Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Exercise-Induced Orgasm and Its Association with Sleep Orgasms and Orgasms During Partnered Sex: About 9pct of Americans reported having ever experienced exercise-induced orgasm

Exercise-Induced Orgasm and Its Association with Sleep Orgasms and Orgasms During Partnered Sex: Findings From a U.S. Probability Survey. Debby Herbenick, Tsung-chieh Fu, Callie Patterson & J. Dennis Fortenberry. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Aug 24 2021.

Abstract: Prior research has described women’s experiences with exercise-induced orgasm (EIO). However, little is known about men’s experiences with EIO, the population prevalence of EIO, or the association of EIO with other kinds of orgasm. Using U.S. probability survey data, the objectives of the present research were to: (1) describe the lifetime prevalence of exercise-induced orgasm (EIO) and sleep orgasm; (2) assess respondents’ age at first experience of EIO as well as the type of exercise connected with their first EIO; (3) examine associations between lifetime EIO experience and orgasm at respondents’ most recent partnered sexual event; and (4) examine associations between lifetime EIO experience and sleep orgasms. Data were from the 2014 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (1012 men and 1083 women, ages 14 years and older). About 9% of respondents reported having ever experienced exercise-induced orgasm. More men than women reported having experienced orgasm during sleep at least once in their lifetime (66.3% men, 41.8% women). The mean age for women’s first EIO was significantly older than men (22.8 years women, 16.8 years men). Respondents described a wide range of exercises as associated with their first EIO (i.e., climbing ropes, abdominal exercise, yoga). Lifetime EIO experience was associated with lifetime sleep orgasms but not with event-level orgasm during partnered sex. Implications related to understanding orgasm and recommendations for clinicians and sex educators are discussed.

Rolf Degen summarizing... Although many individuals in committed relationships had a crush on a third party, they did not want to play out their attraction, but just to keep him/her as a silent reserve in the sidelines

Loving you from afar: Attraction to others (“crushes”) among adults in exclusive relationships, communication, perceived outcomes, and expectations of future intimate involvement. Lucia F. O’Sullivan, Charlene F. Belu, Justin R. Garcia. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, August 24, 2021.

Abstract: Crushes are uncommunicated, often unilateral, attractions to an individual, generally viewed as a state of unfulfilled longing. They are typically attributed to young people, but recent research suggests that these experiences might be common among adults as well, including among those in committed relationships. Combining findings from three studies across four datasets, this mixed-methods research explores crushes experienced by individuals in committed intimate relationships. Study 1 explored types of crushes, preferences and nature of exchanges among adults in committed relationships and compares their reports to a sample of single individuals. Study 2 examined perceived outcomes of crushes as a way to assess needs or goals served by crushes. Study 3 investigated expectations about whether and how the crush relationship might evolve into a more intimate relationship. A total of 3,585 participants (22–45 years, 53.1% women) completed anonymous online surveys addressing crush experiences and related dynamics. Those in committed relationships typically did not intend to communicate their attraction to the target, unlike single individuals. Associated outcomes were primarily positive, including excitement, increased esteem, and fantasy/escape. The vast majority reported no expectations that these crushes would evolve into more intimate relationships, replacing their current relationship. This work adds to our understanding of attraction outside of traditional human courtship processes, with implications for the study of intimate relationship development and maintenance.

Keywords: Attraction, committed, crush, intimate, romantic, sexual, single

Check also Belu, C., & O'Sullivan, L. (2019). Roving Eyes: Predictors of Crushes in Ongoing Romantic Relationships and Implications for Relationship Quality. Journal of Relationships Research, 10, E2. doi:10.1017/jrr.2018.21.

And Walk the Line: How Successful Are Efforts to Maintain Monogamy in Intimate Relationships? Brenda H. Lee, Lucia F. O’Sullivan. Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 18 2019.

And Why Find My Own When I Can Take Yours?: The Quality of Relationships That Arise From Successful Mate Poaching. Charlene F. Belu and Lucia F. O'Sullivan. Journal of Relationships Research, Volume 9, 2018, e6.

