Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Various indicators of moral character (justice sensitivity, moral value, & moral identity) predicted harsher judgments of others’ than own transgressions, specially when people possessed strong "reputation management" motivation

Dong, Mengchen, Tom Kupfer, and Jan-Willem van Prooijen. 2020. “Being Good to Look Good: Moral Character Is Positively Associated with Hypocrisy Among Reputation-seeking Individuals.” PsyArXiv. December 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Moral character is widely believed to guide a moral and prosocial life, navigating individuals through decisions about right or wrong. People with a strong moral character therefore may not be expected to behave hypocritically, by imposing stringent moral standards on others but not on themselves. But from an evolutionary perspective, moral character partly functions to maintain a positive reputation, prompting a motivation to appear moral. This account does predict a positive association between moral character and hypocrisy, particularly for individuals who are strongly motivated to gain a positive reputation. Three studies (employing vignettes, large-scale multination panel data, and a behavioral experiment) revealed that various indicators of moral character (justice sensitivity, moral value, and moral identity) predicted harsher judgments of others’ than own transgressions. These self-other discrepancies emerged particularly when people possessed strong reputation management motives. The findings highlight how reputational concerns moderate the link between moral character and moral judgment.

Rolf Degen summarizing... Groups are as susceptible to "choice blindness" as individuals, failing to notice that they had been given false feedback about their previous choices, making the case for the planted ones

Pärnamets, Philip, Jorina von Zimmermann, Ramsey Raafat, Gabriel Vogel, Lars Hall, Nick Chater, and Petter Johansson. 2020. “Choice Blindness and Choice-induced Preference Change in Groups.” PsyArXiv. December 22. doi:10.31234/

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Contrary to common belief, our preferences do not only shape our decisions but are also shaped by what decisions we make. This effect, known as choice-induced preference change, has been extensively studied in individuals. Here we document choice-induced preference change in groups. We do so by using the choice-blindness paradigm, a method by which participants are given false feedback about their past choices. Participants are given a second round of choices following the choice blindness manipulation´measuring preference change resulting from accepting the manipulation. In Experiment 1 (N=83), we introduce a roommate selection task used in this paper and use it to replicate choice-induced preference change using choice-blindness in individuals. In Experiment 2 (N=160), dyad members made mutual choices in the roommate selection task and then receive either veridical or false feedback about what choice they made. The majority of the false feedback trials were accepted by the dyads as their own choices, thereby demonstrating choice blindness in dyads for the first time. Dyads exhibited choice-induced preference change and were more likely to choose the originally rejected option on trials where they accepted the manipulation compared to control trials. In Experiment 3 (N=80), we show that the preference effect induced by the choice blindness manipulation at the group level does not generalize back to follow up choices made by individual participants when removed from the group. In all studies, response time analyses further support our conclusions. Choice-induced preference change exists for both individuals and groups, but the level at which the choice was made constrains the influence of that choice on later preferences.

Many people take an essentialist stance toward social categories, leading them to infer that being gay is genetically determined & not subject to free choice or moral responsibility, nor mutable & worth attempting to change

Kumar, Victor, Aditi Kodipady, and Liane Young. 2020. “A Psychological Account of the Unique Decline in Anti-gay Attitudes.” PsyArXiv. December 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Anti-gay attitudes have declined in the U.S. The magnitude, speed, and demographic scope of this change have been impressive especially in comparison with prejudice against other marginalized groups. We develop a psychological account of the unique decline in anti-gay bias in the context of background cultural and political conditions. We highlight two key psychological mechanisms: interpersonal connection and social category classification. First, many people have discovered that a close friend or family member or an admired individual is gay, motivating them to identify the harm and discrimination faced by the individual they know, and catalyzing moral consistency reasoning such that they generalize this interpersonal insight to strangers. Second, many people take an essentialist stance toward social categories, including sexual orientation, leading them to infer that being gay is genetically determined and not subject to free choice or moral responsibility, nor mutable and worth attempting to change. We contrast this to the relationship between essentialism and attitudes toward women and people of color, and provide an account of the difference. This psychological account has implications for the future decline of anti-gay attitudes, in the U.S. and other countries, along with the nascent decline of anti-trans attitudes.

