Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Japan: The authors examined whether positive affect predicted a reduction of all-cause and cause-specific mortality as well as the onset of morbidity (heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer); the search failed

Nakagawa, Takeshi, Yukiko Nishita, Chikako Tange, Makiko Tomida, Rei Otsuka, Fujiko Ando, and Hiroshi Shimokata. 2021. “Does Positive Affect Predict Mortality and Morbidity?.” PsyArXiv. June 9. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Positive affect contributes to health and longevity. While most research has been conducted in individualistic societies where the experience and expression of positive emotions are highly valued, evidence remains scarce in collectivistic societies that de-emphasize the importance thereof. Employing 19-year longitudinal data of Japanese adults (age range 40‒79; N = 2,033), we examined whether positive affect predicted mortality and morbidity. Health outcomes were all-cause and cause-specific mortality as well as the onset of morbidity (heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer). After adjusting for relevant covariates, the Cox proportional hazards models revealed that positive affect predicted none of the outcomes. Our results did not replicate the health−benefits of positive affect. We discussed potential reasons for the null results.

We advance the hypothesis that women are as competitive as men once the incentive for winning includes factors that matter to women

Option to Cooperate Increases Women’s Competitiveness and Closes the Gender Gap. Alessandra Cassar, Mary L. Rigdon. Forthcoming: Evolution and Human Behavior, April 19, 2021.

Abstract. We advance the hypothesis that women are as competitive as men once the incentive for winning includes factors that matter to women. Allowing winners an opportunity to share some of their winnings with the low performers has gendered consequences for competitive behavior. We ground our work in an evolutionary framework in which winning competitions brings asymmetric benefits and costs to men and women. In the new environment, the potential to share some of the rewards from competition with others may afford women the benefit of reaping competitive gains without incurring some of its potential costs. An experiment (N = 438 in an online convenience sample of US adults) supports our hypothesis: a 26% gender gap in performance vanishes once a sharing option is included to an otherwise identical winner-take-all incentive scheme. Besides providing a novel experiment that challenges the paradigm that women are not as motivated to compete as men, our work proposes some suggestions for policy: including socially-oriented rewards to contracts may offer a novel tool to close the persistent labor market gender gap.

