Wednesday, May 6, 2020

COVID-19: We find 3 new hires for every 10 layoffs caused by the shock and estimate that 42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss

Barrero, Jose Maria and Bloom, Nicholas and Davis, Steven J., COVID-19 Is Also a Reallocation Shock (May 5, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-59. SSRN:

Abstract: Drawing on firm-level expectations at a one-year forecast horizon in the Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU), we construct novel, forward-looking reallocation measures for jobs and sales. These measures rise sharply after February 2020, reaching rates in April that are 2.4 (3.9) times the pre-COVID average for jobs (sales). We also draw on special questions in the April SBU to quantify the near-term impact of the COVID-19 shock on business staffing. We find 3 new hires for every 10 layoffs caused by the shock and estimate that 42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss. Our survey evidence aligns well with anecdotal evidence of large pandemic-induced demand increases at some firms, with contemporaneous evidence on gross business formation, and with a sharp pandemic-induced rise in equity return dispersion across firms. After developing the evidence, we consider implications of our evidence for the economic outlook and for policy responses to the pandemic. Unemployment benefit levels that exceed worker earnings, policies that subsidize employee retention, occupational licensing restrictions, and regulatory barriers to business formation will impede reallocation responses to the COVID-19 shock.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, reallocation shock, Survey of Business Uncertainty, CARES Act
JEL Classification: D22, D84, E24, H12, H25, J21, J62, J63, J65

Student sex can often be predicted based on a set of achievement and attitude data; universal patterns in academic sex differences are larger than hitherto thought, & are stronger in societies with more equality

Sex-specific academic ability and attitude patterns in students across developed countries. Gijsbert Stoet, David C.Geary. Intelligence, Volume 81, July–August 2020, 101453.

• Student sex can often be predicted based on a set of achievement and attitude data.
• Student sex can often be predicted based on classification models from other countries.
• Universal patterns in academic sex differences are larger than hitherto thought.
• Academic sex differences are stronger in societies with more socioeconomic equality.

Abstract: The extent of sex differences in psychological traits is vigorously debated. We show that the overall sex difference in the pattern of adolescents' achievement and academic attitudes is relatively large and similar across countries. We used a binomial regression modeling approach to predict the sex of 15 and 16 year olds based on sets of academic ability and attitude variables in three cycles of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data (N = 969,673 across 55 to 71 countries and regions). We found that the sex of students in any country can be reliably predicted based on regression models created from the data of all other countries, indicating a common (universal) sex-specific component. Averaged over three different PISA cycles (2009, 2012, 2015), the sex of 69% of students can be correctly classified using this approach, corresponding to a large effect. Moreover, the universal component of these sex differences is stronger in countries with relative income equality and women's participation in the labor force and politics. We conclude that patterns in academic sex differences are larger than hitherto thought and appear to become stronger when societies have more socioeconomic equality. We explore reasons why this may be the case and possible implications.

Check also The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education. Gijsbert Stoet, David C. Geary. Psychological Science,

Appraisals of human infants' cuteness & vulnerability were influenced especially strongly by the visual perception of human infants’ eyes; these effects do not appear to be attributable to eye contact

“Parental” responses to human infants (and puppy dogs): Evidence that the perception of eyes is especially influential, but eye contact is not. Brandon M. Woo, Mark Schaller. PLoS, May 6, 2020.

Abstract: The present investigation tests: (i) whether the perception of an human infant’s eyes, relative to other facial features, especially strongly elicits “parental” responses (e.g., appraisals of cuteness and vulnerability); (ii) if, so, whether effects of the visual perception of eyes may be partially attributable to eye contact; (iii) whether the perception of non-human animals’ (puppy dogs’) eyes also especially strongly influence appraisals of their cuteness and vulnerability; and (iv) whether individual differences in caregiving motives moderate effects. Results from 5 experiments (total N = 1458 parents and non-parents) provided empirical evidence to evaluate these hypotheses: Appraisals of human infants were influenced especially strongly by the visual perception of human infants’ eyes (compared to other facial features); these effects do not appear to be attributable to eye contact; the visual perception of eyes influenced appraisals of puppy dogs, but not exactly in the same way that it influenced appraisals of human infants; and there was no consistent evidence of moderation by individual differences in caregiving motives. These results make novel contributions to several psychological literatures, including literatures on the motivational psychology of parental care and on person perception.

