Friday, March 20, 2020

Motivated misremembering (to see oneself more generous than really is) occurs chiefly for individuals whose choices violate their own fairness standards, irrespective of how high or low those standards are

Carlson, Ryan W., Michel Marechal, Bastiaan Oud, Ernst Fehr, and Molly Crockett. 2018. “Motivated Misremembering of Selfish Decisions.” PsyArXiv. July 23. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: People often prioritize their own interests, but also like to see themselves as moral. How do individuals resolve this tension? One way to both pursue personal gain and preserve a moral self-image is to misremember the extent of one’s selfishness. Here, we test this possibility. Across five experiments (N=3190), we find that people tend to recall being more generous in the past than they actually were, even when they are incentivized to recall their decisions accurately. Crucially, this motivated misremembering effect occurs chiefly for individuals whose choices violate their own fairness standards, irrespective of how high or low those standards are. Moreover, this effect disappears under conditions where people no longer perceive themselves as responsible for their fairness violations. Together, these findings suggest that when people’s actions fall short of their personal standards, they may misremember the extent of their selfishness, thereby potentially warding off threats to their moral self-image

Children can employ genetic explanations in principled ways as early as 7 years of age but such explanations are used to account for a wider range of features by adults

Meyer, M., Roberts, S. O., Jayaratne, T. E., & Gelman, S. A. (2020). Children’s beliefs about causes of human characteristics: Genes, environment, or choice? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Mar 2020.

Abstract: To what extent do our genes make us nice, smart, or athletic? The explanatory frameworks we employ have broad consequences for how we evaluate and interact with others. Yet to date, little is known regarding when and how young children appeal to genetic explanations to understand human difference. The current study examined children’s (aged 7–13 years) and adults’ explanations for a set of human characteristics, contrasting genetic attributions with environmental and choice-based attributions. Whereas most adults and older children offered an unprompted genetic explanation at least once on an open-ended task, such explanations were not seen from younger children. However, even younger children, once trained on the mechanism of genes, endorsed genetic explanations for a range of characteristics—often in combination with environment and choice. Moreover, only adults favored genetic explanations for intelligence and athleticism; children, in contrast, favored environment and choice explanations for these characteristics. These findings suggest that children can employ genetic explanations in principled ways as early as 7 years of age but also that such explanations are used to account for a wider range of features by adults. Our study provides some of the first evidence regarding the ways in which genetic attributions emerge and change starting in early childhood.

Female Orgasm and Overall Sexual Function and Habits: A little less than half of the women reported that penis size is important, whereas more than a third reported that it is not

Shaeer O, Skakke D, Giraldi A, et al. Female Orgasm and Overall Sexual Function and Habits: A Descriptive Study of a Cohort of U.S. Women. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.

Introduction: Few studies have investigated women's experiences with orgasm and the factors that they cite as important for their orgasmic function and sexual behavior related to foreplay and sexual stimulation.

Aim: To investigate and describe overall sexual function in a cohort of North American women, with a special focus on orgasmic function, satisfaction, triggers, risk factors, and sexual behavior.

Methods: A total of 303 women aged 18–75 years completed a 100-questionnaire survey, which included the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire and questions on orgasmic function, duration of sexual activity, sexual behaviors and relationship, and the partner’s sexual function. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS to illuminate factors affecting sexual function.

Outcomes: The main outcome measures are FSFI score, satisfaction with sexual life, ability to reach orgasm, orgasm frequency, preferred sexual stimulation, and sexual habits.

Results: FSFI scores, which were calculated for the 230 women who reported having had a steady male sex partner in the preceding 6 months, showed that 41% of the 230 women were at risk for female sexual dysfunction (a cutoff less than 26.55) and 21% were dissatisfied with their overall sexual life. Almost 90% of the overall cohort reported good emotional contact with their partner, that their partner was willing to have sex, satisfaction with the partner’s penis size (wherever applicable), and good erectile function and ejaculatory control of their partner (wherever applicable). 81% of the overall cohort claimed to be sexually active. Around 70% (70–72) did reach orgasm frequently, but around 10% never did so. Vaginal intercourse was reported by 62% of the overall cohort as the best trigger of orgasm, followed by external stimulation from the partner (48%) or themselves (37%). External stimulation was reported to be the fastest trigger to orgasm.

