Thursday, December 24, 2020

Financial constraints decrease the happiness consumers derive from their purchases; this, in turn, leads to a consequential outcome: less favorable consumer reviews

Dias, Rodrigo S., Eesha Sharma, and Gavan Fitzsimons. 2020. “Financial Constraints and Purchase Happiness.” PsyArXiv. December 22. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Financial constraints change attention, choice, and consumption in important ways. This work examines how financial constraints affect one important outcome at a later stage of the consumer decision-making process: purchase happiness. Eight high-powered studies (N = 7,481) demonstrate that financial constraints decrease the happiness consumers derive from their purchases. This, in turn, leads to a consequential outcome: less favorable consumer reviews. This effect occurs because consumers who feel more (vs. less) financially constrained are more likely to consider opportunity costs when evaluating their purchases. Furthermore, this effect is independent of consumers’ objective constraints (e.g. income) and social class, is not due to a general decrease in life satisfaction or mood, and is robust across several purchase types. Consistent with our proposed mechanism, the effect attenuates when opportunity costs are made salient and when consumers consider purchases for which opportunity costs are naturally less salient (i.e., planned purchases). Moreover, although financial constraints decrease actual purchase happiness, they increase expected purchase happiness, suggesting that financial constraints can have differential effects across decision-making stages. Finally, we meta-analyze our file drawer (17,750 participants; 33 studies) to examine how the effect differs across purchase types and discuss theoretical and practical contributions for consumers and marketers.

Younger adults saw themselves as being as “energetic” but “wiser” than their age peers, while older adults saw themselves as being more “energetic” but less “wise” than their age peers

Young people feel wise and older people feel energetic: comparing age stereotypes and self-evaluations across adulthood. Catherine E. Bowen, Svenja M. Spuling, Anna E. Kornadt & Maja Wiest. European Journal of Ageing volume 17, pages435–444(2020).

Abstract: We use questionnaire data from the MIDUS study (N = 6325 and a subsample n = 2120) to examine the extent to which people in their late 20s, late 40s and late 60s think that positive characteristics apply to themselves, their age peers and other age groups. Results based on factor analysis confirmed the existence of age stereotypes, such that one constellation of characteristics (wise, caring, calm, knowledgeable, generative; “wise”) was seen as more descriptive of older adults, while another constellation of characteristics (energetic, healthy, willing to learn; “energetic”) was seen as more descriptive of younger adults. Self-evaluations were, however, highly positive and largely independent of age. As a group, younger adults saw themselves as being as “energetic” but “wiser” than their age peers, while older adults saw themselves as being more “energetic” but less “wise” than their age peers. In sum, the results suggest that self-views are relatively independent of existing age stereotypes but also indicate that the “better-than-average effect” depends on age and whether the considered characteristics represent a relative strength or weakness of one’s own age group. The results also indicate that, at the aggregate level, older adults’ tendency to use stereotypes about their age group’s weaknesses as a frame of reference for making flattering self-evaluations seems to outweigh the effects of stereotype internalization.

Brain structure and clinical profile point to neurodevelopmental factors involved in pedophilic disorder

Brain structure and clinical profile point to neurodevelopmental factors involved in pedophilic disorder. Christoph Abé  Roberth Adebahr  Benny Liberg  Christian Mannfolk  Alexander Lebedev  Jonna Eriksson  Niklas Långström  Christoffer Rahm. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, December 23 2020.

Rolf Degen's take:


Objective: Pedophilic disorder (PD) is characterized by persistent sexual interest in prepubertal children causing distress and increasing the risk for child sexual abuse. Although prior research suggests that PD has neurodevelopmental underpinnings, the evidence remains sparse. To aid the understanding of etiology and treatment development, we quantified neurobiological and clinical correlates of PD.

Method: We compared 55 self‐referred, help‐seeking, non‐forensic male patients with DSM‐5 PD with 57 age‐matched, healthy male controls (HC) on clinical, neuropsychological, and structural brain imaging measures (cortical thickness and surface area, subcortical and white matter volumes). Structural brain measures were related to markers for aberrant neurodevelopment including IQ, and the 2nd to 4th digit ratio (2D:4D).

Results: PD was associated with psychiatric disorder comorbidity and ADHD and autism spectrum disorder symptoms. PD patients had lower total IQ than HC. PD individuals exhibited cortical surface area abnormalities in regions belonging to the brain’s default mode network and showed abnormal volume of white matter underlying those regions. PD subjects had smaller hippocampi and nuclei accumbens than HC. Findings were not related to history of child‐related sexual offending. IQ correlated negatively with global expression of PD‐related brain features and 2D:4D correlated with surface area in PD.