General discussion

At the outset of this article we identified four main research questions, and the results obtained from five experiments provide answers to these questions. The following paragraphs provide a summary of the empirical answers to those questions, and their implications.
Are “parental” appraisals of young children influenced especially strongly by the visual perception of their eyes? The answer—obtained across 3 experiments—appears to be yes. Compared to control conditions (that provided perceptual access to other babyish features instead), when perceivers had perceptual access to human infants’ eyes, they perceived those infants to be cuter. There was also some evidence—which was less consistent across studies—that they also perceived those infants to be more vulnerable and in need of protection. Of course, it will be useful for future work to further replicate this result, ideally with different stimuli, to assure that these effects are not idiosyncratic to the specific stimuli employed in Experiments 1–3. It would also be useful to conduct replications that include additional control conditions too. Although previous research has linked appraisals of cuteness to the physical dimensions of eyes and other babyish features [11,13], the present findings reveal that, even compared to other facial babyish features, eyes play an outsized role in influencing the kinds of appraisals that promote caregiving responses to young children.
Is this effect attributable to eye contact? Results from 2 additional experiments indicate that the answer is no—or, at least, these results provided no evidence to compel a more affirmative answer. These null results cannot easily be attributed to floor or ceiling effects (results summarized in Tables 4 and 5 reveal ample variability on the variables of interest), nor to a failure of the eye gaze manipulation (as indicated by results on a manipulation check). These null results are interesting, given that eye contact does amplify appraisals and judgments in other domains of person perception [232432,34]. It remains unclear why no analogous effect emerged in this particular domain. Regardless, if indeed human infants’ eyes are an especially influential feature within the broader set of babyish features (as indicated by the results of Experiments 1–3), we suspect that is not because of what those eyes look at, but is instead because of what those eyes look like. The particular appearance of a person’s eyes is instrumental in conveying specific kinds of information that are relevant to parental caregiving, such as fatigue and sickness [35,36]. Adults might be especially vigilant for these kinds of clues in the faces of preverbal children, who lack the linguistic capability to communicate their needs.
Do the visual perception of eyes and eye contact influence appraisals of non-human animals? Our experiments focused on puppy dogs and—consistent with other research documenting both similarities and differences in adults’ responses to children and to dogs [37]—produced an answer that is not easily boiled down to a simple yes or no. Two experiments produced evidence that “parental” appraisals of puppy dogs are influenced especially strongly by the perception of puppy dogs’ eyes. But this effect was limited to appraisals of puppy dogs’ vulnerability and need for protection; in contrast to the positive effect of eye-visibility on appraisals of human infants’ cuteness, there was no analogous effect on appraisals of puppy dogs’ cuteness. The similar effects (on appraisals of vulnerability and need for protection) may reflect an overgeneralization effect of the same sort that leads people to judge baby-faced adults to be less capable than mature-faced adults [27]. The different effects (on appraisals of cuteness) might simply reflect idiosyncratic differences in the small samples of stimuli that were used in these studies; therefore, before drawing any confident conclusions based on these differences, it will be important for future studies to determine whether these differences also emerge when using additional sets of stimuli that, ideally, might be more representative of the entire populations of human infants and puppy dogs. If indeed these differences do replicate in future studies, they might plausibly reflect the functional different relationships that adults have with house pets [3839] and with children. The former is primarily associated with caregiving behaviors that help pets to survive; whereas the latter is associated with many additional forms of caregiving behavior that help children not merely to survive but also to thrive (e.g., to succeed in academic pursuits and social relationships). Subjective appraisals of cuteness may tacitly connote potential to thrive and may elicit behavioral inclinations accordingly [20], and so may be more functionally relevant to adults’ relationships with children than to their relationships with dogs.
Are these effects moderated by individual differences in the protective and nurturant responses that characterize the parental care motivational system? Again, the results cannot compel a simple yes or no answer. Four of the 5 experiments yielded some evidence that these individual differences (assessed by the PCAT questionnaire) may moderate effects of eye visibility and/or eye contact; but the specific effects differed, and none of these specific moderating effects replicated across multiple studies.
Further analyses of PCAT scores revealed additional findings that—although ancillary to the four main research questions identified above—did replicate across studies and may have implications for understanding differences in adults’ responses to human infants and puppy dogs. These findings pertained to the unique predictive utility of the “protection” and “nurturance” subscales of the PCAT questionnaire. In experiments that employed photographs as stimuli (but not in experiments that employed cartoons as stimuli), individual differences in parental protectiveness more strongly predicted appraisals of puppy dogs than appraisals of human infants, whereas individual differences in parental nurturance more strongly predicted appraisals of human infants than appraisals of puppy dogs. These different patterns of association—like some of the other effects summarized above—likely reflect differences in the functional relationships that people typically have with pets and children. These novel findings extend previous results documenting different implications associated with motivational inclinations toward parental protectiveness and nurturance [30], and highlight the utility of conceptually distinguishing between—and measuring—these two underlying facets of the parental care motivational system.
Collectively, these findings contribute to the psychological literature attesting to the importance of eyes in the domain of person perception and social inference [14]. In particular, these results provide evidence that the perception of eyes is especially influential—even more influential than other facial features—in eliciting prototypically “parental” appraisals of young children. The dependent measures in these studies were limited to appraisals (e.g., subjective rating of cuteness and vulnerability) and, in future research, it would be informative to assess whether similar effects might be obtained on additional responses that may be associated with these appraisals (e.g., visual attention) and on actual caregiving behaviors (including both protective and nurturant behaviors). Additional applications to care-giving behavior might be worth exploring too—such as the implied possibility that people who are generally more attentive to other’s eyes might generally perceive children to be cuter and, consequently, to respond to children in a more caring way.

