Monday, May 10, 2021

More women (45.8%) than men (21.6%) report that they wished they had waited until an older age to have sex; fewer women (1.5%) than men (13.9%) wished that it had occurred sooner; no differences in actual age of sexual debut

Perhaps It Was Too Soon: College Students’ Reflections on the Timing of Their Sexual Debut. Susan Sprecher et al. The Journal of Sex Research , Mar 1 2021.

Abstract: Early sexual debut has been a focus of social scientific research due to its association with adverse circumstances and negative outcomes. However, there has been a recent shift to considering not only chronological age, but also the degree to which the event is viewed to be optimally timed (i.e., the perception that it occurred at the “right time” versus too soon). The purpose of this study was to assess how individual/family background variables and contextual aspects of the experience (including partner and relationship aspects) are associated with both the actual age at sexual debut and the perceived acceptability of the timing of the event. Using data collected from students at a U.S. university between 1990 and 2019 (N = 6,430), several factors (in addition to chronological age) were associated with the perceived acceptability of the timing of sexual debut. Strong gender differences were found – women perceived their timing to be less acceptable, even though they did not differ from men in actual age at sexual debut. Other robust predictors of perceived acceptability included (lower) religious involvement and recalling desire (for the experience), pleasure, and lower guilt at the time. Only slight changes occurred over the 30-year period in age at sexual debut and perceived acceptability of the timing. Suggestions for future research are provided and implications for sex education/sexual health interventions are discussed.

Attractive‐disadvantageous partners were preferred to the same extent (or more) as unattractive‐advantageous partners; the effect of attractiveness was fully explained by the perceived trustworthiness of the financial partners

What is a face worth? Facial attractiveness biases experience‐based monetary decision‐making. Gayathri Pandey  Vivian Zayas. British Journal of Psychology, May 9 2021.

Abstract: There is ample evidence that attractive individuals, across diverse domains, are judged more favourably. But most research has focused on single/one‐shot decisions, where decision‐makers receive no feedback following their decisions, and outcomes of their judgements are inconsequential to the self. Would attractive individuals still be judged favourably in experience‐based decision‐making where people make iterative decisions and receive consequential feedback (money gained/lost) following each decision? To investigate this question, participants viewed headshots of four financial partners presented side‐by‐side and repeatedly (over 50–100 trials) selected partners that would help maximize their profits. Following every partner‐selection, participants received feedback about the net monetary gains/losses the partner had conferred. Unbeknownst to participants, two partners (one attractive, one unattractive) were equally advantageous (conferred net‐gains overtime) and two partners (one attractive and one unattractive) were equally disadvantageous (conferred net‐losses overtime). Even though attractive and unattractive partners were equally profitable and despite receiving feedback, participants selected attractive partners more throughout the task were quicker to reselect them even when they conferred losses and judged them as more helpful. Indeed, attractive‐disadvantageous partners were preferred to the same extent (or more) as unattractive‐advantageous partners. Importantly, the effect of attractiveness on decision‐making was fully explained by the perceived trustworthiness of the financial partners.

Scratch-cards are less strongly associated with problem gambling, since it is less continuous than slot machines, has a slower event frequency, & near-miss design features are unlikely to have a significant impact upon behaviour

Empirical Evidence Relating to the Relative Riskiness of Scratch-Card Gambling. Paul Delfabbro & Jonathan Parke. Journal of Gambling Studies, May 10 2021.

Abstract: Scratch cards (SCs) or tickets are lottery-based games which are played by scratching to reveal numbers, letters or symbols to win prizes. Such activities have sometimes been likened to paper-based slot-machines, but relatively little systematic analyses have been conducted to examine the risk or harm associated with these activities. In this paper, we provide a narrative review of the peer-reviewed literature relating to the potential association between SCs and problem gambling and what is known from publically available data sources (e.g., prevalence studies and treatment data). Evidence is analysed within the context of the Bradford Hill Criteria. Both prevalence and peer reviewed literature suggest that SCs are less strongly associated with problem gambling than most other gambling activities. We argue that this difference is due to the nature of the products. SC gambling differs from slot-machine gambling in a number of structural ways; it is less continuous; has a slower event frequency; and, emerging literature suggests that near-miss design features are unlikely to have a significant impact upon behaviour. Thus, in our view, and based on the empirical evidence, it appears that earlier parallels between SCs and slot-machines now appear more tenuous. Nevertheless, we encourage further investigation into the potential impact of new and emerging online lottery products because of the more immersive, faster and more technology-based nature of these products.

Moving toward a single‐payer system will reduce billing and insurance‐related costs, but certain reforms to contracts could generate at least as many cost savings without radically reforming the health system

Reducing administrative costs in US health care: Assessing single payer and its alternatives. David Scheinker  Barak D. Richman  Arnold Milstein  Kevin A. Schulman. Health Services Research, March 31 2021.


Objective: Excess administrative costs in the US health care system are routinely referenced as a justification for comprehensive reform. While there is agreement that these costs are too high, there is little understanding of what generates administrative costs and what policy options might mitigate them.

Data Sources: Literature review and national utilization and expenditure data.

Study Design: We developed a simulation model of physician billing and insurance‐related (BIR) costs to estimate how certain policy reforms would generate savings. Our model is based on structural elements of the payment process in the United States and considers each provider's number of health plan contracts, the number of features in each health plan, the clinical and nonclinical processes required to submit a bill for payment, and the compliance costs associated with medical billing.

Data Extraction: For several types of visits, we estimated fixed and variable costs of the billing process. We used the model to estimate the BIR costs at a national level under a variety of policy scenarios, including variations of a single payer “Medicare‐for‐All” model that extends fee‐for‐service Medicare to the entire population and policy efforts to reduce administrative costs in a multi‐payer model. We conducted sensitivity analyses of a wide variety of model parameters.

Principal Findings: Our model estimates that national BIR costs are reduced between 33% and 53% in Medicare‐for‐All style single‐payer models and between 27% and 63% in various multi‐payer models. Under a wide range of assumptions and sensitivity analyses, standardizing contracts generates larger savings with less variance than savings from single‐payer strategies.

Conclusion: Although moving toward a single‐payer system will reduce BIR costs, certain reforms to payer‐provider contracts could generate at least as many administrative cost savings without radically reforming the entire health system. BIR costs can be meaningfully reduced without abandoning a multi‐payer system.

People in disaster situations tend to adhere to their social expectations; some groups have cohesive subsets of members who can split off from each other during evacuation without violating their group’s internal expectations

Network Structure in Small Groups and Survival in Disasters. Benjamin Cornwell, Jing-Mao Ho. Social Forces, soab036, April 29 2021.

Abstract: People in disaster and emergency situations (e.g., building fires) tend to adhere to the social obligations and expectations that are embedded in their preexisting roles and relationships. Accordingly, people survive or perish in groups—specifically, alongside those to whom they were connected before the situation emerged. This article uses social network analysis to expand on this collective behavior account. Specifically, we consider structural heterogeneity with respect to the internal configurations of social ties that compose small groups facing these situations together. Some groups are composed of cohesive subsets of members who can split off from each other during evacuation without violating their group’s internal role-based expectations. We argue that groups that possess this “breakaway” structure can respond to emergencies more flexibly. We explore this using data from the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire of 1977, which killed 165 people. Our data include 303 groups (“parties”) that consisted of 746 people who were present in the dining room where most of the fatalities occurred. Fatality rates were significantly lower in groups that were internally structured such that they could split up in different ways during the escape while still maintaining their strongest social bonds.