Monday, November 9, 2020

From 2019... Some apes don't seem to have a sense of procedural (un)fairness, not getting upset when they have to spend greater effort for the same reward than their peers

From 2019... The Biology of Fairness. Sarah F. Brosnan. Chapter 2 in Social Psychology and Justice. Edited By E. Allan Lind. November 2019.

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Humans are not the only species that is sensitive to outcome inequality. Other species, too, respond negatively to getting less than a social partner, and this breadth suggests a common biological foundation. Across species, negative responses to inequity are linked to the degree to which those species cooperate, and within cooperative tasks, subjects are sensitive to inequity, refusing to work with partners who do not equitably share rewards. Together, these results suggest that inequity aversion evolved because it provides a mechanism by which individuals can judge the relative value of their cooperative partners. In addition, humans and chimpanzees respond negatively to getting more than a partner, suggesting that they can inhibit this short term benefit for the long term gain of maintaining cooperative relationships. The comparative approach has been extremely useful in highlighting the roots of inequity responses and, thereby, helping us to better understand our own sense of fairness.

We did not find any evidence of influence of alcohol consumption on changes in brain volume over a 2-year period in 40–60-year-olds

Midlife alcohol consumption and longitudinal brain atrophy: the PREVENT-Dementia study. Michael J. Firbank, John T. O’Brien, Karen Ritchie, Katie Wells, Guy Williams, Li Su & Craig W. Ritchie. Journal of Neurology volume 267, pages3282–3286. June 20 2020.


Background and aims: Consensus is lacking on whether light to moderate consumption of alcohol compared to abstinence is neuroprotective. In this study, we investigated the relationship between self-reported alcohol use and brain volume change over 2 years in middle-aged subjects.

Methods: A sample of 162 subjects (aged 40–59 at baseline) from the PREVENT-Dementia programme underwent MRI scans on two separate occasions (mean interval 734 days; SD 42 days). We measured longitudinal rates of brain atrophy using the FSL Siena toolbox, and change in hippocampal volume from segmentation in SPM.

Results: Controlling for age and sex, there were no significant associations of either total brain, ventricular, or hippocampal volume change with alcohol consumption. Adjusting for lifestyle, demographic and vascular risk factors did not alter this.

Conclusions: We did not find any evidence of influence of alcohol consumption on changes in brain volume over a 2-year period in 40–60-year-olds.


Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe any significant association between alcohol consumption and longitudinal brain volume changes. Rather, we saw a non-significant trend of 14–21 units of alcohol (vs. abstinence) associated with preserved total brain volume.

Studies of alcohol on cognition or brain structure have confounds due to social and demographic factors, with age, years of education, and social class all being linked to both alcohol consumption and brain volume. Our study, looking at brain volume change over 2 years within individuals overcomes to some extent these confounds, and including the lifestyle, demographic and vascular health factors in our analysis did not change our findings.

Combined with the previous conflicting reports on the benefit or otherwise of mild to moderate alcohol consumption, our data suggest at least that consumption of 7–21 units per week is not associated with marked brain atrophy over a 2-year period in midlife.

Limitations of the study include that alcohol consumption was estimated from subject report, and the relatively short follow-up of 2 years. The participants were mostly female, limiting the extrapolation to the general population.

In summary, we did not find any evidence of influence of alcohol consumption on changes in brain volume over a 2-year period in 40–60-year-olds.

In 1500 reports of positive tears, 13124 participants, 40 diverse countries, 24 languages they found 4 qualitatively different types of positive tears, achievement, beauty, affection, and amusement tears

Zickfeld, Janis, Beate Seibt, Ljiljana B. Lazarevic, Iris Zezelj, and Ad Vingerhoets. 2020. “A Model of Positive Tears.” PsyArXiv. November 8. doi:10.31234/

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Although several scholars acknowledge the existence of tears of joy, there is little systematic theoretical or empirical evidence on how positive tears are experienced, what elicits them, what actions or impulses they motivate in the crier, how they differ from tears of sadness or distress and whether there are different types. We systematically investigated these issues and drafted a first taxonomic model of positive tears. Drawing on more than 1500 reports of positive tears and including 13124 participants from 40 diverse countries and 24 languages, the studies employed a strong mixture of quantitative and qualitative techniques. The final results showed evidence of the occurrence of positive tears and found four qualitatively different types and profiles that we termed achievement, beauty, affection, and amusement tears. Achievement tears are often shed in contexts of extraordinary performance or when someone overcomes an obstacle and often include feelings of pride. Beauty tears occur commonly in situations of overwhelming elegance or beauty, including nature, music or visual arts, and feature feelings of awe or experiencing chills. Affectionate tears are often experienced in situations including unexpected kindness or exceptional love such as wedding ceremonies or reunions and often feature feelings of warmth, increased communality, and feeling touched or compassionate. Finally, amusement tears are shed when something especially funny occurs and include feelings of amusement or lightness and the inclination to laugh or giggle. We also investigated cross-cultural and inter-individual differences with regard to these categories and discuss limitations and implications of our taxonomy of positive tears.