Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Rolf Degen summarizing... The greater the emphasis countries placed on high achievement, the lower was the interest in math schoolwork, particularly among girls

Gender Differences in the Interest in Mathematics Schoolwork Across 50 Countries. Kimmo Eriksson. Front. Psychol., November 25 2020. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.578092

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331472835651514368

Abstract: Although much research has found girls to be less interested in mathematics than boys are, there are many countries in which the opposite holds. I hypothesize that variation in gender differences in interest are driven by a complex process in which national culture promoting high math achievement drives down interest in math schoolwork, with the effect being amplified among girls due to their higher conformity to peer influence. Predictions from this theory were tested in a study of data on more than 500,000 grade 8 students in 50 countries from the 2011 and 2015 waves of TIMSS. Consistent with predictions, national achievement levels were strongly negatively correlated with national levels of math schoolwork interest and this variation was larger among girls: girls in low-achievement, high-interest countries had especially high interest in math schoolwork, whereas girls in high-achievement, low-interest countries had especially low interest in math schoolwork. Gender differences in math schoolwork interest were also found to be related to gender differences in math achievement, emphasizing the importance of understanding them better.


The present paper studied the difference between girls and boys in their interest in math schoolwork and how it varies across countries. A theory was proposed according to which national culture promoting high math achievement drives down interest in math schoolwork, but more among girls than among boys due to conformity to peer influence being stronger among girls. Moreover, I argued that gender differences in math schoolwork interest are important because they will contribute to gender differences in math achievement. In the absence of experimental data, I tested the predictions this theory makes about statistical observations in cross-sectional data, provided by TIMSS. Results were consistent with predictions, as detailed below.

First, an extremely strong negative correlation between national levels of achievement and math schoolwork interest was observed. This finding, which is well in line with prior research on the relation between national achievement levels and attitudes to math and science (Shen and Tam, 2008Täht et al., 2014), is consistent with the hypothesis that students’ interest in schoolwork is negatively influenced by the high educational norms and standards in high-achievement cultures (Van de gaer et al., 2012). That high-achievement culture may be killing students’ interest is arguably a serious problem. Comparisons between high-achieving countries indicate that the problem might be solvable, however. In a study of TIMSS data from 1999 to 2003, Shen and Tam (2008) pointed out that students in Singapore, an extremely high-achieving country, nonetheless had relatively positive attitudes toward math and science. Leung (2002) made the same observation. Singapore was a positive exception also in the current study, having the highest achievement level of all countries in the study, yet exhibiting a much higher national level of interest in math schoolwork than similarly high-achieving Korea and Japan did (Table 1). It would be valuable to understand whether there is some specific feature of Singapore’s school system that mitigates the negative side effects of a high-achievement culture.

Second, several findings were consistent with the hypothesis that conformity to peer influence on math schoolwork interest is higher among girls than among boys. In almost all countries in the study, within-society variation in math schoolwork interest was smaller among girls than among boys, thus indicating greater female conformity. Because societies vary in their average level of interest in math schoolwork, the effect of peer pressure will vary too. Consistent with greater susceptibility to peer influence among girls, between-society variation in math schoolwork interest was larger among girls than among boys (Figure 2): In countries where the interest in math schoolwork was low, it tended to be especially low among girls. Similarly, in countries where the interest in math schoolwork was high, it tended to be especially high among girls. Thus, the country variation in students’ interest in mathematics schoolwork was amplified among girls. The same phenomenon could be observed in terms of a positive correlation between national levels of math schoolwork interest and gender differences in math schoolwork interest favoring girls.

Taken together, my theory proposes a pathway in which high-achievement culture drives down schoolwork interest, which through differential peer influence creates gender gaps in interest disfavoring girls. Consistent with this pathway, I found a negative correlation between national levels of achievement and gender gaps in math schoolwork interest favoring girls, and this correlation was mediated by the national level of math schoolwork interest.

