Friday, March 19, 2021

Primate landscape genetics: A review and practical guide

Primate landscape genetics: A review and practical guide. Westphal D, Mancini AN, Baden AL. Evolutionary Anthropology, Mar 15 2021, DOI: 10.1002/evan.21891 PMID: 33720482

Abstract: Landscape genetics is an emerging field that integrates population genetics, landscape ecology, and spatial statistics to investigate how geographical and environmental features and evolutionary processes such as gene flow, genetic drift, and selection structure genetic variation at both the population and individual levels, with implications for ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. Despite being particularly well suited for primatologists, this method is currently underutilized. Here, we synthesize the current state of research on landscape genetics in primates. We begin by outlining how landscape genetics has been used to disentangle the drivers of diversity, followed by a review of how landscape genetic methods have been applied to primates. This is followed by a section highlighting special considerations when applying the methods to primates, and a practical guide to facilitate further landscape genetics studies using both existing and de novo datasets. We conclude by exploring future avenues of inquiry that could be facilitated by recent developments as well as underdeveloped applications of landscape genetics to primates.

On days when anxiously attached people perceived their partner as responsive to their sexual needs, they reported similar levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction, trust, and commitment as people lower in anxiety

Raposo, S., & Muise, A. (2021). Perceived partner sexual responsiveness buffers anxiously attached individuals’ relationship and sexual quality in daily life. Journal of Family Psychology, Mar 2021.

Abstract: Satisfying relationships are central to health and well-being, yet the insecurities of anxiously attached people can detract from the quality of their romantic relationships. One factor associated with relationship quality is perceiving a partner as responsive to one’s needs, and responsiveness to a partner’s sexual needs might be a particularly powerful way to signal responsiveness to anxiously attached partners. In a 21-day daily experience and longitudinal study of 121 couples, we tested perceived partner sexual responsiveness as a buffer against the lower relationship quality (satisfaction, commitment, trust) and sexual satisfaction that anxiously attached people typically experience. On days when anxiously attached people perceived their partner as responsive to their sexual needs, they reported similar levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction, trust, and commitment as people lower in anxiety. Perceived partner sexual responsiveness was also important for maintaining commitment over time. Our findings suggest that perceived partner sexual responsiveness is one promising protective factor for anxiously attached partners. 

Men’s higher benevolent sexism predicted lower aggressive parenting, & women’s higher benevolent sexism predicted greater aggressive behavior toward partners, irrespective of power & relationship quality

Overall, N. C., Chang, V. T., Cross, E. J., Low, R. S. T., & Henderson, A. M. E. (2021). Sexist attitudes predict family-based aggression during a COVID-19 lockdown. Journal of Family Psychology, Mar 2021.

Abstract: The current research examined whether men’s hostile sexism was a risk factor for family-based aggression during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in which families were confined to the home for 5 weeks. Parents who had reported on their sexist attitudes and aggressive behavior toward intimate partners and children prior to the COVID-19 pandemic completed assessments of aggressive behavior toward their partners and children during the lockdown (N = 362 parents of which 310 were drawn from the same family). Accounting for pre-lockdown levels of aggression, men who more strongly endorsed hostile sexism reported greater aggressive behavior toward their intimate partners and their children during the lockdown. The contextual factors that help explain these longitudinal associations differed across targets of family-based aggression. Men’s hostile sexism predicted greater aggression toward intimate partners when men experienced low power during couples’ interactions, whereas men’s hostile sexism predicted greater aggressive parenting when men reported lower partner–child relationship quality. Novel effects also emerged for benevolent sexism. Men’s higher benevolent sexism predicted lower aggressive parenting, and women’s higher benevolent sexism predicted greater aggressive behavior toward partners, irrespective of power and relationship quality. The current study provides the first longitudinal demonstration that men’s hostile sexism predicts residual changes in aggression toward both intimate partners and children. Such aggressive behavior will intensify the health, well-being, and developmental costs of the pandemic, highlighting the importance of targeting power-related gender role beliefs when screening for aggression risk and delivering therapeutic and education interventions as families face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

Extraverts report higher levels of authenticity and extraverted behavior predicts increased feelings of authenticity, even by introverts

