Saturday, June 20, 2020

Why are consistently-handed individuals more authoritarian? The role of need for cognitive closure

Why are consistently-handed individuals more authoritarian? The role of need for cognitive closure. Keith B. Lyle  & Michael C. Grillo. Laterality: Asymmetries of Brain, Behaviour, and Cognition. Volume 25, 2020 - Issue 4, Jun 4 2020.

ABSTRACT: Recent studies indicate that individuals with consistent hand preference are more authoritarian than individuals whose preference is relatively inconsistent. We explored the role of epistemic needs in the handedness-authoritarianism relationship. Based on findings that consistent individuals are less cognitively flexible than inconsistent individuals, we hypothesized that consistent-handers would report greater need for definite knowledge. To measure this, we administered the revised Need for Cognitive Closure scale to a sample of undergraduates (N = 235), along with measures of handedness consistency and authoritarian submission. Consistent individuals scored significantly higher on authoritarian submission and need for closure. Need for closure fully mediated the relationship between consistency and submission. Consistent individuals also expressed greater prejudice against authoritarian out-groups such as immigrants and liberals. This effect was partially mediated by authoritarian submission. We theorize that consistent-handers’ cognitive inflexibility leads them to covet definite knowledge. These individuals turn to authoritarianism because it promises to stifle dissent and protect existing (conventional) knowledge.

KEYWORDS: Handedness consistency, need for closure, authoritarianism, prejudice

The current west-east asymmetry of Antarctic surface climate change is undoubtedly of natural origin because no external factors (e.g., orbital or anthropogenic factors) contribute to the asymmetric mode

The internal origin of the west-east asymmetry of Antarctic climate change. Sang-Yoon Jun et al. Science Advances Jun 12 2020, Vol. 6, no. 24, eaaz1490. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz1490

Abstract: Recent Antarctic surface climate change has been characterized by greater warming trends in West Antarctica than in East Antarctica. Although this asymmetric feature is well recognized, its origin remains poorly understood. Here, by analyzing observation data and multimodel results, we show that a west-east asymmetric internal mode amplified in austral winter originates from the harmony of the atmosphere-ocean coupled feedback off West Antarctica and the Antarctic terrain. The warmer ocean temperature over the West Antarctic sector has positive feedback, with an anomalous upper-tropospheric anticyclonic circulation response centered over West Antarctica, in which the strength of the feedback is controlled by the Antarctic topographic layout and the annual cycle. The current west-east asymmetry of Antarctic surface climate change is undoubtedly of natural origin because no external factors (e.g., orbital or anthropogenic factors) contribute to the asymmetric mode.


The model experiments conducted by CESM1 were not enough to fully confirm the roles of different regional SST forcings. Thus, we try to reinforce our logic weighted to the local atmosphere-ocean coupled feedback off West Antarctica through inference by comparing the regressed SST patterns among HadISST1, 38 CMIP5 models (CMIP5 MMM), and CESM1 onto their respective normalized EOF2 PC time series (fig. S9). In the tropics, there are large discrepancies between the observation and models, i.e., tropical central Pacific cooling in HadISST1, overall tropical and midlatitude cooling in CMIP5 MMM, and El Niño in CESM1. The large discrepancy in the tropical pattern associated with the Antarctic asymmetric mode implies that the dominant contribution of the tropical SST forcing to the upper-tropospheric anticyclonic circulation over West Antarctica cannot be generalized. By contrast, the consistent pattern of the warmer ABS SST is seen over the Southern Hemisphere high-latitude ocean. On the basis of this fact, it is natural to determine that the regional SST anomalies around Antarctica are the essential component for the asymmetry. The consistency between the observation and models over the high-latitude ocean enables us to think it reasonable to argue the harmony of the atmosphere-ocean coupled feedback off West Antarctica and the Antarctic terrain to generate the Antarctic west-east asymmetric natural variability.
In the asymmetric mode of Antarctic SATs, multidecadal variability is found in the long paleoclimate datasets of PAGES Antarctica2k, LOVECLIM, and TraCE-21K. This suggests that the enhanced asymmetric trend between West and East Antarctica during recent decades could be a manifestation of multidecadal variability. The linkage between the climatic conditions over the ABS and the Antarctic surface asymmetry at different time scales seems to determine time scales with either interannual or multidecadal variabilities. First, because the atmospheric Rossby wave bridge makes the connection between the tropics and west Antarctic surface climate (71116), strong interannual variability in the tropics, such as ENSO, might contribute to variability in the Antarctic asymmetric mode. On the other hand, different seasonalities in the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean could alter the interannual variability because the interaction between sea level pressure and surface temperature over the Bellingshausen Sea has strong seasonality. Their correlation coefficients shift from negative during austral summer (r = −0.17 for February) to positive during austral winter (r = 0.53 for August). This seasonality contributes to the wintertime development of the asymmetric mode, including the increase in surface temperature and the high-pressure system over this region, but disturbs the persistence of asymmetry in the following warm season. Second, the long-term variability in the ocean over the West Antarctic coastal region seems to play a role in producing multidecadal periodicity. There have been some reports on long-term variability of the ocean in this region via ocean circulation changes (202126). Possible roles of the ocean through the ASL have been suggested (20), but the relationship between the ocean and ASL is not immediately clear.
The climatic modes in this study suggest an important implication for future climate change in East Antarctica under global warming. The two future climate change experiments suggest that the explained variance in the first mode is much higher in the 21st century, while the second mode diminishes. The characteristics of the two modes strongly suggest that if global warming continues, a substantial temperature increase over East Antarctica may occur in addition to ongoing West Antarctic warming. The asymmetric mode will persist at its own pace in the future, even under global warming, but its role may not be as great as it is now. The intensified global warming over all of Antarctica in the future can induce massive melting of the ice shelves, even in East Antarctica. This explains why we have to keep an eye on Antarctica as global warming continues, despite the recent mitigation of warming in the eastern part of the region, due to the asymmetric nature of climate change.