Why is it important how girls’ and boys’ interest in math schoolwork vary across countries? For one thing, it is theoretically important to realize that the variation is substantial. In countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, and New Zealand, the interest level of the average girl was about 0.2 standard deviations lower than the interest of the average boy. These findings are consistent with research arguing for a fundamental gender difference in subject interest (e.g., Su et al., 2009). But this view appears to be contradicted by the finding of other societies, such as Oman, Malaysia, Palestine, and Kazakhstan, in which the gender gap is at least as wide but reversed.

Gender differences in math interest may also have real-life implications by influencing how girls achieve in mathematics relative to boys in the same country. Consistent with this hypothesis, I found that variation in the gender gap in math schoolwork interest accounts for part of the proportion of variance in the gender gap in math achievement that is not explained by variation in gender egalitarian values (Eriksson et al., 2020).

This study is an example of the benefits of using big data from large-scale assessments of student achievement to examine phenomena in educational psychology. A limitation, inherent in the reliance on cross-sectional data, is that directions of causality are not established. The findings are consistent with the proposed theory, but they could also have arisen from other mechanisms. It is helpful to consider what these alternative mechanisms could be. With respect to the strong negative correlation between national levels of achievement and schoolwork interest, it seems implausible that it would arise from low interest levels having a positive effect on achievement levels. Following Van de gaer et al. (2012), I proposed that high educational norms and standards have lower interest as an undesired side effect. However, there might be something else going on and perhaps more detailed insights into the abovementioned differences between Singapore and its East Asian neighbors could shed more light on this.

Similar reasoning applies to the amplification among girls of national variation in schoolwork interest. I proposed that this arises from differential conformity to peer influence, but it cannot be excluded that there is some alternative societal factor that causes girls’ interest levels to be more extreme than the interest levels of boys. An interesting possibility for future research would be for large-scale assessments to provide some direct measures of peer influence (see also Eriksson et al., 2020).

The idea of conceiving of high-achievement culture as a factor behind gender differences has a precedent. In a study of PISA data, Mann and DiPrete (2016) found that the national achievement level correlated with gender differences in academic self-concept and STEM aspirations. However, they did not examine the female amplification account, that is, whether these effects were mediated by national levels of academic self-concept and STEM aspirations. Future research should examine the scope of female amplification as a mechanism behind gender differences in various beliefs and attitudes.

To conclude, the present study has contributed to scientific understanding of gender differences in interest in mathematics schoolwork by, first, proposing a theory of why such gender differences would arise and vary across countries, and second, testing several theoretical predictions in a large cross-national dataset. Results were consistent with both key components of the theory: high-achievement culture may be detrimental to interest in schoolwork and this effect may be amplified among girls due to their higher conformity to peer influence. These positive findings motivate further study of the validity and scope of the proposed mechanisms.

Data Availability Statement

Publicly available datasets were analyzed in this study. This data can be found here: https://osf.io/dwk8h/.

While posed vocalizations are perceived as positive for both low- and high-sum wins, real-life vocalizations are perceived as positive only for low-sum wins, but as negative for high-sum wins

Atias, D., & Aviezer, H. (2020). Real-life and posed vocalizations to lottery wins differ fundamentally in their perceived valence. Emotion Nov 2020. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000931

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331236075319283713

Abstract: A basic premise of classic emotion theories is that distinct emotional experiences yield distinct emotional vocalizations—each informative of its situational context. Furthermore, it is commonly assumed that emotional vocalizations become more distinct and diagnostic as their intensity increases. Critically, these theoretical assumptions largely rely on research utilizing posed vocal reactions of actors, which may be overly simplified and stereotypical. While recent work suggests that intense, real-life vocalizations may be nondiagnostic, the exact way in which increasing degrees of situational intensity affect the perceived valence of real-life versus posed expressions remains unknown. Here we compared real-life and posed vocalizations to winning increasing amounts of money in the lottery. Results show that while posed vocalizations are perceived as positive for both low- and high-sum wins, real-life vocalizations are perceived as positive only for low-sum wins, but as negative for high-sum wins. These findings demonstrate the potential gaps between real-life and posed expressions and highlight the role of situational intensity in driving perceptual ambiguity for real-life emotional expressions.