This series of exploratory studies on crushes was designed to provide some early insights into the nature of exchanges with attractive others for those in committed relationships, outcomes associated with having these attractions, and expectations of future involvement with the target of one’s attraction. Moving us beyond a focus on attraction to others as an indicator of poor relationship quality or a precursor to infidelity, the current series of studies established that these attractions most often seemed instrumental in gaining fairly positive psychosocial outcomes, such as diversion, fun, or excitement.

Overall, few individuals in ostensibly exclusive relationships reported plans to advance the crush relationship further. By comparison to singles, those in relationships were more inclined to keep their attraction covert and were more satisfied to simply flirt with someone for whom they experienced attraction rather than communicate their interest directly.

These findings raise the obvious question of why humans might exhibit and entertain feelings of crushes in the first place, if they are expected to go unfulfilled—that is, unlike in other models of attraction, an individual does not seek out the object of the crush. On the surface, this would seem to be a poor use of an individual’s time and effort, resources meant to be adaptively leveraged in mating contexts. It is possible that these crush attractions are simply inevitable, that we cannot turn off the psychological system that helps us orient toward potential partners when we enter an established relationship. The Instrumentality Principle would indicate that these behaviors meet a motivational priority, moving an individual toward a valuable goal. However, these attractions might reassure individuals that there are other options should the primary relationship falter (i.e., mate switching; Buss et al., 2017). Similarly, many young adults report maintaining “back burner” relationships, that is, a connection with someone who they might someday connect with romantically or sexually (Dibble & Drouin, 2014Dibble et al., 2015). Crushes might comprise a means of gauging or testing one’s commitment and interest in preserving a primary relationship.

We did not assess relationship quality of one’s primary relationship. Although participants’ self-reports suggest that crushes are relatively benign experiences, further research is needed to examine under which conditions a crush might undermine relationship quality. Intensity of one’s attraction, especially if it increases over time, mutuality of the attraction and the response of the crush target should they want to pursue a relationship are likely important moderators, as is quality of the primary relationship in terms of satisfaction and commitment. Primary relationships of lower quality are likely more vulnerable to one or both partners becoming distracted by another. We also should examine more closely the impact of the secrecy involved with crushes and indeed how much is concealed from a primary partner. Secret attraction when linked with fear of its being exposed might amplify attraction through misattribution of arousal (“excitement transfer” Marin et al., 2017Meston & Frohlich, 2003) or frustration attraction (Fisher, 2005).

There are other limitations that need to be acknowledged. Our use of cross-sectional data rather than longitudinal data renders any speculation about links to relationship outcomes unwarranted. A longer trajectory, ideally using prospective methods, would allow researchers to better capture outcomes associated with attractions to others. This is a limitation of the study designs, and short of tracking individuals from the onset of their relationship, one that cannot be easily overcome. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that self-reports about sensitive topics, such as attractions to others, are often subject to issues of presentation biases. However, in every case, we ensured that participants were fully informed of the anonymous nature of their reports, which we believe offset some of the biases these concerns might introduce.

Although we were able to study gender differences to some extent, we were only able to explore differences in terms of sexual identity in the first of our three studies. Those who identified as sexual minorities (gay, lesbian, or bisexual) reported more types of crushes than did those who identified as heterosexual. This finding might reflect pressure among sexual minority individuals to keep same-sex attractions hidden. Exploring these attractions in larger and/or more diverse populations will help us determine how a mechanism that evolved to guide individuals toward a viable romantic and sexual partner with whom we intend to bond and mate (Berscheid, & Reis, 1998Fisher, 1998Sprecher & Hatfield, 1985) operates in contexts in which an intimate relationship is ostensibly not the goal.

More intelligent individuals have a higher tendency to fish for good news

Si Chen & Carl Heese, 2021. "Fishing for Good News: Motivated Information Acquisition," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2021_223v3, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim.