6 Discussion

We posit that having the availability of an option to share may incentivize women to compete, although most of the laboratory experiments prevent it by design. Our work demonstrates that the incentive structure critically affects what level of competitive performance is observed. The theoretical expectation that males are more competitive than females has produced laboratory tools fine-tuned to record a competitiveness trait as it gets expressed in males, but not necessarily in females, whose motivation to compete would get under-estimated when factors that matter to women are not included in the experiment. Most of the experimental literature focuses on winner-take-all contests, as they appear predominant in the economy. Our work suggests that under these remarkably exclusionary environments, women display a lower desire to compete, but, different incentive structures could be put in place to reduce such gaps. Our results demonstrate that women’s competitiveness gets expressed in different ways and reacts to different rewards. Furthermore, the classic winner-take-all environments commonly used may not even resemble real life competitive situations necessarily better than the modified design with the sharing option we advance here: CEOs compete for their companies’ shareholders (who are getting most of the benefits from the business’ success); prime ministers and politicians compete for the well-being of their constituencies and their countries. So many of the leadership positions in the economy would be better represented as competitions on behalf of a group. Experiments that include this component tend to find no gap in competitiveness. Still, we agree that many positions of power are gained mainly for exclusionary gains and, in these environments, women may indeed be turned off by the openly competitive nature and non-egalitarian distribution of the gains. It is in these work environments where we expect to see that a change of the incentives structure may encourage 25more women to enter and stay. Some companies (e.g. in Silicon Valley) are already starting to adopt compensation schemes based on teams’ performance rather than individual prizes. Such shifts may avoid distortions (by aligning personal incentives with the company’s goals) and, in addition, may encourage more women to compete. A lower female competitiveness has been found in many experiments around the world. Yet, the most recent cross-cultural studies and meta-analysis seem to suggest that such sex differences tend to be more pronounced in individualistic and gender-egalitarian societies rather than in more traditional societies at lower levels of economic development. Once greater availability of material and social resources removes the gender-neutral goal of subsistence, gender-specific ambitions and desires may emerge and more gender-equal access to resources may allow women and men to express preferences independently from each other (Giudice, 2015). Interestingly, gendered differences in preferences such as risk, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity, and trust have also been found to be positively associated with economic development as well as societal gender equality (Falk & Hermle, 2018). If it is confirmed that sex preferences vary even more at higher levels of development, a change in labor market incentives structure appears even more appealing as option. The gender stereotype that women are less competitive or less economically driven is costly, both to individual women who may be under-placed and under-paid and to society at large, erroneously looking disproportionately to men for leadership (Eagly et al., 1992; Rudman & Glick, 1999). Our work demonstrates that equal-seeming incentives can be structured differently — by being socially-oriented — and women respond by increasing performance. This result has important policy implications, since understanding these differences is key for designing institutional mechanisms and contracts that promote the reduction of inequalities; for example by modifying individual bonuses to include resource to be allocated to team members for reaching communal goals, by integrating salaries with benefits for children (e.g. vouchers for education), by awarding top employees with decision power over a company’s charitable contributions, and by focusing on the positive effects of one’s work for a desired group or valuable cause. In conclusion, our study is at the intersection of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, and biology and our findings may be of interest to a broad interdisciplinary scientific audience. Despite Darwin’s recognition of the importance of intra-sexual competition, the topic of female competitiveness has been largely ignored, until recently. Economists, looking for why women rarely reach top jobs, have accumulated a large body of experimental evidence pointing to women’s lower desire to compete; 26hence, the argument is that they self-select into less prominent and lower paying positions. Our experimental findings support the idea that women will compete as much as men once we substitute the winner-take-all incentives with a socially oriented option. Our work contributes a novel result to the much-debated topic of the gender wage gap, offering a different interpretation to the classic results, one for which the alleged gender differences in competitiveness cannot be appealed to. 

Civil disobedience in scientific authorship, & resistance and insubordination in science: The distribution of credit, resources & opportunities in science is heavily skewed due to unjust practices and incentives, hardwired into science’s rules

Civil disobedience in scientific authorship: Resistance and insubordination in science. Bart Penders & David M. Shaw. Policies and Quality Assurance, Volume 27, 2020 - Issue 6, Pages 347-371, May 14 2020.

Abstract: The distribution of credit, resources and opportunities in science is heavily skewed due to unjust practices and incentives, hardwired into science’s rules, guidelines and conventions. A form of resistance widely available is to break those rules. We review instances of rule-breaking in scientific authorship to allow for a redefinition of the concept of civil disobedience in the context of academic research, as well as the conditions on which the label applies. We show that, in contrast to whistleblowing or conscientious objection, civil disobedience targets science’s injustice on a more systemic level. Its further development will ease critical evaluation of deviant actions as well as helping us evaluate deviance, defiance and discontent in science beyond issues of authorship. However, empirically, civil disobedience in science engenders uncertainties and disagreements on the local status of both act and label.

Keywords: Civil disobedienceresistanceresearch integrityresearch governanceauthorshipprotest


Whether in the form of pseudonyms, guest authors or creative authorship attribution processes, civil disobedience in authorship serves the explicit purpose of demonstrating how many of the written and unwritten rules governing the distribution of credit and other resources in academia reinforce a long series of inequalities. The unwillingness of some authors to accept that they cannot give credit to those whom they feel legitimately deserve it, or cannot receive credit when they legitimately feel they should, and their willingness to act in a variety of ways, constitutes a critique of scientific infrastructures and their undesirable fall-out. Civil disobedience calls for critical examination of these infrastructures and invites them to reflect upon themselves. We do not claim that all the examples we included meet the formal criteria for civil disobedience provided by Thoreau, Schuyt or others. Many of them do not: some resemble civil disobedience but are based on laziness or annoyance rather than moral outrage, and others game the system rather than attempting to expose its weaknesses. In many cases the boundaries are very fuzzy.9 If anything, the examples have served as a training set for our redefinition of the notion for the context of science: the cases we discuss support a modification of their conception of civil disobedience for this particular academic context – although the consent requirement would most likely also benefit the conception of civil disobedience in many other sectors of society structured around collective action.