Baby brain: We found no evidence of overall cognitive decline in the pregnant group, and the IQ scores of pregnant women increased more than non-pregnant control participants across matched time intervals

Changes in intelligence across pregnancy and the postpartum period. M. D. Rutherford, Marla V. Anderson. Human Ethology, Volume 35, 91-105, November 21, 2020. https://doi.org/10.22330/he/35/091-105

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331173714600321024

Although the popular press describes pregnancy-related cognitive decrements, sometimes called “baby brain”, controlled studies have not consistently found reliable evidence of a decline in cognitive function during pregnancy. A functional approach measuring components of intelligence as they change across the trimesters of pregnancy and into the postpartum may help resolve this puzzle. The current study was a longitudinal study in which pregnant women and a control group took standardized IQ tests at 12-week intervals. We found no evidence of overall cognitive decline in the pregnant group, and the IQ scores of pregnant women increased more than non-pregnant control participants across matched time intervals. The increase in raw scores of fluid intelligence subscales was not statistically significant, nor was it significantly different than the increase in the control group.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Postpartum, Cognition, Intelligence.

Check also From Baby Brain to Mommy Brain: Widespread Gray Matter Gain After Giving Birth. Eileen Luders et al. Cortex, January 28 2020. https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2020/01/widespread-gray-matter-gain-4-6-weeks.html

Heritability of general reading-related neurocognitive components (reading, letter-word knowledge, phonological decoding, reading comprehension, spelling, phonological awareness, & rapid automatized naming)

The heritability of reading and reading-related neurocognitive components: A multi-level meta-analysis. Chiara Andreola et al. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, November 24 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.11.016


• Heritability estimates vary widely across reading-related neurocognitive skills.

• Age- and school grade-specific genetic influences have been reported.

• Past meta-analyses focused on some reading skills without controlling for moderators.

• Reading-related skills show moderate-to-substantial meta-heritability estimates.

• School grade levels moderated the heritability of some reading-related skills.


Reading ability is a complex task requiring the integration of multiple cognitive and perceptual systems supporting language, visual and orthographic processes, working memory, attention, motor movements, and higher-level comprehension and cognition. Estimates of genetic and environmental influences for some of these reading-related neurocognitive components vary across reports.

By using a multi-level meta-analysis approach, we synthesized the results of behavioral genetic research on reading-related neurocognitive components (i.e. general reading, letter-word knowledge, phonological decoding, reading comprehension, spelling, phonological awareness, rapid automatized naming, and language) of 49 twin studies spanning 4.1 to 18.5 years of age, with a total sample size of more than 38,000 individuals.

Except for language for which shared environment seems to play a more important role, the causal architecture across most of the reading-related neurocognitive components can be represented by the following equation a² > e² > c². Moderators analysis revealed that sex and spoken language did not affect the heritability of any reading-related skills; school grade levels moderated the heritability of general reading, reading comprehension and phonological awareness.

Keywords: meta-analysisreading-related skillstwin studyheritabilitygenetics

Women maximizing their visit to a nightclub: Marked increases in amounts of flesh exposed, heel heights of shoes, use of a wider range of makeup products & increases in the colour intensity of many of those products (lips and eyes)

Women’s strategic use of clothing and make-up. Colin Hendrie, Rhiannon Chapman, Charlotte Gill. Human Ethology, Volume 35, 16-26, March 9, 2020. https://doi.org/10.22330/he/35/016-026

Abstract: Clothing and make-up signal a wide range of characteristics including age, sex and sexual motivation. The present study examined the change from daywear to clothing/make-up worn in preparation for a ‘night out’ that would include a visit to a nightclub in over one hundred young women living in the UK. Amounts of flesh exposed were derived from photographs of participants and intensity of make-up products used determined using the ‘Methuen handbook of colour’. Results showed marked increases in amounts of flesh exposed, heel heights of shoes, use of a wider range of makeup products and increases in the colour intensity of many of those products, particularly those used on the lips and eyes. It is concluded that the young women in this study prepared themselves for a ‘night out’ that would include a visit to a nightclub in ways designed to maximise the rich opportunities to attract the attention of potential sexual partners provided by such venues

Keywords: clothing, make-up, sexual signalling, women

When required to justify their evaluations, politicians rely more on prior political attitudes and less on policy information; they are more immune to the correction of biases than the public