Conclusions: In the largest single‐center study to date, we delineate psychiatric comorbidity, neurobiological and cognitive correlates of PD. Our morphometric findings, their associations with markers of aberrant neurodevelopment, and psychiatric comorbidities suggest that neurodevelopmental mechanisms are involved in PD. The findings may need consideration in future development of clinical management of PD patients.

Not only Trolls are Trolling the Internet: A study on dark personality traits, online environment, and commentary styles

Not only Trolls are Trolling the Internet: A study on dark personality traits, online environment, and commentary styles. Anna M. Connysdotter Karlsson, Petri J. Kajonius. International Journal of Personality Psychology, Vol 6 (2020), Dec 23 2020.

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: On the Internet, many commentary styles take place on various forums, and abuse is not uncommon. We investigated the personality traits related to individuals’ behaviors on Internet forum posting. The Dark Short Tetrad (SD4) were used to predict (N = 212) three types of commentary styles: Trolling (malicious posting), Lurking (reading/not posting) and Posting (reading/posting). The results showed that Trolling co-varied with Sadism (r = .38) and Machiavellianism (r = .28). The results also showed that people high on dark traits are Trolling the Internet. Exploratory mediator analyses further revealed that various aspects of anonymity trivially moderate personality traits and behavior (indirect effects β ≈ .10). The overall take-home message is that personality traits, especially dark traits, play a role in how individuals express themselves online. This provides well-needed insight in abusive behaviors in forums on the internet.

Keywords: personality, Dark Tetrad, Internet behavior, online environment

Fatherhood Is Associated with Increased Infidelity In The Current Relationship

Fatherhood Is Associated with Increased Infidelity and Moderates the Link between Relationship Satisfaction and Infidelity. Tim Jonas Lacker, Andreas Walther, Patricia Waldvogel and Ulrike Ehlert. Psych 2020, 2(4), 370-384, December 21 2020.


Background: Relationship satisfaction has been identified as an important factor in terms of extradyadic sexual involvement. However, in men, fatherhood might be associated with infidelity by leading to changes in relationship satisfaction and the social life of parents. To date, no study has focused on the association of fatherhood and infidelity, nor the influence of fatherhood on the association between relationship satisfaction and infidelity.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, 137 fathers and 116 non-fathers were assessed regarding relationship satisfaction, infidelity, and potential confounds.

Results: Significantly more fathers reported having been unfaithful in the current relationship than non-fathers (30.7% vs. 17.2%). Fathers also reported longer relationship duration, higher relationship satisfaction, and lower neuroticism than non-fathers. Furthermore, fatherhood moderated the association between relationship satisfaction and infidelity insofar that only in non-fathers reduced relationship satisfaction was associated with infidelity.

Conclusions: The results suggest that fatherhood increases the risk of engaging in extradyadic sexual activities and moderates the link between relationship satisfaction and infidelity. However, results need to be interpreted with caution due to the cross-sectional study design and the lack of information about the specific time point of the infidelity incident(s).