Wilt, Joshua A., Jessie Sun, Rowan Jacques-Hamilton, and Luke D. Smillie. 2021. “Why Does It Feel Authentic to Be and Act Extraverted? Exploring the Mediating Role of Positive Affect.” PsyArXiv. March 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Extraverts report higher levels of authenticity and extraverted behavior predicts increased feelings of authenticity. Why? Across three studies, we examined positive affect as a mediator of the associations between extraversion and authenticity. In Study 1 (N = 205), we tested our mediation model at the trait level. Study 2 (N = 97) involved a ten-week lab-based experience sampling protocol, whereas Study 3 (N = 147) involved a preregistered week-long daily-life experience sampling protocol. These studies allowed us to test our mediation model at the state level. Positive affect explained moderate to very high proportions of the effects of extraversion on authenticity (Study 1 = 29%, Study 2 = 38%, Study 3 = 87%). We interpret these findings through the lens of cybernetic self-regulation, feelings-as-information, positive psychology, and humanistic perspectives, and propose that increased PA could also explain why extraversion is connected with other eudaimonic components of wellbeing.

Participants who were exposed to a salient health threat (loud coughing after the COVID-19 epidemic started) displayed a lower level of overconfidence than did participants in the control condition

The bright side of the COVID-19 pandemic: Public coughing weakens the overconfidence bias in non-health domains. Heng Li, Yu Cao. Personality and Individual Differences, March 19 2021, 110861.

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious threat that produces harm to people around the globe. Prior work has almost exclusively focused on deconstructive consequences of the novel coronavirus, the present research reveals a bright side of the coronavirus outbreak: reduce the overconfidence bias in non-health domains. In Experiment 1, students passed by a trained confederate who was coughing loudly or not and completed a peer-comparison problem measuring their overconfidence bias. The results showed that participants, who were exposed to a salient health threat, displayed a lower level of overconfidence than did participants in the control condition. Experiment 2 recapitulated the effects of public coughing on overconfidence by using a non-student sample and an alternative measure of overconfidence. Across two field experiments, we replicated prior findings regarding sex differences for the overconfidence bias. Taken together, our research suggests that whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly ravaged nations and economies, the unprecedented crisis offers an opportunity for individuals to counteract their overconfidence in judgment and decision-making.

Keywords: COVID-19Disease threatOverconfidenceSex differencesRisk perceptionField experiments

People were relatively modest and self-critical about their ideas’ funniness; women rated their responses as less funny; & people showed some discernment and insight into their ideas’ funniness

If You’re Funny and You Know It: Personality, Gender, and People’s Ratings of Their Attempts at Humor. Paul J. Silvia et al. Journal of Research in Personality, March 19 2021, 104089.

Rolf Degen's take: Although people consider themselves "funnier than average", they are relatively modest and self-critical about their own jokes’ funniness


• In seven studies (n = 1,133), adults rated the funniness of their attempts at humor.

• People were relatively modest and self-critical about their ideas’ funniness.

• Extraversion and openness to experience predicted rating one’s responses as funnier.

• Women rated their responses as less funny.

• People showed some discernment and insight into their ideas’ funniness.

Abstract:  seven studies (n = 1,133), adults tried to create funny ideas and then rated the funniness of their responses, which were also independently rated by judges. In contrast to the common “funnier than average” effect found for global self-ratings, people were relatively modest and self-critical about their specific ideas. Extraversion (r = .12 [.07, .18], k =7) and openness to experience (r = .09 [.03, .15], k = 7) predicted rating one’s responses as funnier; women rated their responses as less funny (d = -.28 [-.37, -.19], k = 7). The within-person correlation between self and judge ratings was small but significant (r = .13 [.07, .19], k = 7), so people had some insight into their ideas’ funniness.

Keywords: humorcomedycreativitypersonalitygenderdiscernment

I know a dog when I see one: dogs (Canis familiaris) recognize dogs from videos

I know a dog when I see one: dogs (Canis familiaris) recognize dogs from videos. Paolo Mongillo, Carla Eatherington, Miina Lõoke & Lieta Marinelli. Animal Cognition, Mar 19 2020.

Critical view... Big breakthrough in science: Dogs can recognize their own kind in videos and are baffled when a cow barks

Abstract: Several aspects of dogs’ visual and social cognition have been explored using bi-dimensional representations of other dogs. It remains unclear, however, if dogs do recognize as dogs the stimuli depicted in such representations, especially with regard to videos. To test this, 32 pet dogs took part in a cross-modal violation of expectancy experiment, during which dogs were shown videos of either a dog and that of an unfamiliar animal, paired with either the sound of a dog barking or of an unfamiliar vocalization. While stimuli were being presented, dogs paid higher attention to the exit region of the presentation area, when the visual stimulus represented a dog than when it represented an unfamiliar species. After exposure to the stimuli, dogs’ attention to different parts of the presentation area depended on the specific combination of visual and auditory stimuli. Of relevance, dogs paid less attention to the central part of the presentation area and more to the entrance area after being exposed to the barking and dog video pair, than when either was paired with an unfamiliar stimulus. These results indicate dogs were surprised by the latter pairings, not by the former, and were interested in where the barking and dog pair came from, implying recognition of the two stimuli as belonging to a conspecific. The study represents the first demonstration that dogs can recognize other conspecifics in videos.


