Saturday, October 24, 2020

From 2014... Perceptions of actual sex differences may play a more important role than culturally based gender roles and socialization processes

From 2014... Gender Stereotypes of Personality: Universal and Accurate? Corinna E. Löckenhoff et al. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, January 30, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113520075

Abstract: Numerous studies have documented subtle but consistent sex differences in self-reports and observer-ratings of five-factor personality traits, and such effects were found to show well-defined developmental trajectories and remarkable similarity across nations. In contrast, very little is known about perceived gender differences in five-factor traits in spite of their potential implications for gender biases at the interpersonal and societal level. In particular, it is not clear how perceived gender differences in five-factor personality vary across age groups and national contexts and to what extent they accurately reflect assessed sex differences in personality. To address these questions, we analyzed responses from 3,323 individuals across 26 nations (mean age = 22.3 years, 31% male) who were asked to rate the five-factor personality traits of typical men or women in three age groups (adolescent, adult, and older adult) in their respective nations. Raters perceived women as slightly higher in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness as well as some aspects of extraversion and neuroticism. Perceived gender differences were fairly consistent across nations and target age groups and mapped closely onto assessed sex differences in self- and observer-rated personality. Associations between the average size of perceived gender differences and national variations in sociodemographic characteristics, value systems, or gender equality did not reach statistical significance. Findings contribute to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of gender stereotypes of personality and suggest that perceptions of actual sex differences may play a more important role than culturally based gender roles and socialization processes.

Keywords: personality, gender/sex roles, developmental: child/adolescent, developmental: elderly


Heterosexuals that react in a negative manner when pondering or experiencing romantic or sexual overtures from persons of their same sex do so because of sexual prejudice & gender conforming reputation desire

Heterosexual People’s Reactions to Same-Sex Romantic or Sexual Overtures: The Role of Attitudes About Sexual Orientation and Gender. Laurel R. Davis-Delano, Sophie L. Kuchynka, Jennifer K. Bosson & Elizabeth M. Morgan. Archives of Sexual Behavior volume 49, pages 2561–2573, Aug 26 2020. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-020-01804-w

Abstract: Why do some heterosexual people react in a negative manner when pondering or experiencing romantic or sexual overtures from persons of their same-sex, whereas other heterosexual people react more positively? To answer this question, this cross-sectional, correlational study examined individual difference predictors of heterosexual people’s responses to romantic or sexual overtures from same-sex persons. Our sample comprised 306 men and 307 women, ages 18–35 years, who were recruited from Mechanical Turk and identified as cisgender and heterosexual. Our hypotheses were premised on the theoretical construct of reactive group distinctiveness. Specifically, we explored predictors of heterosexual individuals’ negative perceptions of same-sex overtures. We found that more negative reactions to same-sex overtures were uniquely predicted by old-fashioned sexual prejudice, modern sexual prejudice, and desire to be perceived as gender conforming, via the mediators of social distance from same-sex sexual minority individuals and desire to be perceived as heterosexual. Gender moderated these relationships inconsistently. These findings indicate that two classes of individual differences—sexual prejudice and gender conforming reputation desire—are uniquely associated with heterosexual persons’ reactions to overtures from same-sex persons. We explain how these findings evidence the process of reactive group distinctiveness.



Two samples of male Croatian adolescents: We found no evidence that impersonal sexuality & pornography use increased the odds of subsequently reporting sexual aggression—regardless of participants’ predisposed risk

Testing the Confluence Model of the Association Between Pornography Use and Male Sexual Aggression: A Longitudinal Assessment in Two Independent Adolescent Samples from Croatia. Taylor Kohut, Ivan Landripet & Aleksandar Štulhofer. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Oct 20 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01824-6

Abstract: According to confluence model theorizing, pornography use contributes to sexual violence, but only among men who are predisposed to sexual aggression. Support for this assertion is limited to cross-sectional research, which cannot speak to the temporal ordering of assumed causes and consequences. To address this issue, we employed generalized linear mixed modeling to determine whether hostile masculinity, impersonal sexuality, and pornography use, and their interactions, predicted change in the odds of subsequently reported sexual aggression in two independent panel samples of male Croatian adolescents (N1 = 936 with 2808 observations; N2 = 743 with 2972 observations). While we observed the link between hostile masculinity and self-reported sexual aggression in both panels, we found no evidence that impersonal sexuality and pornography use increased the odds of subsequently reporting sexual aggression—regardless of participants’ predisposed risk. This study’s findings are difficult to reconcile with the view that pornography use plays a causal role in male sexual violence.



