Friday, December 31, 2021

Airbnb: Within the same neighborhood, hosts from minority groups charge 3.2 percent less for comparable listings

Laouénan, Morgane, and Roland Rathelot. 2022. "Can Information Reduce Ethnic Discrimination? Evidence from Airbnb." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 14 (1): 107-32. Dec 2021. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20190188

Abstract: We use data from Airbnb to identify the mechanisms underlying discrimination against ethnic minority hosts. Within the same neighborhood, hosts from minority groups charge 3.2 percent less for comparable listings. Since ratings provide guests with increasingly rich information about a listing's quality, we can measure the contribution of statistical discrimination, building upon Altonji and Pierret (2001). We find that statistical discrimination can account for the whole ethnic price gap: ethnic gaps would disappear if all unobservables were revealed. Also, three-quarters (2.5 points) of the initial ethnic gap can be attributed to inaccurate beliefs of potential guests about hosts' average group quality.


Thursday, December 30, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a decline in reported injuries related to high-heeled shoes among US women

Pandemic-related decline in injuries related to women wearing high-heeled shoes: Analysis of U.S. data for 2016-2020. Philip N. Cohen. medRxiv, Dec 27 2021. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.26.21268426

Abstract

Background: Wearing high-heeled shoes is associated with injury risk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in work and social behavior may have reduced women's use of such footwear.

Methods: This study assessed the trend in high-heel related injuries among U.S. women, using 2016-2020 data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).

Results: In 2020 there were an estimated 6,290 high-heel related emergency department visits involving women ages 15-69, down from 16,000 per year in 2016-2019. The 2020 decline began after the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns on March 15. There was no significant change in the percentage of fractures or hospital admissions.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a decline in reported injuries related to high-heeled shoes among US women. If this resulted from fewer women wearing such shoes, and such habits influence future behavior, the result may be fewer injuries in the future.


The Science of Visual Data Communication: What Works

The Science of Visual Data Communication: What Works. Steven L. Franconeri et al. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, December 15, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/15291006211051956

Abstract: Effectively designed data visualizations allow viewers to use their powerful visual systems to understand patterns in data across science, education, health, and public policy. But ineffectively designed visualizations can cause confusion, misunderstanding, or even distrust—especially among viewers with low graphical literacy. We review research-backed guidelines for creating effective and intuitive visualizations oriented toward communicating data to students, coworkers, and the general public. We describe how the visual system can quickly extract broad statistics from a display, whereas poorly designed displays can lead to misperceptions and illusions. Extracting global statistics is fast, but comparing between subsets of values is slow. Effective graphics avoid taxing working memory, guide attention, and respect familiar conventions. Data visualizations can play a critical role in teaching and communication, provided that designers tailor those visualizations to their audience.

Keywords: visual communication, graph comprehension, reasoning, statistical cognition, uncertainty communication, data visualization


  • A viewer’s visual system can extract broad statistics about the data within a display, such as the mean and extrema, within a fraction of a second. Visualize your data with histograms and scatterplots before trusting statistical summaries.

  • Beware common visual illusions and confusions. Failing to start axes at zero can cause viewers to overestimate differences. When plotting data with circles or squares, map the data to their areas, not their diameters. The differences between lines in a line graph are increasingly perceptually distorted as the lines increase in slope. Do not plot intensities on intensities, which causes contrast illusions. Mapping a continuous set of numbers to a spectrum of different hues exaggerates differences that happen to straddle the hue boundaries. For accessibility of color-blind viewers, pair red with blue instead of green.

  • Although extracting global statistics is fast, comparisons between subsets of values are slow—limited to only a handful per second. So use visual grouping cues to control which set of comparisons a viewer should make, and use annotation and highlighting to narrow that set to the single most important comparison that supports your message. In a live presentation, rely on language and gesture to illustrate what you see. Do this even when you feel it is not needed: Presenters suffer from a “curse of knowledge” that causes them to overestimate how well others see what they see.

  • Avoid taxing working memory by converting legends into direct labels. When possible, integrate relevant text into visualizations as direct annotations. Avoid animations, which typically lead to confusion. Graphical embellishments, sometimes derided as “chart junk,” can distract if unrelated to the data, but if they are related, they can improve viewers’ memory and engagement.

  • New visualization formats must be learned, so try to rely on formats that are familiar to your audience. Respect common associations, such as “up” mapping to “more” for vertical position and “more opaque” mapping to “more” for intensity.

  • Graph comprehension depends on both bottom-up and top-down factors. Use bottom-up visual salience and top-down direct labels to drive attention to relevant features. Use a graph format that guides viewers to the conceptual message you are trying to convey, respecting their previous experience with graphs.

  • When communicating uncertainty to a lay audience, avoid error bars, which can be misinterpreted as data ranges. Instead, show examples of discrete outcomes, either simultaneously or over time.

  • When communicating risk to low-numeracy audiences, rely on absolute instead of relative rates, convey probabilities with frequencies (e.g., 3 out of 10) instead of percentages (e.g., 30%), and use well-constructed icon arrays with the same denominator.

  • Supporting comprehension and understanding is especially important when the intended audience may have low domain knowledge, knowledge about graphing conventions, numeracy, or working memory capacity.


 

A Bioecological Theory of Sexual Harassment of Girls

A Bioecological Theory of Sexual Harassment of Girls: Research Synthesis and Proposed Model. Christia Spears Brown, Sharla D. Biefeld, Nan Elpers. Review of General Psychology, September 10, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1089268020954363

Abstract: In the United States, many adolescent girls experience sexual harassment before they leave high school, and between 20% and 25% of college women are survivors of sexual assault. Despite the many negative consequences associated with these experiences, perpetrating sexual harassment and assault is often viewed as normative. Using Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theoretical framework, we propose a bioecological theory of the perpetration and tolerance of sexual harassment of girls. We propose children’s proximal and distal contexts contribute to the endorsement of sexualized gender stereotypes, which in turn impacts high rates of both perpetration and acceptance of sexual harassment. We discuss the ways that three important microsystems—parents, peers, and schools—contribute to this acceptance. We also propose that key components of media within the exosystem work to further normalize sexual harassment of girls and women. These contexts inform children’s development, creating a culture that is permissive of sexual harassment, resulting in high rates of sexual harassment and assault in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Implications of our proposed theory for policymakers, teachers, parents, and researchers are discussed.

Keywords: sexual harassment, bioecological theory, development, sexualized gender stereotypes, gender socialization


Women avoid asking for more time to complete work tasks, even when deadlines are explicitly adjustable, undermining their well-being and task performance

Extension request avoidance predicts greater time stress among women. Ashley V. Whillans et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 9, 2021 118 (45) e2105622118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2105622118

Significance: Time stress—the feeling of having too many things to do and not enough time to do them—is a societal epidemic that compromises productivity, physical health, and emotional well-being. Past research shows that women experience disproportionately greater time stress than men and has illuminated a variety of contributing factors. Across nine studies, we identify a previously unexplored predictor of this gender difference. Women avoid asking for more time to complete work tasks, even when deadlines are explicitly adjustable, undermining their well-being and task performance. We shed light on a possible solution: the implementation of formal policies to facilitate deadline extension requests. These findings advance our understanding of the gendered experience of time stress and provide a scalable organizational intervention.

