Thursday, October 15, 2020

Script Effects as the Hidden Drive of the Mind, Cognition, and Culture

Script Effects as the Hidden Drive of the Mind, Cognition, and Culture. Hye K. Pae. Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 21). Springer, Cham. Oct 2020.

Introduction: This open access volume reveals the hidden power of the script we read in and how it shapes and drives our minds, ways of thinking, and cultures.  Expanding on the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis (i.e., the idea that language affects the way we think), this volume proposes the “Script Relativity Hypothesis” (i.e., the idea that the script in which we read affects the way we think) by offering a unique perspective on the effect of script (alphabets, morphosyllabaries, or multi-scripts) on our attention, perception, and problem-solving.  Once we become literate, fundamental changes occur in our brain circuitry to accommodate the new demand for resources.  The powerful effects of literacy have been demonstrated by research on literate versus illiterate individuals, as well as cross-scriptal transfer, indicating that literate brain networks function differently, depending on the script being read.  This book identifies the locus of differences between the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, and between the East and the West, as the neural underpinnings of literacy.  To support the “Script Relativity Hypothesis”, it reviews a vast corpus of empirical studies, including anthropological accounts of human civilization, social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, applied linguistics, second language studies, and cross-cultural communication. It also discusses the impact of reading from screens in the digital age, as well as the impact of bi-script or multi-script use, which is a growing trend around the globe.  As a result, our minds, ways of thinking, and cultures are now growing closer together, not farther apart.

Keywords: Open AccessThe emergence of written languageLinguistic relativity and readingPsychological mechanisms of readingScript effects and critical contrastive rhetoricWriting systems and literacy

Women’s short-term mating orientation was associated with attraction to men with greater chests; women who perceived themselves as attractive rated them as more attractive

Effects of Women’s Short-Term Mating Orientation and Self-Perceived Attractiveness in Rating and Viewing Men’s Waist to Chest Ratios. Ray Garza & Jennifer Byrd-Craven. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Oct 14 2020.

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Women’s mating strategies are dependent on multiple factors, such as identifying which men advertise physical features indicating high genetic quality, as well as identifying which men are willing to invest in offspring. Research has suggested that women pursuing short-term mating prioritize physical attraction to facilitate the acquisition of good genes. Although it is known that physical characteristics are important in mate choice, research investigating the saliency of physical features in assessing male fitness has not been readily explored. The current study used an eye-tracking paradigm to investigate the role of short-term mating in women and their attraction and visual attention to men’s waist to chest ratios (WCRs). Women’s short-term mating orientation (N = 130) was associated with attraction to men with low WCRs; however, their visual attention was not influenced by their mating strategy. Interestingly, women who perceived themselves as attractive rated men with low WCRs as more attractive and allocated attentional resources to physical features important in mate choice, such as the head and midriff region. The findings from this study lend some support to sexual strategies theory (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) and strategic pluralism (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), and they suggest that mate preferences may be calibrated as a function of one’s mate value.