The new enthusiasm with which the media and health authorities are celebrating masturbation may be a desirable step toward further destigmatizing and normalizing solo sex; ditto with sex toys (although robots are excluded)

How Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Our Sexualities? An Overview of the Current Media Narratives and Research Hypotheses. Nicola Döring. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Aug 5 2020. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-020-01790-z

Abstract: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) first broke out in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has spread rapidly worldwide since the beginning of 2020. This new infectious disease is associated with a variety of symptoms and, in severe cases, leads to organ failure and death. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) (2020a) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. Since then, the primary goal has been to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is responsible for the disease and is easily transmitted by direct and contact transmission. To this end, travel restrictions, curfews, and contact bans have been imposed in numerous countries around the world, and all nonessential public institutions have been closed (COVID-19 shutdown or lockdown). Most political, cultural, religious, and sporting events have been canceled or postponed. People are being asked to wash their hands regularly and wear protective masks, to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters away from other human beings and to stay at home if possible (i.e., social distancing and self-isolation). By Spring 2020, more than half of the world population was in lockdown (Sandford, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic is causing one of the world’s largest economic crises and is affecting the well-being of individuals; some stress factors, such as domestic isolation, lack of movement and social contact, loss of jobs and economic problems, supply bottlenecks, limited health and psychosocial care, and fear of and confrontation with infection and death, characterize life worldwide during the pandemic, but with great differences depending on the respective geographical region, socioeconomic situation, and personal circumstances.


More Masturbation

Those who spend more time in domestic isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic also have more time and opportunity to masturbate. This at least is suspected by the public, and a corresponding descriptive narrative of more masturbation has been well visible in the media in Spring 2020 (Döring & Walter, 2020). This also applies to a prescriptive narrative of more masturbation, which directly calls on the population to masturbate more often. Masturbation is recommended because it reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens the immune system, fights boredom and frustration, and compensates for the lack of partnered sex, at least according to the arguments of the media (e.g., Die Bild, 2020), loosely referring to the state of research on the positive health outcomes of masturbation (e.g., Coleman, 2003; Levin, 2007; Robbins et al., 2011). The New York City Health Department (NYC Health Department, 2020) was quoted worldwide as stating the following: “You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 s before and after sex.”

The new enthusiasm with which the media and health authorities are celebrating masturbation may be a desirable step toward further destigmatizing and normalizing solo sex. At the same time, it is problematic when masturbation is officially recommended as an alternative to partnered sex. For some people masturbation might be a viable substitute, while others feel they cannot do without interpersonal intimacy.

Empirically, it is an open question whether, and if so, with whom, changes in masturbation frequency occur at all. In addition to pandemic factors that can have an increasing effect (e.g., more time at home), there are also pandemic factors that can have a dampening effect (e.g., fears and worries). It is also plausible that the majority of people will more or less stick to their preexisting masturbation habits.


More Sex Toy Use

The most popular solo sex media narrative during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic has postulated the use of more sex toys (Döring & Walter, 2020). Toys are used for partnered sex, but even more often—especially with women—for solo sex (Döring & Poeschl, 2019), for which during coronavirus isolation, according to common belief, there is a particularly high opportunity.

The media narrative of more sex toy use, which might be more prevalent in high-income countries, is optimistically oriented and refers to extra-pleasurable masturbation due to more or less sophisticated technical aids. Such mass media information about sex toys has a normalizing and educational character. At the same time, it is clever public relations work on the part of the sex toy industry because specific brands and products (e.g., Womanizer.com and We-Vibe.com) have often been praised in media reports and, in some cases, press articles directly linked to online shopping sites.

This media narrative is often missing a critical examination of the commercialization of solo sex and of the sex products themselves, such as their functionality, sustainability, material quality, or pricing. While there are numerous blogs dedicated to the differentiated review of sex toys from users’ perspectives, only the marketing managers of the companies that report on sales successes have a say in media reports (Döring & Walter, 2020).

Empirically, we hardly know anything about pandemic-specific effects: By whom are sex toys increasingly bought, and how intensively are they being used during the COVID-19 pandemic? Which sexual scripts are acted out with these toys? What effects on solosexual satisfaction are experienced?

