Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Dramatic Changes to Well-known Places Go Unnoticed

Rosenbaum, R. Shayna, Julia G. Halilova, Sabrina Agnihotri, Maria C. D'Angelo, Gordon Winocur, Jennifer Ryan, and Morris Moscovitch. 2020. “Dramatic Changes to Well-known Places Go Unnoticed.” PsyArXiv. October 30. doi:10.31234/osf.io/ypg96

Abstract: How well do we know our city? It turns out, much more poorly than we might imagine. We used declarative memory and eye-tracking techniques to examine people’s ability to detect modifications of landmarks in Toronto locales with which they have had extensive experience. Participants were poor at identifying which scenes contained altered landmarks, whether the modification was to the landmarks’ relative size, internal features, or surrounding context. To determine whether an indirect measure would prove more sensitive, we tracked eye movements during viewing. Changes in overall visual exploration, but not to specific regions of change, were related to participants’ explicit endorsement of scenes as modified. These results support the contention that very familiar landmarks are strongly integrated within the spatial context in which they were first experienced, so that any changes that are consciously detected are at a global or coarse, but not local or fine-grained, level.

When people exercised with their romantic partner, they experienced higher positive affect during exercise, higher daily positive affect, and were more satisfied with their relationship

Better together: The impact of exercising with a romantic partner. Kyrsten Sackett-Fox, Judith Gere, John Updegraff. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, April 27, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075211012086

Abstract: Many people have goals to increase their physical activity levels through engaging in exercise, but have difficulty establishing and maintaining an exercise routine. Research shows that people are more successful at exercising if they do so together with their romantic partner. In this study, we examined how exercising with a romantic partner may influence the experience of exercise itself, as well as people’s daily experiences. Specifically, we examined how joint exercise influences daily and exercise affect, daily relationship satisfaction, and amount of daily exercise. Young adults who were currently involved in a romantic relationship (N = 95) completed intake questionnaires and 14 daily reports of their exercise behavior, exercise and daily affect, and daily relationship satisfaction. Multilevel models showed that on days when people exercised with their romantic partner, they experienced higher positive affect during exercise, higher daily positive affect, and were more satisfied with their relationship compared to days when they exercised without their partner. No effects were found on daily and exercise negative affect, or amount of exercise. This study illustrates how exercising with a romantic partner may improve people’s experience of both exercising and their daily experiences, and may help provide a reason why people might be more successful at maintaining their exercise routine when they exercise together with their romantic partner.

Keywords: Affect, daily diary, exercise, goal pursuit, physical activity, relationship satisfaction, romantic relationships, young adults

Heterosexual, lesbian, and gay participants all perceived bisexual men as more attracted to men than to women

Bisexual erasure: Perceived attraction patterns of bisexual women and men. Thekla Morgenroth  Teri Kirby. European Journal of Social Psychology, May 3 2021. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2773

Abstract: Bisexual individuals face identity denial and erasure and qualitative analyses suggest that it may be gendered, such that people stereotype bisexual women as truly heterosexual and bisexual men as truly gay. Across three studies (total N = 787), we examined perceptions of bisexual targets’ attraction patterns. Participants rated the attraction of either a female or male bisexual target to both the same gender/sex and opposite gender/sex. An internal meta‐analysis revealed that heterosexual, lesbian, and gay participants all perceived bisexual men as more attracted to men than to women. No such pattern emerged for bisexual women. These differences between the perception of bisexual women and bisexual men were also reflected in the endorsement of an explicit measure of bisexual erasure. Our findings add to the understanding of the unique bias bisexual people face by showing that perceived attraction patterns may underlie the labelling of bisexual men as “actually gay”.

