Monday, May 24, 2021

Individuals made to feel socially excluded rated their surroundings as quieter; following social exclusion, individuals showed a preference for louder volume; exposure to loud stimuli compensated detrimental psych effects of social exclusion

Loudness Perceptions Influence Feelings of Interpersonal Closeness and Protect Against Detrimental Psychological Effects of Social Exclusion. Deming Wang et al. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 24, 2021.

Abstract: We propose that perceptions of auditory loudness and interpersonal closeness are bidirectionally related. Across 12 experiments (total N = 2,219; 10 preregistered; with Singaporean, British, U.S. American, and Australian participants), we demonstrated that louder audio made people feel physically (Study 1a) and socially (Study 1b) closer to others, presumably because loudness activates interpersonal closeness-related concepts implicitly (Studies 1c and 1d). This loudness–interpersonal closeness effect was observed across diverse samples (Studies 2a, 3a, and S1), for longer listening intervals (Study 2b), and in natural settings (Studies 3a and 3b). Conversely, individuals made to feel socially excluded rated their surroundings as quieter (Study 4). Furthermore, following social exclusion, individuals showed a preference for louder volume (Study 5). Finally, exposure to loud stimuli mitigated detrimental psychological effects of social exclusion (Study 6). Theoretical implications for the social cognition of loudness, social exclusion and compensatory strategies, and practical implications for ameliorating loneliness are discussed.

Keywords: auditory loudness, interpersonal closeness, physical proximity, social proximity, social exclusion

Economic policy should focus on preventing recessions rather than trying to ameliorate their effects

Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years? Robert E. Hall & Marianna Kudlyak. NBER Working Paper 27234, May 2020. DOI 10.3386/w27234

Abstract: It is a remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery began, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate was stable at around 0.55 percentage points per year. The economy seems to have had an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. There was high variation in monetary and fiscal policy, and in productivity and labor-force growth, but little variation in the rate of decline of unemployment. We explore models of the labor market's self-recovery that imply gradual working off of unemployment following a recession shock. These models explain why the recovery of market-wide unemployment is so much slower than the rate at which individual unemployed workers find new jobs. The reasons include the fact that the path that individual job-losers follow back to stable employment often includes several brief interim jobs, sometimes separated by time out of the labor force. We show that the evolution of the labor market involves more than the direct effect of persistent unemployment of job-losers from the recession shock---unemployment during the recovery is elevated for people who did not lose jobs during the recession.


[During a recovery, unemployment seems little responsive to demand disturbances. Economic policy should focus on preventing recessions rather than trying to ameliorate their effects.]

11 Concluding Remarks

Why has the US economy recovered so consistently from every recession in the past 70 years? Our answer is that the labor market operates according to the principles of Diamond, Mortensen, and Pissarides, with one major new element: unemployment itself inhibits the rebuilding process that follows a recession that has caused a spike in unemployment. Strong negative feedback results in slow removal of excess unemployment.

Our view of the recovery of the US economy from a recessionary shock differs from the standard view. In the standard view, unemployment is high following a recessionary shock because there is a shortfall of demand. As time passes, demand recovers and unemployment returns to normal. Under the standard view, the reliable persistence of unemployment during recoveries arises from persistence in demand.

In our view, unemployment remains high after a recession and declines only gradually, because of frictions in rebuilding employment. These frictions impede both the individuals who lost jobs from the recession and those who did not, but found it more difficult to navigate the labor market.

According to this view of the labor market, the average level of unemployment depends on the frequency and severity of recessionary shocks. The natural rate of unemployment is not immutable. Instability arising from monetary policy shocks prior to the 1990s and financial shocks since then tended to elevate average unemployment, while long stretches of stability in the 1990s and 2010s demonstrated that the economy could achieve unemployment around 3.5 percent.

Rolf Degen summarizing... Meta-analysis: The images we summon up in our mind's eye do nor tap into the visual perception apparatus at the back of the brain

Visual mental imagery engages the left fusiform gyrus, but not the early visual cortex: A meta-analysis of neuroimaging evidence. Alfredo Spagna et al. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 122, March 2021, Pages 201-217.


• Models of visual mental imagery highlight the importance of early visual areas.

• Temporal, not occipital lesions impair visual mental imagery in neurological patients.