Finally, it should be noted that the narrative of more sex toy use refers to established toys such as dildos and vibrators and excludes sex dolls or sex robots, which are otherwise discussed as new trends (Döring, Mohseni, & Walter, in press; Döring & Pöschl, 2018). Whole-body toys such as robots and dolls, as well as conventional cuddly toys, may be particularly well suited for use in self-isolation when the need for tenderness, hugging, and cuddling is at stake and people want to calm and comfort themselves while falling asleep.


More Pornography Use

During masturbation, people resort not only to toys but often also to pornography, currently mostly in the form of online pornography (Grubbs, Wright, Braden, Wilt, & Kraus, 2019). During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has increasingly been the case, at least that is what the narrative of more pornography use circulating in the media claims: “Corona makes porn purchases explode” was the headline of Germany’s largest daily newspaper (Döring & Walter, 2020).

Pornhub.com led a special public relations coup. This leading provider of online pornography made headlines worldwide at the beginning of March 2020 because it gave quarantined Italians free premium access to the platform for one month. The offer was so positively received that Pornhub immediately expanded it to Spain and France and eventually the whole world. Pornhub tweeted the following on March 24, 2020 (Pornhub, 2020b): “Stay home and help flatten the curve! Since COVID-19 continues to impact us all, Pornhub has decided to extend Free Pornhub Premium worldwide until April 23rd. So enjoy, stay home, and stay safe https://pornhub.com/stayhome #StayHomehub.”

Those who signed up for free also confirmed that they would stay away from social contacts and enjoy Pornhub premium videos in return. Pornhub jokingly changed its name to StayHomehub. For the Pornhub platform, which is repeatedly mentioned in the narrative of more pornography use, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to have resulted in a significant increase in the platform’s popularity. Pornhub’s approach was not at all original, as various companies have offered free premium access during the pandemic. In connection with porn, however, this marketing measure had a particularly high news value.

Pornography and its effects are a very controversial subject in both public and academic discourses. In the German-language media in the Spring of 2020, the narrative of more pornography use was accompanied by rather affirmative assessments: people staying at home and masturbating more often using pornography were suddenly seen less as a problematic risk behavior and more as a desirable SARS-CoV-2 prevention behavior and thus much more favorably regarded than usual. Professional assessments also go in this direction and do not see temporarily increased pornography consumption as a major problem but rather as constructive coping behavior to overcome pandemic-induced boredom and fear (Grubbs, 2020; Lehmiller, 2020) and to comply with contact bans (Grubbs, 2020):

For most users, pornography is probably just another distraction–one that might actually help “flatten the curve” by keeping people safely occupied and socially distanced. Combined with the fact that many people are isolating alone, pornography may provide a low-risk sexual outlet that does not cause people to risk their own safety or the safety of others.

In the international press, however, there are also articles that classify increased pornography consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic as a danger, mainly because it is expected to foster sexualized violence (Quek & Tyler, 2020; Schilling, 2020).

From a clinical point of view, it is predicted that in people who already have problems with their pornography consumption and self-regulation, these problems will increase under the conditions of the pandemic (Mestre-Bach et al., 2020). Hence, target-group-specific healthcare is necessary, for example, via online self-help forums (e.g., NoFap, Reboot Nation, or 12-step forums focusing on sex and love addiction) according to pornography addiction experts (Mestre-Bach et al., 2020).

Again, special attention should be paid to young people who may be consuming more pornography during the pandemic and at the same time have less direct contact with peers and sexual educators. They may need target-group-specific online sexual education during the pandemic. Moreover, positive effects are also possible, for example, in the form that the increased use of pornography may help in the exploration of one’s own sexual fantasies and desires, in self-validation and in open partner communication (Kohut, Fisher, & Campbell, 2017).

Instead of playing opportunities and risks against each other in a pro and con pornography discourse, according to the differential susceptibility to media effects model (DSMM; Valkenburg & Peter, 2013), we must identify the specific predictors that in individual cases can lead to predominantly positive, predominantly negative, ambivalent, or even no effects of pornography use.