In this study, we employed a cross-modal, expectancy violation paradigm to assess whether dogs can recognize the species of conspecifics from videos. Dogs were presented with pairs of auditory and visual stimuli, which could be any combination of dog-related on non-dog-related vocalization and video. Dogs’ orientation towards the presentation area, as a function of the presented pair of stimuli, was analysed during two time intervals, in which different mechanisms were most likely at play.

The first interval spanned from the onset of the vocalization to the last frame in which the video of the animal crossing the screen was visible. Dogs’ orientation in this interval therefore reflected a proximate reaction to the presence of the stimuli, rather than an after-effect of the pairing.

Dogs spent almost the entire interval oriented toward the projection area. Moreover, dogs’ attention to specific regions of the projection area roughly followed the stimulus occupation of such regions. This finding is most likely a direct result of the capacity of motion stimuli to elicit orientation responses, an effect that is particularly relevant for stimuli abruptly appearing within the visual field (Hillstrom and Yantis 1994) and for stimuli depicting animate entities (Pratt et al. 2010), two features that characterised the visual stimuli that were presented in this experiment.

A breakdown analysis of dogs’ orientation to the different parts of the projection area revealed that dogs spent longer time looking at the exit area when a dog video was projected than when the unfamiliar species was projected. Therefore, dogs were more likely to visually follow the dogs’ video until it left the presentation area, than the unfamiliar species video. The finding is consistent with the notion that familiarity drives attentional responses for visual stimuli (Christie and Klein 1995). There is some direct evidence that this process also applies to dogs, in particular when presented with representations of dogs’, such as face photographs (Racca et al. 2010) or biological movement (Eatherington et al. 2019). Overall, the findings support the idea that dogs did at least perceive the dog video as a familiar stimulus.

Evidence that dogs did recognise the dog-related stimuli as belonging to a dog, however, comes from the analysis of attention patterns after the stimuli had disappeared. In this time interval, dogs spent less time oriented towards the central part of the presentation area when a bark was followed by the appearance of a dog video, than when any of such two stimuli was paired with an unfamiliar counterpart. In accordance with the violation of expectancy paradigm, longer looking at the main projection area reflected a surprised reaction to the pairing of an unfamiliar-species stimulus with a dog stimulus. Analogous interpretations of longer looking times have been found in studies in dogs (Adachi et al. 2007) and other species including cats (Takagi et al. 2019), horses (Lampe and Andre 2012; Nakamura et al. 2018), crows (Kondo et al. 2012) and lions (Gilfillan et al. 2016). Therefore, this result clearly indicates that dogs perceived the appearance of the dog video as an expected consequence of the barking, implying they had appropriately recognized both stimuli as belonging to a dog. Following presentation of dog stimuli, dogs also spent longer time looking at the entrance region of the presentation area, than when either dog stimulus was paired with an unfamiliar-species stimulus. No such effect was observed for attention to the exit region. Although the reason for this pattern of results is not immediately clear, we believe the result is further indication that dogs retained the pair of dog stimuli as coherently representing a dog; in this sense, dogs may have been interested in where the animal came from, especially since nothing indicated the presence of such animal before its sudden appearance. The lack of differences in attention to the exit region, on the other hand, could reflect a relatively low need to monitor an animal who was moving away from the observer.

