Friday, January 31, 2020

Lying to appear honest: People may lie to appear honest in cases where the truth is highly favorable to them, such that telling the truth might make them appear dishonest to others

Choshen-Hillel, S., Shaw, A., & Caruso, E. M. (2020). Lying to appear honest. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Jan 2020.

Abstract: People try to avoid appearing dishonest. Although efforts to avoid appearing dishonest can often reduce lying, we argue that, at times, the desire to appear honest can actually lead people to lie. We hypothesize that people may lie to appear honest in cases where the truth is highly favorable to them, such that telling the truth might make them appear dishonest to others. A series of studies provided robust evidence for our hypothesis. Lawyers, university students, and MTurk and Prolific participants said that they would have underreported extremely favorable outcomes in real-world scenarios (Studies 1a–1d). They did so to avoid appearing dishonest. Furthermore, in a novel behavioral paradigm involving a chance game with monetary prizes, participants who received in private a very large number of wins reported fewer wins than they received; they lied and incurred a monetary cost to avoid looking like liars (Studies 2a–2c). Finally, we show that people’s concern that others would think that they have overreported is valid (Studies 3a–3b). We discuss our findings in relation to the literatures on dishonesty and on reputation.

Sexual orientation explains < 1% of the variation in consumption-favoring behaviors; the common belief of a stylish & extremely wealthy gay consumer must be questioned; differences decrease with age

Sexual orientation and consumption: Why and when do homosexuals and heterosexuals consume differently? Martin Eisend, Erik Hermann. International Journal of Research in Marketing, Jan 31 2020.

• Sexual orientation explains < 1% of the variation in consumption-favoring behaviors.
• The common belief of a stylish and extremely wealthy gay consumer must be questioned.
• Consumption differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals decrease with age.
• Consumption differences increase when comparing homosexuals and heterosexuals of the same gender.

Abstract: The increasing visibility of homosexuality in society, combined with the lesbian and gay community's considerable buying power, has triggered marketers and researchers' interest in understanding homosexual consumers' consumption patterns. Prior research on whether homosexual consumers behave differently from heterosexual consumers has yielded mixed results, and researchers and practitioners still do not know whether any substantial differences exist, what these differences look like, and how they can be explained. The findings from a meta-analysis reveal that sexual orientation explains on average < 1% of the variation in consumption behavior across 45 papers, indicating only slightly different consumption behaviors. Findings from a moderator analysis contradict conventional wisdom and lay theories, while partly supporting assumptions that are rooted in evolutionary and biological theories that show consumption differences decrease with age; they increase when comparing homosexuals and heterosexuals of the same gender. These findings, which question long-held beliefs about homosexual consumers, help marketers to successfully adjust their strategies.

Keywords: Sexual orientationConsumptionMeta-analysis

The art of flirting: What are the traits that make it effective?

The art of flirting: What are the traits that make it effective? Menelaos Apostolou, Christoforos Christoforou. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 158, 1 May 2020, 109866.

•    Identified 47 traits which turn flirting effective.
•    Classified the 47 traits into nine factors which turn flirting effective.
•    Found that women rated gentle approach, while men rated good looks as more effective.
•    Found that older participants rated factors, gentle approach as more effective.

Abstract: Flirting is an essential aspect of human interaction and key for the formation of intimate relationships. In the current research, we aimed to identify the traits that turn it more effective. In particular, in Study 1 we used open-ended questionnaires in a sample of 487 Greek-speaking participants, and identified 47 traits that make flirting effective. In Study 2, we asked 808 Greek-speaking participants to rate how effective each trait would be on them. Using principal components analysis, we classified these traits into nine broader factors. Having a good non-verbal behavior, being intelligent and having a gentle approach, were rated as the most important factors. Sex difference were found for most of the factors. For example, women rated gentle approach as more effective on them, while men rated good looks as more effective. Last but not least, older participants rated factors, such as the “Gentle approach,” to be more effective on them.

Check also A considerable proportion of people in postindustrial societies experience difficulties in intimate relationships and spend considerable time being single:
The Association Between Mating Performance, Marital Status, and the Length of Singlehood: Evidence From Greece and China. Menelaos Apostolou, Yan Wang. Evolutionary Psychology, November 13, 2019.

Search for meaning is positively associated with presence of meaning only for those with greater maladaptive traits; & the search for meaning in adverse circumstances appears to be more effective than in benign conditions

Is the Search for Meaning Related to the Presence of Meaning? Moderators of the Longitudinal Relationship. Steven Tsun-Wai Chu & Helene Hoi-Lam Fung. Journal of Happiness Studies, January 30 2020.

Abstract: Meaning in life is an important element of psychological well-being. Intuitively, the search for meaning is associated with greater presence of meaning, but whether the relationship exists is met with mixed findings in the literature. The present studies aim to investigate the moderators of this relationship. Two studies, a one-month longitudinal study (N = 166, retention rate = 100%) and a six-month longitudinal study (N = 181, retention rate = 83%) were carried out. Participants completed measures on meaning in life, personality variables, and psychological needs in the baseline survey, and meaning in life in the follow-up survey. Multiple regression analysis showed that optimism, BIS, and psychological needs emerged to be significant moderators of the longitudinal relationship. Search for meaning at baseline was positively associated with presence of meaning at follow-up only for those with greater maladaptive traits. The search for meaning in adverse circumstances appears to be more effective than in benign conditions. Deficiency search is functional.