The Rise of Coronavirus Porn as a New Genre of Pornography

The media has reported not only about a general increase in pornography use but also about the rise of coronavirus porn as a new genre of pornography. In so-called coronavirus porn, the action takes place in a hospital or supposedly in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where COVID-19 originally broke out. The protagonists wear masks, gloves, and protective suits and interact with doctors and nurses, as described in detail by the magazine VICE (Cole, 2020). In fact, at the beginning of April 2020, more than 1000 videos were found on the pornography platform Pornhub.com under the search term “Corona” and more than 100 videos were found on the platform XHamster.com.

What has often been declared by the media to be an allegedly “extreme” or at least “strange” sex trend is actually quite normal: current events are reflected in people’s sexual fantasies and thus also become the subject of pornography. Coronavirus fantasies and porn probably have very different functions: fear defense, eroticization of the threat, curiosity about the bizarre, desire to cross borders, hopes of recovery, etc. (Lehmiller, 2020). Moreover, the motifs of coronavirus porn are partly connectable to existing fetishes and kinks (e.g., latex masks and gloves, clinic sex/white sex). While Forbes Magazine has emphasized the normality of eroticizing the novel coronavirus (Cookney, 2020), the Independent has criticized that an irresponsible pornography industry is capitalizing on the topic of coronavirus in a harmful way (Austin & Boyd, 2020).

Pornhub.com provided platform statistics that demonstrate increased interest in coronavirus porn in March 2020 (Pornhub, 2020a). These statistics were often quoted in the relevant media reports, which in turn may have helped to raise the popularity of the Pornhub brand. To date, there are no systematic content analyses of the new coronavirus pornography genre nor are there any empirical user studies on actual usage patterns and their possible effects.


Males who frequently engaged in extreme binges had exaggerated deficits on one of the visuospatial tasks, as did their female counterparts on the social-cognitive task, suggesting sex-specific vulnerabilities

Frequency of Recent Binge Drinking Is Associated With Sex-Specific Cognitive Deficits: Evidence for Condition-Dependent Trait Expression in Humans. Liana S. E. Hone et al. Evolutionary Psychology, October-December 2020: 1–13. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1474704920954445

Abstract: Evolutionary theory suggests that commonly found sex differences are largest in healthy populations and smaller in populations that have been exposed to stressors. We tested this idea in the context of men’s typical advantage (vs. women) in visuospatial abilities (e.g., mental rotation) and women’s typical advantage (vs. men) in social-cognitive (e.g., facial-expression decoding) abilities, as related to frequent binge drinking. Four hundred nineteen undergraduates classified as frequent or infrequent binge drinkers were assessed in these domains. Trial-level multilevel models were used to test a priori Sex  Group (binge drinking) interactions for visuospatial and social-cognitive tasks. Among infrequent binge drinkers, men’s typical advantage in visuospatial abilities and women’s typical advantage in social-cognitive abilities was confirmed. Among frequent binge drinkers, men’s advantage was reduced for one visuospatial task (delta d = 0.29) and eliminated for another (delta d = 0.75), and women’s advantage on the social-cognitive task was eliminated (delta d = 0.12). Males who frequently engaged in extreme binges had exaggerated deficits on one of the visuospatial tasks, as did their female counterparts on the social-cognitive task. The results suggest sex-specific vulnerabilities associated with recent, frequent binge drinking, and support an evolutionary approach to the study of these vulnerabilities.

Keywords: sex differences, sexual selection, alcohol, binge drinking, cognitive deficits, vulnerabilities


