Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Independently of age, gender, education & income, people know very little about the money system or money institutions and mostly believe in money myths, such as the notion that money is still backed by gold

Money Knowledge or Money Myths? Results of a population survey on money and the monetary order. Klaus Kraemer, Luka Jakelja, Florian Brugger and Sebastian Nessel. European Journal of Sociology, Volume 61 Issue 2, Aug 28 2020. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie/article/money-knowledge-or-money-myths-results-of-a-population-survey-on-money-and-the-monetary-order/A7CE8F42F7F9C81B2F7BDCC3237A6A14

Abstract: People use money in everyday life in ubiquitous ways. In addition, they know that money has quite different and multiple meanings in different social contexts, depending on the situation in which it is used. That said, what do people actually know about money, money creation, money backing and the institutional foundations of the monetary order? While contributions in the rapidly extending field of financial literacy have empirically studied people’s knowledge about mathematical and financial issues, people’s knowledge about the functioning of the money system and monetary institutions remained mostly unexplored. To improve our understanding of people’s knowledge of the money system and the most important money institutions, we questioned 2,000 individuals in Austria using a standardized population survey. In this paper, after a short critical review of the sociology of money and the literature on financial literacy, we present and critically discuss the results of the survey. We found that, independently of age, gender, education and income, people know very little about the money system or money institutions and mostly believe in money myths, such as the notion that money is still backed by gold. Finally, we discuss our empirical findings against the backdrop of the state of research on the sociology of money 1.

Discussion: Knowledge, myths and misconceptions

People use money in everyday life in ubiquitous and multiple ways. They use it in markets and beyond, in both organizations and communities. They use it in very different social relationships (buyer-seller, creditor-borrower, employer-employee, state-citizen, parent-child, member-association, donor-public charity, etc.) and for a variety of economic and non-economic purposes, without being able to name them abstractly or to be reflexively aware of their effects. As Zelizer [2011] noted, people also know that money has quite different meanings in different social contexts depending on the situation in which it is used.

In sociological research on money, however, it has remained unclear what ordinary people know and what they do not know about money and the institutional foundations of the monetary system. Against the background of such a serious research desideratum, we examined empirically what people actually know about the monetary order. In this study, we found that people know hardly anything about money and the institutional foundations of the monetary order. Although people use money ubiquitously in everyday life, they mostly know little to nothing about how money is created, whether it is backed by tangible assets, or whether it represents nothing but a dematerialized “pure token” [Simmel (1900) 2004: 176]. Additionally, people have very vague notions about institutional responsibility for the value stability of the euro. People’s knowledge about money, money creation, money backing and the underlying institutions of the monetary order is at best rudimentary. This significant, blatant ignorance is remarkable, especially given that people in everyday life are naturally willing to barter goods in demand for a pure token, donate money for charitable or non-profit purposes, share and give away money within families, or do anything else to avoid monetary penalties.

Ever since Simmel, the sociology of money has assumed that people believe in money myths. Like people’s money knowledge, money myths have not been empirically investigated. At best, the sociology of money has speculated which myths are involved. With our empirical study, we show that people know little to nothing about the institutional foundations of the monetary order while claiming to know something about money. The interviewees indeed believe in money myths. That is, money myths are widely used by the population in a variety of forms; for example, the assumptions that money is backed by physical assets such as gold or other precious metals, that customers’ savings deposits are passed on by the banks as loans to borrowers, or that only central banks create money by printing and issuing banknotes, not private banks by lending, which the central banks authorize them to do. The vast majority of people do not know that deposits are created by a “keystroke” [Wray 2015: 66] when a bank customer demands a loan or overdraws the account. Obviously, most respondents believe that deposits or debit cards are the same as cash. However, respondents have illusory notions about the fact that money is backed by rare materials or value stocks. Thus, we state a double empirical finding, i.e., people know little or nothing about an institution as central as money, but at the same time they indicate that they do know something. In other words: People believe in money myths.