Motivated reasoning and policy information: politicians are more resistant to debiasing interventions than the general public. Julian Christensen, Donald P Moynihan. Behavioural Public Policy, November 24 2020. https://doi.org/10.1017/bpp.2020.50

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331170671959928833

Abstract: A growing body of evidence shows that politicians use motivated reasoning to fit evidence with prior beliefs. In this, they are not unlike other people. We use survey experiments to reaffirm prior work showing that politicians, like the public they represent, engage in motivated reasoning. However, we also show that politicians are more resistant to debiasing interventions than others. When required to justify their evaluations, politicians rely more on prior political attitudes and less on policy information, increasing the probability of erroneous decisions. The results raise the troubling implication that the specialized role of elected officials makes them more immune to the correction of biases, and in this way less representative of the voters they serve when they process policy information.

Discussion and exploratory analysis

The motivation to defend political attitudes is powerful, leading many to auto-accept politically congenial information while disregarding information that challenges existing views about the world. While lending some support to the potential to debias citizens, we find that politicians become more inclined to engage in politically motivated reasoning when required to justify their evaluations.

Why might politicians differ from citizens in their reactions to our experiment's justification requirement? While our study was not designed to offer causal evidence to answer this question, we can draw on our data to explore which possible explanations are more or less likely. One possibility is that personal characteristics, such as being more politically engaged (Taber & Lodge, Reference Taber and Lodge2006), make politicians more resistant towards debiasing interventions, meaning that the politician–citizen differences are due to self-selection. As a proxy for such personal characteristics, we can test the role of political interest, which was measured in the general public survey and is ‘a standard measure of psychological engagement in politics’ (Brady et al.Reference Brady, Verba and Schlozman1995). If the bias-strengthening effects of justification requirements among politicians are driven by self-selection based on political engagement, similar effects would be expected among the group of people who are most politically interested. However, this is not the case for our sample (see the regression analysis in Supplementary Material S4). The respondents who are most interested in politics, and who should therefore, according to the explanation above, be expected to react most like politicians, are the ones who drive the overall debiasing effect on non-politicians’ reasoning, meaning that they are the ones who behave least like politicians in reaction to justification requirements. Thus, our data suggest that explanations other than self-selection must be considered.

Another possibility is that the politician's role changes how people respond to justification requirements. Some studies show that professional roles lead certain groups to make unbiased professional judgments (Kahan, Reference Kahan2016b). For instance, relative to the public, judges and lawyers appear to be less biased when asked to evaluate judicial information, implying that legal training, but possibly also the demands of their job, condition legal professionals to better resist politically biased processing of information (Kahan et al.Reference Kahan, Hoffman, Evans, Devins, Lucci and Cheng2016). Like judges and lawyers, we may consider a politician to be a professional actor who is regularly asked to make judgments based on decision-relevant information. However, where a judicial professional is expected to set aside political attitudes and partisan identities, it is a politician's job to be a partisan (Andeweg, Reference Andeweg1997) and to avoid punishment from an external audience that values credible commitments (Tomz, Reference Tomz2007). As discussed in relation to H2 and H3, politicians are expected to be consistent in their political views and to defend the policy preferences upon which they have been elected. Politicians are trained to treat inconsistency as a sign of weakness, the trademark of a flip-flopper who will be penalized by voters and other political stakeholders (Tomz, Reference Tomz2007). Thus, their professional role gives politicians an incentive to treat justification requirements not as an opportunity to examine and nuance their own reasoning, but to construct arguments in favor of preselected conclusions.

While our experiments were not designed to test effects of role differences between politicians and the public, we can compare the responses of recently elected politicians with those of more experienced colleagues. If the bias-strengthening effect of justification requirements is due to politician-specific norms, we would expect the effect to be stronger among those who have been more exposed to those norms over time. Table 3 divides politicians between those elected in the previous year (39% of our sample) and the rest of our sample who had all been in office for 5 years or more. Consistent with the role-based explanation, Table 3 shows the bias-strengthening effect to be driven by experienced politicians. The justification requirement has no effect on the recently elected politicians in model 1, but has significant bias-strengthening effects on the experienced politicians in model 2.