Discussion

There is now consistent evidence that men generally have better developed visuospatial abilities than women (e.g., Hyde, 2005; Jones et al., 2003; Lawton, 2010; MacDonald & Hewlett, 1999), whereas women generally have better developed socialcognitive skills than men (e.g., Hall, 1984; Merten, 2005; Thompson & Voyer, 2014). The magnitude of these sex differences varies across context, and an evolutionary perspective can situate these contextual influences in the framework of sexual selection (Darwin, 1871). Sexual selection in the context of human evolution includes visuospatial (favoring men) and social-cognitive (favoring women) sex differences that confer advantages in competition for mates or other reproductively important resources and discriminative mate choice under favorable conditions (Geary, 2021). Following Zahavi (1975) and research on condition-dependent trait expression in nonhuman species (Cotton et al., 2004; Johnstone, 1995), Geary (2015, 2019) proposed that these sex differences are condition dependent in humans, such that their development and expression is a reliable indicator of exposure to, and resistance to degradation by stressors. The current study is the first to directly test this hypothesis in humans, and to propose that recent, frequent binge drinking acts as a neurotoxic stressor disrupting cognitive abilities in sex-specific ways. The typical advantages of men in visuospatial abilities (Voyer et al., 1995) and of women in social-cognitive abilities (Hall, 1984; Thompson & Voyer, 2014) were replicated among a group of emerging adults who never or rarely engaged in binge drinking in the past month. These sex differences were greatly attenuated or even reversed in a group of emerging adults who at least occasionally engaged in binge drinking in the recent past. Given the prevalence of binge drinking in this population—current estimates place the percentage of college student binge drinkers at 40%–50% (Croteau & Morrell, 2019; Krieger et al., 2018)—these findings suggest that sex-specific deficits among college students might be widespread. Recent data also indicate that although the prevalence of binge drinking among adolescents has declined in recent years (Chung et al., 2018), emerging and young adults are engaging in more binge drinking than in the past, reflecting a secular shift in the age of peak binge drinking (Patrick et al., 2019). These high prevalence rates and increasing age of peak heavy episodic drinking are especially concerning in light of the current findings, given that mate competition and choice are most intense during this developmental period. During the years that coincide with elevated binge drinking rates, competition for mating-relevant resources peaks and creates a period of high risk and high reward with regard to engaging in mating effort (Hill & Chow, 2002). Indeed, binge drinking may be an attractive risk-taking behavior to emerging adults in part because it serves as a costly social signal with the potential to yield high gain in a competitive mating market (Aung et al., 2019). As would be expected of sexually selected costly signals (Zahavi, 1975), our findings highlight that binge drinking does indeed come with costs. Under natural conditions, condition-dependent traits are vulnerable to chronic malnutrition, disease, or social conflict and appear to be more sensitive to man-made toxins than other traits (see Geary, 2015, 2019). Although heavy episodic exposure to ethyl alcohol might not be as detrimental as chronic exposure to natural stressors or many other toxins, chronic, heavy exposure to alcohol can result in short-term and sometimes longer-term but subtle deficits in memory and cognition (e.g., Goudriaan et al., 2007). Binge drinking might then reveal sex-specific vulnerabilities in visuospatial and social-cognitive abilities. Some previous studies of alcohol use have assessed similar abilities but sex differences are not always reported (Folgueira-Ares et al., 2017). When they are reported, the pattern of sex-specific deficits is mixed (Haut et al., 1989; Weissenborn & Duka, 2003). These prior studies often have been based on relatively small samples and have used standard neuropsychological measures that typically are not optimal for assessing sex-specific deficits. For instance, there are often small sex differences in spatial working memory and pattern recognition (tasks found in the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery; CANTAB), but sex differences on these tasks are smaller than those found for tasks used in the current study. The difference is important because from an evolutionary perspective, sex-specific vulnerabilities generally will be more evident for traits with larger sex differences (Geary, 2017). Our results provide preliminary evidence in support of this hypothesis. Men’s advantage on both visuospatial tasks was smaller among frequent binge drinkers than among infrequent binge drinkers and non-drinkers. Moreover, there was evidence for a dose-response effect for mental rotation, whereby very high and frequent exposures to ethyl alcohol (extreme binges) were related to worse performance, but only among men. At the same time, these same men did not show exaggerated deficits in the speed of identifying emotions displayed in facial Hone et al. 9 expressions. In judging line angles and position, binge drinking women were more accurate than were binge drinking men, a reversal of the standard sex difference in visuospatial abilities and of our findings for infrequent binge drinkers. We did not, however, find evidence for a dose-response effect for this measure. It is possible that men’s performance on this spatial measure is disrupted by more moderate levels of alcohol exposure with no further deficits emerging with added exposures, but this remains to be determined. In contrast, women who recently engaged in frequent binge drinking did not show visuospatial deficits relative to women who had not engaged in binge drinking, but they were slower at identifying emotions displayed in facial expressions, especially the expressions of other women. Men often display an advantage, relative to women, in judging anger on the faces of other men (see Geary, 2015). Here, this effect did not emerge for facial-expression decoding accuracy, or for reaction time. It is possible that the task used here did not include a sufficient number of angry male faces to provide a powerful test of this effect (which was not a primary focus of this study). There also was evidence of a dose-response effect in this measure, restricted to women. That is, women who frequently engaged in extreme binges were slower at emotion detection than were other women, but these same extreme binge drinking women did not show exaggerated deficits for mental rotation. This pattern is essentially a mirror image of that observed among men who frequently engaged in extreme binges. Nevertheless, follow-up studies with larger sample sizes of binge drinkers are need to determine if there are indeed sex-specific doseresponse effects for visuospatial and social-cognitive abilities. The overall pattern of sex-specific deficits found here is consistent with the expression of condition-dependent traits in other species (Cotton et al., 2004; Johnstone, 1995), and supports the more general hypothesis that the sex differences in visuospatial and social-cognitive abilities stem from different patterns of intrasexual competition among our male and female ancestors, respectively (Geary, 2015; Geary et al., 2014). Although this study was designed based on established predictions (Geary, 2015, 2019) that provided for a priori hypothesis testing based on well-established patterns in nonhuman species, the study provides only a quasi-experimental test of those predictions. It is possible that the differences we observed across frequent and infrequent binge drinkers preceded recent drinking episodes, as suggested by modestly lower vocabulary scores among the binge drinkers. If there were broader cognitive differences across the drinking groups, however, then the frequent binge drinkers should have performed more poorly than infrequent binge drinkers on all cognitive tasks, independent of sex and not in a sex-specific manner. Moreover, because vocabulary is a good indicator of general intelligence, any binge drinking group differences on the visuospatial and social-cognitive tasks should have disappeared with statistical control of vocabulary scores, but they did not. Different psychopathologies can also affect cognitive performance, for instance psychomotor slowing of responding in subjects with depression and anxiety (Bennabi et al., 2013; Gualtieri & Morgan, 2008). While we did not measure this in our study, and therefore could not fully control for this potential third variable, it is an interesting hypothesis to pursue in future studies. Concomitant drug use was also not measured, but can still influence cognitive performance (Davis et al., 2002; Quednow, 2017). It is currently unknown if drug use mitigates the interactive effects found here, or has an additive effect along with binge drinking frequency. Additionally, and as always, readers should interpret the results presented here with care in terms of multiple comparisons and post-hoc contrasts. Future research would benefit from the use of a longitudinal design that would permit assessment of changes in performance on measures of purported sexually selected traits over time, as a function of changes in binge drinking frequency. Although also not an experimental design, this kind of approach would permit stronger inferences regarding the role of recent binge drinking frequency by accounting for any preexisting differences across participants in their baseline levels of performance. Findings from such a study would further advance understanding of the extent to which exposure to this very common neurocognitive stressor specifically impairs abilities that evolutionary theory posits to be critical for sexual selection success. Despite these caveats, our results are unique and speak to the utility of using sexual selection as a means to identify and study sex-specific vulnerabilities, not just those associated with binge drinking but with exposure to myriad other potential stressors and toxins. 

