Sunday, March 8, 2020

People have been accused of being excessively pessimistic about SARS-CoV-2's future consequences; but a large survey shows that the majority of respondents was actually overly optimistic

Raude, Jocelyn, Marion Debin, C├ęcile Souty, Caroline Guerrisi, Clement Turbelin, Alessandra Falchi, Isabelle Bonmarin, et al. 2020. “Are People Excessively Pessimistic About the Risk of Coronavirus Infection?.” PsyArXiv. March 8. doi:10.31234/osf.io/364qj

Abstract: The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 in China has raised the spectre of a novel, potentially catastrophic pandemic in both scientific and lay communities throughout the world. In this particular context, people have been accused of being excessively pessimistic regarding the future consequences of this emerging health threat. However, consistent with previous research in social psychology, a large survey conducted in Europe in the early stage of the COVID-19 epidemic shows that the majority of respondents was actually overly optimistic about the risk of infection.



Links between spanking & delinquency, depression, & alcohol use are explained by moderate-to-large degrees of genetic covariation, & small-to-moderate degrees of nonshared environmental covariation

Barbaro, Nicole. 2020. “The Effects of Spanking on Psychosocial Outcomes: Revisiting Genetic and Environmental Covariation.” PsyArXiv. March 8. doi:10.31234/osf.io/zhgme

Abstract: A large body of work has investigated the associations between spanking and a wide range of psychosocial outcomes across development. A comparatively smaller subset of this literature, on a narrower range of psychosocial outcomes, has employed genetically-informative research designs capable of estimating the degree to which observed phenotypic effects are explained by genetic and environmental covariation. The current research analyzed data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (CNLSY; Study 1) and conducted simulation models using input parameters from the existing literature (Study 2) to provide a summative evaluation of the psychosocial effects of spanking with regard to genetic and nonshared environmental covariation. Results of Study 1 replicated previous work showing that associations between spanking and outcomes such as delinquency, depression, and alcohol use were explained by moderate-to-large degrees of genetic covariation, and small-to-moderate degrees of nonshared environmental covariation. Estimates from the simulations of Study 2 suggest that, generally, genetic covariation could account for a substantial amount of the observed phenotypic effect between spanking and the psychosocial outcome of interest (≈ 60%-80%), with the remainder likely attributable to nonshared environmental covariation (≈ 0%-40%). Collectively the results of the current research indicate that continued work on the developmental effects of spanking is best served by genetically-informative research designs on a broader range of outcomes than what is currently available.

Are Humans Constantly but Subconsciously Smelling Themselves?

Perl, Ofer, Eva Mishor, Aharon Ravia, Inbal Ravreby, and Noam Sobel. 2020. “Are Humans Constantly but Subconsciously Smelling Themselves?” PsyArXiv. March 8. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0372

Abstract: All primates, including humans, engage in self-face-touching at very high frequency. The functional purpose or antecedents of this behaviour remain unclear. In this hybrid review we put forth the hypothesis that self-face-touching subserves self-smelling. We first review data implying that humans touch their own face at very high frequency. We then detail evidence from the one study that implicated an olfactory origin for this behaviour: This evidence consists of significantly increased nasal inhalation concurrent with self-face-touching, and predictable increases or decreases in self-face-touching as a function of subliminal odourant tainting. Although we speculate that self-smelling through self-face-touching is largely an unconscious act, we note that in addition, humans also consciously smell themselves at high frequency. To verify this added statement, we administered an online self-report questionnaire. Upon being asked, ~94% of ~400 respondents acknowledged engaging in smelling themselves. Paradoxically, we observe that although this very prevalent behaviour of self-smelling is of concern to individuals, especially to parents of children overtly exhibiting self-smelling, the behaviour has nearly no traction in the medical or psychological literature. We suggest psychological and cultural explanations for this paradox, and end in suggesting that human self-smelling become a formal topic of investigation in the study of human social olfaction.

Swedish data: Those gamers who spend more time engaging in their favorite pastime become less interested in sociopolitical issues and less prosocial than non-gamers from year to year

Gaming alone: Videogaming and sociopolitical attitudes. Pavel Bacovsky.  New Media & Society, March 7, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820910418

Abstract: What sustains prosocial attitudes and political engagement in the era of online connectivity? Scholars disagree on whether frequent consumers of virtual entertainment disconnect from sociopolitical life. Using the Swedish Political Socialization Panel dataset and partial-pool time series methodology, I investigate the relationship between playing videogames and adolescents’ political and social attitudes over time. I find that those gamers who spend more time engaging in their favorite pastime become less interested in sociopolitical issues and less prosocial than non-gamers from year to year. My findings tell a cautionary tale about the adverse effects of extensive gaming on the development of democratic attitudes among adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, political interest, prosocial attitudes, videogaming