Another finding of the survey is sociologically significant. Similar to the belief in money myths, the lack of knowledge about money and the institutional foundations of the monetary order are more or less socially indifferently distributed throughout the population—regardless of age, gender, education, profession and income. As we have shown, all socio-demographic and socio-economic variables play a negligible role in the social distribution of monetary knowledge and myths. This finding is remarkable, since patterns of perception and interpretation are usually influenced by these sociological variables. Within the very small “zone of knowing” there are at most a few socio-structural abnormalities. For example, respondents who are self-employed or have a higher education know that money is created by private banks more often than all the others. Both of these groups are more likely to know that the ECB––and not the national central bank––is responsible for the monetary stability of the euro. However, it should be noted here that the vast majority of the self-employed with an above-average education who were surveyed believe in money myths.

So far, we have classified all “incorrect” response categories on the dimensions of money creation, money backing and monetary institutions as “money myths”, which we have located in the “zone of ignorance”. However, such a classification is not unproblematic in a sociological sense. Therefore, we differentiate in the following between money-related myths and misconceptions or fallacies. We call only such “incorrect“ response categories money myths, insofar as their claim of validity is collectively shared by a majority of the interviewees. In order to be able to speak of money myths, a second characteristic must be added. Money myths are different from other misconceptions or fallacies in that they are efficacious in the social world. Myths can facilitate or stimulate collective actions. Contrary to misconceptions or fallacies, money myths can unfold—in the sense of the classical Thomas theorem—collective effects on the structural level of a monetary order. They justify specific practices in the everyday use of money. For example, money is used in the expectation that the myth will not be disappointed. In other words, money myths influence and perpetuate specific social usages of money. The believers in money myths use money in accordance with their beliefs and not otherwise because they believe in the accuracy of the money myths. On the other hand, we define “incorrect” response categories as misconceptions or fallacies if they are only shared by a small minority of respondents and do not have a broad impact in the social world. Against the background of our empirical findings, we classify the “incorrect” response categories “all money is printed” and “money is backed by gold” as money myths. On the other hand, we interpret all those “incorrect” response categories (1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 3.1.) as misconceptions, which are only considered correct by a minority of the sample.

In the results chapter of this article, we first focused on question 1 (money creation), in respect of which response categories are “right” or “wrong”, based on recent official statements by the ECB and the Bank of England. Accordingly, we have classified the answer categories “the central banks print money” and “private banks issue credit” as “correct” and all other response categories as “incorrect”. In question 2 (money backing), we have argued that “money is not backed at all” is “correct”. In question 3 (money institutions), we have assigned “correct” and “wrong” response categories in the sense of the legal mandate of the ECB. Against the background of the sociological literature (see chapter 1), however, it makes sense to interpret the assignments of the response categories (“correct”/“incorrect”) in a broader sense. From a sociological perspective, one could argue that money myths (“all money is printed” and “money is backed by gold”) are social facts in the sense of Émile Durkheim [(1895) 1982], which create an action-oriented interpretive framework (“trust”) and influence the everyday use of money. More precisely, money myths are not mere fictional imaginations, but narratives that socially embed the usages of money. Against the background of this theoretical consideration, we interpret our empirical findings as follows: Ordinary people readily accept deposit money as long as the expectation is not disappointed that these money forms can always be exchanged for cash or precious metals at any time. Following this theoretical consideration, it makes sense to interpret collectively-shared money myths, which we have previously identified in the “zone of ignorance”, as narrative frameworks that culturally embed the monetary order and thus contribute to its social stability. In this sociological sense, money myths can be classified as “correct” response categories.

This finding somewhat challenges the assumption by scholars of the recent communication efforts of national banks about the “real” functioning of the monetary order. In contrast to Braun [2016] and Holmes [2014], for example, our findings suggest the limitation of communications by central banks, e.g. in that the bulk of modern money is created by private banks issuing credit and not by central banks issuing notes and coins. Instead, the prevalence of money myths seems deeply rooted in ordinary people’s perceptions of money. It is therefore questionable whether the central banks’ speaking to the people (Braun) and an “economy of words” (Holmes) can change monetary knowledge. Note, however, that central banks only recently began to change their communication about the monetary order in order to enhance “real” knowledge about it. Future research could hence more closely evaluate whether money myths can be altered by the communication efforts of central banks and other actors (e.g. “positive money initiatives”) in the long run and to which social groups they appeal most. As our results draw on the Austrian case where the national bank has not launched communication campaigns and full money initiatives are not existent, it would be interesting to replicate the survey used in this study in other countries (see below), particularly in the UK, which provides an outstanding example of changing communication by a central bank.