Countries with more embedded and hierarchical cultural systems were more narcissistic; & women were less likely to be narcissistic in developed (vs. less developed) countries

Country‐Level Correlates of the Dark Triad Traits in 49 Countries. Peter K. Jonason et al.
Journal of Personality, June 2020.

Objectives: The Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) capture individual differences in aversive personality to complement work on other taxonomies, such as the Big Five traits. However, the literature on the Dark Triad traits relies mostly on samples from English‐speaking (i.e., Westernized) countries. We broadened the scope of this literature by sampling from a wider array of countries.

Method: We drew on data from 49 countries (N = 11,723; 65.8% female; AgeMean = 21.53) to examine how an extensive net of country‐level variables in economic status (e.g., Human Development Index), social relations (e.g., gender equality), political orientations (e.g., democracy), and cultural values (e.g., embeddedness) relate to country‐level rates of the Dark Triad traits, as well as variance in the magnitude of sex differences in them.

Results: Narcissism was especially sensitive to country‐level variables. Countries with more embedded and hierarchical cultural systems were more narcissistic. Also, sex differences in narcissism were larger in more developed societies: Women were less likely to be narcissistic in developed (vs. less developed) countries.

Conclusions: We discuss the results based on evolutionary and social role models of personality and sex differences. That higher country‐level narcissism was more common in less developed countries, whereas sex differences in narcissism were larger in more developed countries, is more consistent with evolutionary than social role models.

An adult joke sneaks a payload of ordinary-seeming, actually combustible ingredients into the mind; the "Aha" moment produces an unmentionable thought that pops up unexpectedly into your head

Raizada, Rajeev. 2020. “A Payload-ignition Theory of Adult-oriented Humour: TUUTU (a Thought That Is Unmentionable and Unmentioned, Triggered Unexpectedly).” PsyArXiv. June 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: A funny joke achieves a sort of sleight-of-hand: in its set up, it sneaks a payload of ordinary-seeming but actually combustible ingredients into your mind. The punchline then induces a mindshift, which jostles those ingredients around. This mindshift leads to the "Aha" moment of you getting the joke: the payload ignites, producing an unmentionable thought that pops up unexpectedly into your head. That sudden appearance in your mind of an unmentionable thought is, the present theory claims, the crucial ingredient that makes adult-directed humour funny. That claim and the payload-ignition model together form the two novel ingredients of the theory of humour that is proposed here. "Unmentionable" here means something that one would not say out loud in polite company, due to it being outrageous in some way, e.g. taboo, rude, or titillating. This unmentionable-thought payload is proposed to be a crucial and previously overlooked characteristic of adult-oriented humour. However, it is noticeably absent from child-friendly humour and from most puns, thereby explaining why such jokes are rarely very funny, and why studying puns may have obscured the role of unmentionable thoughts from previous theories. Existing theories of humour have individually devoted their attention only to one aspect of the payload-ignition combination: the classical theories of release and of superiority focused only on the payload, and contemporary theories such as incongruity resolution, bisociation, semantic scripts and error detection have focused only on the mindshift that triggers ignition. The present proposal is consistent with those previous theories, but extends them by adding the new elements of the unmentionable thought and the payload-ignition framework. Examples are presented and analysed of jokes and the unmentionable thoughts that they elicit. It is also shown how removing the unmentionable thought from a joke, while leaving all other elements the same, drains the joke of its humour. The present theory does not claim single-handedly to capture all aspects of humour, and some examples are discussed that remain beyond its grasp. However, it does newly highlight two crucial aspects, missed by previous theories, of what makes a joke funny. Finally, several testable predictions generated by the theory are presented.

