Saturday, August 28, 2021

Multivariate analysis of 1.5 million people identifies 579 genome-wide significant loci associated with a liability toward externalizing outcomes (problems of self-regulation and addiction)

Multivariate analysis of 1.5 million people identifies genetic associations with traits related to self-regulation and addiction. Richard Karlsson Linnér et al. Nature Neuroscience, Aug 26 2021.

Abstract: Behaviors and disorders related to self-regulation, such as substance use, antisocial behavior and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, are collectively referred to as externalizing and have shared genetic liability. We applied a multivariate approach that leverages genetic correlations among externalizing traits for genome-wide association analyses. By pooling data from ~1.5 million people, our approach is statistically more powerful than single-trait analyses and identifies more than 500 genetic loci. The loci were enriched for genes expressed in the brain and related to nervous system development. A polygenic score constructed from our results predicts a range of behavioral and medical outcomes that were not part of genome-wide analyses, including traits that until now lacked well-performing polygenic scores, such as opioid use disorder, suicide, HIV infections, criminal convictions and unemployment. Our findings are consistent with the idea that persistent difficulties in self-regulation can be conceptualized as a neurodevelopmental trait with complex and far-reaching social and health correlates.

This chapter argues that the conventional theories and processes at the core of the discipline of political communication are rooted in assumptions that no longer hold and contexts that no longer exist

Young, Dannagal G., & Joanne Miller 2021. “Young and Miller, Political Communication in Oxford Handbook of Poli Psych 3rd Ed.” OSF Preprints. August 27. doi:10.31219/

Abstract: This chapter argues that the conventional theories and processes at the core of the discipline of political communication are rooted in assumptions that no longer hold and contexts that no longer exist. Today’s media users experience decentralized, interpersonal, horizontal, networked politically relevant communication every day. And they experience this socially-contextualized messaging within a system predicated on the economics and logics of micro-segmentation. We assert that these are qualitative shifts that necessitate a fundamental reconsideration and reimagining of the field of political communication. Specifically, we focus on how the shift away from traditional mass media models to networked, decentralized media systems through digital technologies has crucial implications for: a) the scope of what constitutes political communication and b) the integration of political psychology into the study of political communication.


Echo Chambers. Another implication of the increasingly interpersonal nature of media experiences and the micro-segmentation of audiences is the potential formation of echo chambers and filter bubbles. As media choice increases, individuals can increasingly “opt in” or “out” of media experiences, facilitating selective exposure to and avoidance of ideologicallyconsonant – or even politically-relevant (Prior, 2007) – media content. In their paradigmchallenging essay, Bennett and Iyengar (2008) suggested that selectivity behaviors would be so great in this new media landscape, that media persuasion effects would all but disappear, even as other effects like agenda setting or priming might continue. “As media audiences devolve into smaller, like-minded subsets of the electorate,” they wrote, “it becomes less likely that media messages will do anything other than reinforce prior predispositions. Most media users will rarely find themselves in the path of attitude-discrepant information.” (p. 724).