Abstract: In nine studies using archival data, surveys, and experiments, we identify a factor that predicts gender differences in time stress and burnout. Across academic and professional settings, women are less likely to ask for more time when working under adjustable deadlines (studies 1 to 4a). Women’s discomfort in asking for more time on adjustable deadlines uniquely predicts time stress and burnout, controlling for marital status, industry, tenure, and delegation preferences (study 1). Women are less likely to ask for more time to complete their tasks because they hold stronger beliefs that they will be penalized for these requests and worry more about burdening others (studies 1 to 2d). We find no evidence that women are judged more harshly than men (study 3). We also document a simple organizational intervention: formal processes for requesting deadline extensions reduce gender differences in asking for more time (studies 4a to 5).

Keywords: genderburnoutwell-beingworkplace practicestime stress

Discussion

Across nine studies with over 5,000 participants using diverse populations, including online panels of working adults and undergraduate students, women were less likely to request workplace extensions, even for deadlines that were explicitly feasible and helpful to adjust. Working women expressed less comfort with requesting extensions on adjustable deadlines compared to male peers, which significantly predicted greater feelings of time pressure and burnout (studies 1 to 2d). Female students were also less likely to request an extension on an important assignment, forgoing the opportunity to improve their performance (study 4a). Our studies offered an intervention to reduce this gender difference: having formal policies to request extensions led women to feel as comfortable as men about making extension requests (studies 4b to 5).

Women were more prone to avoid extension requests than men due to their greater relational orientation, which led women to perceive extension requests as being more harmful (study 2a). In particular, women were more worried about burdening other people, such as their team members and managers (study 2d). It was the concern about burdening others—and not the concern about burdening themselves, the concern about appearing competent to their managers or themselves, or lower feelings of entitlement—that most strongly predicted women’s discomfort with asking for more time on adjustable deadlines at work. These findings build on recent research showing that women feel more uncomfortable with making time-saving purchases because they worry about burdening the service provider with disliked tasks (29).

While prior research suggests that some gender differences, such as the willingness to negotiate, reverts when women are in high-status positions (28), our data suggest that women are more likely to avoid asking for more time than men regardless of their workplace status or their manager’s gender (study 2b and 2c). The negotiations literature consistently shows that women are more reluctant to ask for more money than men because they are concerned about backlash effects for acting in gender atypical ways (46) and because they feel more energized to negotiate for the needs of others rather than for themselves (30). In an additional study (n = 906) (SI Appendix, Supplemental Study B), we found evidence for a psychological mechanism that distinguishes the current work from the salary negotiations literature. While women were more hesitant than men to ask for both time and money, women were especially concerned with impression management (i.e., appearing incompetent) when asking for more time, which explained their greater discomfort with making an extension request.

In a follow-up study (n = 799) (SI Appendix, Supplemental Study C), we replicated and extended these findings by showing that women experienced greater discomfort with asking for more time than with asking for more advice, help, or information because they were again concerned with appearing incompetent. Consistent with the results of study 2d, these beliefs were driven by negative self-conscious emotions and the fear of burdening others.

By pointing to the psychological mechanisms that underpin women’s hesitation to ask for more time, these studies offer preliminary insight into specific psychological interventions that may uniquely help women overcome their hesitation with asking for more time: helping women overcome their concerns over appearing incompetent and their concerns with burdening others. Future research should further replicate and extend these results.

One question that requires further investigation is whether women are accurate in their beliefs. If women experience greater backlash for extension requests on adjustable deadlines, as they do when being assertive in other domains (27), women’s avoidance of extension requests may be a necessary precaution. As indicated in study 3 and SI Appendix, Supplemental Study A, our data suggest that supervisors do not evaluate women more harshly, despite women predicting harsher judgement, nor are they more likely to attribute women’s requests to family or personal responsibilities. As this evidence is based on laboratory studies, future work would benefit from further examining the predicted and actual interpersonal outcomes of requesting deadline extensions in workplace settings.

We deliberately conducted our studies in contexts where the deadlines were explicitly adjustable, where there was little or no interdependence between the work of the manager and employee, and where there were no obvious negative repercussions associated with the extension request. This methodological decision provided a conservative test of our research question—if women were less likely than men to ask for more time in situations that incurred objectively fewer costs—it is also unlikely that they would make costlier requests. Of course, managers can incur costs from granting deadline extensions, such as when the requests meaningfully alter their work schedule. Employees can also incur reputational costs for requesting deadline extensions, such as when an employee makes repeated extension requests and consequently is judged negatively by their manager.

Although managers did not perceive men and women differently in response to one-off, costless extension requests, it is unclear from our studies whether managers would perceive female employees more negatively in costlier contexts. To provide an initial test of this question, we conducted two additional studies. In one study of managers (n = 1,731) (SI Appendix, Supplemental Study D), participants imagined that one of their female or male employees requested an extension that either delayed their schedule (or did not) and was the first or third request from this employee in the last 6 mo. Unsurprisingly, managers judged employees most harshly when they asked for an extension on a task that would delay their own timelines, especially when this was the third vs. first extension request. Importantly, even when extension requests delayed timelines or were the third request, managers did not judge females (vs. males) more harshly. We also replicated these findings in a consequential behavioral study where participants supervised either a female or male employee who made repeated, financially costly deadline extension requests (n = 849) (SI Appendix, Supplemental Study E). Although women worry more about seeming incompetent when asking for more time than men, our data suggest that these fears are unfounded, even in costlier contexts. More research should replicate and extend these results by varying the length and frequency of extension requests.

In study 1, we observed no moderating role of personal characteristics on the link between comfort with asking for more time, time stress, and burnout. Research would also benefit from further examining the links between demographic, job characteristics, comfort with asking for more time at work, and subjective well-being in diverse organizational settings.

Scholars have identified how women end up with more tasks at work, which contributes to their experience of greater time pressure. Women receive more requests to complete tasks outside of their formal responsibilities (14) and have a harder time delegating tasks to others at work (16). Our findings shed light on a previously unexplored contributor to women’s experience of time pressure: their reluctance to ask for more time. Compared to men, women feel less comfortable asking for more time, as they believe it will be more interpersonally costly. Therefore, women could end up with less time, affecting their performance and wellbeing.

Many things we find easy (like perception) are extremely hard to implement in machines, whereas many things we find hard (like complex math) are relatively easy; seems we have complex evolved brain specializations for the former but not the latter

Why AI is Harder Than We Think. Melanie Mitchell. Santa Fe Institute, Dec 2021. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2104.12871.pdf

Abstract: Since its beginning in the 1950s, the field of artificial intelligence has cycled several times between periods of optimistic predictions and massive investment (“AI spring”) and periods of disappointment, loss of confidence, and reduced funding (“AI winter”). Even with today’s seemingly fast pace of AI breakthroughs, the development of long-promised technologies such as self-driving cars, housekeeping robots, and conversational companions has turned out to be much harder than many people expected. One reason for these repeating cycles is our limited understanding of the nature and complexity of intelligence itself. In this paper I describe four fallacies in common assumptions made by AI researchers, which can lead to overconfident predictions about the field. I conclude by discussing the open questions spurred by these fallacies, including the age-old challenge of imbuing machines with humanlike common sense.