When both stimuli belonged to an unfamiliar species, the pattern of dogs’ attention to the presentation area was less clear-cut than those observed when presented with dog stimuli. On the one hand, attention to the central part of the presentation area when non-dog stimuli were paired was not different than that observed when dog stimuli were paired. The similarity in reaction may suggest dogs considered the appearance of the unfamiliar individual as a plausible consequence of the unfamiliar vocalization, much as they considered the appearance of the dog an unsurprising consequence of the bark. Unsurprised reactions to pairs of unfamiliar stimuli in an expectancy violation test have also been reported before (e.g. Adachi et al. 2007). As already discussed for the pair of dog stimuli, the high amount of attention paid to the entrance region could indicate the interest in where an unknown (but plausible) type of animal came from. On the other hand, dogs’ attention to the central part of the presentation area after non-dog stimuli pairs were presented was also not lower than when a dog/non-dog stimuli pair was presented. A possible explanation is that dogs’ attention patterns after being exposed to the two unfamiliar stimuli was driven by the interest in such novel stimuli, rather than by a violated expectation. Indeed, different studies showed neophilic reactions by dogs (e.g. Kaulfuß and Mills 2008; Racca et al. 2010). Of particular relevance, as it deals with visual preference, the study by Racca and collaborators (2010) showed that while dogs pay preferential attention to familiar rather than novel images of dogs, the opposite is true for other classes of stimuli, including images of objects or of human faces. Along this reasoning, hearing a novel auditory stimulus drove attention to the entrance region, and seeing a novel visual stimulus drove attention to both the entrance and central region (the latter being predominantly occupied when the stimulus became fully visible).

One question arising from our results whether dogs showed a different response to the pairing of the bark and dog video merely because they were familiar with both stimuli, without implying classification of the stimuli as belonging to a dog. The literature provides some indications that this may not be the case. For instance, Gergely and collaborators (2019) showed that dogs exposed to a conspecific vocalization pay more attention to pictures of dogs than of humans, a species dogs were highly familiar with. Moreover, a recent functional neuroimaging study revealed greater activation of visual cortical areas in dogs, when exposed to videos of conspecific faces than when exposed to human faces, suggesting the existence of species-specific processing mechanisms (Bunford et al. 2020). Taken together, these findings suggest dogs do possess the ability to visually discriminate dogs from another familiar species. Whether such ability is the result of exposure alone or is aided by a predisposition is impossible to state by the results of the present or of other studies in dogs. Findings in humans indicate that experience builds on top of predispositions in determining one’s ability to identify motion features as belonging to a conspecific (reviewed by Hirai and Senju 2020). A thorough understanding of if and how the same factors impact on dogs’ ability to recognize other animals would require further experiments, which are currently ongoing in our laboratory.

Few other studies have attempted to demonstrate dogs’ ability to recognize the species of other conspecifics in figurative representations, providing suggestive though not conclusive evidence (Autier-Dérian et al. 2013; Gergely et al. 2019). The present findings differ in important ways from all previous attempts. First, in all other studies, the stimuli depicted animal heads, whereas our stimuli represented lateral views of the animal’s whole body. Our findings imply that a detailed frontal view of the head is not a necessary stimulus for dogs to recognize a conspecific, at least if motion information is available. Indeed, a crucial difference between the present and earlier studies was that we presented videos rather than still images, allowing us to incorporate information about movement. Our own laboratory showed dogs are attracted by the motion of a laterally walking dog (Eatherington et al. 2019) and studies in other species highlight how motion cues alone can be used for the recognition of conspecifics (Jitsumori et al. 1999; Nunes et al. 2020). Thus, the presence of motion information in our experiment may have played a role in allowing dogs to appropriately identify the conspecific’s video. The abovementioned studies indicate that morphology, independently from motion, can also be individually sufficient to the aims of recognition (Jitsumori et al. 1999; Nunes et al. 2020). However, these studies only depicted heads, a stimulus that is rich in features useful to the aims of recognition, even to the level of the individual. Our findings indicate that even more limited morphological details provided by a lateral, whole body view, paired with motion information may be sufficient for dogs to recognize a conspecific.

Finally, research on dog visual cognition has used the cross-modal and expectancy violation paradigms; for instance, similar paradigms have been successfully used to demonstrate dogs’ recognition of humans’ identity or sex (Adachi et al. 2007; Ratcliffe et al. 2014), or expectations about conspecifics’ body size (Taylor et al. 2011). However, to the best of our knowledge, this method had never been used in dogs with videos and some methodological considerations seem useful at this stage. First, while videos were projected, dogs spent most of their time oriented towards the presentation area, indicating the stimuli were able to attract the dogs’ attention (at least from a behavioural standpoint), a crucial and often problematic aspect of research on visual cognition. Second, even after the stimulus disappeared, dogs remained oriented towards the presentation area for a significant portion of the allowed 30 s—suggesting maintenance of interest in what had been projected. Third, the analysis of dogs’ orientation across subsequent presentations suggests limited habituation through the first two trials, but a significant decrement starting from the third trial. Overall, these results indicate the method is suitable to study dogs’ spontaneous cross-modal processing of auditory and animated visual stimuli, and that dogs can be presented with up to two presentations before their attention starts to decline.