, (4) national‐level sex differences in Emotionality are larger in wealthy and gender‐egalitarian countries, replicating previous counter‐intuitive findings, but such a tendency was not clearly observed for Honesty‐Humility, and (5) within several English‐speaking countries, sex differences in Emotionality show little ethnic variation, supporting the suggestion that societal characteristics may influence the size of sex differences in Emotionality.

Conclusion: The HEXACO model of personality structure provides some new insights in understanding sex differences in personality at the individual and national levels.