Table 3. Recently elected versus experienced politicians (logistic regression analysis with standard errors in parentheses).

Note: Politicians are coded as ‘recently elected’ if the most recent election (in November 2013, 1 year before our data collection) was the first election where they were elected and ‘experienced’ if they were elected before the 2013 election. The dependent variable measures whether respondents identify the supplier with the highest satisfaction rate as being the one that performs the best.

p < 0.1, *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001; two-sided significance tests.

To cast further light on the reasoning strategies of our respondents, we coded the qualitative content of the written justifications (for the coding scheme and analyses, see Supplementary Material S6). The results of our qualitative content analyses provide additional evidence of our results being driven by experienced politicians having learned strategies to confront attitude-uncongenial information as an expert motivated reasoner. Thus, whereas the qualitative content of the justifications provided by non-politicians and recently elected politicians was more or less unaffected by the attitude-congeniality of the experiments’ information, experienced politicians more often adapted their arguments depending on the information at hand. Specifically, as reported in the supplementary material's Tables S6ca and S6cb, the experienced politicians tended to base their justifications on the tables’ data (i.e., they referred to parent satisfaction) when this was attitude-congenial. However, Table S6ce shows that when the data were uncongenial, the experienced politicians more often based their justifications on specific conditions of local government (this could be equity considerations, expectations regarding the education of staff, etc.). Because these are explorative analyses of data, which were not collected for the purpose of testing the effects of roles, caution is needed when evaluating the results. However, the results are consistent with the idea that, over time, through their job, politicians learn how to defend their attitudes and beliefs ‘like a politician’ when faced with attitude-uncongenial information.

Cannabis: 70–85% of users reported increased sexual pleasure/satisfaction, 25–40% prolonged duration of intercourse, 55–70% heightened sensation; & reported more coital frequency; but placebo effect cannot be ruled out

Cannabinoid signalling and effects of cannabis on the male reproductive system. Mauro Maccarrone, Cinzia Rapino, Felice Francavilla & Arcangelo Barbonetti. Nature Reviews Urology, November 19 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41585-020-00391-8

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331146898682638336

Key points

* Marijuana has the highest consumption rate of any recreational drug in the Western world.

* Endocannabinoids and their receptors, enzymes and transporters, which together form the endocannabinoid system (ECS), are present in various components of the male reproductive tract, including male genital glands, testis and sperm.

* Preclinical studies have shown that the ECS is involved in negative modulation of testosterone secretion by acting at both central and testicular levels.

* As yet, clinical data are insufficient to conclude that cannabinoids have a harmful effect on human male sexual function and fertility.

* Although cannabinoid receptors are present in the testes and sperm, the effects of cannabinoid exposure on spermatogenesis largely remain to be clarified.

* The ECS has the potential to provide new drug targets in male reproductive disorders, and its components might be useful as biomarkers of male infertility.

Abstract: Marijuana is the most widely consumed recreational drug worldwide, which raises concerns for its potential effects on fertility. Many aspects of human male reproduction can be modulated by cannabis-derived extracts (cannabinoids) and their endogenous counterparts, known as endocannabinoids (eCBs). These latter molecules act as critical signals in a variety of physiological processes through receptors, enzymes and transporters collectively termed the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Increasing evidence suggests a role for eCBs, as well as cannabinoids, in various aspects of male sexual and reproductive health. Although preclinical studies have clearly shown that ECS is involved in negative modulation of testosterone secretion by acting both at central and testicular levels in animal models, the effect of in vivo exposure to cannabinoids on spermatogenesis remains a matter of debate. Furthermore, inconclusive clinical evidence does not seem to support the notion that plant-derived cannabinoids have harmful effects on human sexual and reproductive health. An improved understanding of the complex crosstalk between cannabinoids and eCBs is required before targeting of ECS for modulation of human fertility becomes a reality.