Men held less negative attitudes than women toward former romantic partners in samples of heterosexual respondents

Grüning, David J., Anna-Lena Loose, and Joachim I. Krueger. 2021. “Hard Feelings: Predicting Attitudes Toward Former Romantic Partners.” PsyArXiv. December 29. doi:10.31234/osf.io/t73a8

Abstract: Most research on relationship quality addresses ongoing involvements. Research on past relationships is rare. As a first step, Athenstaedt and colleagues (2020) explored attitudes toward former romantic partners in an Austrian sample of heterosexual respondents. They found that men held less negative attitudes than women. In two studies conducted in Germany and the USA, we replicate this gender difference and explore the role of three psychological predictors. Like Athenstaedt et al., we find that the degree of perceived social support before the breakup and continued friendly relations after the breakup have a positive association with ex-partner attitude. Critically, we introduce and corroborate the hypothesis that regret over having started the relationship has a negative association. However, regret also fails to mediate the association between gender and ex-partner attitude. We discuss the practical implications of these findings and note directions for future research.



Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Political Impact of Immigration: An increase in high-skilled immigrants decreases the share of Republican votes, while an inflow of low-skilled immigrants increases it

Mayda, Anna Maria, Giovanni Peri, and Walter Steingress. 2022. "The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 14 (1): 358-89. DOI: 10.1257/app.20190081

Abstract: This paper studies the impact of immigration to the United States on the vote share for the Republican Party using county-level data from 1990 to 2016. Our main contribution is to show that an increase in high-skilled immigrants decreases the share of Republican votes, while an inflow of low-skilled immigrants increases it. These effects are mainly due to the indirect impact on existing citizens' votes, and this is independent of the origin country and race of immigrants. We find that the political effect of immigration is heterogeneous across counties and depends on their skill level, public spending, and noneconomic characteristics.


Teaching children that the world is a bad place predicts less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts

Parents think—incorrectly—that teaching their children that the world is a bad place is likely best for them. Jeremy D. W. Clifton & Peter Meindl. The Journal of Positive Psychology, Dec 27 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2021.2016907

Abstract: Primal world beliefs (‘primals’) are beliefs about the world’s basic character, such as the world is dangerous. This article investigates probabilistic assumptions about the value of negative primals (e.g., seeing the world as dangerous keeps me safe). We first show such assumptions are common. For example, among 185 parents, 53% preferred dangerous world beliefs for their children. We then searched for evidence consistent with these intuitions in 3 national samples and 3 local samples of undergraduates, immigrants (African and Korean), and professionals (car salespeople, lawyers, and cops;), examining correlations between primals and eight life outcomes within 48 occupations (total N=4,535) . As predicted, regardless of occupation, more negative primals were almost never associated with better outcomes. Instead, they predicted less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts. We discuss why assumptions about the value of negative primals are nevertheless widespread and implications for future research.

Keywords: Primal world beliefssuccessjob satisfactionhealthnegative emotionsdepressionsuicidelife satisfactionwellbeing


We feel that we perceive events in the environment as they unfold in real-time, but this mode of perception is impossible to implement due to biological constraints such as neural transmission delays; predictive mechanisms compensate these constraints

Perception in real-time: predicting the present, reconstructing the past. Hinze Hogendoorn. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, December 29 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2021.11.003

Highlights

*  We feel that we perceive our environment in real-time, despite the constraints imposed by neural transmission delays.

*  Due to these constraints, the intuitive view of perception in real-time is impossible to implement.

*  I propose a new way of thinking about real-time perception, in which perceptual mechanisms represent a timeline, rather than a single timepoint.

*  In this proposal, predictive mechanisms predict ahead to compensate for neural delays, and work in tandem with postdictive mechanisms that revise the timeline as additional sensory information becomes available.

*  Building on recent theoretical, computational, psychophysical, and functional neuroimaging evidence, this conceptualisation of real-time perception for the first time provides an integrated explanation for how we can experience the present.

Abstract: We feel that we perceive events in the environment as they unfold in real-time. However, this intuitive view of perception is impossible to implement in the nervous system due to biological constraints such as neural transmission delays. I propose a new way of thinking about real-time perception: at any given moment, instead of representing a single timepoint, perceptual mechanisms represent an entire timeline. On this timeline, predictive mechanisms predict ahead to compensate for delays in incoming sensory input, and reconstruction mechanisms retroactively revise perception when those predictions do not come true. This proposal integrates and extends previous work to address a crucial gap in our understanding of a fundamental aspect of our everyday life: the experience of perceiving the present.

Keywords: perceptiontimepredictionreal-timeneural delays


Individuals who are more receptive to opposing views do not change their minds more frequently than those who wear blinkers

Receptiveness to Opposing Views: Conceptualization and Integrative Review. Julia A. Minson, Frances S. Chen. Personality and Social Psychology Review, December 29, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/10888683211061037

Abstract: The present article reviews a growing body of research on receptiveness to opposing views—the willingness to access, consider, and evaluate contradictory opinions in a relatively impartial manner. First, we describe the construct of receptiveness and consider how it can be measured and studied at the individual level. Next, we extend our theorizing to the interpersonal level, arguing that receptiveness in the course of any given interaction is mutually constituted by the dispositional tendencies and observable behaviors of the parties involved. We advance the argument that receptiveness should be conceptualized and studied as an interpersonal construct that emerges dynamically over the course of an interaction and is powerfully influenced by counterpart behavior. This interpersonal conceptualization of receptiveness has important implications for intervention design and raises a suite of novel research questions.

Keywords: conflict resolution, individual differences, interpersonal processes, social cognition

A version dated 2018: Minson, Julia and Chen, Frances and Tinsley, Catherine H., Why Won't You Listen to Me? Measuring Receptiveness to Opposing Views (July 24, 2018). HKS Working Paper No. RWP18-028, SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3219238


The nervous system is a product of evolution, that is, it was constructed through a long series of modifications, within the strong constraints of heredity, and continuously subjected to intense selection pressures

Neuroscience needs evolution. Paul Cisek and Benjamin Y. Hayden. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, December 27 2021. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0518

Abstract: The nervous system is a product of evolution. That is, it was constructed through a long series of modifications, within the strong constraints of heredity, and continuously subjected to intense selection pressures. As a result, the organization and functions of the brain are shaped by its history. We believe that this fact, underappreciated in contemporary systems neuroscience, offers an invaluable aid for helping us resolve the brain's mysteries. Indeed, we think that the consideration of evolutionary history ought to take its place alongside other intellectual tools used to understand the brain, such as behavioural experiments, studies of anatomical structure and functional characterization based on recordings of neural activity. In this introduction, we argue for the importance of evolution by highlighting specific examples of ways that evolutionary theory can enhance neuroscience. The rest of the theme issue elaborates this point, emphasizing the conservative nature of neural evolution, the important consequences of specific transitions that occurred in our history, and the ways in which considerations of evolution can shed light on issues ranging from specific mechanisms to fundamental principles of brain organization.

4. The importance of major transitions in our evolutionary past

Evolution may occur slowly, but it can have a great effect. Across generations, it can produce large alterations with corresponding adaptations. In addition to papers that emphasize the conservative nature of evolution, our issue includes work that describes several major transitions that took place along the human lineage and made us what we are today. One significant example is the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment. Malcolm MacIver & Barbara Finlay [44] discuss what this meant for sensory systems, especially vision. Due to the properties of light diffraction in water versus air, upon getting out on land our ancestors encountered a visual world that expanded dramatically, by a factor of a million in terms of sensed volume [45]. This offered a vast expansion of opportunities for navigation, as well as decision-making and planning. But there were also new challenges, such as the need for multi-joint limbs and the circuitry to control their movement and posture. All of this produced a great deal of neural expansion and diversification, leading to specific innovations that we find in extant animals, including ourselves.