The assisted reproduction families generally showed high levels of family functioning and children's adjustment from early childhood through to adolescence

Love and Truth: What Really Matters for Children Born Through Third‐Party Assisted Reproduction. Susan Golombok. Child Development Perspectives, May 4 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12406

Abstract: Ever since the birth of the first baby born through in vitro fertilization in 1978, advances in reproductive technologies have raised new concerns about the outcomes for children. In this article, I summarize research on children born through assisted reproduction involving a third party, that is, children born through egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy, with particular attention to the findings of a longitudinal study of children born to heterosexual couples in the United Kingdom. The assisted reproduction families generally showed high levels of family functioning and children's adjustment from early childhood through to adolescence, suggesting that biological relatedness is less important than positive parent–child relationships for the well‐being of children conceived by third‐party assisted reproduction. Similarly, studies of families created by third‐party reproduction with two mothers, single mothers, two fathers, and single fathers have shown that these families function well.


Despite concerns to the contrary, in the U.K. Longitudinal Study of Assisted Reproduction Families, the assisted reproduction families generally showed high levels of family functioning and children's adjustment from early childhood through to adolescence. The differences identified did not point to dysfunctional family relationships but instead reflected variation within the expected range. The idea that third‐party assisted reproduction adversely affects parenting and children's adjustment comes, in part, from research showing an increased likelihood of childhood psychological problems in adoptive families (Palacios & Brodzinsky, 2010) and stepfamilies (Dunn, Deater‐Deckard, Pickering, O'Connor, & Golding, 1998), in which children similarly lack a biological link to one or both parents. However, the problems experienced by adopted children and stepchildren often arise from difficult family situations before being adopted, or before or after moving into a stepfamily. Adopted children often have suffered maltreatment before being placed with their adoptive parents, sometimes for years, and many have been moved from one foster family to another before being adopted (Palacios & Brodzinsky, 2010). Children in stepfamilies often have been separated from a parent to whom they were attached and are required to form relationships with new family members. Moreover, stepparents generally do not see stepchildren as their own children (Dunn, Davies, O'Connor, & Sturgess, 2000). In contrast, children born through assisted reproduction are raised from birth by parents who wanted to have them and who consider them to be their own children. Biological relatedness seems to be less important for the well‐being of children conceived by third‐party assisted reproduction than are warm and responsive relationships between parents and their children.

Although the absence of a biological connection between children and their parents does not appear to cause difficulties for children, not telling children about their origins or delaying disclosure beyond the preschool years is associated with less positive outcomes for adolescents' well‐being and family relationships. Moreover, just because adolescents born through donor conception and surrogacy are functioning well does not mean that their donor or surrogate is of no significance to them. Some donor‐conceived adolescents have little interest in finding out about their donor. But others search for information on the Internet. In investigations of motivations, adolescents and young adults who searched for their sperm donor and donor siblings were curious about resemblances in physical and personality characteristics, wanted to learn about their ancestry, and wished for a more complete story of how they were born (Canzi, Accordini, & Facchin, 2019; Jadva, Freeman, Kramer, & Golombok, 2010; Scheib, McCormick, Benward, & Ruby, 2020; Scheib, Ruby, & Benward, 2017). In many cases, these youth were more interested in their donor siblings than in their donors; they wanted information about their donor, and some wanted to meet him, but they usually did not see him as their father, and they were more likely to develop enduring connections with their donor siblings. In a study that explored why some adolescents are more interested in their donor relations than others, secure attachment relationships with mothers were associated with greater acceptance of and curiosity about donor conception (Slutsky et al., 2016).

The U.K. Longitudinal Study of Assisted Reproduction Families collected data from mothers, fathers, children, and teachers using standardized interviews, observational assessments, and standardized questionnaires. Nevertheless, it is the only prospective, comparative study of parent–child relationships and children's psychological adjustment in families formed through sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, and unassisted conception and the only in‐depth study of children born through surrogacy. Therefore, replication should be a priority, especially given the increasing numbers of children being born through assisted reproduction worldwide. Because the parents in the study were predominantly White and of medium to high socioeconomic status, the findings may not be relevant to more diverse families, who may struggle financially to afford fertility treatment, or who are from religious or ethnic backgrounds that do not accept third‐party assisted reproduction, requiring parents to keep their children's biological origins secret.