Clinical Implications: The knowledge on how women reach orgasm and how it is related to the partners' willingness to have sex and other factors can be incorporated in the clinical work.

Strengths & Limitations: The use of a validated questionnaire and the relative large number of participants are strengths of the study. Limitations are the cross-sectional design, the lack of a sexual distress measure, and a possible selection bias.

Conclusion: Most women in the overall cohort were satisfied overall with their sexual life and partner-related factors, even though 41% (of those who cited a steady sex male partner) were at risk for female sexual dysfunction. Most women did reach orgasm through different kinds of stimulation. Correlation was good between preferred and performed sexual activities and positions.

Key Words: Female Sexual FunctionFemale Sexual DysfunctionFemale OrgasmFemale Sexual Function Index (FSFI)Orgasm Risk FactorSexual Stimulation

Being fun: An overlooked indicator of childhood social status

Being fun: An overlooked indicator of childhood social status. Brett Laursen  Robert L. Altman  William M. Bukowski  Li Wei. Journal of Personality, March 7 2020.

Objective: The present study concerns an overlooked trait indicator of childhood peer status: Being fun. The study is designed to identify the degree to which being fun is uniquely associated with the peer status variables of likeability and popularity.

Method: Two studies of children in grades 4 to 6 (ages 9 to 12) are reported. The first involved 306 girls and 305 boys attending school in northern Colombia. The second involved 363 girls and 299 boys attending school in southern Florida. Students completed similar peer nomination inventories, once in the first study and twice (8 weeks apart) in the second.

Results: In both studies, being fun was positively correlated with likeability and popularity. In the second study, being fun predicted subsequent changes in likeability and popularity, after controlling for factors known to be related to each. Initial likeability and popularity also predicted subsequent changes in perceptions of being fun.

Conclusions: Anecdotal evidence suggests that children are intensely focused on having fun. The findings indicate that this focus extends beyond the immediate rewards that fun experiences provide; some portion of peer status is uniquely derived from the perception that one is fun to be around.

From 2018... Musically induced chills: Variously described as thrills, frisson, or skin orgasms

From 2018... A survey into the experience of musically induced chills: Emotions, situations and music. Scott Bannisterv. Psychology of Music, September 24, 2018.

Abstract: Musically induced chills, an emotional response accompanied by gooseflesh, shivers and tingling sensations, are an intriguing aesthetic phenomenon. Although chills have been linked to musical features, personality traits and listening contexts, there exists no comprehensive study that surveys the general characteristics of chills, such as emotional qualities. Thus, the present research aimed to develop a broad understanding of the musical chills response, in terms of emotional characteristics, types of music and chill-inducing features, and listening contexts. Participants (N = 375) completed a survey collecting qualitative responses regarding a specific experience of musical chills, with accompanying quantitative ratings of music qualia and underlying mechanisms. Participants could also describe two more “chills pieces”. Results indicate that chills are often experienced as a mixed and moving emotional state, and commonly occur in isolated listening contexts. Recurring musical features linked to chills include crescendos, the human voice, lyrics, and concepts such as unity and communion in the music. Findings are discussed in terms of theories regarding musical chills, and implications for future empirical testing of the response.

Keywords: chills, emotion, listening, meaning, peak experiences, qualitative

Dunning-Kruger & How to Know You Are Not One of Them

How to Tell If You’re a Dunning Cougar - We’re all at risk. Jessica Wildfire. Medium, Feb 5 2020.

There was this one guy at work, who I wanted to like. He was friendly and outgoing, when he was in a good mood. He had potential. But he couldn’t quit giving himself compliments. He paused mid-sentence to pay tribute to himself. He talked down to his students.

Sometimes he stopped class to talk about how great he was. He always used himself as an example of what to do.

It was painful to watch.

I was scared to give him advice. It always made him angry. His face turned lipstick pink. He clammed up. He got defensive. You had to back way down. One time he told me I didn’t know what I was doing.