Other implications of the water to land transition are discussed by Lucia Jacobs, whose paper proposes how air-breathing set the stage for hippocampal evolution in terrestrial tetrapods [46]. Her olfactory navigation hypothesis [47] suggests that olfaction is not just about odour identification, but fundamentally about using odours for spatial navigation. When our ancestors emerged onto land, olfactory sampling became linked with respiration, and Jacobs proposes that this can explain hippocampal theta rhythms, how they could be used to keep track of distance and ultimately for scaffolding mammalian memory.

Another dramatic transition started with the mammalian retreat into nocturnal life and then, about 200 million years later, a return to diurnal life in some primate species. This is described in a paper by Jon Kaas, Hui-Xin Qi and Iwona Stepniewska, which focuses on the corresponding changes to the visual system [48]. In particular, unlike other mammals, primates evolved good vision even when still nocturnal. This was made possible by their large, frontally facing eyes, as well as by a shift in the balance of visual projections to the neocortex, reducing the pathway through the superior colliculus and expanding the more direct retino-geniculo-striate pathway. This was followed by an expansion of the dorsal stream of visual processing into a wide variety of action-specific domains in parietal and premotor regions.

The paper by Paul Cisek summarizes many of these transitions, following along our lineage from chordate filter feeders to mobile aquatic vertebrates, terrestrial tetrapods, nocturnal mammals and diurnal primates [49]. Instead of framing the associated neural innovations as the superposition of new circuits at increasing levels of a hierarchy, with primate cognition at the top, he describes them as the progressive elongation of a general feedback control circuit that gradually subdivided into finer and finer control systems. That is, the highest level of the control hierarchy is the most ancient ‘hypothalamic’ regulation of behavioural state, within which new subdivisions such as abstract planning appeared as adaptations that extended control further into the world and toward more abstract interactions. The resulting architecture, he suggests, retains an ancestral organization into parallel control systems dedicated to guiding particular species-typical actions. Selection between these systems is governed by the basal ganglia, while a selection of specific actions within the chosen system occurs through a competition within each specific cortical map.

Giovanni Pezzulo, Thomas Parr and Karl Friston echo some of these points, emphasizing feedback control as the fundamental organization of the nervous system, but extend it with predictive processing [50]. In particular, they emphasize that predictive processing is by no means a recent evolutionary innovation, but rather a basic principle of vertebrate neural organization that was elaborated from allostatic control to multiple sensorimotor loops that extend in terms of both spatial hierarchy and temporal scales. In this view, cognitive abilities are not added as a new system on top of an old sensorimotor controller, but rather emerge as an extension that specializes part of it toward increasingly abstract and long-term control.

A different but compatible perspective is offered by David Leopold and Bruno Averbeck, who discuss how the vertebrate brain trains itself, a process they refer to as ‘self-tuition’ [51]. They propose that hypothalamic systems modulate telencephalic systems to bias them toward learning the types of information needed for basic functions such as feeding, seeking mates and escaping from threats, as well as orienting and navigating around the world. The complexity of the primate brain, they propose, reflects the complexity of such interactions.

A still more general theoretical treatment of similar issues is offered by Stuart Wilson and Tony Prescott, who define a mathematical framework for how layered control architectures operating at different temporal scales can coordinate to produce complex behaviour [52]. Importantly, while it is widely acknowledged that slower processes can provide the constraints on faster ones, these authors show how the inverse can also be true. The result is a control architecture without a strict hierarchy, but where different levels mutually constrain each other.

There is a larger range of attractive female body types shown in porn than there is in other media genres, such as advertising and fashion and women’s magazines

The Content of Contemporary, Mainstream Pornography: A Literature Review of Content Analytic Studies. Dan J. Miller & Kerry Anne McBain. American Journal of Sexuality Education, Dec 27 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2021.2019648

Abstract: This paper provides a narrative review of recent studies (2005–2020) into the content of contemporary, mainstream pornography. Sex acts, such as vaginal sex, fellatio, and external ejaculation are ubiquitous within mainstream pornography. Cunnilingus, solo masturbation, or masturbation of a partner are all also relatively common. Condom use is infrequently depicted. While extreme sexual violence (e.g., rape) is rare, acts which some would consider to be violent (e.g., spanking) are common. Women in pornography typically enthusiastically engage in all sexual requests. Findings around the degradation of women are mixed. On some measures, men in pornography are more agentic than women; on other measures, the reverse is true.

Keywords: Pornographysexually explicit materialcontent analysisviolenceobjectification


New study finds backfire effect: The more shame experienced for sex the more the drive to engage in sex acts that are distressing; therapies that support "shame" models are likely increasing the problem behaviors, keeping patients locked paying therapists

Associations between Fluctuating Shame, Self-Esteem, and Sexual Desire: Comparing Frequent Porn Users and a General Population Sample. Piet van Tuijl, Peter Verboon, Jacques J. D. M. van Lankveld. Sexes 2022, 3(1), 1-19; Dec 22 2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes3010001

Abstract: In the present study, we explore the proposed cyclic models for problematic hypersexuality (PH) that involve shame, self-esteem, and sexual desire. These cyclic models are characterized by temporal associations but have not been investigated previously with intensive longitudinal designs. In this study, we collected up to 70 measurements per participant within a period of seven consecutive days, which allowed us to investigate associations between fluctuations of shame, self-esteem, and sexual desire. Participants were divided in four subgroups: (1) women (n = 87); (2) men (n = 46) from a general population convenience sample; (3) men watching porn >2 times per week, showing non-problematic hypersexuality (NH; n = 10); and (4) men watching porn >2 times per week, experiencing PH (n = 11). Multilevel analyses, including cross-level interactions, were used to investigate between-group differences in intraindividual processes. Results showed that prior increases in shame forecasted higher current sexual desire for men with PH, but not for the other groups, suggesting that men with PH use sexual desire to downregulate dysphoric feelings of shame. Differences between groups in associations between self-esteem and sexual desire were also found. Based on our results, we propose the Split Pleasure/Shame model, which represents emotion dysregulation in PH, and juxtapose this with the pleasurable experience of sex by non-PH groups. Further intensive longitudinal research is necessary to test this model and, more generally, to investigate the fluctuating nature of sexual desire. 

Keywords: sexual desire; shame; self-esteem; split pleasure/shame model; problematic hypersexuality


Cultural values data from textual online sources using word embedding models: Some online values are highly correlated with the corresponding offline values, especially religion-related ones

Measuring International Online Human Values with Word Embeddings. Gabriel Magno, Virgilio Almeida. ACM Transactions on the Web, Vol. 16, No. 2. May 2022 Article No.: 9pp 1–38, online Dec 22 2021. https://doi.org/10.1145/3501306

Abstract: As the Internet grows in number of users and in the diversity of services, it becomes more influential on peoples lives. It has the potential of constructing or modifying the opinion, the mental perception, and the values of individuals. What is being created and published online is a reflection of people’s values and beliefs. As a global platform, the Internet is a great source of information for researching the online culture of many different countries. In this work we develop a methodology for measuring data from textual online sources using word embedding models, to create a country-based online human values index that captures cultural traits and values worldwide. Our methodology is applied with a dataset of 1.7 billion tweets, and then we identify their location among 59 countries. We create a list of 22 Online Values Inquiries (OVI), each one capturing different questions from the World Values Survey, related to several values such as religion, science, and abortion. We observe that our methodology is indeed capable of capturing human values online for different counties and different topics. We also show that some online values are highly correlated (up to c = 0.69, p < 0.05) with the corresponding offline values, especially religion-related ones. Our method is generic, and we believe it is useful for social sciences specialists, such as demographers and sociologists, that can use their domain knowledge and expertise to create their own Online Values Inquiries, allowing them to analyze human values in the online environment.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Ref list of kink/NSFW related pixiv tags