The study also focused on children born to heterosexual couples. More research is being done on lesbian‐mother families formed by sperm donation (Bos & Gartrell, 2020), single heterosexual‐mother families formed by sperm donation (Golombok, Zadeh, Freeman, Lysons, & Foley, 2020; Golombok, Zadeh, Imrie, Smith, & Freeman, 2016), families with gay fathers created through surrogacy and egg donation (Golombok, Blake, et al., 2017; Rubio et al., 2020), and single‐father families with children born through surrogacy and egg donation (Carone, Baiocco, Lingiardi, & Barone, 2020), all with similarly positive outcomes. These findings show that families created by third‐party reproduction with two mothers, single mothers, two fathers, or single fathers function well, irrespective of the number, gender, and sexual orientation of the parents. As with traditional families formed by assisted reproduction, in nontraditional families, the quality of parent–child relationships appears to be more important for children than the way in which the family is constructed.

The overall findings of research on children born through third‐party assisted reproduction are consistent with a relational developmental systems framework (Osher, Cantor, Berg, Steyer, & Rose, 2020; Overton, 2015): Relationships, such as those between parents and children, and context, such as the disclosure or nondisclosure of children's biological origins, interact reciprocally with characteristics of the child to influence development. Newly emerging family forms raise new questions about the psychological consequences for children. Transgender parents who have had children through fertility preservation and lesbian couples that use one partner's egg to create the other partner's pregnancy are just two examples of 21st‐century families made possible through advances in assisted reproduction. Researchers need to study the outcomes of parents and children in these families. However, based on what we know from current studies, warm and supportive relationships between parents and their children, and openness about the children's origins, seem to be what matter most for children born through third‐party assisted reproduction.

Polycarpa mytiligera, a chordate incapable of asexual development, achieves bidirectional regeneration & fully regenerates all body structures & organs after being cut in three pieces; each fragment got to be an independent, functional individual

And Then There Were Three…: Extreme Regeneration Ability of the Solitary Chordate Polycarpa mytiligera. Tal Gordon et al. Front. Cell Dev. Biol., April 15 2021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.652466

Abstract: Extensive regenerative ability is a common trait of animals capable of asexual development. The current study reveals the extraordinary regeneration abilities of the solitary ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera. Dissection of a single individual into separate fragments along two body axes resulted in the complete regeneration of each fragment into an independent, functional individual. The ability of a solitary ascidian, incapable of asexual development, to achieve bidirectional regeneration and fully regenerate all body structures and organs is described here for the first time. Amputation initiated cell proliferation in proximity to the amputation line. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the close affinity of P. mytiligera to colonial species. This evolutionary proximity suggests the ability for regeneration as an exaptation feature for colonial lifestyle. P. mytiligera’s exceptional regenerative abilities and phylogenetic position highlight its potential to serve as a new comparative system for studies seeking to uncover the evolution of regeneration and coloniality among the chordates.


Ascidians are unique among the chordates as they present robust regeneration abilities, including whole body regeneration, following an injury (Voskoboynik et al., 2007Blanchoud et al., 2018Kassmer et al., 2020). The current study has uncovered exceptional regeneration abilities in a solitary ascidian, a group of animals considered to be regeneratively deficient compared to their colonial relatives (Kassmer et al., 2019). P. mytiligera’s provides a valuable opportunity to elucidate the evolution of coloniality and reveal conserved pathways that regulate chordate regeneration.

P. mytiligera Regeneration Involves Extensive Cell Proliferation and Reorganization Processes

P. mytiligera presented an extraordinary regeneration plasticity, being able to reconstruct an entire animal from each small body fragment. Histological sections confirmed that despite no residue of essential organs, such as the heart and neural complex, remaining in the body fragment, the animal was nonetheless able to regenerate and regain its complete morphology and functionality.