Drug makers feel burned: By the time the vaccine was ready—after the peak of the outbreak—public fear of the new flu had subsided; many people didn’t want the vaccine, and some countries refused to take their full orders

From 2018... Who will answer the call in the next outbreak? Drug makers feel burned by string of vaccine pleas. Helen Branswell. Stat News, January 11, 2018.


Every few years an alarming disease launches a furious, out-of-the-blue attack on people, triggering a high-level emergency response. SARS. The H1N1 flu pandemic. West Nile and Zika. The nightmarish West African Ebola epidemic.

In nearly each case, major vaccine producers have risen to the challenge, setting aside their day-to-day profit-making activities to try to meet a pressing societal need. With each successive crisis, they have done so despite mounting concerns that the threat will dissipate and with it the demand for the vaccine they are racing to develop.

Now, manufacturers are expressing concern about their ability to afford these costly disruptions to their profit-seeking operations. As a result, when the bat-signal next flares against the night sky, there may not be anyone to respond.


Drug makers “have very clearly articulated that … the current way of approaching this — to call them during an emergency and demand that they do this and that they reallocate resources, disrupt their daily operations in order to respond to these events — is completely unsustainable,” said Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, an organization set up after the Ebola crisis to fund early-stage development of vaccines to protect against emerging disease threats.


Nearly all the major pharmaceutical companies that work on these vaccines have found themselves holding the bag after at least one of these outbreaks.

GSK stepped up during the Ebola crisis, but has since essentially shelved the experimental vaccine it once raced to try to test and license. Two other vaccines — Merck’s and one being developed by Janssen, the vaccines division of Johnson & Johnson — are still slowly wending their ways through difficult and costly development processes. Neither company harbors any hope of earning back in sales the money it spent on development.

A number of flu vaccine manufacturers were left on the hook with ordered but unpaid for vaccine during the mild 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. By the time the vaccine was ready — after the peak of the outbreak — public fear of the new flu had subsided. Many people didn’t want the vaccine, and some countries refused to take their full orders. GSK, Sanofi Pasteur, and Novartis — which has since shed its vaccines operation — produced flu vaccine in that pandemic.

Dr. Rip Ballou, who heads the U.S. research and development center for GSK Global Vaccines, told STAT it’s not in the “company’s DNA” to say “no” to pleas to respond to appeals in an emergency. But the way it has responded in the past is no longer tenable.

“We do not want to have these activities compete with in-house programs,” said Ballou. “And our learnings from Ebola, from pandemic flu, from SARS previously, is that it’s very disruptive and that’s not the way that we want to do business going forward.”

GSK has proposed using a facility it has in Rockville, Md., as a production plant for vaccines needed in emergencies, but the funding commitments that would be needed to turn that idea into reality haven’t materialized.


Sanofi Pasteur has also taken several enormous hits in the successive rounds of disease emergency responses. In the early 2000s, the company worked on a West Nile virus vaccine. Though the disease still causes hundreds of cases of severe illness in the U.S. every year and is estimated to have been responsible for over 2,000 deaths from 1999 to 2016, public fear abated, taking with it the prospects for sales of a vaccine. Sanofi eventually pulled the plug.


At the same time, the company bore the brunt of a barrage of criticism for not publicly committing to a low-price guarantee for developing countries. Facing horrible PR and no sales prospects, Sanofi announced late last summer that it was out.


In an emergency, regulatory agencies may be willing to bend some rules. But once the crisis subsides, they revert to normal operating procedures — as Merck has found out as it tries to persuade regulators to accept data from an innovative ring-vaccination trial conducted on its Ebola vaccine.

“This is sort of a human nature problem. People pay attention to the burning house, and maybe not the one that’s got bad wiring, right, that’s down the street,” Shiver said.

Predictive Pattern Classification Can Distinguish Gender Identity Subtypes (the subjective perception of oneself belonging to a certain gender) from Behavior and Brain Imaging

Predictive Pattern Classification Can Distinguish Gender Identity Subtypes from Behavior and Brain Imaging. Benjamin Clemens, Birgit Derntl, Elke Smith, Jessica Junger, Josef Neulen, Gianluca Mingoia, Frank Schneider, Ted Abel, Danilo Bzdok, Ute Habel. Cerebral Cortex, bhz272, January 29 2020,

Abstract: The exact neurobiological underpinnings of gender identity (i.e., the subjective perception of oneself belonging to a certain gender) still remain unknown. Combining both resting-state functional connectivity and behavioral data, we examined gender identity in cisgender and transgender persons using a data-driven machine learning strategy. Intrinsic functional connectivity and questionnaire data were obtained from cisgender (men/women) and transgender (trans men/trans women) individuals. Machine learning algorithms reliably detected gender identity with high prediction accuracy in each of the four groups based on connectivity signatures alone. The four normative gender groups were classified with accuracies ranging from 48% to 62% (exceeding chance level at 25%). These connectivity-based classification accuracies exceeded those obtained from a widely established behavioral instrument for gender identity. Using canonical correlation analyses, functional brain measurements and questionnaire data were then integrated to delineate nine canonical vectors (i.e., brain-gender axes), providing a multilevel window into the conventional sex dichotomy. Our dimensional gender perspective captures four distinguishable brain phenotypes for gender identity, advocating a biologically grounded reconceptualization of gender dimorphism. We hope to pave the way towards objective, data-driven diagnostic markers for gender identity and transgender, taking into account neurobiological and behavioral differences in an integrative modeling approach.

Keywords: fMRI, gender identity, machine learning, resting-state functional connectivity, transgender