Ref list of kink/nsfw related pixiv tags. Graphic Sexual Horror. May 22,2013. https://graphicsexualhorror.tumblr.com/post/51023977906/ref-list-of-kink-nsfw-related-pixiv-tags


never complete but at least p extensive i think!!! not very well ordered though, sorry. also ah if i got anything wrong please tell me! otherwise enjoy


SM - s&m obviously

拘束 / 緊縛 (shibari?) / 束縛 / 拘束 / ボンデージ - all just bondage i think, if any of them refer to more specific things lemme know, related: 縄 - rope 鎖 - chain ガムテープ - tape リボン縛り - ribbon

監禁 / 閉じ込め - confinement

手首押さえつけ - held down by the wrists

後ろ手 - hands behind back

四肢拘束 - restrained limbs

拘束衣 - straitjacket

締め付け - constriction/coiling

ドM - masochism, ドS - sadism

触手 - tentacles

鼻フック - nose hook

首枷 - stocks

首輪 - collar

猿轡 / 口枷 - gag (ボールギャグ - ball gag)

ピアス - piercing (乳首ピアス - nipple, コルセットピアス - corset)

奴隷 - slave

ぶっかけ - bukkake

中出し - coming inside

精液 - come

汁 - vaginal juices

唾液 - saliva

顔射 - facial

フェラチオ- blowjob

イマラチオ - deepthroat

手コキ - handjob

手マン - fingering

足コキ - footjob

パイズリ - titfuck

オナニー - masturbation

ローション - lotion

ロウソク - candle wax

異物挿入 - object insertion

機械姦 - fucking machine

バイブ - vibrator (リモコンバイブ - remote controlled)

ディルド - dildo

処女 - virgin

破瓜 / 処女喪失 - deflowering

フィストファック - fisting

ぽっちゃり - chubby, 肥満 - fat

貧乳 - small breasts

巨乳 / 爆乳 - busty

フェラ - oral focus(?)

ふともも - thigh/leg focus

おしり - ass focus (アナル - anal)

背中 - back focus

お腹 - stomach/navel focus

筋肉 - muscle/bara?, 筋肉娘 - specifically muscled women

パイパン - shaved, 剃毛 - shaving

体毛 - body hair (陰毛 - pubic, 腋毛 - underarm, 胸毛 - chest, 髭 - facial)

三角木馬 - wooden horse

くすぐり - tickling

ショタ - shota (ぷにショタ - chubby shota, デブショタ - fat shota, 筋ショタ - muscled shota, ケモショタ - furry shota, おねショタ - younger boy older woman)

ロリ - loli (ロリ巨乳 - busty loli

近親相姦 / おねショ - incest (general family tags see r-18 section for porn only: 双子 - twins, 姉弟 - brother and sister, 兄妹 - big brother little sister, 親子 - parent and child, 母子 - mother and child)

女装 - crossdressing

ニーソ - knee socks

ストッキング - stockings

絶対領域 - zettai ryouiki

スク水 - swimsuit

体操着 - gym clothes

メガネ - glasses

眼帯 - eyepatch

包帯 - bandages

ポニーガール - ponyplay

バニーガール - bunny girl

ケモノ - furry

機械 - robot

モンスター - monster

レイプ / 強姦 - noncon

輪姦 - gangbang

痴漢 - groping, sexual harassment

睡姦 - somnophilia

石化 / 固め - mineralisation, turning to stone

氷漬け - trapped in ice

放置プレイ - “left play” (see here)

産卵 - oviposition

スカトロ - scat

おむつ - diapers

おしっこ / 放尿 - watersports (おもらし - omorashi, 飲尿 - urine consumption)

嘔吐 - vomit (ゲロ - violent vomiting?)

浣腸 - enema

授乳 / 母乳 - lactation

妊婦 / 妊娠 - pregnancy

出産 - birthing

巨大娘 - giantess

皮モノ - skin.. suit.. thing? ?? hard to explain omg. pixiv calls it monoskin or something

臭いフェチ - musk/body odor

汚パンツ - dirty underwear

汗 - sweat

全身タイツ - zentai (body suit)

ラテックス - latex, ラバー - rubber

赤ちゃんプレイ - infantilism

抱き枕 - body pillow

言葉責め - verbal abuse(?)

凌辱 - humiliation

露出 - public/exposed

身体に落書き - writing on body

洗脳 - mind control(?)

鞭打ち - whipping

スパンキング / お尻ペンペン / お尻叩き - spanking (体罰 - “corporal punishment”)

調教 - training/obedience

お仕置き / おしおき - punishment

水責め - drowning

吊り - hanging/suspension

首絞め /  窒息 / 絞首刑 - hanging/choking/strangulation

磔 - crucifixion

眼孔姦 - skullfucking

脳姦 - brainfucking

ネクロフィリア / 屍姦 - necrophilia

カニバリズム / 食人 - cannibalism

斬首 / 生首 - decapitation

奇形 / 猟奇 - body horror

グロテスク - grotesque, グロ - guro 

拷問 - torture/torment

切断/ 欠損 - amputation/mutilation/nullification

流血 / 出血 - bloodshed

内臓 / 臓器 - internal organs

四肢切断 - dismemberment

達磨 - quadruple amputee

獣姦 - zoophilia (異種姦 / 異種和姦  - interspecies, 犬姦 - dogs, 狼姦 - wolves, 猫姦 - felines, 馬姦 - horses, 鳥姦 - birds, 蟲姦 - insects, 竜姦 - dragons n dinosaurs n stuff, ポケ姦 - pokemon, モン姦 - monsters?, スライム姦 - slime)

虐待 - abuse

処刑 - execution, 公開処刑 - public execution, エロ処刑  - erotic execution

捕食 - predation

解剖 - dissection

蓮コラ - trypo


Posted: 8 years ago on May 22,2013 at 12:10 AM


Fast women? Greater short-term mating orientation (more casual sex and more partners) was positively associated with childhood socioeconomic status

“Fast” women? The effects of childhood environments on women's developmental timing, mating strategies, and reproductive outcomes. Tran Dinh, Martie G. Haselton, Steven W. Gangestad. Evolution and Human Behavior, December 28 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2021.12.001

Abstract: The fast-slow paradigm of life history theory has been a popular approach to individual differences in the evolutionary behavioral sciences. Currently, however, the fast-slow paradigm faces several theoretical and empirical challenges. Motivated by questions regarding the validity of certain assumptions of the paradigm, the current study provides an empirical investigation of human female “fast” versus “slow” strategies. In a sample of 1867 women recruited using MTurk, we use structural equation modeling (SEM) to test whether childhood exposure to different environmental variables had unique effects on proposed life history traits, whether mediated by—or independent of—pubertal timing. Models also test whether the proposed life history traits covary with one another as expected by the paradigm. Data reveal that exposure to violence and poor health in particular, but not environmental harshness or unpredictability in general, had significant effects on pubertal timing. Pubertal timing appeared to mediate effects of childhood environments on age at sexual debut, but not any other adult outcome (e.g., sociosexual orientations, reproductive outcomes). Some associations with mating strategies were incompatible with assumptions of the prevailing fast-slow paradigm; for instance, greater short-term mating orientation was positively associated with childhood socioeconomic status and negatively associated with offspring number. These results highlight the need for a new or revised theoretical approach to understanding developmental, mating, and reproductive strategies.