Keywords: infidelity; unfaithfulness; relationship satisfaction; fatherhood; men

4. Discussion

The present study examined the relationship between fatherhood and infidelity, as well as the effect of fatherhood on the association between relationship satisfaction and infidelity. Since infidelity is one of the leading causes of relationship termination causing severe psychological distress in many individuals [6]. This issue is highly relevant in order to achieve a better understanding of the determinants leading to infidelity and to foster the prevention of infidelity.
The results showed increased infidelity in fathers as compared to non-fathers. This is surprising at first glance when considering the investment model, which suggests high investment and commitment for the relationship in fathers resulting in higher relationship satisfaction and a reduced risk for infidelity [15,16]. Previous research also indicates no association between the number of children or parenthood and infidelity, although the available studies are either limited to non-married individuals, used the actual number of children as predictors, while none of the studies focused on fatherhood, relationship satisfaction, and infidelity [31,32,33,34]. However, relationship satisfaction of the couple commonly declines as soon as the child is born [26,27,63]. Furthermore, fathers show an increase in depressive symptoms during the first phase after birth and a residual amount of symptomatology over the first seven years of their child’s life [64,65,66]. We argue that during this time, when the child needs a lot of the parental attention and the relationship satisfaction of the couple is challenged, men are at an increased risk for infidelity. This is supported by research showing couples transitioning to parents. For men, the frequency of sex is significantly more relevant than for women and that infrequent sex is associated with sexual and relationship dissatisfaction in men, but not women [67]. Although, it is known that paternity has several negative consequences for the relationship and the sexual life of fathers and mothers, this is more likely in couples with small children, while couples with older children such as eight years or older do not experience the same challenges anymore and regain some of the lost relationship and sexual satisfaction [63]. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that in couples without children, relationship satisfaction is very low, the relationship is terminated more quickly, while parents are more likely to stay together despite difficulties for the sake of the children [68]. However, this in turn might be associated with an increased risk of infidelity in fathers during difficult relationship periods. Unnoticed needs of fathers during the transition to fatherhood may thus lead to reduced relationship satisfaction resulting in an increased risk for infidelity.
In the present study, fathers showed higher relationship satisfaction than non-fathers. This contradicted previous research, which showed reduced relationship satisfaction in couples transitioning to parents or with young children [26,27,69]. However, our findings support a previously identified U-shaped relation between relationship satisfaction and age of the children in fathers with a decreased relationship satisfaction after birth of the first child and an increase after the child’s age of eight years [63,70]. When considering the characteristics of the present sample (e.g., average age of 47.5 years, average duration of intimate relationship 13.6 years, most of the fathers fathering two or more children), it was evident that many fathers were in the later phase of fatherhood, where relationship satisfaction increased again and even surpassed the relationship satisfaction of the childless couples [70]. Taking another perspective, extramarital sexual activities might positively influence relationship satisfaction in fathers. One could hypothesize that the higher relationship satisfaction for fathers, despite higher rates of infidelity, represents a cognitive coping mechanism to diminish cognitive dissonance after engaging in extramarital sexual activities. Moreover, a form of idealization of the family might play an important role here, since several of the included fathers were part of a study specifically focused on fatherhood [24]. A further possible explanation for the incongruent finding is that lower sexual satisfaction within the relationship may be compensated by extradyadic sexual activity [71]. This, in turn, might result in higher relationship satisfaction within the primary relationship due to the fulfillment of the aspired sexual activity. However, this explanation does not take into account feelings of guilt, and further research is therefore needed to clarify whether guilt has an impact on this association.
In addition, the results show a moderating effect of fatherhood on the association between relationship satisfaction and infidelity. In other words, the effect of relationship satisfaction on infidelity depends on if the participant was a father. More specifically, only in non-fathers was lower relationship satisfaction associated with increased infidelity. This effect can be interpreted according to the mate switching hypothesis, which suggests that non-fathers engage less in extradyadic sexual activities as long as the relationship is perceived as satisfying, while more quickly seeking a new partner in the face of relationship dissatisfaction [19]. This strategy is less appealing to fathers, since changing partners would require a great deal of adaptation with regard to the children involved. Therefore, the link between relationship satisfaction and infidelity among fathers seems to dissolve. Many parent couples come to the point to ask themselves whether it is better to stay in an unsatisfying and conflictual relation for the sake of the children or to separate [68]. And because there is no definite answer to this question, many parents decide to stay in the relationship and within this framework to satisfy their needs as good as possible, which in fathers are also often sexual needs and thus contribute to an increased risk of infidelity [67].
Additionally, the results revealed a discrepancy between directly and indirectly reported infidelity, which was particularly apparent among the fathers. According to the indirect questioning, significantly more fathers had engaged in extradyadic sexual activities than non-fathers (36.6% vs. 21.8%). The reported rates of infidelity are in line with the literature. For instance, Allen et al. [72] reported that around a quarter of married men have engaged in infidelity, with this rate rising to almost 50% in dating relationships [73]. The findings are also consistent with a more recent study from Germany, in which heterosexual men reported infidelity rates of 49% [12]. As most of the participants in this study were married, a rate of just over 30% was seen as representative for the investigated population of Swiss men.
Age and length of relation were positively correlated with infidelity. As the majority of the participants had been married or in a relationship for more than one year, with a mean relationship length of 13.6 years, their relationships can be considered as long-term, which has been shown to increases the risk for infidelity [25]. Fathers and non-fathers did not significantly differ with regard to age, and fathers showed significantly longer relationship length (16.5 years vs. 10.2 years). This was likely contributed to the identified group difference with regard to infidelity. From an evolutionary perspective, higher infidelity rates in longer relationships or older age might be interpreted as a form of ensuring the passing on of genes to as many partners as possible and thus increasing evolutionary fitness. Within the evolutionary psychology framework, another interpretation may be provided by the sexual strategies theory [74], according to which men (and women) follow distinct strategies for short- and long-term sexual relationships, which have evolved during an evolutionary process. Both sexes face different adaptive problems, which they try to solve by weighing up costs and benefits adapted to the needs of the respective situation, i.e., short- or long-term sexual mating. For instance, distress promotes more short-term mating strategies. In contrast to the evolutionary perspective, dissatisfaction and neglect are covariates of sexual motivation for infidelity [75], which might become significantly more important in early fatherhood due to the fact that a couple might experience a shift in lifestyle and responsibilities.
Taken together, we explain the observed findings in such a way that fathers show a substantially reduced relationship satisfaction during the early phases of paternity (e.g., first seven years) and, at the same time, show an increased risk of infidelity. However, since most couples do not want to separate because of their children, this difficult time is eventually overcome followed by an increase in relationship quality and satisfaction. In addition, by raising the children as a couple, one is proud and stronger connected with each other, further leading to increased relationship satisfaction in later phases. Therefore, it will be important for future research to concomitantly map the temporal dynamics of the likelihood of infidelity [34,35] and relationship satisfaction [63,70] over the course of transitioning to parents and raising children to adulthood.