Despite data suggesting that cannabis use can affect human sexual function, its effects remain under debate, as favourable effects on sexual behaviour and motivational, hedonic and/or perceptual aspects of sexual intercourse have been also reported. Some studies77have suggested that 70–85% of marijuana consumers experience increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction, 25–40% prolonged duration of intercourse, and 55–70% heightened orgasmic sensation78,79. Furthermore, the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a representative cross- sectional survey on a well- controlled cohort of almost 23,000 men in the USA, showed that increased frequency of marijuana use was associated with increased coital frequency, even after adjustment for demographic, socio- economic and anthropometric variables80(Table 3). Notably, these data are all self-reported and, therefore, are at risk of both recall bias and exaggeration by participants; thus, they should be interpreted with caution. The authors hypothesized that individuals who engage in marijuana use might be more psychologically disinhibited than those who do not, which could be reflected in their sex life as high coital frequency80. Furthermore, although sexual pleasure could be at least partially attributed to an actual enhancement of sensory experience, especially in terms of an increased sensitivity to touch, which has been reported in cannabis users78, a placebo effect cannot be ruled out, given the anecdotal reputation of cannabis as an aphrodisiac77. These aspects should be taken into account when interpreting the increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction among marijuana consumers reported in previous studies77.

International Journal of Impotence Research: Sexual desire and its relationship with subjective orgasm experience

Sexual desire and its relationship with subjective orgasm experience. Ana Isabel Arcos-Romero, Dharelys Expósito-Guerra, Juan Carlos Sierra. International Journal of Impotence Research, November 16 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41443-020-00375-7

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331140104400891905

Abstract: Orgasm and sexual desire are components of the human sexual response. The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between the sexual desire and dimensions of the subjective orgasm experience. A sample composed of 1161 heterosexual adults, distributed into three age groups (18–34, 35–49, and 50 years old or older), completed a background questionnaire, the Orgasm Rating Scale, and the Sexual Desire Inventory. First, the effect that sex and age have on the subjective orgasm experience was analyzed. Second, correlations between sexual desire and orgasm experience were examined. Also, the predictive capacity that dimensions of sexual desire have on the subjective orgasm experience in the context of sexual relationship was examined. Results showed that age had a significant effect on the intensity of the subjective orgasm experience perceived during sexual relationships with a partner and that this experience decreased as people get older. There was an association between the components of sexual desire and the dimensions of subjective orgasm experience. Furthermore, partner-focused sexual desire contributed in a relevant manner to the subjective orgasm experience. Implications for both research and clinical field are also discussed.

Individuals rated as very unattractive actually earned more than those rated unattractive, average looking, or even attractive because they had higher levels of education & higher IQ scores than the other groups

When it comes to earning money, personality may be more important than looks. Satoshi Kanazawaa, Mary C. Still. Research Square, Nov 2020. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-112226/v1

Abstract: Economists have long acknowledged that physical attractiveness affects wages. Highly attractive men and women generally earn more than ordinary people doing comparable work. But it’s not clear _why_ this linkage exists. To answer this question, two scientists recently reported on a study designed to uncover the root cause of this so-called beauty premium. Their results imply that physically attractive people make more money _not_ because they’re beautiful, but rather because they’re healthier, more intelligent, and have more pleasant personalities. Their study tracked the careers and physical attractiveness of over 15,000 people for more than ten years. Participants were interviewed starting around age 16 and again at ages 17, 22, and 29. In each interview, they shared their gross personal earnings over the previous year and described their current occupation and health status. They also completed personality assessments and IQ tests. After each interview, their physical attractiveness was rated on a ve-point scale. The team used the data to test three leading hypotheses for why the beauty premium exists: employer discrimination against physically unattractive employees, the natural tendency of physically attractive employees to pursue jobs in which physical attractiveness is rewarded, and the possibility that more physically attractive workers may genuinely differ from their less attractive counterparts in ways that affect productivity. They found that the final hypothesis was the primary reason for the wage gap. Apparently, very physically attractive people aren’t excelling at work due to their looks, but rather because they more often possess qualities like good health, high intelligence, and extraversion. This conclusion was further supported by a rather unexpected finding: Individuals rated as very unattractive actually earned more than those rated unattractive, average looking, or even attractive. The reason again came down to individual differences. Very unattractive individuals attained higher levels of education and had higher IQ scores than the other groups. In essence, these results suggest that it’s not looks inuencing pay grade, per se. Certain desirable qualities may just be more pronounced in select groups of people, who also happen to be either very attractive _or_ very unattractive.