This was a problem, given that technically I was his boss. The good news? I figured out how to get rid of my dunning cougar without firing him. I convinced him he was too good to work for me.

What’s a dunning cougar?

It’s something I made up. I got tired of describing arrogant idiots as “someone who suffers from the Dunning-Kruger Effect.”

That’s a chalky mouthful.

The Dunning-Kruger effect was developed by a Cornell psychologist and an NYU professor in the 1990s. They studied a phenomenon that’s plagued human history, and drug it out into the daylight.

Simply put:

             The less you know, the more you over-estimate your abilities.

But there’s a problem. The more confidence you show, the more risk you run of turning into what you despise.

So how do you know for sure you’re not one of them?

1. You don’t have to tell anyone how amazing you are

If you’re good at something, people will tell you. They’ll tell other people on your behalf. They’ll come to you for advice. They’ll ask for favors. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do well.

That’s not arrogance. It’s human.

2. You’re grateful for compliments

An honest compliment from someone you respect sustains you for a long time. It makes you want to do even better.

If you feel grateful for compliments you receive on your hard work, then you’re probably not a dunning cougar.

But if you are a dunning cougar, compliments have the opposite effect. They make you complacent and lazy.

They also whet your appetite for more compliments.

3. You feel true shame when you mess up

Shame is a powerful teacher. You feel it when you know you could’ve done better, and chose not to.

A truly good person doesn’t hide from their shame. They face it, and make a plan to change their behavior.

Dunning cougars run from accountability.

If you face the music, you’re not one of them. It actually feels pretty good to admit when you did something wrong, and face the consequences — without making a big production out of it.

4. You ask for advice from the right people

Dunning cougars hate advice. They want to pretend like they know everything already, which keeps them trapped where they are. They’ll pretend to ask for help, when they secretly want validation.

Asking for real advice means you’ve got the guts to listen to it, including some things you don’t want to hear.

So if you actually want to get better at what you do, it means you know you’re not brilliant. That’s a good sign.

5. You consider other things more important than yourself

We all have our selfish moments. But dunning cougars can’t see past them. They think they can run the show. Everything’s about them.
They should be in charge, but they can’t explain why.

Someone with only the minimum training and skills suffer from an inflated sense of self. If they could stop broadcasting their own prowess for a second, they’d see a much bigger universe.

A healthy mind puts themselves second or third sometimes. They put their entitlement and pride in the backseat.

6. You look up to someone else

Dunning cougars might pay lip service to the idea of role models and influence. But they just talk the talk, because they know it makes them look good. They draw their heroes from a hat.

Why not? They’re already the best.

They might look up to someone who’s dead, because they think they already are that person.

They think they’re a reincarnation of someone great.

They find someone famous who exhibits some of the traits they claim to have, and then compare themselves to that person.

That’s not how role models work….

Anyone who doesn’t suffer from this effect actually knows they aren’t the best at what they do. They always consider someone else slightly better, even if it’s only at a few things.

7. You never tell yourself “That looks easy…”

Maybe that’s ambitious. It’s better to say you catch yourself when you start looking at someone else’s job and think it must not be that hard or complicated. It’s always harder than it looks.

Someone who’s great at their job makes it look easy. Failing to grasp that is the signature move of dunning cougars.

Hopefully, you see something that looks super easy and think, “There has to be something I’m not catching…”

8. You double-check yourself

There’s a difference between second-guessing yourself and double-checking yourself. Second-guessing implies a lack of confidence.

Double-checking means you know what you need to do, and you’re just making sure you didn’t make a dumb mistake.

You know those happen to everyone.

You’re confirming your original perceptions. You think you did something the right way, but you want to make extra sure.

Dunning cougars lack this trait entirely. They assume they did everything right the first time, because they’re amazing.

It’s a real pain to deal with…

9. You hesitate to throw around superlatives

Dunning cougars love phrases like “the absolute best,” and “the best you’ve ever seen,” and “top of my field.”

They always compare their skills to someone else.

Someone with an accurate sense of their abilities never describes themselves that way, even if others do.