Behavioral gender differences are reinforced during the COVID-19 crisis

Behavioral gender differences are reinforced during the COVID-19 crisis. Tobias Reisch et al. arXiv Oct 8, 2020. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2010.10470.pdf

Abstract: Behavioral gender differences are known to exist for a wide range of human activities including the way people communicate, move, provision themselves, or organize leisure activities. Using mobile phone data from 1.2 million devices in Austria (15% of the population) across the first phase of the COVID-19 crisis, we quantify gender-specific patterns of communication intensity, mobility, and circadian rhythms. We show the resilience of behavioral patterns with respect to the shock imposed by a strict nation-wide lock-down that Austria experienced in the beginning of the crisis with severe implications on public and private life. We find drastic differences in gender-specific responses during the different phases of the pandemic. After the lock-down gender differences in mobility and communication patterns increased massively, while sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms tend to synchronize. In particular, women had fewer but longer phone calls than men during the lock-down. Mobility declined massively for both genders, however, women tend to restrict their movement stronger than men. Women showed a stronger tendency to avoid shopping centers and more men frequented recreational areas. After the lock-down, males returned back to normal quicker than women; young age-cohorts return much quicker. Differences are driven by the young and adolescent population. An age stratification highlights the role of retirement on behavioral differences. We find that the length of a day of men and women is reduced by one hour. We discuss the findings in the light of gender-specific coping strategies in response to stress and crisis.


Tightwads (those who rank themselves as tightwads, laptop users who sit long hours over a single cup of coffee, cab drivers who fail to turn on air-conditioning on a hot day) cheat more than other people to avoid spending money

Do tightwads cheat more? Evidence from three field experiments. Yossef Tobol, Erez Siniver, Gideon Yaniv. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 180, December 2020, Pages 148-158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2020.10.003

Highlights

• Three field studies are designed to explore a connection between tightwads and cheating.