Finally, we may add that money myths never seem to be stable over time. They can erode, and they have to prove themselves in recurring financial market crises [Rogoff and Reinhart 2009]. Even in normal times they can be put to the proof. This may for example be the case if the everyday usability of cash as a payment instrument is restricted (see the different upper limits for cash payments in the eurozone since 2010) or the account holders cannot “escape” from negative interest rates and thus undermine the store of value function of money. Money myths can certainly be put to the proof in extraordinary events (bankruptcy, galloping inflation, prohibition on the private purchase of gold, limitation of legal access to cash––see the Debt Crisis in Greece of 2015). At the peak of financial market crises, money myths may even turn out to be an illusion. From a sociological perspective, it would certainly be hasty to interpret money myths as simple ignorance or as “false consciousness”. As long as money myths are not disenchanted, they can be latently efficacious in everyday life. However, money myths are questioned in a fundamental way, for example, when credit money can no longer be “withdrawn” from the cash account—within the limits of the available budget or the granted credit line.

Our empirical findings also show that we cannot confirm the assumption of the sociological literature of money since Simmel (see chapter 1) that people believe or trust that money is “backed” “through the beliefs of the people” (item 4 of question 2, 11.65%) or the future purchasing power (“goods and services”, item 3 of question 2, 24.53%). It would thus seem that our empirical findings on money knowledge can by no means be interpreted so clearly in the sense of a simple dichotomy of the response categories along the distinction between “correct” and “incorrect”. An empirically unclear issue that requires further investigation is the extent to which the myth-based ignorance of the “objective” architecture of the monetary order is indeed a prerequisite for ordinary people to use money in everyday life largely without friction, as one might theoretically assume against the background of the sociological money literature.

Another issue that remains to be investigated relates to the empirical findings in Austria on money knowledge and money myths as compared to other countries of the European Union or the eurozone. First of all, it should be noted that empirical studies on knowledge or ignorance in the population regarding money and the institutional foundations of the monetary order are not available in other countries. We suspect that similarities and variations can be found in other European societies. It would not be implausible to assume that in many countries comparable results can be expected in all three dimensions (money creation, money backing, monetary institutions). At the same time, however, it can be assumed that significant deviations would be found in some countries. The diffusion of money myths among the population may depend on country-specific institutional confidence. If institutional confidence is high, it could also be assumed that money myths are widespread. Further dependent variables would be the perceived performance of the national economy or the economic dynamics of “northern” EU-countries, the internal and external “power prestige” [Weber (1921-1922) 1978: 910] of national political elites, as well as the level of state loyalty among the population. We could expect that, in national societies with precarious economies, drastic economic and financial crises in the recent past and a strong skepticism towards the state order (e.g. Greece), the belief that money is backed by gold or that national political elites have sufficient capacities to successfully ward off a supranational crisis of the European monetary order is less widespread.

The empirical findings on money knowledge and money myths have important implications for research on financial literacy. Contributions in the field of financial literacy suggest that financial knowledge is unequally socially distributed, and that age, gender, education and income play an important role in the appropriation of mathematical and financial knowledge. However, as we have shown, the findings of financial literacy research do not correspond with the money knowledge of the population. Rather, it can be concluded that even persons with above-average financial knowledge do not necessarily know how money is created. Nor do they know the difference between private credit money (deposits) and central bank money (cash), whether money is covered by assets, and which institutions are responsible for the value stability of the euro. Rather, it can be assumed that many people with solid or above-average financial knowledge also believe in money myths. Against this background, a key aspect of financial literacy research is that the knowledge dimension is limited to mathematical and financial knowledge, but the dimensions of monetary knowledge and myths are ignored.