Keywords: Life historyChildhood adversityPubertal timingMating strategiesReproductive strategies


Machiavellian & Sadistic individuals were less likely to be members of sororities and fraternities; narcissistic individuals were more likely to be members; psychopathy was not associated with membership in sororities/fraternities

Animal House: The Dark Tetrad traits and membership in sororities and fraternities. Cameron S. Kay. Acta Psychologica, Volume 222, February 2022, 103473. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2021.103473

Highlights

• Machiavellian individuals were less likely to be members of sororities and fraternities.

• Narcissistic individuals were more likely to be members of sororities and fraternities.

• Sadistic individuals were less likely to be members of sororities and fraternities.

• Psychopathy was not associated with membership in sororities or fraternities.

Abstract: Very little is known about the relationship between antagonistic personality traits and membership in Greek-letter organizations (GLOs). The present study (N = 2191) examined the association between the Dark Tetrad traits—Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, psychopathy, and everyday sadism—and membership in sororities and fraternities. Participants who were high in grandiose narcissism were more likely to be in sororities and fraternities, whereas participants who were high in Machiavellianism and everyday sadism were less likely to be in these organizations. Psychopathy was not significantly associated with membership in GLOs. Taken together, the present results suggest that members of GLOs are not necessarily more manipulative, cold-hearted, or cruel than their non-GLO counterparts, but they may be more entitled, domineering, and status-seeking.

Keywords: MachiavellianismGrandiose narcissismPsychopathyEveryday sadismSororityFraternity

4. Discussion

Previous research has examined the association between various general personality traits and membership in GLOs (e.g., Armstrong & Grieve, 2015). The present study extends our knowledge of the personality correlates of membership in such organizations by examining the association of four antagonistic personality traits—Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissismpsychopathy, and everyday sadism—with membership in sororities and fraternities. The results indicate that individuals high in grandiose narcissism are more likely to be members of GLOs, whereas those high in Machiavellianism and sadism are less likely to be members of GLOs. Psychopathy was not associated with membership in either sororities or fraternities.

The finding for grandiose narcissism may not come as much of a surprise. Grandiose narcissism is associated with both a need to reinforce a grandiose sense of self (Back et al., 2013Jones & Paulhus, 2011) and a need for affiliation (Jonason & Ferrell, 2016Jonason & Zeigler-Hill, 2018). Narcissistic individuals may, therefore, gravitate to GLOs because they see these organizations as a way to acquire status and expand their social networks. The present finding also aligns with previous work on general personality traits. Of the Five-Factor Model traits, extraversion demonstrates the greatest associations with membership in GLOs (Armstrong & Grieve, 2015Cole et al., 2003aCole et al., 2003bPark et al., 2009), and narcissism is defined, in part, by agentic extraversion (Miller et al., 2016).

The elevated levels of narcissism among GLO members may provide some benefits to these organizations. Narcissistic individuals tend to be more charismatic (Deluga, 1997), innovative (Kashmiri et al., 2017), influential (Goncalo et al., 2010), and, at least at zero-acquaintance, likeable (Back et al., 2010) than their non-narcissistic counterparts (see Campbell et al., 2011, or Fatfouta, 2019, for a review). These characteristics may prove beneficial when trying to establish new sorority or fraternity chapters, as well as when trying to recruit new members to existing chapters. That said, having narcissistic individuals in one's organization also carries numerous risks. For example, narcissistic individuals are more likely to exploit and abuse other members of their organizations (O'Boyle et al., 2012), defraud their organizations (Blickle et al., 2006), and make risky policy decisions (Buyl et al., 2019), all of which could be disastrous for organizations that are often already in a precarious position with their home institutions. The present study takes an important first step in establishing an association between narcissism and membership in GLOs, but additional work will be required to understand the consequences that this has for these organizations.

The negative association between Machiavellianism and membership in GLOs also does not come as much of a surprise given the existing literature. Machiavellianism is negatively associated with both a need for affiliation (Jonason & Ferrell, 2016Jonason & Zeigler-Hill, 2018) and—at least after accounting for narcissism and psychopathy—extraversion (Muris et al., 2017). It could be the case that Machiavellian individuals are too cold, aloof, and socially withdrawn to either want to join a GLO or be recruited into a GLO. Alternatively, Machiavellian individuals—given their penchant for manipulation (Rauthmann & Will, 2011)—may be seen as too conniving and duplicitous to be invited into these organizations. This could be because these behaviours make them unlikeable or because these behaviours are seen as a liability to the organization.

The negative association between sadism and membership in GLOs is a bit harder to make sense of, especially given the association between sadism and hazing (Arteta-Garcia, 2015). That said, those high in everyday sadism may feel less of a desire to join these organizations because they feel less of a need to affiliate with others (Jonason & Zeigler-Hill, 2018). Similarly, the psychological and physical cruelty typical of these individuals may make them unattractive as potential members of these organizations. There is, in fact, some evidence to suggest that sadistic individuals are viewed as less likeable than their non-sadistic counterparts (Rogers et al., 2018).

4.1. Limitations and future directions

The present study is not without its limitations. First, many of the effects identified here are quite small (Chen et al., 2010). We would encourage researchers to examine whether there are potentially more important determinants when it comes to membership in these organizations. Second, the present study was cross-sectional (i.e., measurement only occurred at one time), making it impossible to determine whether participants in sororities and fraternities are more narcissistic to begin with or whether they became more narcissistic after joining their respective organizations. Future longitudinal research could be undertaken to examine such possibilities. Third, narcissistic individuals have been known to engage in impression management (Kowalski et al., 2018). It is possible that a narcissistic individual who did not receive an invitation to join a sorority or fraternity may, nevertheless, report that they are part of a sorority or fraternity to give the impression that they are more popular or more desirable than they actually are. Future efforts should make use of other sources of data—such as sorority and fraternity membership records—to avoid this possibility. Fourth, the present study used only a single measure of the Dark Tetrad traits (i.e., the Short Dark Tetrad; Paulhus et al., 2020). It is yet unclear whether the relations identified in the present study would hold for other conceptualizations of the Dark Tetrad traits. For example, it seems plausible that measures of psychopathy that include less content related to irresponsibility and recklessness and more content related to fearlessness and social potency (e.g., the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-RevisedLilienfeld & Widows, 2005) would show positive associations with membership in GLOs. Finally, the Dark Tetrad traits were assessed as unidimensional constructs in the present study. It is, therefore, impossible to examine whether the effect of the Dark Tetrad traits on membership in GLOs varies depending on the exact aspect of the Dark Tetrad trait involved (e.g., narcissistic leadership/authority versus narcissistic entitlement/exploitativeness). Future research could use multidimensional measures of the Dark Tetrad traits to provide insight into these relations.