We believe that these modifications retain the conceptual core of civil disobedience as put forth by Thoreau and Schuyt, thereby allowing the retention of the label: the acts of resistance are not part of conventional academic practice, but neither do they constitute conscientious objection or whistleblowing. While they may appear limited in their practical effect in terms of changing the culture of science, they consistently draw attention to issues affecting researchers and also act as a means of combating the moral attrition imposed on researchers by injustices in science. Assembling these seemingly disparate actions under the label of civil disobedience in science will ease critical evaluation of deviant actions as well as helping us evaluate deviance, defiance and discontent in science beyond issues of authorship. To avoid abuse, an empirical focus remains vital, so that the label itself does not act as a legitimation in and of itself.

Scientific publishing practices will continue to evolve, and so will the policies, rules, guidelines and conventions that prescribe specific behavior. Along with prominent scholarship on the detrimental effects of the current socio-political infrastructures of science, civil disobedience is a critical voice that is easily ignored, or dismissed as harmless fun. We must realize though, that many of these policies, rules, guidelines and conventions are national and sometimes even regional (or limited to a single institute). The discussion of whether or not breaking a rule qualifies as civil disobedience is thus an empirical one, requiring the study of local practices and conventions as well as the motivations of particular agents, for instance: does an actor’s annoyance constitute moral outrage or not?

Answering these and other questions about civil disobedience requires data and the need for data also presents a lesson for how to legitimately shape and initiate civil disobedience. When documented, moral outrage, acts of deviance, communication about them and considerations underpinning all of them constitute such data. In the absence of such evidence, when authors are revealed to be guests only after the fact, and transparency about disobedience is lacking, the presumption must be that this is not a case of disobedience but of research misconduct (or at least detrimental research practice), with all the sanctions that that might entail. While we support the use of civil disobedience in science when done ethically, those engaging in it can actively articulate the boundary between practices that could be misconstrued as misconduct and those that represent civil disobedience by engaging with the question as an empirical matter.

We also cannot ignore the political dimensions of the problem. Power asymmetries in science place early career researchers at huge disadvantages, even in their ability to engage in civilly disobedient behavior when legitimately morally outraged. Tenure and other protective measures makes civil disobedience safer for senior faculty than for young researchers.10 To them, incomplete adherence to the aforementioned criteria may offer a proxy for that safety (especially the transparency and consent requirements) and manifestations in the form of satire offer similar protection – but they too can document the process. Ideally, we would see civil disobedience in faculty members such as in the case of Sarah Elgin, who included hundreds of students as authors on a publication. In fact, her actions are exemplary of civil disobedience: she has publically defended her actions when the contributions of all students were challenged as not living up to minimum requirements for authorship. As part of this, she referred to the mismatch between the reality of large-scale research and credit-distribution mechanisms. Her actions sparked immediate debate in the community about credit politics and inequality in science (for a list of examples, see Woolston 2015). In fact, she has done so more than once, as her lab’s web pages disclose. Despite the availability of such a, perhaps paradigmatic, example, in the international, global domain of science, uncertainties and disagreements on the status of resistance, digression, deviant behavior and the attribution of the label “civil disobedience” are likely to remain. Researching the rebellious makes fraud, fun and civil disobedience into strange bedfellows and urges us to take great care in attributing said labels.

After biting the gigantic female, epidermal tissues, & eventually the circulatory systems, fuse, so the male, whose only job is to yield sperm, depends on the female for nutriment, & the female becomes a self-fertilising hermaphroditic host

Precocious sexual parasitism in the deep sea ceratioid anglerfish, Cryptopsaras couesi Gill. Theodore W Pietsch. Nature volume 256, pages38–40. Jul 3 1975.