What follows from the empirical findings on money knowledge and money myths for the recent sociology of money? Zelizer [19942011] has examined the everyday usage of money. In contrast to the classical economic exchange theory of money [see Ingham 2004] and Simmel’s sociological “quantity theory” of money, Zelizer analyses the “qualitatively” multiple, social and cultural embeddedness of money usage in everyday life [see Dodd 2014: 269-311; on the distinction between a “quantitative” and “qualitative” sociology of money and a critical review, see Kraemer and Nessel 2015: 13-21]. Our findings on money knowledge and money myths refer to a research dimension that was largely ignored by Zelizer. The use of money is not only involved in social and cultural contexts and social meanings. When people use money (for example, when sharing, lending, giving, saving, and connecting money with multiple meanings), they always do so in the expectation that they know what money is. For multiple social and cultural purposes, money can also be used—in normal times—in an unproblematic and unquestioned manner, because people are guided by their as-if-money knowledge and money myths. Against this background, it would be fruitful to more precisely discuss Zelizer’s thesis of the “social meaning of money” in the context of the presented findings on widespread money ignorance and myths.

Our findings can also be valuable for a political economy of money. Undoubtedly, Ingham is a prominent author investigating the institutional foundations of the modern monetary order, the power imbalances between key groups of actors (creditors, debtors, the state), and the dominant conflicts of interest over monetary stability from a decidedly sociological perspective. Against the background of the survey, an important question emerges with respect to ignorance and money myths within the population for the power asymmetries and conflicts of interest outlined by Ingham. It will also be necessary to clarify the influence of asymmetrically distributed money knowledge—for example, between experts and non-experts—on the modern monetary system. It is always relevant to the question of how myths about money—beyond all sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables—affect power asymmetries and conflicts of interest within the monetary system. In this context, it will also be necessary to clarify the extent to which the empirical findings on money knowledge and money myths can be used in the recent sociological debate on the privilege of private banks to create bank deposits through loans [Huber 2017; Sahr 2017]. For example, it might be discussed whether the fiat money regime works (in normal times) without friction because ordinary people do not know how money is created.

Finally, we want to discuss the question of how the empirical findings on money knowledge and money myths—or misconceptions and fallacies—can be interpreted in light of Simmel’s [(1908) 2009: 315] classic thesis on “trust” as a “middle position between knowledge and ignorance”. Our findings show that the vast majority of the respondents in the sample (88.2%, see chapter 5.2) are to be found in the “zone of ignorance”. These respondents believe that the total money supply is printed and covered by value assets, that the nation state guarantees bank deposits in the event of a banking or financial crisis, and that the National Central Bank is responsible for the value stability of the euro. In contrast, the “zone of knowledge” (.3%, see chapter 5.2) of those respondents who do not believe in money myths is very small in our sample. They know that money is not only printed by central banks but also created through lending by private banks. These respondents are aware that money is not backed by gold, government bonds or commodities, or loans or debts. Instead, they state that money is not backed at all. They assume that the legal guarantee of bank deposits in the event of a banking crisis is not a redeemable promise. In addition, they know that it is the ECB and not the National Central Bank that is responsible for monetary stability. They may also distrust the “economy of words” [Holmes 2014; Beckert 2016: 113-116] of central banks.