4.1. Limitations and Strengths

The current study had several distinct limitations and strengths. First, infidelity was only assessed with the question of engagement in extradyadic sexual activities, without defining the exact boundaries of “sexual activities”; thus, it was left to the participants’ interpretation how sexual activities are defined. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that the subjective perception of the committing partner is crucial in terms of effects on relationship satisfaction and well-being. However, infidelity was also examined in an indirect way, and thus anonymously, which enabled us to control for social desirability. Furthermore, the question about infidelity did not ask whether infidelity occurred before or exactly when after the birth of the child, and also did not ask about the exact number of incidents or the amount of extradyadic sexual partners. Thus, future research needs to address this issue and capture as precise as possible the time of the extradyadic sexual activity. Another shortcoming of the study is the lack of information about the age of the children, although the number of children was assessed and added as a covariate the age of the oldest child is particularly relevant to identify the period of increased relationship strain due to the first newborn and the period when relationship satisfaction starts to increase again.
Despite these limitations, the study also had several strengths. First, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to explicitly focus on the topic of fatherhood, infidelity, and relationship satisfaction. Moreover, we investigated a rather large sample of 253 men, and used validated questionnaires and measurements that enables us to control for possible confounding variables. The questionnaires enabled us to specifically target potentially influencing personality traits and aspects of mental health as covariates. The relatively large sample size allowed for the generalization of the results. Finally, the study investigated indirect effects, which can be regarded as strengths, since infidelity is a complex behavior encompassing multiple aspects. Thus, the measurement of indirect effects enables deeper insights into mechanisms and is more appropriate due to the consideration of the complexity of the behavior.

4.2. Implications

This investigation extended the knowledge about infidelity, especially for fathers. Couples confronted with infidelity experience severe distress. The discovery of infidelity is a critical life event and can cause PTSD-like symptoms with increased anxiety or depression [12,44]. Therefore, it is crucial to provide information about this topic within couples’ therapy. In particular, fathers or expectant fathers and their partners should be educated about relationship changes within fatherhood and the distress this might cause, in order to adequately prepare the expectant parents and prevent infidelity.

Are Men Who Buy Sex Different from Men Who Do Not?: Exploring Sex Life Characteristics Based on a Randomized Population Survey in Sweden

Are Men Who Buy Sex Different from Men Who Do Not?: Exploring Sex Life Characteristics Based on a Randomized Population Survey in Sweden. Charlotte Deogan, Elin Jacobsson, Louise Mannheimer & Charlotte Björkenstam. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Dec 22 2020.

Abstract: The buying and selling of sex is a topic of frequent discussion and a relevant public health issue. Studies of sex workers are available, while studies addressing the demand side of sex are scarce, especially based on robust population data. The current study provides national estimates of the prevalence of and factors associated with having paid for sex among men in Sweden. We used a randomized population-based survey on sexual and reproductive health and rights among ages 16–84 years, linked to nationwide registers. The sample consisted of 6048 men. With a logistic regression, we analyzed what sex life factors were associated with ever having paid for or given other types of compensation for sex. A total of 9.5% of male respondents reported ever having paid for sex. An increased probability of having paid for sex was identified in men who were dissatisfied with their sex life (aOR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.34–2.22), men reporting having had less sex than they would have liked to (aOR: 2.78; 95% CI: 2.12–3.66), men who had ever looked for or met sex partners online (aOR: 5.07; 95% CI: 3.97–6.46), as well as frequent pornography users (aOR: 3.02; 95% CI: 2.28–3.98) Associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for age, income, and educational attainment. Sex life characteristics such as poor sex life satisfaction, high online sex activity, and frequent pornography use are strongly associated with sex purchase. These findings can help guide and support counselling and prevention activities targeting sex buyers.