P. mytiligera’s regeneration process can be divided into three phases: (1) wound-healing; (2) increased cell proliferation in the injured area; and (3) morphogenesis and formation of tissues and organs. These basic stages, underlying tissue regeneration, are highly conserved, being found in a wide variety of animals capable of regeneration (Alvarado and Tsonis, 2006Ricci and Srivastava, 2018). In planarians, regeneration involves the assembly of a blastema composed of pluripotent somatic stem cells. Limb regeneration in salamanders and fin regeneration in zebrafish also require the formation of a blastema; however, there the blastema is composed of a mixture of cells with different and restricted potentials (Alvarado and Tsonis, 2006Sánchez Alvarado, 2006Tanaka and Reddien, 2011Tanaka, 2016Marques et al., 2019). In P. mytiligera, amputation initiated extensive cell division in proximity to the amputation line, resembling a blastema formation. Proliferating cell were also found in regenerating structures at later stages of regeneration, suggesting their direct involvement in the formation of the new tissue (see Figure 7 for summary). Undifferentiated circulatory cells were shown to be involved in tissue regeneration in solitary and colonial ascidians (Rinkevich et al., 2006Auger et al., 2010Jeffery, 201420152019). In colonial Styelidae species, a population of pluripotent or multipotent undifferentiated circulatory cells contributes to the formation of somatic tissues during budding and whole body regeneration (Laird et al., 2005Voskoboynik et al., 2007Brown and Swalla, 2012Kassmer et al., 2020). In the solitary ascidian C. intestinalis, injury-induced regeneration resulted in the proliferation of circulatory cells located in the branchial basket. These cells were also labeled with alkaline phosphatase and anti-piwi antibody, indicating their undifferentiated state (Auger et al., 2010Jeffery, 2014). In P. mytiligera, the branchial basket showed high level of EdU+ cells along the regeneration process. In addition, all dissected body fragments contained part of the branchial basket and the circulatory cells enclosed within it. While it is remained to be determined if these cells originated in the branchial basket or merely use it as a means of transport to the regenerating area, the high numbers of proliferating cells found in the branchial basket following amputation indicate a possible role in anterior regeneration.


Figure 7. Summary of proliferating cell dynamic in P. mytiligera inferred from EdU experiments. (A,A′) Control. (A) In vivo image, (A′) illustration. During homeostasis, proliferating cells (purple spheres) are evenly dispersal along the branchial basket (BB) and body wall (BW) [Oral siphon (OS), atrial siphon (AS)]. (B,B′) Amputation day. (B) In vivo image, (B′) illustration. The level of proliferating cells remains similar to that of the control. (C,C′) 5 days following anterior amputation. (C) In vivo image, (C′) illustration. Proliferating cells specifically accumulate at the amputation site in the branchial basket and body wall in proximity to the regenerating area. (D,D′) 10 days following amputation. (D) In vivo image, (D′) illustration. As the amputated structures regenerated, the level of proliferating cell decreased in relation to 5 dpa, although remaining higher than those of the control. Scale bar in (A,B): 1 mm, and in: (C,D): 500 μm.

While we focused on the cell division in the body wall and branchial basket in the current study, proliferating cells were also found in other structures as the digestive system and endostyle. The digestive system of the control animals as well as in animals in different stages of regeneration showed EdU positive cells. These cells, however, are probably unrelated to the regeneration signals, as intestinal and stomach tissues are continuously being replaced as part of their normal homeostasis (Ermak, 1981Jeffery, 2014). The endostyle, which serves as a stem-cell niche in colonial species (Voskoboynik et al., 2008), showed EdU labeling at the early stages of regeneration, implying a local cell proliferation and its possible involvement in regeneration. However, it is important to note that the results of the DV axis amputation experiment indicate that the endostyle is not essential for regeneration to occur, as the dorsal body part was still able to complete the regeneration process following endostyle removal.