However, it would be erroneous to suggest that the respondents in the large “zone of ignorance” know nothing about money at all. At this point we cannot provide a more detailed explanation of what the respondents in the “zone of ignorance” know about money usage, even though they do not have a reflexive knowledge of the institutional foundations of the monetary system. However, we assume that they have a “weak form of inductive knowledge” [Simmel (1900) 2004: 191] in using money (see chapter 2). At the beginning of the article, we argued that people use money ubiquitously in everyday life. We can now concretize that statement: respondents in the large “zone of ignorance” indeed have a solid, practical knowledge of money. This practical knowledge has proven itself time and again in normal times. People know that they can buy commodities and pay outstanding accounts only with money. They know that they can donate money for charitable purposes and make others happy with a gift of money. In addition, of course, these respondents also know that they can influence the behaviour of others when they threaten to reduce or cancel a cash payment. People therefore know in a practical sense that money can be used in modern capitalist societies “absolutely” (Simmel) and at the same time “multiply” (Zelizer). Money can thus be used in everyday life without financial or mathematical knowledge or an understanding of the regime of money creation. We conclude with the following quote by Max Weber [2012: 300] about the social institution of money in everyday life: “No ordinary consumer will nowadays have even a rough knowledge of the production techniques of the goods that he uses daily, and he will mostly not even know what materials they are made of and what industry has produced them. All that he is interested in are those expectations concerning the performance of these artefacts that are of practical importance for him. The situation is no different with respect to social phenomena—money, for example. A person using money does not know how it actually acquires its peculiar characteristics (since, in fact, even professional specialists have heated arguments about that).”

The majority (> 80%) of adult men have accessed pornography at some point, and in the past year (40–70%); around half of younger men (25 or under) are weekly consumers; pornography use tapers-off with age

A Literature Review of Studies into the Prevalence and Frequency of Men’s Pornography Use. Dan J. Miller, Peter T. F. Raggatt & Kerry McBain. American Journal of Sexuality Education, Volume 15, 2020 - Issue 4, Pages 502-529, Oct 13 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2020.1831676

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1333763474472710150

Abstract: This review aims to provide information on the prevalence and frequency of adult males’ pornography use. It appears, the majority (> 80%) of adult men have accessed pornography at some point, and in the past year (40–70%). Around half of younger men (25 or under) are weekly consumers. Pornography use tapers-off with age. Relatively few (<10%) younger men have accessed violent pornography in the past year. The Internet is the primary method of access. Pornography use is associated with masturbation; use during partnered sex is less common. Differences in consumption rates between heterosexual and gay and bisexual men are discussed.

Keywords: Pornography, sexually explicit material, men, prevalence

Singapore youths: Early exposure to aggressive games was not predictive of anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 2 years later; aggresive games is not a risk factor in mental health

Aggressive Video Games Are Not a Risk Factor for Mental Health Problems in Youth: A Longitudinal Study. Christopher J. Ferguson and C.K. John Wang. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Dec 1 2020. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2020.0027

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1333729157717643266

Abstract: Recent preregistered studies and analyses have suggested that links between aggressive video games (AVGs) and aggression-related outcomes may have been exaggerated in previous literature. However, concerns about AVGs remain. Although the impact of aggressive games on aggressive behaviors has been the subject of approximately a dozen preregistered studies, the potential impact of aggressive games on the player's mental health symptoms has not been the subject of similar preregistered analyses. In the current study, a sample of more than 3000 youth from Singapore were examined by using preregistered analyses to determine whether early exposure to aggressive games was predictive of anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 2 years later. Analyses suggested that exposure to AVGs is not a risk factor for later mental health symptoms.

Making a Microaggression: Using Big Data and Qualitative Analysis to Map the Reproduction and Disruption of Microaggressions through Social Media

Making a Microaggression: Using Big Data and Qualitative Analysis to Map the Reproduction and Disruption of Microaggressions through Social Media. Rob Eschmann et al. Social Media + Society. November 30, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120975716

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1333714191857946624

Abstract: Racial microaggressions are defined as subtle racial slights that can be offensive or hurtful. One of the defining characteristics of racial microaggressions is how difficult they can be to respond to, and the literature reports that not responding may be the most common response to microaggressions. This study addresses a vital gap in the existing literature by examining the extent to which the silence that characterizes face-to-face experiences with microaggressions extends into online social media spaces. Drawing on a dataset of 254,964 tweets over an 8-year period, we present and examine trends in the usage of the term “microaggressions” over time. Furthermore, we then generate a purposive sample of 1,038 of the most influential tweets to explore discussions and content themes through an in-depth qualitative analysis of these messages. Here, we find both a drastic increase in the usage of the term microaggression on Twitter over time and an intense contestation over its meaning and repercussions for both individuals and society. Implications of these findings in understanding the role of online social media discourse in challenging or reproducing hegemonic racial structures is discussed.