Abstract: The literature on motivated reasoning argues that people skew their beliefs to feel moral when acting selfishly. We study information acquisition of decision-makers with a motive to form positive moral self-views and a motive to act selfishly. Theoretically and experimentally, we find that a motive to act selfishly makes individuals 'fish for good news': they are more likely to continue (stop) acquiring information, having received mostly information suggesting that acting selfishly is harmful (harmless) to others. We find that fishing for good news may improve social welfare. Finally, more intelligent individuals have a higher tendency to fish for good news.

5 Concluding remarks

Theoretically and experimentally, this paper analyzes the effect of the trade-off between a motive to feel moral and a competing egoistic motive on individuals’ information acquisition strategies. Two features of our study stand out relative to the existing literature. First, we consider environments with rich information sources. This ensures that the predicted and the observed information choices are not confounded by exogenous limitations imposed by the study. Theoretically, it means that we characterize the globally optimal information acquisition strategy. Empirically, it allows us to observe uncensored data on the individuals’ information strategies and uncover novel phenomena. Second, we consider a baseline in which the egoistic motive is removed from the decision. Comparing this baseline with the scenario with an egoistic motive, we can study the causal effects of the trade-off between competing motives. Three main findings emerge: first, having competing motives makes individuals fish for good news. Specifically, individuals are more likely to continue acquiring information after receiving information suggesting negative externalities of a selfish decision (‘bad news’). Reversely, after receiving information indicating no harm (‘good news’), individuals are more likely to stop. Second, theoretically, fishing for good news may improve social welfare. This prediction is supported by our data. Finally, the tendency to fish for good news is stronger among individuals with above-median cognitive ability— evidence that fishing for good news is more likely a strategic behaviour than a result of cognitive limitations. The paper opens up directions of future research. The key feature of our setting is that the decision-maker has two competing motives—one urging the individual to choose a particular action, and the other urging her to act upon her belief about an unknown state. Such a trade-off is present in many economic contexts beyond moral decisions. Imagine a food lover presented with a delicious new dish. While she longs for the dish, she also wants to believe that the food that she consumes is healthy. How would she inquire about the 40 nutrition facts of the food? Similar trade-offs arise for example in smoking and workout decisions.32 Besides, it might be interesting to investigate information acquisition strategies in field settings where morality and egoism might clash. Last, the theoretical model can be used to study other questions about individuals’ information preferences—a recently active area of empirical research.33 For example, one may analyze preferences over information skewness in settings where individuals have two competing motives. 

Individuals with high digital literacy are less likely to fall for fake news, but no less willing to share those

Sirlin, Nathaniel, Ziv Epstein, Antonio A. Arechar, and David G. Rand. 2021. “Digital Literacy and Susceptibility to Misinformation.” PsyArXiv. August 21. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: It has been widely argued that social media users with low digital literacy – who lack fluency with basic technological concepts related to the internet – are more likely to fall for online misinformation, but surprisingly little research has examined this association empirically. In a large survey experiment involving true and false news posts about politics and COVID-19, we find that digital literacy is indeed an important predictor of the ability to tell truth from falsehood when judging headline accuracy. However, digital literacy is not a significant predictor of users’ intentions to share true versus false headlines. This observation reinforces the disconnect between accuracy judgments and sharing intentions, and suggests that interventions beyond merely improving digital literacy are likely needed to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

The androgynous brain is advantageous for mental health and well-being

Brain sex differences: the androgynous brain is advantageous for mental health and well-being. Qiang Luo & Barbara J. Sahakian. Neuropsychopharmacology, Aug 16 2021.

Abstract: Studies of personality and sex differences have reported that male’s and female’s basic personality traits appear to differ on average, in several respects [1]. From a psychological perspective, these sex differences are thought to result from perceived gender roles, gender socialisation and socio-structural power differentials, although the evolutionary theory has also been used to explain these differences [1]. However, psychological studies have already suggested that people can be androgynous, having mixed personality traits that are stereotypically considered to be male or female [2]. Furthermore, most of us are in fact probably somewhere on a spectrum between what we stereotypically consider a male or a female [2].