Among ascidians, the ability to regenerate amputated body fragments into separate individuals is strongly associated with coloniality and asexual development, as no solitary species has to date been observed to possess such robust abilities (Jeffery, 2015Kassmer et al., 2019). The model system, C. intestinalis, is capable of regenerating its anterior structures, such as the siphons and neural complex from the posterior parts; whereas the anterior parts failed to regenerate posterior structures such as the heart and digestive system, and eventually decomposed (Jeffery, 2014). P. mytiligera’s bidirectional regeneration and unusual ability to regenerate all tissue types and organ systems distinguishes it from other solitary ascidian species studied so far (see Supplementary Table 4 for summary) and suggests the activation of regeneration programs that might be compromised or inhibited in other solitary species (Liu et al., 2013Sikes and Newmark, 2013).

P. mytiligera’s High Regeneration Abilities Might Constitute a Pre-adaptation (Exaptation) Trait for a Colonial Life-Style

P. mytiligera’s reproduction and developmental processes resemble those of most solitary ascidians and no indication of asexual development has been found for this species (Gordon et al., 2020). However, its ability to create “clones″ following dissection led us to further question its phylogenetic position.

The Stolidobranchia common ancestor is believed to have been solitary, and coloniality is assumed to be a derived life-style (Mukai et al., 1978Zeng et al., 2006). The Styelidae is the only stolidobranch family composed of colonial and solitary species, with both presenting a wide range of developmental and regeneration processes (Alié et al., 2020). Phylogenetic analyses have indicated several independent acquisitions of coloniality in this group (Kott, 19852005Pérez-Portela et al., 2009Alié et al., 20182020). Further support for multiple transition events from a solitary to a colonial life-style comes from species that have diverged from the classical solitary or colonial characteristics, and which present intermediate morphological and developmental features. For example, solitary species of Polycarpa and Dendrodoa genera present colonial characteristics such as viviparity, a typical colonial feature (Millar, 19541962Svane and Young, 1989Pérez-Portela et al., 2009).

Our phylogenetic results agree with Alié et al. (2018) and separate the Polycarpa genus from the exclusively solitary clade, placing it in a single mixed clade composed of colonial and solitary species. This topology suggests that the last common ancestor of the mixed clade was a solitary animal from which coloniality evolved at a later stage (Alié et al., 2018). According to this scenario, high regeneration abilities, as presented by P. mytiligera, might be a pre-adaptation (exaptation) trait for colonial life-style. The position of the colonial Polyandrocarpa zorritensis among members of the genus Polycarpa is especially intriguing, as it further supports the genetic similarity of Polycarpa to highly regenerative colonial species, as well as indicating a recent transition event from solitary to colonial form in this family (Alié et al., 2018Scelzo et al., 2019).

To date, ascidian whole-body regeneration has been considered a colonial feature, as no solitary species had been shown before to possess such robust abilities. P. mytiligera’s ability to regenerate each individual body fragment into a whole animal has the potential to separate regeneration specific pathways from asexual development programs.

Our present findings present a valuable new model system for comparative developmental studies seeking to elucidate the evolution of regeneration and coloniality among the chordates.

Data Availability Statement

The datasets generated for this study can be found in the online repositories. The names of the repository/repositories and accession number(s) can be found below: Sequence data have been deposited under: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bioproject/660913. The phylogenetic datasets are available at: https://github.com/dorohuchon/Polycarpa_mytiligera_transcriptome. The maximum likelihood trees, the alignments, and the transcriptome assembly have been deposited at https://github.com/dorohuchon/Polycarpa_mytiligera_transcriptome.