Keywords: microaggressions, social media, Twitter, racial structures, race, online communication

This study explored the usage of the term microaggression in online spaces. The dramatic increase in usage of the term between 2010 (with 877 mentions) to 2018 (with 58,787 mentions), an increase of 6,603%, is indicative of the way in which this language is increasingly being used to describe the types of subtle racialized interactions that characterize the color-blind post-Civil Rights era. There are many potential explanations for this increase in the usage of the term microaggression, including increased attention to racial justice issues on Twitter through movements such as BLM (Anderson & Hitlin, 2016), trends towards more discussion of identity politics in the Trump era (Taylor, 2018), or the usage of an academic term (microaggressions) to describe the types of subtle experiences that many marginalized groups experience, but used other language to describe (or did not discuss in public) before the proliferation of the microaggressions concept online.

Given the silences that characterize experiences with microaggressions in face-to-face interactions (Sue, 2010), just this increased usage of the term represents a dramatic shift and increased visibility of experiences with problematic racial interactions that have been hidden—or only discussed in private by the targets of microaggressions—for so long. This unmasking of racism through social media meets many of the criteria suggested by Sue and colleagues (2019) regarding the best practices for disarming microaggressions.

Yet, this work indicates that there is contention around the microaggressions concept. The single largest code we found, denying microaggressions, made up one-third of the tweets in the dataset and consisted of tweets used to minimize and ridicule microaggressions. These tweets show that as popular understanding of the term grows, detractors may use the online space to defend their actions. This is consistent with the literature, which suggests that microaggressors are defensive when confronted (Sue, 2016). The tweets in this code indicate that many are frustrated with normal behaviors being coded as problematic through the microaggressions lens, and use social media as a way to challenge this encroachment on their free speech.

It is interesting to note that even those who are vehemently opposed to the term microaggressions are aware of it. The mechanisms of racism should not need to be defended, when they remain invisible. That some users feel the need to deny the logics of microaggressions so passionately may demonstrate a discomfort with this mechanism of power reproduction being unmasked through social media discourse. This discomfort may be increased given the role social media and Twitter have played in amplifying the voices of marginalized groups and activist and antiracist efforts, from protests against police violence against Black people, to sharing videos of White people calling the police on innocent Black people without cause (Anderson & Hitlin, 2016Ransom, 2020). For individuals who are accustomed to (and comfortable with) racial slights being ignored and overlooked in everyday interactions, the increased attention paid to these acts through social media can represent an unwelcome change in the racial power dynamics, as users challenge the previously invisible mechanisms of White supremacy.

The data also demonstrate that Twitter users are engaged in informal knowledge production, educating other users about what microaggressions are and how they are experienced by and impact marginalized communities, including people of Color, women, queer people, and those who have intersecting identities. Sometimes, these messages are directed at those who are actively denying or committing microaggressions, demonstrating that social media is a space in which users are able to engage in discussions across ideological boundaries. Future research may explore the prevalence and productivity of such discussions. In other cases, such as in the Growth code, we see evidence of the ways in which this knowledge production can impact human development as users discuss their learning about microaggressions and the ways it has shifted their thinking and real-world interactions.

Equally important is the role discussing microaggressions on social media plays for people of Color and other marginalized groups. For folks who have been silenced in other settings—unable to respond to or critique microaggressions because of power dynamics—having access to a public space in which their experiences with microaggressions are empathized with can be a powerful form of support. Sharing their stories with people who not only believe that microaggressions occurred, but also help in processing these experiences, externalizes the problem of microaggressions with the perpetrator, taking away any sense of guilt for the targets of microaggressions. In this way, discussion of microaggressions on Twitter are consistent with what the literature has called counterpublics, digital counterpublics, and counterspaces, or alternative communication spheres that engage in discussions that may be marginalized in mainstream spaces, or online communal discussions more explicitly related to the dismantling of racism (Eschmann, 2020aGroshek & Han, 2011Hill, 2018Jackson et al., 2020).