Check also Does gender role explain a high risk of depression? A meta-analytic review of 40 years of evidence. Jingyuan Lin et al. Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 294, Nov 1 2021, Pages 261-278. Androgynous individuals are less likely to suffer depression while undifferentiated individuals are more susceptible to depression; masculinity traits seem to be a robust protective factor for depression regardless of gender

Nudges are behavioral interventions to subtly steer citizens’ choices toward “desirable” options: Mapping Conditions of Susceptibility to Nudge Influence

Nudgeability: Mapping Conditions of Susceptibility to Nudge Influence. Denise de Ridder, Floor Kroese, Laurens van Gestel. Perspectives on Psychological Science, August 23, 2021.

Abstract: Nudges are behavioral interventions to subtly steer citizens’ choices toward “desirable” options. An important topic of debate concerns the legitimacy of nudging as a policy instrument, and there is a focus on issues relating to nudge transparency, the role of preexisting preferences people may have, and the premise that nudges primarily affect people when they are in “irrational” modes of thinking. Empirical insights into how these factors affect the extent to which people are susceptible to nudge influence (i.e., “nudgeable”) are lacking in the debate. This article introduces the new concept of nudgeability and makes a first attempt to synthesize the evidence on when people are responsive to nudges. We find that nudge effects do not hinge on transparency or modes of thinking but that personal preferences moderate effects such that people cannot be nudged into something they do not want. We conclude that, in view of these findings, concerns about nudging legitimacy should be softened and that future research should attend to these and other conditions of nudgeability.

Keywords: nudges, awareness, preferences, dual-process models

In this article, we examined conditions that determine people’s susceptibility to nudge influence in an effort to probe common assumptions about when nudges are effective in guiding people’s choices. Although it has been repeatedly emphasized that nudges are “gentle directions” to promote decisions in people’s own best interest, there has been considerable debate about nudging legitimacy insofar as it may violate principles of good public policy that require transparency, acknowledgment of citizen preferences, and a reasonable degree of informed decision-making. We have highlighted these issues from the viewpoint of nudge effectiveness to determine nudgeability under conditions of disclosure of nudge presence and purpose, nudge-congruent and nudge-incongruent preferences, and either or not being able to deliberate on one’s choice (System 1 or System 2 processing).

Our review reveals that people are equally responsive to nudges regardless of whether their presence, purpose, or working mechanisms are disclosed—suggesting that transparency does not compromise nudge effects. Our analysis also shows that preexisting preferences matter insofar as nudges prove generally ineffective when not concordant with goals and intentions. Rather, nudges appear to have the greatest impact on choice when people have less developed preferences because they are ambivalent or in doubt about their choice. We further showed that nudges are not specifically effective when people are in a System 1 state of mind, which would, according to the prevailing assumption, make them more susceptible to nudge influence. It is uncertain, however, to what extent explicit encouragement to reflect on choices may attenuate nudge effects, although potentially weaker effects after a consideration of options may also be due to more articulated preferences.

Together, these findings call for greater scrutiny of the theoretical underpinnings of nudges. Nudges have been presented as typical System 1 devices targeting heuristics and biases that would require unawareness of their influence while, according to some (Bovens, 2009Steffel et al., 2016), disregarding people’s preferences for a particular choice. More recent theoretical work displays growing attention for a new generation of nudges that explicitly target System 2 processes (Sunstein, 2016). “Overt” System 2 nudges that are easy to discern are generally better accepted by the target population (Bang et al., 2018Felsen et al., 2013Jung & Mellers, 2016Sunstein, 2016), presumably because they do not rely on “unconscious processing.” Moreover, System 2 nudges are expected to boost people’s decision-making capacities (Hertwig, 2017Hertwig & Grüne-Yanoff, 2017). Although these novel types of nudges may thus potentially be more (or at least equally) effective and more legitimate, our review shows that “traditional” nudges already do not depend on being hidden and operating in the dark.