From 2019... Two million faces detected from greater than 6 million photos: Much of the emotional variation at different places can be explained by a few factors such as openness

From 2019... Extracting human emotions at different places based on facial expressions and spatial clustering analysis. Yuhao Kang  Qingyuan Jia  Song Gao  Xiaohuan Zeng  Yueyao Wang  Stephan Angsuesser  Yu Liu  Xinyue Ye  Teng Fei. Transactions in GIS, June 18 2019.

Abstract: The emergence of big data enables us to evaluate the various human emotions at places from a statistical perspective by applying affective computing. In this study a novel framework for extracting human emotions from large‐scale georeferenced photos at different places is proposed. After the construction of places based on spatial clustering of user‐generated footprints collected from social media websites, online cognitive services are utilized to extract human emotions from facial expressions using state‐of‐the‐art computer vision techniques. Two happiness metrics are defined for measuring the human emotions at different places. To validate the feasibility of the framework, we take 80 tourist attractions around the world as an example and a happiness ranking list of places is generated based on human emotions calculated over 2 million faces detected from greater than 6 million photos. Different kinds of geographical contexts are taken into consideration to find out the relationship between human emotions and environmental factors. Results show that much of the emotional variation at different places can be explained by a few factors such as openness. The research offers insights into integrating human emotions to enrich the understanding of sense of place in geography and in place‐based GIS.

Reward processing is remarkably robust against brain damage; reward circuitry is also surprisingly robust against neurodegeneration

Nummenmaa, Lauri, and David Sander. 2020. “Reward and Emotion in the Brain.” PsyArXiv. December 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Pleasure and reward are central for motivation, learning, feeling and allostasis. Although reward is without any doubt an affective phenomenon, there is no consensus concerning its relationship with emotion. In this mini-review we discuss this conceptual issue both from the perspective of theories of reward and emotion as well as human systems neuroimaging. We first describe how the reward process can be understood and dissected as intertwined with the emotion process, in particular in light of the appraisal theories, and then discuss how different facets of the reward process can be studied using neuroimaging and neurostimulation techniques. We conclude that future work needs to focus on mapping the similarities and differences across stimuli and processes that lead to pleasures and rewards and propose that an integrative affective sciences approach would provide means for studying the emotional nature of reward.

Liberals show more Openness/Aesthetic Sensitivity, Intellect/Intellectual Curiosity, Compassion, & Withdrawal/Depression, as well as less Orderliness/Organization, Politeness, & Assertiveness

Beyond Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness: Testing links between lower‐level personality traits and American political orientation. Xiaowen Xu  Christopher J. Soto  Jason E. Plaks. Journal of Personality, December 21 2020.


Introduction: Research has consistently revealed positive correlations between political liberalism and Openness to Experience, and between conservatism and Conscientiousness. Most of this research has made use of domain‐level models of the Big Five personality traits. Recent work suggests, however, that each Big Five trait domain can be divided into distinct aspects or facets, which offer more nuanced characterizations of each trait.

Methods: Across four studies (Ns ranging from 1,123 to 116,406), the present research examined the degree to which distinct lower‐level traits would be associated with meaningful differences in political orientation. United States residents completed two different hierarchical Big Five personality measures (the Big Five Aspect Scales and the Big Five Inventory‐2), as well as a range of measures of political orientation.

Results: Across both personality measures, liberal political orientation showed distinct positive associations with the lower‐level traits Openness/Aesthetic Sensitivity, Intellect/Intellectual Curiosity, Compassion, and Withdrawal/Depression, as well as distinct negative associations with Orderliness/Organization, Politeness, and Assertiveness.

Discussion: By examining individual differences at a higher level of granularity, these data provide insight into specific motivations that predispose individuals toward different ends of the political spectrum.