Additional results indicated that the perception of eyes may also be especially influential in eliciting specific kinds of appraisals of puppy dogs too, and these findings too might be fruitfully followed up in studies that focus on other kinds of outcomes. For instance, people find baby animals—compared to adult animals—to be less appetizing as sources of meat [40]. Might the size of this effect depend on the extent to which those animal’s eyes are perceptible? A different line of research reveals that the presence of dogs and other house pets can reduce humans’ experience of stress [41]. Might this stress-buffering effect also be moderated by visual access to those animals’ eyes? More generally, if indeed eyes have an outsized effect on “parental” responses to human infants and puppy dogs, there are a wide range of potential implications that may merit closer attention.

2012 US presidential election: Losing candidate's supporters experienced acute increases in testosterone levels on the evening of the election & flatter diurnal testosterone slopes up to 2 days after the election

Prasad, Smrithi, Erik L. Knight, Amar Sarkar, Keith M. Welker, Bethany Lassetter, and Pranjal Mehta. 2020. “Testosterone Fluctuations in Response to a Democratic Election Predict Partisan Attitudes Toward the Elected Leader.” PsyArXiv. May 6. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Intergroup competitions such as democratic elections can intensify intergroup polarization and conflict. Partisan attitudes toward the elected leader can also shift following an election, but the biology underlying these attitudinal shifts remains unknown. An important factor could be the hormone testosterone, which is theorized to fluctuate during competition and to influence status-seeking. In a longitudinal study of 113 voters conducted during the 2012 US presidential election, supporters of the losing candidate experienced acute increases in testosterone levels on the evening of the election and flatter diurnal testosterone slopes up to two days after the election, compared to supporters of the winner. Furthermore, these competition-related changes in testosterone concentrations among supporters of the losing candidate were associated with less positive evaluations of the winning candidate. These findings suggest that hormonal responses to an intergroup competition may shape how we perceive elected leaders, shedding light on the biology of intergroup relations.

Students' Lockdown: Interaction and co-studying networks had become sparser, & more students were studying alone; stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depressive symptoms got worse (more for women)

Elmer, Timon, Kieran Mepham, and Christoph Stadtfeld. 2020. “Students Under Lockdown: Assessing Change in Students’ Social Networks and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis.” PsyArXiv. May 6. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: This study investigates change in students’ social networks and mental health at the time of the COVID-19 crisis in April 2020. We surveyed multiple dimensions of social networks (pleasant interaction, friendship, social support, co-studying) and mental health indicators (depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness) before and during the crisis among Swiss undergraduate students (N=212). We find that interaction and co-studying networks had become sparser, and more students were studying alone. Furthermore, students’ levels of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depressive symptoms got worse. Stressors shifted from fears of missing out on social life to worries about health, family, friends, and their future. Exploratory analyses suggest that COVID-19 specific worries, isolation in social networks, lack of interaction and emotional support, and physical isolation were associated with negative mental health trajectories. The results offer starting points to identify and support students at higher risk of social isolation and negative psychological effects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appetite, the enteroendocrine system, gastrointestinal disease and obesity

Appetite, the enteroendocrine system, gastrointestinal disease and obesity. Benjamin Crooks, Nikoleta S. Stamataki and John T. McLaughlin. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, May 2020.