In view of these findings, note that this initial review primarily serves the purpose of agenda setting. More systematic research on which conditions make people more (or less) responsive to nudges is warranted. This applies to all three dimensions of nudgeability that our central to our review. Once more evidence becomes available on these factors, a meta-analytic synthesis of the literature would give a deeper insight into how each of these factors determines nudgeability. Future research should also take into account what type of nudge is involved. As alluded to in the introduction, “nudge” is an umbrella term that relates to many types of interventions. A better categorization of nudges in general and a particular focus on the relevance of a distinction between so-called System 1 nudges (of which people are supposedly unaware) and System 2 nudges (that aim to support people in reflecting upon their choices) are needed to make a significant step forward in unraveling when and why people are susceptible to the influence of nudges.

Examining the role of the type of nudge is important because many studies on the conditions of nudge effectiveness have been conducted with defaults, which are considered to exert the strongest influence on choice and thus provide a critical test of nudgeability. However, even in view of the finding that default effects remain after disclosure and are weakened when they do not accord with preferences, concerns about the deceitful nature of defaults have persisted (Steffel et al., 2016). It is therefore urgent to systematically address softer categories of nudges such as repositioning, framing, and salience (Keller et al., 2011) and examine whether our observations on nudgeability apply to these milder classes of nudges.

In addition to a more systematic synthesis of research into nudgeability incorporating the type of nudge, a number of topics require more research to find out whether they affect susceptibility to nudge influence. This especially applies to the source of the nudge, the complexity of the issue of interest, as well as to the role of SES—topics we could touch on only briefly because of the lack of empirical evidence. In particular, nudgeability of disadvantaged groups is a topic that should be put high on the agenda for future research, as nudges are supposed to benefit the health, wealth, and happiness of all. Not much is yet known about the potential distributional consequences of nudges, as only a few studies have examined the extent to which nudges specifically would affect people from disadvantaged groups. Whereas some studies have suggested that people from low-SES groups are more responsive to default nudges (either or not to their own benefit), other studies have indicated that poor people benefit from nudges in a way that they would not have from conventional policy instruments, such as informational campaigns (Hotard et al., 2019).

Once again, we would like to emphasize that our review is a first attempt to document nudgeability with a specific focus on elements that have been generated in debates on nudging legitimacy. More research on other facets that are so far absent in studies on moderators of nudge effects is much needed for the systematic documentation of the conditions that make people responsive to nudges. An important candidate for further study is self-regulatory capacity, or the extent to which people can identify relevant goals and act on them. Theoretically, people with poor self-regulatory capacity might experience greater benefit from nudges, but as of yet it is unknown whether people with low competence to regulate their behavior are more or less susceptible to choice guidance. Initial research suggests that people with low trait self-control are somewhat less responsive to nudging than those who have high trait self-control (Thunström, 2019). However, whether people with poor self-regulatory skills are nudgeable may critically depend on self-insight; people who have less self-knowledge may be more opposed to nudges than those who have more self-knowledge. Social connectedness is another feature that may explain heterogeneous responses to nudges. Decision makers who have few social ties and only a few friends serve as potential role models for questions about important choices might be more susceptible to nudges that function as social cues when in doubt, as is also demonstrated in defaults serving as (implicit) recommendations for a certain choice.

Finally, returning to the debates on nudging legitimacy that we addressed at the beginning of this article, it seems that concerns should be softened insofar as nudges do impose choice without respecting basic ethical requirements for good public policy. More than a decade ago, philosopher Luc Bovens (2009) formulated the following four principles for nudging to be legitimate: A nudge should allow people to act in line with their overall preferences; a nudge should not induce a change in preferences that would not hold under nonnudge conditions; a nudge should not lead to “infantilization,” such that people are no longer capable of making autonomous decisions; and a nudge should be transparent so that people have control over being in a nudge situation. With the findings from our review in mind, it seems that these legitimacy requirements are fulfilled. Nudges do allow people to act in line with their overall preferences, nudges allow for making autonomous decisions insofar as nudge effects do not depend on being in a System 1 mode of thinking, and making the nudge transparent does not compromise nudge effects.