This digital discourse has the potential to normalize knowledge of the subtle mechanisms of structural racism and increase awareness of how covert acts can perpetuate racial inequality. Given that many microaggressions are ignored, and not recognized as patently offensive (Gantt Shafer, 2017), increased awareness and discourse in online spaces may change how these events are experienced and responded to in face-to-face settings. This study demonstrates the potential for online spaces to be primary sites for equity-based knowledge production and the challenging of dominant and hegemonic structures.

Personality shapes information sharing about sexual preferences, the way dissonant sexual preferences of the partners are handled, and the extent to which the person is committed to promises made to the partner

Big Five Personality Traits and Sex. Uwe Jirjahn, Martha Ottenbacher. Global Labor Organization Discussion Paper, No. 720, Nov 2020. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/226369/1/GLO-DP-0720.pdf

Abstract: Sexual well-being plays an important role in the quality of life. Against this background, we provide an economics-based approach to the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and various dimensions of sexuality. From a theoretical viewpoint, personality influences sexual well-being not only by how a person feels about sex, but also by how the person behaves in a sexual relationship. Personality shapes information sharing about sexual preferences, the way dissonant sexual preferences of the partners are handled, and the extent to which the person is committed to promises made to the partner. Using a large representative dataset from Germany, we find that personality traits play a role in a person’s own sexual satisfaction, in (the self-assessment of) fulfilling the partner’s sexual needs and desires, in sexual communication, in actual and desired frequency of sex, and in extradyadic affairs.

Keywords: Big Five Personality Traits, Sexual Satisfaction, Frequency of Intercourse, Sexual Infidelity, Sexual Communication, Family Economics.

JEL: D10, D91, J10, J12

Consumer decision making: Biases are more rule than exception; the median consumer exhibits 10 of 17 potential biases

We are all Behavioral, More or Less: A Taxonomy of Consumer Decision Making. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman. NBER Working Paper 28138, November 2020. DOI 10.3386/w28138

Abstract: We examine how 17 behavioral biases relate to each other, to other decision inputs, and to decision outputs. Most consumers exhibit multiple biases in our nationally representative panel data. There is substantial heterogeneity across consumers, even within similar demographic/skill groups. Biases are positively correlated within person, especially after adjusting for measurement error, and less correlated with other inputs—risk aversion, patience, cognitive skills, and personality traits—with some expected exceptions. Accounting for this correlation structure, we reduce our 29 decision inputs to eight common factors. Seven common factors load on at least two biases, six on clusters of theoretically related biases, and two or three are distinctly behavioral. All but one common factor is distinct from cognitive skills. Factor scores strongly conditionally correlate with decisions and outcomes in various domains. We discuss several potential implications of this taxonomy for various approaches to modeling influences of behavioral biases on decision making.

Haunted House Fear And Contagion Effects

Tashjian, Sarah M., Virginia Fedrigo, Tanaz Molapour, dean mobbs, and Colin Camerer. 2020. “Contextual and Endogenous Effects on Physiology During a Haunted House Fear Induction.” PsyArXiv. November 30. doi:10.31234/osf.io/5u9se

Abstract: Threat exposure elicits physiological and psychological responses, the frequency and intensity of which, and concordance between, has implications for survival. Ethical and practical limitations on human laboratory fear inductions make it essentially impossible to measure response to extreme threat. Furthermore, ecologically valid investigations of group effects on fear are lacking in humans. The current preregistered study measured tonic and phasic electrodermal activity in 156 human participants while they participated in small groups in a 30 minute sequence of threats of varying intensity (a haunted house). Results revealed that (i) friends increased overall arousal, (ii) unexpected attacks elicited greater phasic responses than expected attacks, (iii) subjective fear increased frequency of phasic spikes, and (iv) startle had dissociable effects on frequency and amplitude of phasic reactivity. Findings show that etiology of emotional contagion varies depending on relationship type (increased among friends) and subjective fear is associated with temporal aspects of physiological arousal.