• The 1st study views tightwads as mall shoppers who rank themselves as tightwads.

• The 2nd study views tightwads as laptop users who sit long hours over a single cup of coffee.

• The 3rd study views tightwads as cab drivers who fail to turn on air-conditioning on a hot day.

• All three studies find that tightwads cheat more than other people to avoid spending money.

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1319877298355638275

Abstract: The paper reports the results of three field experiments designed to inquire whether tightwads, defined in the eco-psych literature as people who feel intense pain at the prospect of spending money, are more likely to cheat than other people in order to avoid paying. In the first experiment, passersby at a Tel-Aviv shopping mall were asked to answer a questionnaire that determined their pain of paying level. They were thereafter invited to perform an "inverse" version of the die-under-the-cup (DUTC) task that incentivized under-reporting of the actual die outcome to avoid paying money. In the second experiment, laptop users at Tel-Aviv coffee shops, who may unabashedly work long hours over a single cup of coffee, were offered to perform the inverse DUTC task upon leaving the shop and after recording the time and money they spent there. The third experiment was conducted with Jerusalem cab drivers, many of whom avoid turning on their air conditioning systems on hot summer days. The experiment involved riding both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned cabs in Jerusalem and offering drivers, at the end of the ride, to perform the inverse DUTC task. In all three experiments, tightwaddism was found to have a statistically significant positive effect on cheating. The experimental findings are supported by a rational-choice model that predicts that cheating increases with the pain of spending money.

Key words: TightwadsPain of payingCheatingDie-under-the-cup task


Subjects in a Milgram experiment who were asked to shock the “learner” with high voltage straight away were more obedient than those who reached high voltage gradually, refuting the "foot-in-the-door" interpretation

Multiple Feet-in-the-Door and Obedience. Tomasz Grzyb & Dariusz Dolinsk. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Oct 22 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2020.1837134

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1319854621452603393

Abstract: Gilbert’s hypothesis regarding the possible effect of the feet-in-the-door procedure on obedience to an authority figure in Milgram’s paradigm was tested in the course of two studies. Neither the first experiment, conducted in a laboratory (N = 80), which was a true copy of the model proposed by Milgram, nor the second study, conducted online (N = 485), validated Gilbert’s hypothesis. Actually, the results demonstrated the opposite–fewer of those subjects who were asked to shock the “learner” with high voltage straight away refused to follow the order than those who reached the same voltage level gradually. In Study 2, we also tested the hypothesis regarding the role of a postponement as a factor in decreasing one’s obedience.


Participants were generally dismissive of general rules that prioritize more socially beneficial individuals, such as doctors instead of unemployed people but were more supportive of decisions to save a single more beneficial person

Caviola, Lucius, Stefan Schubert, and Andreas Mogensen. 2020. “Should You Save the More Useful? the Effect of Generality on Moral Judgments About Rescue and Indirect Effects.” PsyArXiv. October 23. doi:10.31234/osf.io/cynxq

Rolf Degen's take: 

Abstract: Across eight experiments (N = 2,310), we studied whether people would prioritize rescuing individuals who may be thought to contribute more to society. We found that participants were generally dismissive of general rules that prioritize more socially beneficial individuals, such as doctors instead of unemployed people. By contrast, participants were more supportive of one-off decisions to save the life of a more socially beneficial individual, even when such cases were the same as those covered by the rule. This generality effect occurred robustly even when controlling for various factors. It occurred when the decision-maker was the same in both cases, when the pairs of people differing in the extent of their indirect social utility was varied, when the scenarios were varied, when the participant samples came from different countries, and when the general rule only covered cases that are exactly the same as the situation described in the one-off condition. The effect occurred even when the general rule was introduced via a concrete precedent case. Participants’ tendency to be more supportive of the one-off proposal than the general rule was significantly reduced when they evaluated the two proposals jointly as opposed to separately. Finally, the effect also occurred in sacrificial moral dilemmas, suggesting it is a more general phenomenon in certain moral contexts. We discuss possible explanations of the effect, including concerns about negative consequences of the rule and a deontological aversion against making difficult trade-off decisions unless they are absolutely necessary.