Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rolf Degen summarizing... Men have more explicit, overt sexual initiation turn-on preferences than women, which women rarely satisfy

Questionnaire for Turn-on Initiation Preference: Development and Initial Reliability and Validation. Petra Zebroff. The Journal of Sex Research, Apr 6 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2021.1898525

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1382176988677472259

Abstract: This article presents four studies conducted to develop and validate a self-report measure of sexual turn-on initiation preference – the Questionnaire for Turn-On Initiation Preference (QTIP). Sexual initiation is a vital stage of sexual activity and yet there are few prior measures of initiation. Moreover, previous measures have focused exclusively on the person initiating and none have addressed the turn-on preferences of the recipient of the initiation. The objective of this questionnaire is to understand how individuals prefer their partner to initiate sex that enhances erotic turn-on. This questionnaire was developed in four stages. Study 1 focused on item generation using qualitative data from 219 men and women. Study 2 tested the original items on 2,027 respondents assessing potential factor structure, followed by item revisions and additions. Study 3 (N = 5,812) assessed the revised 61 items on a larger sample and evaluated factor structure, and Study 4 (N = 1,848) tested the factor structure of the 66-item version, with an exploratory factor analysis, capturing a four-factor structure of turn-on preference: Emotional, Seductive-Exotic, Surrender, and Sensation. A confirmatory factor analysis indicated adequate fit for the final short version of QTIP with 26 items, good test–retest reliability and convergent validity. Theoretical frameworks are discussed along with gender differences and clinical applications.

Pygmalion in the genes? On the potentially negative impacts of polygenic scores for educational attainment

Pygmalion in the genes? On the potentially negative impacts of polygenic scores for educational attainment. Lucas J. Matthews, Matthew S. Lebowitz, Ruth Ottman & Paul S. Appelbaum. Social Psychology of Education, Apr 13 2021. https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11218-021-09632-z

Abstract: Polygenic scores for educational attainment and related variables, such as IQ and “mathematical ability” are now readily available via direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies. Some researchers are even proposing the use of genetic tests in educational settings via “precision education,” in which individualized student education plans would be tailored to polygenic scores. The potential psychosocial impacts of polygenic scores for traits and outcomes relevant to education, however, have not been assessed. In online experiments, we asked participants to imagine hypothetical situations in which they or their classmates had recently received polygenic scores for educational attainment. Participants prompted to answer multi-choice questions as though they had received their own low-percentile score, compared to a control condition, scored significantly lower on measures of self-esteem and of self-perceived competence, academic efficacy, and educational potential. Similarly, those asked to evaluate a hypothetical classmate as though the classmate had received a low-percentile score attributed significantly lower academic efficacy and educational potential, compared to a control condition. Through possible mechanisms of stigma and self-fulfilling prophecies, our results highlight the potential psychosocial harms of exposure to low-percentile polygenic scores for educational attainment.

Addictions do have a genetic component, but genome-wide association studies indicate that it consists of many genetic factors with small additive effects - and of different genes than those originally suspected

The Streetlight Effect: Reappraising the Study of Addiction in Light of the Findings of Genome-wide Association Studies. Hall F.S. · Chen Y. · Resendiz-Gutierrez F. Brain, Behavior and Evolution, . https://doi.org/10.1159/000516169

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1381911439565283336

Abstract: Drug dependence has long been thought to have a genetic component. Research seeking to identify the genetic basis of addiction has gone through important transitions over its history, in part based upon the emergence of new technologies, but also as the result of changing perspectives. Early research approaches were largely dictated by available technology, with technological advancements having highly transformative effects on genetic research, but the limitations of technology also affected modes of thinking about the genetic causes of disease. This review explores these transitions in thinking about the genetic causes of addiction in terms of the “streetlight effect,” which is a type of observational bias whereby people search for something only where it is easiest to search. In this way, the genes that were initially studied in the field of addiction genetics were chosen because they were the most “obvious,” and formed current understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the actions of drugs of abuse and drug dependence. The problem with this emphasis is that prior to the genomic era the vast majority of genes and proteins had yet to be identified, much less studied. This review considers how these initial choices, as well as subsequent choices that were also driven by technological limitations, shaped the study of the genetic basis of drug dependence. While genome-wide approaches overcame the initial biases regarding which genes to choose to study inherent in candidate gene studies and other approaches, genome-wide approaches necessitated other assumptions. These included additive genetic causation and limited allelic heterogeneity, which both appear to be incorrect. Thus, the next stage of advancement in this field must overcome these shortcomings through approaches that allow the examination of complex interactive effects, both gene × gene and gene × environment interactions. Techniques for these sorts of studies have recently been developed and represent the next step in our understanding of the genetic basis of drug dependence.

Keywords: Drug dependenceCandidate gene studiesGenome-wide association studies

Moving Forward in the Post-GWAS Era

This review has considered several important transitions in approaches to studying the genetic basis of addiction. In particular, this review has used the streetlight analogy to illustrate how initial attempts to understand addiction were biased by our choice of gene targets to study. GWAS overcame this initial bias but came with a separate set of problems. GWAS moved the field forward in many ways, but to continue to move the field forward it will be necessary to once again step back and consider what preconceptions continue to limit progress. One of the core assumptions that was necessary for GWAS was that the genetic effects are additive. A deeper understanding of the genetic basis of addiction will require considering gene × gene and gene × environment interactions and developing methods for doing so. Recent analytical and technical advancements are beginning to allow us to look not just at highly interactive genetic effects [Joubert et al., 2018, 2019], but also at multiple “omic” levels simultaneously [Weighill et al., 2019]. These multiple omic levels include the genome, the epigenome, the transcriptome, and the proteome, among others. Some of the inconsistency in genetic findings from candidate gene and GWAS approaches probably results not only from allelic heterogeneity, but also from the fact that the genetic “signal” is obscured by a heterogeneous set of complex genetic and environmental interactions that should be observable in alterations at other levels, including the epigenome and transcriptome. Moreover, it has become clear that many of the underlying mechanisms mediating drug dependence liability involve changes in gene expression that are highly tissue and cell specific [Gallagher and Chen-Plotkin, 2018]. This of course means that a single transcriptome analysis will not provide a full explanation of the underlying mechanisms. In the coming years newer approaches to the study of drug dependence, and other complex diseases, will be able to specify the genetic contributions to addiction that have been missed so far by examining gene × gene and gene × environment interactions, and how they affect multiple functional levels in a cell type- and tissue-specific manner. This will allow a much clearer view of the etiology and biology of addiction, as well as identifying more critical points that can be used in the developing addiction therapeutics. 

A regularity in US American politics is that liberals have more policy consensus than do conservatives; in European data, this conclusion is not as clear

Brandt, Mark J., Anthony Aron, Megan Parker, Cristina Rodas, and Megan Shaffer. 2021. “Leftists Possess More National Consensus in Europe in One of Two Datasets.” PsyArXiv. April 12. doi:10.31234/osf.io/dm4wt

Abstract: A regularity in US American politics is that liberals have more policy consensus than do conservatives, and both ideological groups have more consensus than moderates (Ondish & Stern, 2018). The idea is that conservatives’ local conformity paradoxically results in less consensus than liberals at the national level. If this is the case, then the liberal consensus effect should also be observed in other countries. We test this using data from Europe. In the European Social Survey (Country N = 38, N = 376,129) we find that on average leftists have more consensus than do rightists; however, we do not find this using the Eurobarometer (Country N = 18, N = 375,830). In both data sources we also observe variation in ideological differences between countries. These results suggest that there is a liberal/leftist consensus effect that can be found in Europe and the United States, but there are also exceptions.