This study examined how short-term mating orientation in women influenced their ratings and visual attention to men’s WCRs. Short-term mating oriented women rated men with low WCRs (0.7) as more attractive, supporting the first hypothesis. Since the costs of low investment may be less concerning for women pursing a short-term mating strategy, they may demonstrate a stronger preference for features associated with masculinity (Little et al., 2011). Women perceive men with low WCRs to be dominant (Hughes & Gallup, 2002), masculine (Provost et al., 2006, 2008) and immunocompetent (Dixson et al., of attraction (Fan et al., 2005; Garza et al., 2017; Garza & ByrdCraven, 2019; Maisey et al., 1999; Swami & Tovee, 2005). In pursuing a short-term mating strategy, women have more to gain from securing genes from men who display increased fitness, and they may have more to lose from securing masculine men if pursuing a long-term mating strategy, as a competitive man’s effort can be focused on mating and not parenting (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Self-perceived attractiveness was a stronger predictor in ratings for attractiveness than was short-term mating orientation. Women who perceived themselves as more attractive rated men with low WCRs (0.7) as more attractive compared with women who rated themselves as less attractive. Women who consider themselves to be more attractive may be more competitive and are better able to attain high-quality mates as it relates to their own mate value (Buss & Shackelford, 2008). This suggests that mate preferences may be calibrated as a function of one’s mate own value (Buss & Schmitt, 1993), where highly attractive women prefer men with physical traits similar to their own attractiveness, consistent with assortative mating. Although women’s short-term mating orientation was associated with attractiveness ratings to men with low (0.7) WCRs, behavioral data in the form of eye movements did not show a similar trend. Regardless of mating strategies, women’s eye movements were centered on medium WCR (0.8) men, and they focused their visual attention to the head and midriff region, supporting previous research on eye movements and attentional biases to men’s bodies (Dixson et al., 2014; Garza et al., 2017; Garza & Byrd-Craven, 2019). Women’s focus on the face at the earliest stages of processing (i.e., first fixation duration) indicates a reliance on physical communicative cues (e.g., facial features) and then focuses on features associated with immunocompetence and health (e.g., midriff region). Given the association between self-perceived attractiveness and preferences for men with low WCRs (0.7), self-perceived attractiveness was also investigated in predicting eye movements. Women who perceived themselves as more attractive spent less time viewing the chest region at the early stages of visual processing (i.e., first fixation duration) and viewed the midriff longer. Findings for first fixation duration may be interpreted in two ways: (1) high mate value women may not need to rely on specific features (e.g., chest region) at first glance when viewing men because they already know what they are looking for overall, independent of ROI, or (2) similar to Little et al. (2011), women who perceived themselves to be less attractive show more of an exaggeration in preferences associated with masculinity (i.e., chest features). For gaze duration, high mate value women show an interest to the midriff region, as the midriff regions is a physical cue that can be used to infer health status (i.e., body fat displays), and high mate value women are searching for men that demonstrate high-quality status. These findings contribute to research demonstrating the importance of mating strategies and mate value in physical attractiveness to men. Previous research has demonstrated the role of short-term mating in self-reported ratings of attractiveness to men with different somatotypes (Provost et al., 2006), masculinity (Little et al., 2011; Provost et al., 2008), facial masculinity (Little et al., 2002, 2011; Perrett et al., 1998), and waist to chest ratios (Garza & Byrd-Craven, 2019). Moreover, they suggest that mating strategies function differently in mate choice irrespective of how a potential mate is being processed visually. That is, when considering one’s own sociosexual attitudes, women’s visual assessments of men may not differ compared to their overall ratings of attractiveness. This has been demonstrated before by Dixson et al. (2014), where no significant differences were apparent in processing men with different somatotypes for short or long-term mating contexts. More importantly, the findings demonstrate the role of mate value, as women high on self-perceived attractiveness found men with low WCRs more attractive and showed attentional biases to specific regions of men’s bodies. Research by Buss and Shackelford (2008) has shown that women high on selfperceived attractiveness prefer men who are more masculinized and physically fit. Similar accounts have been shown by Little et al. (2011), where attractive women preferred slightly masculine facial features in men. Women may also be looking for mates that display equivalent levels of traits, as mate value has shown to guide how individuals choose and design a potential mate (Edlund & Sagarin, 2010). Additionally, women who perceived themselves as more attractive might be better able to guard against mate poaching. Women high in mate value have been shown to be more controlling of their partner’s behaviors (Danel et al., 2017), by limiting the cost associated with partner desertion. The discrepancy between short-term mating and eye movements could reflect the importance of saliency in an eye-tracking task. That is, participants simply completed a self-reported measurement of short-term mating and were not subjected to an experimental manipulation where mating was made salient. Possibly, if mating context is made salient, there are specific cognitive mechanisms that are activated in the pursuit of choosing and evaluating a potential mate. Mating motives have shown to activate perceptions, cognitions, and behaviors that are used in mate search and reproductive behavior (Griskevicius, Goldstein, Mortensen, Cialdini, & Kenrick, 2006; Maner et al., 2005). Nonetheless, future research on mate preferences should incorporate the use of behavioral data, in addition to self-report measures of attraction. The use of behavioral measures, such as eye tracking, provides insight into early and late onset ratings rather than reliance on outputs of a decision that is effortful and subject to experimenter expectancy (Conklin et al., 2018; Krupp, 2008).

Rolf Degen summarizing... People have mixed feeling about conformists, looking down on those who bow to the majority to gain approval, approving of those who do it out of solidarity, and they judge their own conformity more favorably than others'

Benevolent Conformity: The Influence of Perceived Motives on Judgments of Conformity. Matthew Wice, Shai Davidai. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, October 14, 2020.

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Although people often disapprove of conformity, they also dislike when others deviate from group norms. What explains this ambivalence? We hypothesized that judgments of conformity would be affected by whether people view it as motivated by self-interested or benevolent motives. Four studies (N = 808), using both hypothetical and real-life instances of conformity, support this prediction. We find that people judge those who conform to gain social approval (self-interested conformity) as weak-willed, but those who conform out of concern for their group (benevolent conformity) as competent and possessing strong character. In addition, we predict and find that people view self-interested conformity as “fake” but benevolent conformity as revealing one’s true self. Finally, we show that differences in perceived intentions explain how people sustain positive self-regard while succumbing to group pressures and why people judge their own conformity more favorably than others’ conformity. We discuss implications for encouraging and discouraging conformity.

Keywords: conformity, social judgment, attributions, self–other difference, authenticity