Abstract: The eleven families and nearly one hundred species of ceratioid anglerfish are distributed throughout the world's oceans below a depth of 500 m. The Ceratiidae, with two monotypic genera, Ceratias Kröyer and Cryptopsaras Gill, is one of four ceratioid families whose members exhibit a peculiar and unique mode of reproduction in which dwarfed males become permanently and parasitically attached to the body of a relatively gigantic female. Males of this family have large, forwardly directed eyes, apparently relying entirely on vision for their search and identification of a conspecific female. As in other ceratioid males, they are also equipped with a set of pincher-like denticles at the tips of their jaws for grasping and holding fast to a mate. Attachment is followed by fusion of epidermal tissues, and eventually by a uniting of the circulatory systems, so that the male, whose single function is to produce sperm, becomes dependent on the female for blood-transported nutriment, and the female becomes a kind of self-fertilising hermaphroditic host. Since its discovery 50 years ago, the story of sexual parasitism in ceratioid anglerfish has become a part of everyday scientific knowledge, yet no thoroughly satisfactory analysis of the known facts concerning this remarkable reproductive strategy has been made, in spite of the elegant work of Bertelsen1. This report describes sexual parasitism in surprisingly young females of C. couesi. Contrary to previous thought, it is now evident that parasitic attachment can take place at an extremely early age immediately following metamorphosis.

Check also

Are fathers a good substitute for mothers? Increasing proportion of father’s care shows negative associations with children’s weight and BMI velocity

Are fathers a good substitute for mothers? Paternal care and growth rates in Shodagor children. K. E. Starkweather, M. H. Keith, S. P. Prall, N. Alam, F. Zohora, M. Emery Thompson. Developmental Psychobiology, June 4 2021.

Abstract: Biparental care is a hallmark of human social organization, though paternal investment varies between and within societies. The facultative nature of paternal care in humans suggests males should invest when their care improves child survival and/or quality, though testing this prediction can be challenging because of the difficulties of empirically isolating paternal effects from those of other caregivers. Additionally, the broader context in which care is provided, vis-à-vis care from mothers and others, may lead to different child outcomes. Here, we examine the effects of paternal care on child growth among Shodagor fisher-traders, where fathers provide high levels of both additive and substitutive care, relative to mothers. We modeled seasonal z-scores and velocities for height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) outcomes using linear mixed models. Our evidence indicates that, as predicted, the context of paternal care is an important predictor of child outcomes. Results show that environmental seasonality and alloparental help contribute to a nuanced understanding of the impact of Shodagor paternal care on child physiology.

Stereotyping: Online dating sites portray women with greater body display, as younger, shorter, practicing feminine touch, holding subordinate body postures, maintaining seductive eye contact, and at an intimate distance from the ads’ audience

Sticking to stereotypes: a cross-cultural analysis of gender portrayals in homepage advertisements of online dating sites in 51 countries. Aditi Paul & Saifuddin Ahmed. The Social Science Journal, Jun 4 2021.

Abstract: Research shows that people hold gender-stereotypical beliefs when it comes to dating and courtship. We argue that online dating sites (ODSs) will portray men and women in stereotypical ways to be consistent with user expectations. We conduct a content analysis examining implicit and explicit gender stereotypes in the homepage advertisement (ad) images used by 662 ODSs from 51 countries. Results indicate that these sites use women more often than men in their homepage ads. Compared to men, ODSs portray women with greater body display, as younger, shorter, practicing feminine touch, holding subordinate body postures, maintaining seductive eye contact, and at an intimate distance from the ads’ audience. These gender-stereotypical depictions, by and large, stay consistent across countries. The negative impact that ODSs can have on interpersonal relationships by promoting such restrictive stereotypical portrayals of men and women is discussed.

KEYWORDS: Gender stereotypesonline datingcross-culturalGoffman

Brain and testis: more alike than previously thought?