Keywords: Physical attractiveness, Earnings, Discrimination, Occupational self-selection, Individual differences, Productivity

Why People Distrust Polls: Perceiving respondent dishonesty is a far more robust predictor of distrust in poll than motivated reasoning

Lees, Jeffrey M., Barry Lam, Sara Purinton, and Daniel Wodak. 2020. “Why People Distrust Polls: Meta-cognitive Reasoning, Not Motivated Reasoning.” OSF Preprints. November 23. doi:10.31219/osf.io/53hc7

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331118327343820800

Abstract: Many pollsters and news organizations have expressed growing concerns over public distrust in the accuracy of polls, especially in light of widespread perceived polling failures during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Scholarly investigations into distrust in polls have highlighted motivated reasoning as a source of distrust, where individuals reject or accept polls based on whether their findings conflict with personally held attitudes and desired outcomes. Yet a separate, domain-general explanation for distrust in polls exists that may outweigh the effects of motivated reasoning: meta-cognitive reasoning (i.e., attitudes about the thoughts, attitudes, and motives of others). Here we investigate two distinct domains of meta-cognitive reasoning which may better explain distrust in polls than motivated reasoning: beliefs about whether the pollsters who conducted a poll are biased, and about whether poll respondents are honest in their responses. To examine this hypothesis we utilized a repeated-measures survey with a nationally-representative sample of Americans (N[Observations]=3510, N[Participants]=351) conducted five days prior to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Participants viewed a stimuli set of 56 polls, pretested to be widely distributed across liberal-conservative favorability in results while neutral in aggregate, and responded to measures of motivated reasoning, meta-cognitive reasoning, and political ideology/affiliation. Utilizing mixed-effects modeling to allow for generalizable inferences, we find that meta-cognitive concerns regarding whether pollsters are (un)biased and poll respondents are (dis)honest are much stronger predictors of (dis)trust in polls than motivated reasoning or political ideology/affiliation. Our results are the first to demonstrate that perceiving respondent dishonesty is a far more robust predictor of distrust in poll than motivated reasoning. In general, meta-cognitive reasoning about pollsters and the people polled is the best explanation for why individuals distrust polls.

Recording the microstructure of meal intake in humans—Eating rate decelerated during the course of meals in normal-weight participants but not in participants with obesity

Edograms: recording the microstructure of meal intake in humans—a window on appetite mechanisms. France Bellisle. International Journal of Obesity volume 44, pages 2347–2357 (Aug 25 2020). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41366-020-00653-w

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1331104556516839425

Abstract: Early attempts at the objective measurement of food intake in humans followed many heuristic pioneer studies in laboratory animals, which revealed how homeostatic and hedonic factors interact to shape the daily eating patterns. Early studies in humans examined the characteristics of intake responses at discrete ingestive events. Described for the first time in 1969, the edogram consisted of a parallel recording of chewing and swallowing responses during standardized lunches, allowing parameters of the “microstructure of meals” to be quantified under varying conditions of deprivation or sensory stimulation, in parallel with overall meal size, meal duration, and eating rate. Edographic studies showed consistent changes in the microstructure of meals in response to palatability level (increased eating rate, decreased chewing time and number of chews per food unit, shorter intrameal pauses, and increased prandial drinking under improved palatability). Longer premeal deprivation affected the eating responses at the beginning of meals (decreased chewing time and number of chews per food unit) but not at the end. Eating rate decelerated during the course of meals in normal-weight participants but not in participants with obesity. These observations largely agreed with contemporary works using other objective measurement methods. They were confirmed and expanded in later studies, notably in the investigation of satiation mechanisms affecting weight control. Importantly, research has demonstrated that the parameters of the microstructure of meals not only reflect the influence of stimulatory/inhibitory factors but can, per se, exert a causal role in satiation and satiety. The early edographic recording instruments were improved over the years and taken out of laboratory settings in order to address the measurement of spontaneous intake responses in free-living individuals. Much remains to be done to make these instruments entirely reliable under the immense variety of situations where food consumption occurs.