Monday, December 27, 2021

The energetics of uniquely human subsistence strategies: Efficiency leads to leisure, allowing our ancestors to spend more time in contexts that facilitated social learning and cultural development

The energetics of uniquely human subsistence strategies. Thomas Kraft et al. Science Dec 24 2021, Vol 374, Issue 6575. https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.abf0130

Efficiency leads to leisure

Humans are animals—merely another lineage of great apes. However, we have diverged in significant ways from our ape cousins and we are perennially interested in how this happened. Kraft et al. looked at energy intake and expenditure in modern hunter-gatherer societies and great apes. They found that we do not spend less energy while foraging or farming, but we do acquire more energy and at a faster rate than our ape cousins. This difference may have allowed our ancestors to spend more time in contexts that facilitated social learning and cultural development. —SNV


Structured Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Relative to other great apes, humans have large brains, long life spans, higher fertility and larger neonates, and protracted periods of childhood dependency and development. Although these traits constitute the unique human life history that underlies the ecological success of our species, they also require human adults to meet extraordinarily high energetic demands. Determining how human subsistence strategies have met such extreme energy needs, given time and energy expenditure constraints, is thus key to understanding the origins of derived human traits.

RATIONALE: Two major transitions in hominin subsistence strategies are thought to have elevated energy capture: (i) the development of hunting and gathering ~2.5 million years ago, which coincided with brain enlargement and extended postnatal growth, and (ii) the rise of agriculture ~12,000 years ago, which was accompanied by substantial increases in fertility and population densities. These transitions are associated with the exploitation of novel food sources, but it is not clear how the energy and time budgets of early human foragers and farmers shifted to accommodate expensive traits. Some evolutionary reconstructions contend that economical locomotion, cooperation, the use of sophisticated tools, and eventually agriculture increased energy efficiency (i.e., energy gained versus energy spent), beyond that of other great apes. Alternatively, unique human subsistence strategies may reduce time and improve yield, increasing return rates (i.e., energy gained versus time spent).

To test these ideas, we compared subsistence costs (energy and time) and energy acquisition among wild orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees with high-resolution data on total energy expenditure, food acquisition, and time allocation, collected among Tanzanian hunter-gatherers (Hadza) and Bolivian forager-horticulturalists (Tsimane). Both populations actively forage (hunt, gather), whereas the Tsimane also practice slash-and-burn horticulture, which permits exploration of further changes in the energetics of subsistence associated with farming. We also assembled a global subsistence energetics database of contemporary hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists.


RESULTS: Relative to other great apes, human hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists spend more energy daily on subsistence, and they achieve similar energy efficiencies despite having more economical locomotion and using sophisticated technologies. In contrast, humans attain much greater return rates, spending less time on subsistence while acquiring more energy per hour. Further, horticulture is associated with higher return rates than hunting and gathering, despite minimal differences in the amount of time devoted to subsistence. Findings from our detailed study of the Hadza and Tsimane were consistent with those from the larger cross-cultural database of subsistence-level societies. Together, these results support prior evidence that the adoption of farming could have been motivated by greater gains per time spent working, and refute the notion that farming lifestyles are necessarily associated with increased labor time.

CONCLUSION: These findings revise our understanding of human energetics and evolution, indicating that humans afford expanded energy budgets primarily by increasing rates of energy acquisition, and not through energy-saving adaptations (such as economical bipedalism or sophisticated tool use) that decrease overall costs. Relative to other great apes, human subsistence strategies are characterized by high-intensity, high-cost extractive activities and expanded day ranges that provide more calories in less time. These results suggest that energy gained from improvements in efficiency throughout human evolution were primarily channeled toward further increasing foraging intensity rather than reducing the energetic costs of subsistence. Greater energetic gains per unit time are the reward for humans’ intense and behaviorally sophisticated subsistence strategies. Humans’ high-cost but high-return strategy is ecologically risky, and we argue that it was only possible in the context of increased cooperation, intergenerational food sharing, and a division of labor. We contend that the time saved by human subsistence strategies provided more leisure time for social interaction and social learning in central-place locations, which is critical for cumulative cultural evolution.

Abstract: The suite of derived human traits, including enlarged brains, elevated fertility rates, and long developmental periods and life spans, imposes extraordinarily high energetic costs relative to other great apes. How do human subsistence strategies accommodate our expanded energy budgets? We found that relative to other great apes, human hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers spend more energy but less time on subsistence, acquire substantially more energy per hour, and achieve similar energy efficiencies. These findings revise our understanding of human energetic evolution by indicating that humans afford expanded energy budgets primarily by increasing rates of energy acquisition, not through energy-saving adaptations such as economical bipedalism or sophisticated tool use that decrease subsistence costs and improve the energetic efficiency of subsistence. We argue that the time saved by human subsistence strategies provides more leisure time for social interaction and social learning in central-place locations and would have been critical for cumulative cultural evolution.


Choosing from too many options can lead to suboptimal results (choice overload); monkeys do not experience choice overload

No evidence of the choice overload effect in a computerized paradigm with rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella). Maisy D. Englund, Michael J. Beran. Behavioural Processes, Volume 194, January 2022, 104545. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2021.104545

Highlights

• Choosing from too many options can lead to suboptimal results (choice overload).

• This study is the first to test nonhuman animals on the choice overload effect.

• Results indicate that monkeys do not experience choice overload with this paradigm.

• The methodology used here provides insights for future avenues of research.

Abstract: Given the choice, people are often drawn toward more options over fewer options in decision-making scenarios. However, mounting evidence indicates that sometimes, choosing from large arrays can result in suboptimal outcomes. The tendency to be overwhelmed, regretful, or less satisfied with a choice when there are many options to choose from is called choice overload. This effect has been well-studied in adult humans, but comparative research, such as with nonhuman primates, is lacking, despite the fact that such choice behavior may be related to general aspects of cognition that underlie behaviors such as foraging in the wild. In addition, research with monkeys can shed light on whether choice overload is a human-unique phenomenon that may be driven by sociocultural factors, or whether this effect may be shared more broadly among mammals. This experiment tested whether monkeys were susceptible to choice overload effects by using a computerized paradigm in which monkey subjects could choose from three, six, or nine task options. No evidence of choice overload was found for monkeys, although this may have been due to methodological limitations that are described.

Keywords: Choice overloadComparative cognitionNonhuman primatesOverchoiceParadox of choice


Unpleasant odors are registered in the brain particularly fast and at an early stage of olfactory information processing

Localizing the human brain response to olfactory stimulation: A meta-analytic approach. A.Torske, K. Koch, S. Eickhoff, J. Freiherr. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, December 27 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.12.035

Highlights

•  This paper provides the scientific community with an all-encompassing, up-to-date perspective on the human olfactory cortex through the quantification of all relevant and available data by implementing a robust meta-analytic approach.

•  The human olfactory cortex exhibits distinct activation patterns for different odor categories.

•  The neural underpinnings of the human sense of smell allows for a deeper understanding of human behavior through the extraction of valuable odorous information from the environment.

Abstract: The human sense of smell and the ability to detect and distinguish odors allows for the extraction of valuable information from the environment, thereby driving human behavior. Not only can the sense of smell help to monitor the safety of inhaled air, but it can also help to evaluate the edibility of food. Therefore, in an effort to further our understanding of the human sense of smell, the aim of this meta-analysis was to provide the scientific community with activation probability maps of the functional anatomy of the olfactory system, in addition to separate activation maps for specific odor categories (pleasant, food, and aversive odors). The activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method was utilized to quantify all relevant and available data to perform a formal statistical analysis on the inter-study concordance of various odor categories. A total of 81 studies (108 contrasts, 1053 foci) fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Significant ALE peaks were observed in all odor categories in brain areas typically associated with the functional neuroanatomy of olfaction including the piriform cortex, amygdala, insula, and orbitofrontal cortex, amongst others. Additional contrast analyses indicate clear differences in neural activation patterns between odor categories.