Abstract: The enteroendocrine system is located in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and makes up the largest endocrine system in the human body. Despite that, its roles and functions remain incompletely understood. Gut regulatory peptides are the main products of enteroendocrine cells, and play an integral role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients through their effect on intestinal secretions and gut motility. Several peptides, such as cholecystokinin, polypeptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, have traditionally been reported to suppress appetite following food intake, so-called satiety hormones. In this review, we propose that, in the healthy individual, this system to regulate appetite does not play a dominant role in normal food intake regulation, and that there is insufficient evidence to wholly link postprandial endogenous gut peptides with appetite-related behaviours. Instead, or additionally, top-down, hedonic drive and neurocognitive factors may have more of an impact on food intake. In GI disease however, supraphysiological levels of these hormones may have more of an impact on appetite regulation as well as contributing to other unpleasant abdominal symptoms, potentially as part of an innate response to injury. Further work is required to better understand the mechanisms involved in appetite control and unlock the therapeutic potential offered by the enteroendocrine system in GI disease and obesity.

Keywords: Appetite regulationEnteroendocrineDigestive diseaseObesitycholecystokininCrohn's diseaseenteroendocrine cellgastrointestinalglucagon-like peptide 1irritable bowel syndromepolypeptide YY

Walkable urban environments may be conducive to a more animated and lively social climate which is reflected in heightened extraversion among residents of such areas; but it is not linked to agreeableness

The association between walkability and personality: Evidence from a large socioecological study in Japan. Friedrich M. Götz, Shinya Yoshino, Atsushi Oshio. Journal of Environmental Psychology, May 6 2020, 101438.

• The link between walkability and personality is examined in a large Japanese sample.
• Walkability positively predicts extraversion above and beyond conservative controls.
• The findings advance theory on the origins of geographical differences in personality.

Abstract: Geographical personality differences robustly predict diverse consequential outcomes. However, comparatively little is known about the factors that create such differences, in particular the role of the built environment. To bridge the gap, the present study used a socioecological approach to examine the relationship between walkability and personality. Walkability reflects the degree to which urban areas are easily walkable and accessible for pedestrians. As such it is considered a defining feature of people's living environments. We utilized a large sample from the Data Sharing for Psychology in Japan (DSPJ) project, which assessed the Big Five personality traits of 5,141 Japanese residents. Walkability estimates were extracted from Walk Score, an established online platform, based on individuals' place of living. Building on prior research, we hypothesized that walkability would be positively linked to Agreeableness and Extraversion due to increased opportunities for social interactions and selective migration. Multiple regression analyses showed that walkability was positively related to Extraversion (B = 0.033; 95%CI [.019, .047]; β = 0.066), but not to Agreeableness. This pattern persisted in the presence of a conservative set of individual and socioecological controls. Taken together, our research suggests that walkable urban environments may be conducive to a more animated and lively social climate which is reflected in heightened extraversion among residents of such areas. As such it advances psych-geographical theory and our understanding of the role of the built environment in the emergence of geographical personality differences.

Keywords: Big five personalityWalkabilitySocioecological psychologyGeographical psychologyUrban planningEnvironmental studiesCity designJapan

More than deserving someone harm, the great predictor of Schadenfreude is disliking of the target; compounding disliking with envy (malicious envy) was even a stronger predictor

The Roles of Disliking, Deservingness, and Envy in Predicting Schadenfreude. Keegan D. Greenier. Psychological Reports, May 5, 2020.

Abstract: Schadenfreude (pleasure about another’s misfortune) was studied using written scenarios that were manipulated to include elements that elicited disliking of the target, envy of the target, and/or deservingness of the misfortune. This was the first time all the three predictors were included in a single study, allowing for a test of their possible interactive effects. Study 1 created a large pool of scenarios based on a pilot study and had participants rate them regarding how much disliking, deservingness, or envy was felt. The eight scenarios that were most effective in eliciting the various combinations of predictors were then used in Study 2 to test for schadenfreude reactions. Results revealed strong main effects for disliking and deservingness. Interactions showed that disliking attenuated the effect of deservingness, especially for female participants. Finally, further evidence was found that malicious but not benign envy predicted schadenfreude.

Keywords: Schadenfreude, deservingness, envy, benign envy, malicious envy