Brain and testis: more alike than previously thought? Bárbara Matos, Stephen J. Publicover, Luis Filipe C. Castro, Pedro J. Esteves and Margarida Fardilha. June 2 2021.

Abstract: Several strands of evidence indicate the presence of marked similarities between human brain and testis. Understanding these similarities and their implications has become a topic of interest among the scientific community. Indeed, an association of intelligence with some semen quality parameters has been reported and a relation between dysfunctions of the human brain and testis has also been evident. Numerous common molecular features are evident when these tissues are compared, which is reflected in the huge number of common proteins. At the functional level, human neurons and sperm share a number of characteristics, including the importance of the exocytotic process and the presence of similar receptors and signalling pathways. The common proteins are mainly involved in exocytosis, tissue development and neuron/brain-associated biological processes. With this analysis, we conclude that human brain and testis share several biochemical characteristics which, in addition to their involvement in the speciation process, could, at least in part, be responsible for the expression of a huge number of common proteins. Nonetheless, this is an underexplored topic, and the connection between these tissues needs to be clarified, which could help to understand the dysfunctions affecting brain and testis, as well as to develop improved therapeutic strategies.

1. Introduction

The human body is an orchestrated set of different organs that work together, contributing to the maintenance of overall health and homeostasis. The human brain is the control center of the nervous system, playing a critical coordination role. It receives signals from sensory organs and translates them into functional information to multiple physiological compartments such as muscles and glands. In addition, the brain is also responsible for speech production, memory storage, and the elaboration of thought and emotion [1,2]. The human testis is the male gonad, and is of the utmost importance for reproduction and species evolution. It has two main functions: production of gametes (sperm) and synthesis/secretion of hormones (primarily, testosterone) [3,4].

Despite these clearly dissimilar functions and the apparent structural and morphological differences between human brain and testis, in the last four decades it has become increasingly evident that these tissues share several features. The similarity was further confirmed by analysis of gene expression, with evidence that human brain and testis, among all the organs of the body, share the highest number of genes [5,6]. More recently, authors found a positive correlation between general intelligence and three key measures of semen quality: sperm concentration, sperm count and sperm motility [7]. A possible association between male sexual dysfunction and neurological disorders was also proposed by several authors [8,9]. These findings raise some interesting questions. (i) Why do the human brain and testis share a similar gene expression profile? (ii) Have these tissues a similar cellular organization and cooperation between cell types? (iii) Are their functions related? (iv) What are the implications of the similarities between human brain and testis?

In this context, we review the similarities between human brain and testis, and between human neuron and sperm at the cellular and molecular levels. The proteomic profile of the two human tissues (brain and testis) and the two types of cells (neuron and sperm) were also compared and critically discussed. 

Dissociative Amnesia: Most case studies reviewed offered wek evidence, plagued by ambiguity, & failed to rule out plausible alternative explanations of dissociative amnesia, such as ordinary forgetting and malingering

A Critical Review of Case Studies on Dissociative Amnesia. Ivan Mangiulli et al. Clinical Psychological Science, June 8, 2021.

Abstract: Dissociative amnesia, defined as an inability to remember important autobiographical experiences, usually of a stressful nature, is a controversial phenomenon. We systematically reviewed 128 case studies of dissociative amnesia reported in 60 articles that appeared in peer-reviewed journals in English over the past 20 years (2000–2020). Our aim was to examine to what extent these cases met core features of dissociative amnesia. All cases were about reports of autobiographical memory loss, but the evidence offered in support of a dissociative amnesia interpretation was often weak and plagued by an ambiguous heterogeneity with respect to nature, etiology, and differential diagnoses of alleged memory loss. Most case studies failed to rule out plausible alternative explanations of dissociative amnesia, such as ordinary forgetting and malingering. We encourage clinicians and researchers to more critically investigate alleged cases of dissociative amnesia and provide criteria for how a dissociative amnesia case ideally would look like.

Keywords: dissociative amnesia, organic amnesia, trauma, ordinary forgetting, malingering