Keywords: Olfactory cortexSmellNeuroimagingActivation likelihood estimationMeta-analysis


National Latino and Asian American Study: Extramarital sex associated with marital satisfaction, religious attendance; odds of men reporting engaging in extramarital sex was 3.52 times greater than odds of women

Diversity in the prevalence and correlates of extramarital sex in a probability sample of Latino adults. Sanchez, L., Whisman, M. A., Hughes, J. A., & Gordon, K. C. (2021). Diversity in the prevalence and correlates of extramarital sex in a probability sample of Latino adults. Journal of Family Psychology, Dec 2021. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000942

Abstract: Individuals from different Spanish-speaking countries are often combined into a single Latino group. However, this group is diverse, with immigrants and naturalized citizens coming from multiple countries. The present study was conducted to (a) examine potential differences in the annual prevalence of extramarital sex as a function of cultural group (Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, or other Latino) and nativity (born inside or outside the United States) and (b) identify explanations for any observed differences in the prevalence of extramarital sex, drawing on known correlates of extramarital sex and other psychosocial constructs that may be associated with cultural group or nativity that could account for such associations. Results from the National Latino and Asian American Study, a probability sample of Latinos in the United States, indicated that the annual prevalence of extramarital sex was significantly higher among (a) Puerto Ricans relative to Mexicans and (b) foreign-born individuals relative to those born in the United States. Probability of extramarital sex was significantly associated with marital satisfaction and frequency of religious attendance, but these variables did not account for the subgroup differences in the prevalence of extramarital sex. Marital adjustment, acculturation (English proficiency and use), enculturation (ethnic identity), and family cohesion were not significantly associated with probability of extramarital sex. Results underscore the need for continued research on understanding subgroup differences in the prevalence of extramarital sex within the diverse Latino community and identifying characteristics that account for such differences.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray /1

Chp 2, What a Wonderful World, in Sabine Hossenfelder's Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. Basic Books, NY. 2018.

[Commenting on J Kepler changing his mind, and accepting that it appears to be the planets' orbits around the Sun is better described as ellipses, not circles...]

He received criticism in particular from Galileo Galilei (1564–1641), who believed that “only circular motion can naturally suit bodies which are integral parts of the universe as constituted in the best arrangement.”2 Another astronomer, David Fabricius (1564–1617), complained that “with your ellipse you abolish the circularity and uniformity of the motions, which appears to me the more absurd the more profoundly I think about it.” Fabricius, as many at the time, preferred to amend the planetary orbits by adding “epicycles,” which were smaller circular motions around the already circular orbits. “If you could only preserve the perfect circular orbit and justify your elliptic orbit by another little epicycle,” Fabricius wrote to Kepler, “it would be much better.”3


[Later in the chapter...]

[...] Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, boldly believed that beauty has a grasp on truth: “If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty we cannot help thinking that they are ‘true,’ that they reveal a genuine feature of nature.”15 As his wife recalls:

One moonlit night, we walked over the Hainberg Mountain, and he was completely enthralled by the visions he had, trying to explain his newest discovery to me. He talked about the miracle of symmetry as the original archetype of creation, about harmony, about the beauty of simplicity, and its inner truth. 16

Beware the moonlight walks with theoretical physicists—sometimes enthusiasm gets the better of us.


Cognitive uncertainty explains various core empirical regularities, such as why people often appear very impatient, why per-period impatience is smaller over long than over short horizons, why choices frequently violate transitivity, etc

Cognitive Uncertainty in Intertemporal Choice. Benjamin Enke & Thomas Graeber. NBER Working Paper 29577, DOI 10.3386/w29577. December 2021. https://www.nber.org/papers/w29577

Abstract: This paper studies the relevance of cognitive uncertainty – subjective uncertainty over one's utility-maximizing action – for understanding and predicting intertemporal choice. The main idea is that when people are cognitively noisy, such as when a decision is complex, they implicitly treat different time delays to some degree alike. By experimentally measuring and manipulating cognitive uncertainty, we document three economic implications of this idea. First, cognitive uncertainty explains various core empirical regularities, such as why people often appear very impatient, why per-period impatience is smaller over long than over short horizons, why discounting is often hyperbolic even when the present is not involved, and why choices frequently violate transitivity. Second, impatience is context-dependent: discounting is substantially more hyperbolic when the decision environment is more complex. Third, cognitive uncertainty matters for choice architecture: people who are nervous about making mistakes are twice as likely to follow expert advice to be more patient.


9 Discussion

Contribution. Much of behavioral economics views intertemporal choice, and famous empirical regularities, as largely determined by non-standard discount functions (preferences). This paper argues for and empirically documents an important role of cognitive noise and complexity for intertemporal decision-making. An innovation of our study is that we directly measure and exogenously manipulate cognitive noise through self-reported cognitive uncertainty. Using this tool, we document that a large share of short-run impatience and hyperbolic discounting are driven by bounded rationality and cognitive noise, rather than impatient preferences. These insights matter not just from a scientific perspective but arguably have real economic implications. On the intensive margin of decision-making, hyperbolic discounting depends on complexity. On the extensive margin, cognitively uncertain people welcome the advice of experts even when those experts don’t know their preferences. While we emphasize throughout the paper that cognitive noise is complementary to (rather than replaces) taste-based present bias, we have shown that cognitive noise provides a better account of many of key economic phenomena that are often ascribed to present bias. In all, we interpret these results as providing some of the first direct empirical evidence that cognitive noise and cognitive uncertainty are relevant for a broad set of economic aspects of intertemporal choice.

Link to cognitive effects in intertemporal choice research. We conjecture that our account of cognitive uncertainty provides a rationale for extant empirical findings about “cognitive” effects in intertemporal choice research. The perhaps most widely-known result on cognition and intertemporal choice is that, if the time delay is relatively short, a lower availability of cognitive resources is associated with less patient decisions. At the same time, Ebert (2001) presents evidence that suggests that, over long horizons, a lower availability of resources makes people more patient. Our account of the link between inelasticity and cognitive uncertainty reconciles this somewhat puzzling combination of results. 

Moreover, Cubitt et al. (2018) present intriguing evidence that people’s decisions are much less sensitive to variation in the time delay when intertemporal decisions involve cross-domain comparisons (car now vs. vacation later) than when they only concern within-domain comparisons (car now vs. nicer car later). While no preferences-based intertemporal model predicts such effects, we conjecture that they are driven by higher cognitive noisiness in cross-domain comparisons.

Limitations. Our paper does not purport to explain nearly all intertemporal choice anomalies. One regularity that our study does not address are well-known framing effects, such as the speed-up / delay asymmetry (Loewenstein and Prelec, 1992) or date / delay effects (Read et al., 2005). At the same time, we do conjecture a potential link between such framing effects and our work: if one choice option is presented to people as the default that they can “speed up” at a cost, it seems plausible that people use that option as a cognitive default. Based on this idea, we conjecture that speed-up / delay asymmetries are more pronounced when cognitive uncertainty is high. More generally, this conjecture highlights that further research is needed to understand potential cognitive default actions. In this paper, we estimate the default action to be “intermediate,” which is consistent with various documentations of central tendency effects in cognitive psychology. Yet, it is important to note that the specific intertemporal choice context we study is one with which people have little or no experience. Future research will explore how potential cognitive default actions depend on experience and contextual influences.