Alcohol, Placebo & The Role of Expectations and Social Influence: It seems that it is enough for people to believe they have consumed alcohol to feel inebriated

Alcohol and Placebo: The Role of Expectations and Social Influence. Vivien Bodnár, Krisztina Nagy, Ádám Cziboly & György Bárdos. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, June 15 2020.

Abstract: The placebo effect is frequently present in our lives when an expectation, associated with any psychoactive material, leads to subjective and physiological changes. The present work studies the role of expectancies associated with ethanol/alcohol in changes to the subjective state. In experimental situations, we examine how these expectations—with or without social influences—affect participants when consuming alcoholic, pseudo-alcoholic, or non-alcoholic cocktails. Psychological and physical changes can, to a significant extent, arise from an expectation-driven placebo effect. We suggest that expectations of inebriation formed by socialization and experiences can explain most of the behavioural changes following alcohol consumption. These effects seem to be stronger if the alcohol consumption happens in a social context and weaker if it is individually. Regarding the information effect, we suppose that the expectations will positively affect the drunkenness, i.e. toward the placebo “direction”: those who believe they are consuming a non-alcoholic cocktail will be less inebriated than those who know their drink contains alcohol. In this study, we successfully demonstrate the expectation-induced classical placebo effect in the misinformed participants who were, in fact, consuming non-alcoholic drinks. The “social” alcohol consumption further enhances the true or believed effects of the alcohol, and thus the participants reported their subjective feelings in lines with their manipulated expectations. As regards the effect of the alcohol, therefore, many other factors contribute in addition to the alcohol itself, the most important of which seem to be group effect, suggestions and expectations.


The present study examined the mechanisms of the placebo effect in relation to alcohol consumption, specifically the effect of aroma or alcohol consumption on self-evaluation of the subjective physical, emotional and social state, in both group and individual settings.
A classical placebo effect was demonstrated in the present study: there was no significant difference regarding social behaviour or subjective feelings between alcohol- and aroma-consuming subjects when they did not know that placebo had also been served, in either the individual or group setting. It seems that it is enough for people to believe they have consumed alcohol to feel inebriated.
The aim of the study was also to clarify the role of group conditions in the placebo effect. Comparing the results of the individual and group settings, regardless of the alcohol content of the consumed cocktail, a social atmosphere intensified the effects of alcohol consumption.
A significant compensation effect was observed with the manipulation of the instructions (believed to drink alcohol/aroma), which was further enhanced by group effects. Because of the consumed amount of ethanol or aroma, theoretically subjects should not have reported feelings of inebriation, but due to strong stereotypes associated with alcohol consumption, regardless of the alcohol content, they “created” physical symptoms when they believed they were drinking alcohol. On the other hand, those who believed they were drinking only aroma, despite the fact that a real rum cocktail was given to them, showed signs of compensation as well, and they claimed to be “more sober” in order to harmonize their beliefs and feelings. We conclude that up to a certain amount of ethanol, subjective feelings of drunkenness are mainly defined by expectations, and expectation-related stereotypes are more powerful in a social than in an individual context.
To summarize, the effect of alcohol can only be partly explained by ethanol, as several other factors—mainly social processes, suggestions and expectations—play an important role in how individuals become inebriated.


This study presents the various effects of aroma and alcohol consumption on the basis of self-evaluation of the subjective physical, emotional and social state in group and individual settings in a healthy and young population with no alcohol-related disease or intolerance. Stereotypes, expectations, attitudes and experiences related to alcohol consumption of the tested sample may also differ from those of other populations, precluding wide generalizability of the results.
The relevant tests indicated the suitability of the variables for factor analysis and repeated-measures ANOVA, although the sample size was relatively small, which can also limit broad interpretation.
Finally, due to the small amount of alcohol consumed and the relatively short time intervals, participants only experienced a mild effect, whereas in real-life situations, people usually consume larger amounts and spend more time under those conditions. Although this fact seems to limit the validity of our study, it could still be a good design choice, since in a stronger inebriated state the placebo probably would not work.

Helzer and Pizarro’s (2011) showed that standing near a hand-sanitizer dispenser (signal of cleanliness and purity), individuals rated their political attitudes more conservative; replication fails

Burnham, B. R. (2020). Are liberals really dirty? Two failures to replicate Helzer and Pizarro’s (2011) study 1, with meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Jun 2020 .

Abstract: Helzer and Pizarro (2011) reported 2 studies that showed an influence of cleanliness cues on political attitudes. Specifically, when standing near a hand-sanitizer dispenser (signal of cleanliness and purity), individuals rated their political attitudes more conservative, compared with individuals who were standing near an empty wall. The present study reports 2 failed attempts to replicate the results of Study 1 in Helzer and Pizarro (2011). Additionally, a meta-analysis was conducted by combining the results of Helzer and Pizarro (2011), the failed replications reported here, and a third failed replication reported by Allison-Godfrey, Bronson, Luby, Salazar, and Holmes (2015). The meta-analysis revealed a very small effect of the presence of cleanliness cues on political attitudes.