• We performed an ALE meta-analysis of fMRI studies of visual mental imagery.

• Visual mental imagery engages fronto-parietal networks and the left fusiform gyrus.

• Our results reconcile neuroimaging evidence with cognitive neurology.

Abstract: The dominant neural model of visual mental imagery (VMI) stipulates that memories from the medial temporal lobe acquire sensory features in early visual areas. However, neurological patients with damage restricted to the occipital cortex typically show perfectly vivid VMI, while more anterior damages extending into the temporal lobe, especially in the left hemisphere, often cause VMI impairments. Here we present two major results reconciling neuroimaging findings in neurotypical subjects with the performance of brain-damaged patients: (1) A large-scale meta-analysis of 46 fMRI studies, of which 27 investigated specifically visual mental imagery, revealed that VMI engages fronto-parietal networks and a well-delimited region in the left fusiform gyrus. (2) A Bayesian analysis showed no evidence for imagery-related activity in early visual cortices. We propose a revised neural model of VMI that draws inspiration from recent cytoarchitectonic and lesion studies, whereby fronto-parietal networks initiate, modulate, and maintain activity in a core temporal network centered on the fusiform imagery node, a high-level visual region in the left fusiform gyrus.

Keywords: Fronto-parietal networksAttentionWorking memoryFusiform gyrusTemporal lobe

Maternal tendencies (self-reported ideal number of children) are related to physical feminization and that this effect may, at least in part, reflect the influence of the hormone estrogen

Maternal tendencies in women are associated with estrogen levels and facial femininity. Miriam J. Law  et al. Hormones and Behavior, Volume 61, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 12-16.

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that women with higher maternal tendencies are shorter and have lower testosterone levels than those with lower maternal tendencies. Here we report two studies that investigated the relationships between maternal tendencies and two further measures of physical masculinization/feminization; urinary estrogen metabolite (estrone-3-glucuronide: E1-3G) levels (Study 1) and rated facial femininity (Study 2). In Study 1, nulliparous women reported both their ideal number of children and ideal own age at first child and also provided urine samples. There was a significant positive correlation between measured late-follicular estrogen levels and reported ideal number of children. In Study 2, analyses of facial cues in two independent samples of women showed that the average facial characteristics of women who reported desiring many children were rated as more feminine than those desiring fewer children. Collectively, these results support the proposal that maternal tendencies are related to physical feminization and that this effect may, at least in part, reflect the influence of the hormone estrogen.


► How maternal tendencies in women relate to two measures of physical feminization. ► Two measures of physical feminization used are urinary estrogen metabolite (E1-3G) levels and rated facial femininity. ► Women desiring more children have higher estrogen metabolite (E1-3G) levels than women desiring fewer children. ► Faces of women desiring many children were rated more feminine than faces of women desiring fewer children. ► Maternal tendencies (psychological feminization) are linked to physical feminization.

Keywords: EstrogenMaternal behaviorReproductive strategyMaternal tendenciesFacial attractivenessSex role

From 2020... Regional Personality Differences Predict Variation in COVID-19 Infections, Deaths and Social Distancing Behavior

From 2020... Peters, Heinrich, Friedrich M. Götz, Tobias Ebert, Sandrine Müller, Jason Rentfrow, Samuel D. Gosling, Martin Obschonka, et al. 2020. “Regional Personality Differences Predict Variation in COVID-19 Infections, Deaths and Social Distancing Behavior.” PsyArXiv. August 6. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Social and compliance behaviors play a critical role in the transmission of COVID-19. Consequently, regional variation in personality traits that capture individual differences in these behaviors may offer new insight into the spread of COVID-19. We combine self-reported personality data (3.5M people), COVID-19 prevalence and death rates, and behavioral mobility observations (29M people) to show that regional personality differences in the US and Germany predict COVID-19-related outcomes and behaviors incremental to a conservative set of socio-demographic, economic, and pandemic-related control variables. Earlier onsets of COVID-19 and steeper initial growth rates were related to higher levels of Openness and lower levels of Neuroticism. We also show that (i) regional personality is associated with objective indicators of social distancing, (ii) the effects of regional personality can change over time (Openness), and that (iii) the effects of regional personality do not always converge with those observed at the individual level (Agreeableness and Conscientiousness).