In this study, we took advantage of unique data from the randomized population-based survey SRHR2017, linked with Sweden’s extensive and high-quality nationwide administrative registers, to identify the proportion of men ever having paid or given other types of compensation for sex in Sweden. Our results confirms that the proportion of men reporting ever having paid for sex in our survey (9.5%) is comparable to previous studies and with other Nordic as well as western European countries (Haavio-Mannila & Rotkirch, 2000; Jones et al., 2015; Schei & Stigum, 2010). The age-group with the highest proportion of men having paid for sex was men above the age of 45 years (11%), and men 30–44 years (10%) reported a similar proportion. The lowest proportion was reported among men 16–29 years of age. It is unclear whether this is due to the question, which provides us with a lifetime prevalence that naturally increases with age, or that sex purchase became illegal in Sweden in 1999.

Our results regarding education and income of buyers also confirm previous studies (BRÅ, 2008; Priebe & Svedin, 2011), that buyers are from different socioeconomic backgrounds and educational level is not associated with having paid for sex. However, having a very low income seem to be associated with having paid for sex, which may indicate underlying vulnerability and deprivation. This contradicts the findings of Priebe and Svedin (2011) and Milrod and Monto (2017) that a higher proportion of buyers had high income. This could potentially be due to differences in the participant characteristics since Priebe and Svedin (2011) was based on an online panel which in Sweden usually tends to hold a larger proportion of males, and individuals that are better educated and have higher incomes than the population in general (Bosnjak et al., 2013).

To our knowledge, no study based on a randomized population based survey has explored the relationship between sex life satisfaction and sex purchase, however it does seem reasonable to assume dissatisfaction drives demand, including having less sex than one would have liked to. In our findings, we see a strong association between having looked for or met sex partners online and sex purchase. Our results confirm previous findings that buyers do use internet and/or mobile apps for sexual activity to a higher extent than non-buyers (Monto & Milrod, 2014; Priebe & Svedin, 2011).

Our results show a strong statistically significant association between frequent pornography use and ever having paid for sex. Swedish research has shown that frequent pornography users also have higher levels of risk taking such as alcohol and drug use as well as higher sexual risk taking such as early sex debut and experiences of selling sex, in comparison with non-frequent pornography users (Mattebo, Tydén, Häggström-Nordin, Nilsson, & Larsson, 2013; Svedin, Akerman, & Priebe, 2010).

In all, sex life dissatisfaction and not having as much sex as one would have preferred, as well as online sexual activity and frequent pornography use are strongly associated with having paid for sex among Swedish men. This tells us that these individuals differ from men not having paid for sex in terms of sex life characteristics. It also gives us an indication that they may differ in terms of other factors related to sex life and sexual risk taking but it remains unclear how. Need for intimacy and social dimensions could also play a role (Birch & Braun-Harvey, 2019; Monto & Milrod, 2014). These insights are of importance in the prevention of disease and promotion of sexual health. The understanding of who pays for sex and why is key to reduce demand of sexual services and is of importance not only for law enforcement but also for public health interventions and support activities targeted toward both people paying for and people receiving money or other compensation for sex.

The strengths of this study include the use of the unique data SRHR2017, enriched with high-quality nationwide register data. In prior research, information on sex life factors such as satisfaction, pornography use and online partners is lacking while in our study the results contribute to the understanding of mechanisms driving demand for sex. Some study limitations needs to be taken into consideration in contextualizing the results. First, while the SRHR2017 is a population based sample, the response rate was 31% (i.e., 14,500 participants). Non-response might have biased our results, because many people resist disclosing information about sensitive topics such as sexual activities and experiences of illegal actions. Hence, our outcome measure is likely to be underreported. The outcome measure was “Have you ever paid or given other compensation for sex?” A total of 9.5% of men reported ever having paid for sex, of which 2.8% (of the 9.5%) reported having paid for sex during the past year. However, the question was unfortunately vaguely formulated, where all options was put together in the same question. Hence, we cannot differ between non-response and a selected “no” response. Only 0.26% of all men reported they had purchased sex within the last 12 months, hence we chose not to use this estimate in our analyses. It is unclear as to what extent this may include online purchases since the question did not define online versus offline. Second, the variable of sex life satisfaction referred to the past year, while the rest of our variables measured lifetime prevalence. This is a limitation that sets back our possibility to identify correlations to recent sex purchase. Thirdly, in our study, we have no information on relationship status, which would have helped us further in the understanding of the results.