They prefer phrases like, “very good,” and “sufficient.” They want to be known for consistent quality and dependability. They know that being “the best” usually involves a level of personal taste and preference.

10. You’re curious about things

Dunning cougars never get better at their jobs because they think they don’t need do. The opposite of that is someone who realizes they can always get better at what they do.

If they run out of challenges, they start doing something else. They rarely sit back on their throne and preen. If you’re excited about learning and improving, then you’re not a dunning cougar.

We all have our moments

Just about everyone has their Dunning-Kruger moments. We underestimate the difficulty of a new skill. We overrate our intelligence.

It’s fine. Effective people quickly learn the limits of their skill and start working, leveling up as they go. Every notch in your confidence should carve another one in humility.

Dunning cougars remain trapped.

They can’t break out of the prison of their egos. Their brash overconfidence might get them far in life, but never as far as they could’ve gone if they’d just listened to someone for a second.

Missed connections & embarrassing confessions: Using big data to examine sex differences in sexual omission (men regretted more lost opportunities) & commission regret (women regretted more commission)

Webster, G. D., Smith, C. V., Orozco, T., Jonason, P. K., Gesselman, A. N., & Greenspan, R. L. (2020). Missed connections and embarrassing confessions: Using big data to examine sex differences in sexual omission and commission regret. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Mar 2020.

Abstract: Error management theory (EMT; Haselton & Buss, 2000) draws on parental investment theory (Trivers, 1972) and signal detection to make novel predictions about human cognitive biases and their adaptive implications. EMT predicts that heterosexual men overperceive sexual interest from women, whereas women underperceive honest signals of relationship commitment from men. In turn, sexual strategies theory (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) predicts that men may experience more regret over romantic or sexual omission (missed opportunities), whereas women may experience more regret over romantic or sexual commission (regretting past decisions). We tested these predictions using craigslist’s missed connections (personal ads posted by people on seeking to contact someone they saw briefly in public) and’s (FML) love and intimacy sections (embarrassing incidents that people experience and choose to share online anonymously). We recorded missed connections for men seeking women and women seeking men in all 50 U.S. states at 3 time points (N > 61,000). We also recorded FMLs posted by men and women over a 3-year span (N > 3,500). Consistent with EMT, parental investment theory, and sexual strategies theory, men were more likely to post missed connections (sexual or romantic omission regret), whereas women were more likely to post in FML’s love and intimacy sections (sexual or romantic commission regret). We discuss EMT’s broad theoretical implications for psychology.

Engagement in social distancing/handwashing was most strongly predicted by the perceived likelihood of personally being infected, rather than likelihood of infection transmission or its severity

Wise, Toby, Tomislav D. Zbozinek, Giorgia Michelini, Cindy C. Hagan, and Dean Mobbs. 2020. “Changes in Risk Perception and Protective Behavior During the First Week of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.” PsyArXiv. March 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: By mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread to over 100 countries and all 50 states in the US. Government efforts to minimize the spread of disease emphasized behavioral interventions, including raising awareness of the disease and encouraging protective behaviors such as social distancing and hand washing, and seeking medical attention if experiencing symptoms. However, it is unclear to what extent individuals are aware of the risks associated with the disease, how they are altering their behavior, factors which could influence the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations. We characterized risk perception and engagement in preventative measures in 1591 United States based individuals over the first week of the pandemic (March 11th-16th 2020) and examined the extent to which protective behaviors are predicted by individuals’ perception of risk. Over 5 days, subjects demonstrated growing awareness of the risk posed by the virus, and largely reported engaging in protective behaviors with increasing frequency. However, they underestimated their personal risk of infection relative to the average person in the country. We found that engagement in social distancing and handwashing was most strongly predicted by the perceived likelihood of personally being infected, rather than likelihood of transmission or severity of potential transmitted infections. However, substantial variability emerged among individuals, and using data-driven methods we found a subgroup of subjects who are largely disengaged, unaware, and not practicing protective behaviors. Our results have implications for our understanding of how risk perception and protective behaviors can facilitate early interventions during large-scale pandemics.