CMIP6 models: They considerably overestimate the warming rate observed in 1998–2013, exhibiting an obvious warming acceleration rather than the observed deceleration

Could CMIP6 climate models reproduce the early-2000s global warming slowdown? Meng Wei, Qi Shu, Zhenya Song, Yajuan Song, Xiaodan Yang, Yongqing Guo, Xinfang Li & Fangli Qiao. Science China Earth Sciences, Apr 15 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11430-020-9740-3

Abstract: The unexpected global warming slowdown during 1998–2013 challenges the existing scientific understanding of global temperature change mechanisms, and thus the simulation and prediction ability of state-of-the-art climate models since most models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) cannot simulate it. Here, we examine whether the new-generation climate models in CMIP6 can reproduce the recent global warming slowdown, and further evaluate their capacities for simulating key-scale natural variabilities which are the most likely causes of the slowdown. The results show that although the CMIP6 models present some encouraging improvements when compared with CMIP5, most of them still fail to reproduce the warming slowdown. They considerably overestimate the warming rate observed in 1998–2013, exhibiting an obvious warming acceleration rather than the observed deceleration. This is probably associated with their deficiencies in simulating the distinct temperature change signals from the human-induced long-term warming trend and or the three crucial natural variabilities at interannual, interdecadal, and multidecadal scales. In contrast, the 4 models that can successfully reproduce the slowdown show relatively high skills in simulating the long-term warming trend and the three key-scale natural variabilities. Our work may provide important insight for the simulation and prediction of near-term climate changes.

1985-2011: Elderly West Germans were much less satisfied throughout their last 5 years of life & spent a larger proportion of their remaining lifetime in dissatisfaction; mechanisms that contributed were health & social isolation

Increasing longevity and life satisfaction: is there a catch to living longer? Janina Nemitz. Journal of Population Economics, May 3 2021. https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00148-021-00836-3

Abstract: Human longevity is rising rapidly all over the world, but are longer lives more satisfied lives? This study suggests that the answer might be no. Despite a substantial increase in months of satisfying life, people’s overall life satisfaction declined between 1985 and 2011 in West Germany due to substantial losses of life satisfaction in old age. When compared to 1985, in 2011, elderly West Germans were, on average, much less satisfied throughout their last five years of life. Moreover, they spent a larger proportion of their remaining lifetime in states of dissatisfaction, on average. Two important mechanisms that contributed to this satisfaction decline were health and social isolation. Using a broad variety of sensitivity tests, I show that these results are robust to a large set of alternative explanations.


Given the rapid increase in human life expectancy throughout the last decades, this study asks: Are longer lives more satisfied lives? Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, this study suggests that the answer might be no. Although expected satisfied lifetime increased for West Germans at the age of 60 by two years between 1985 and 2010, this increase likely did not compensate for the substantial losses of life satisfaction that occurred at the end of people’s lives. In 2010, average life satisfaction scores in the last five years of life were roughly one-third to half a standard deviation lower than in 1985. Moreover, the period of terminal satisfaction decline was substantially longer. With, on average, slightly more than two additional dissatisfied life years, 60-year-old survivors in 2010 were expected to spend 10% more of their remaining lifetime in states of dissatisfaction, which suggests a drop in this study’s measure of overall quality of life. Nevertheless, in 2010, the proportion of expected satisfied lifetime to expected total lifetime at age 60 was still relatively high, with an average level of about 65% to 70%.

To better understand what contributed to the decline in terminal life satisfaction in West Germany, I explored the role of two potential mechanisms: health and social isolation. Several health indicators (e.g., severe disability, number of hospitalizations) indicated a deterioration of the end-of-life health status over time and, thus, provided support for the expansion of morbidity hypothesis (Gruenberg 1977; Olshansky et al. 1991). Among all health indicators, the increase in legally attested disability had the most detrimental impact on terminal life satisfaction. All measures of social isolation contributed to the decline in terminal satisfaction over time, but individual-level life satisfaction regressions indicated that increased isolation mainly worked through the health channel. These results are in line with studies that show that the onset of disability relates to a lasting well-being decline (Lucas 2007; Oswald and Powdthavee 2008), and that a socially active life is associated with higher late-life well-being, less pronounced late-life decline, and a later onset of terminal satisfaction decline (Gerstorf et al.2016).

One likely explanation for the findings of this study is the decline in sudden death. Over the last three decades, age-standardized mortality from ischaemic heart disease has fallen by more than half in high income countries (Finegold et al. 2013; Hartley et al. 2016). So while in earlier times, when smoking was still very common, quite healthy and satisfied people suddenly dropped dead, nowadays new medical technologies (e.g., drug-eluting stents) allow the medical profession to extend people’s lives even with disease. As a consequence, people are much more likely to experience novel types of diseases as well as an increased burden and complexity of multimorbidity (WHO 2010). Moreover, thinking of slowly progressing diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia that come with a progressive decline in memory and cognitive function and eventually lead to severe disability (Alzheimer’s Association 2016), it is very plausible that people are much less satisfied throughout their final period of life nowadays. Overall, higher dissatisfaction levels may result from the burden associated with disease, including increased social isolation, as well as the fact that people know that there is no cure or modifying treatment for a disease (Daviglus et al.2010).

The final conclusion that the overall quality of life decreased with improved longevity between 1985 and 2011 rests on a very strong assumption, namely that at the age of 60, people value a high proportion of satisfied to total lifetime more strongly than the actual number of satisfied life years. Although consistent with the literature (Pennington et al. 2015; Ahlert et al. 2016; Fischer et al. 2018), this assumption may not hold. Another related issue is that of acceptable satisfaction levels. Many people would argue that satisfaction levels above the neutral (i.e., 5 on the 0 to 10 scale) are still quite satisfying and, thus, the elderly in our sample, though more dissatisfied in the final period of life, were still quite satisfied in 2011. However, there is a well-documented issue of over-reporting satisfaction scores in surveys with face-to-face interviews (see Diener et al. 2013for review). Even satisfaction scores of about four (on the 0 to 10 scale) may be predictive of suicide (Koivumaa-Honkanen et al. 2001). If people nevertheless believe that life is still satisfying at very low satisfaction scores (i.e., three and lower), then the final conclusion of this study will no longer hold.

Should people and policymakers further invest in life extensions? This study shows that it is important to complement investments that extend the length of human life with investments that improve the quality of life in old age. Under-investments in the latter result in declining satisfaction levels at the end of people’s lives. Quality-of-life-improving policies may have a more positive effect on increasing overall life satisfaction. This is because they would increase satisfaction during a person’s lifetime, and furthermore, may also extend the length of life itself since more satisfied people tend to live longer (Veenhoven 2008; Steptoe et al. 2015).

Which quality-of-life-improving policies should be targeted? As suggested by the analysis of potential mechanisms, potential candidates would be policies that aim to prevent noncommunicable diseases (e.g., via reduced tobacco use, healthy diets, or physical activity) and policies that aim to achieve a better integration of the elderly in today’s societies (e.g., via better provision of public transportation in remote areas). Further research on these and other potential mechanisms is required to decide upon the policies that are most promising. Moreover, future research needs to explore potential heterogeneity in order to better target policies to groups of recipients.

Agreeable individuals were more likely to have echo chamber-like consumption patterns and reported being upset by the news and disliking content which could be seen as offensive

Emerging political conflicts and the role of personality. Adam Peresman. PhD Thesis. University of Essex, 2021. http://repository.essex.ac.uk/30260/1/peresmanThesisUpload.pdf


The political systems of many Western, democratic countries are undergoing large changes.  Particular issues are taking on greater prominence. Cooperation and compromise are becoming more difficult. And, arguably, we are seeing the resurgence of “populist” styles of politics. This dissertation, comprised of three papers, aims to show how personality is involved in some of these changes taking place.

My first paper focuses on immigration attitudes in the UK and investigates how people with different personalities respond to rising levels of immigrants in their local areas. I show that the likely response is dependent both on the immigrant group, as well as one’s personality.  Moreover, I found evidence that openness and extraversion may moderate the effects of local immigrant levels.

My second paper, co-authored with Royce Carroll and Hanna Bäck, continues the research into immigration attitudes in the UK. Focusing on authoritarianism, we show that ‘right-wing authoritarianism’ is very strongly associated with immigration attitudes – much more so than competing measures, such as ‘social dominance orientation’, left-right placement, and even a measure of explicit prejudice. We also show that authoritarianism predicts a large preference for culturally similar immigrant groups, especially among high-skill immigrants.

My third paper turns to a new issue: affective polarization. I argue that personality may influence out-party hostility in a number of ways. Due to the wide variety of media choices available, personality may influence media selection, indirectly impacting levels of hostility.

One’s personality may also moderate the effects of news consumption. Finally, personality 9 may directly drive levels of hostility. While I did not find evidence of a moderation effect, personality traits were found to both influence media selection and directly impact levels of affective polarization.

These three papers demonstrate the importance of one’s disposition to many of the emerging  divisions we are witnessing in modern-day politics.

Can greater investment in infrastructure raise U.S. long-run output? Are infrastructure projects a good short-run stimulus to the economy? What about employment?

The Macroeconomic Consequences of Infrastructure Investment. Valerie A. Ramey. NBER Working Paper 27625, Jul 2020. DOI 10.3386/w27625

Abstract: Can greater investment in infrastructure raise U.S. long-run output? Are infrastructure projects a good short-run stimulus to the economy? This paper uses insights from the macroeconomics literature to address these questions. I begin by analyzing the effects of government investment in both a stylized neoclassical model and a medium-scale New Keynesian model, highlighting the economic mechanisms that govern the strength of the short-run and long-run impacts. The analysis confirms earlier findings that the implementation delays inherent in infrastructure projects reduce short-run multipliers in most cases. In contrast, long-run multipliers can be sizable when government capital is productive. Moreover, these multipliers are greater if the economy starts from a point below the socially optimal amount of public capital. Turning to empirical estimation, I use the theoretical model to explain the econometric challenges to estimating the elasticity of output to public infrastructure. Using both artificial data generated by simulations of the model and extensions of existing empirical work, I demonstrate how both general equilibrium effects and optimal choice of public capital are likely to impart upward biases to output elasticity estimates. Finally, I review and extend some empirical estimates of the short-run effects, focusing on infrastructure spending in the ARRA.

Morality is far more important than sociability (and competence) in predicting the evaluations we make of individuals and groups

The primacy of morality in impression development: Theory, research, and future directions. Marco Brambilla et al. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, May 3 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.aesp.2021.03.001

Abstract: Over the past few decades, two-factor models of social cognition have emerged as a dominant framework for understanding impression development. These models suggest that two dimensions—warmth and competence—are key in shaping our cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions toward social targets. More recently, research has jettisoned the warmth dimension, distinguishing instead between sociability (e.g., friendliness and likeability) and morality (e.g., honesty and trustworthiness) and showing that morality is far more important than sociability (and competence) in predicting the evaluations we make of individuals and groups. Presenting research from our laboratories, we show that moral categories are central at all stages of impression development from implicit assumptions, to information gathering and to final evaluations. Moreover, moral trait information has a dominant role in predicting people's behavioral reactions toward social targets. We also show that morality dominates impression development, because it is closely linked to the essential judgment of whether another party's intentions are beneficial or harmful. Thus, our research informs a new framework for understanding person and group perception: The moral primacy model (MPM) of impression development. We conclude by discussing how the MPM relates to classic and emerging models of social cognition and by outlining a trajectory for future research.

Keywords: MoralityImpression developmentPerson perceptionGroup impressions