Such “echo chambers” or “filter bubbles” became a growing concern among political scientists and political communication scholars from 2000 - 2010s (Sunstein, 2001), as empirical examinations pointed to a public engaging in selective exposure and avoidance of politicallydissonant mediated information in ways that could fuel political polarization (Stroud, 2011; see below). Yet, while echo chambers and filter bubbles are certainly made possible through media fragmentation, research has failed to produce substantial evidence to support the notion that most people restrict themselves to only like-minded media content (see Guess et al, 2018; Guess, 2021). Although selective exposure to like-minded content does occur, and moral-emotional content from elites spreads efficiently within their ideological social networks (especially on the 27 right) (Brady et al., 2019), evidence of selective-avoidance of belief-disconfirming information is scarce (Garrett, 2009). Barbera et al, (2015) conclude that “homophilic tendencies in online interaction do not imply that information about current events is necessarily constrained by the walls of an echo chamber” (p. 1539). Users tend to have diverse media diets and vary in the extent to which they pay attention to political or current events information (Guess, 2018), and those users who do pay attention to like-minded political content, pay more, not less attention to belief-dissonant programming (Garrett, Carnahan, & Lynch, 2011, Nelson & Webster, 2017). Even on social media, where algorithms and users themselves increase the ideological homogeneity of their newsfeeds (Bakshy, Messing, and Adamic 2015), users are still exposed to some belief-disconfirming information. In fact, in the most fragmented context of all, the internet, selective exposure and avoidance is complicated by social networks, where social media posts of friends and family can serve as heuristics that guide ideologically diverse information consumption (Masip, SuauMartinez, & Ruiz-Caballero, 2017; Messing and Westwood, 2014; Flaxman, Goel, & Rao, 2016; Zuiderveen et al., 2016), even trumping partisan selective exposure (Anspach, 2017). These results are supported by Dylko et al (2018) who find that although customized media experiences increase selective exposure dynamics in ways that increase political polarization, this effect is limited to customization processes that are automatically embedded within a technology. When users have the ability to customize media experiences, these relationships shrink, again highlighting how user agency often diversifies – rather than homogenizes – media diets. Such findings certainly call into question Bennett and Iyengar’s (2008) pronouncement of the “demise of the inadvertent audience” (p. 717). Whereas media fragmentation facilitates selective exposure and avoidance, the interpersonal networked nature of the social media experience does not. Yet attending to and being receptive to belief-disconfirming content are two different things that may be motivated by different goals. Knobloch-Westerwick and Klienman (2012), for example, find that people engage in less selective avoidance of belief-disconfirming information when they expect their side is going to lose, pointing to anticipated “informational utility” as individuals anticipate that exposure to belief-disconfirming content “can aid individuals in making future decisions” (p. 171). Valentino et al.’s (2009) work is consistent with this explanatory mechanism, with individuals seeking out belief-disconfirming content as a way of monitoring their information environments. In this work, anxiety was found to fuel information seeking behaviors, thereby increasing exposure to belief-disconfirming content, illustrating that these consumption behaviors are shaped by emotional needs of the audience. Finally, calls to relax the fears of echo chambers and filter bubbles are focused on the modal cases – the most likely outcomes for most people. This raises questions about whether we should be more concerned about the outcomes of users at the margins - culturally and politically. Boutyline and Willer (2017) for example, found that social networks (on Twitter) were most homogenous among those users with the most extreme political views. Evidence about the moderating role of political engagement is mixed; Guess (20121 finds a positive relationship between political engagement and media diet homogeneity, whereas Dubois and Blank (2018) find the reverse (see also Eady et al. 2019). Emotions such as anger may fuel the kind of dynamics that lead to concerning echo-chambers, while fear and anxiety may mitigate them (Wollebaek et al., 2019). Recent work by Stier et al. (2020) indicates that populist attitudes interact with contextual factors to fuel selective exposure patterns, with populist attitudes 29 contributing to lower (but not zero) exposure to traditional news and greater exposure to hyperpartisan outlets.

Investors who are male, or above the age of 45, or married, or have more dependents, or who self-identify as having excellent investment experience or knowledge tend to freak out with greater frequency

Elkind, Daniel and Kaminski, Kathryn and Lo, Andrew W. and Siah, Kien Wei and Wong, Chi Heem, When Do Investors Freak Out?: Machine Learning Predictions of Panic Selling (August 4, 2021). SSRN:

Abstract: Despite standard investment advice to the contrary, individuals often engage in panic selling, liquidating significant portions of their risky assets in response to large losses. Using a novel dataset of 653,455 individual brokerage accounts belonging to 298,556 households, we document the frequency, timing, and duration of panic sales, which we define as a decline of 90% of a household account’s equity assets over the course of one month, of which 50% or more is due to trades. We find that a disproportionate number of households make panic sales when there are sharp market downturns, a phenomenon we call ‘freaking out’. We show that panic selling and freak outs are predictable and fundamentally different from other well-known behavioral patterns such as over trading or the disposition effect. Investors who are male, or above the age of 45, or married, or have more dependents, or who self-identify as having excellent investment experience or knowledge tend to freak out with greater frequency. We use a five-layer neural network model to predict freak out events one month in advance, given recent market conditions and an investor’s demographic attributes and financial history, which exhibited true negative and positive accuracy rates of 81.5% and 69.5%, respectively, in an out-of-sample test set. We measure the opportunity of cost of panic sales and find that, while freaking out does protect investors during a crisis, such investors often wait too long to reinvest, causing them to miss out on significant profits when markets rebound.

Keywords: Panic Selling; Stop-Loss; Tactical Asset Allocation; Freaking Out; Deep Learning; Behavioral Finance

JEL Classification: G11, G01, G02, D14, D91

Given the overwhelming whiteness of BDSM in both research and practice, we need to build inclusive BDSM communities that continue to naturalize this whiteness

Overwhelming whiteness of BDSM: A critical discourse analysis of racialization in BDSM. Katherine Martinez. Sexualities, July 17, 2020.

Abstract: Ahmed’s (2007) theory of the phenomenology of whiteness serves as a theoretical tool for assessing how whiteness presents itself within bondage, discipline, dominance/submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM) play. Given the “overwhelming whiteness” of BDSM in both research and practice, this study serves as a theory-building exercise for analyzing the relationship between what researchers have described as inclusive BDSM communities that continue to naturalize the whiteness of BDSM spaces. Through critical discourse analysis of interviews and blog submissions from BDSM participants, this study reflects on the whiteness of BDSM. Analyses suggest that the differences between white and racialized BDSM participants in their explanations for the whiteness of BDSM continue to support and privilege the white experience in white BDSM spaces.

Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, racialization, sadomasochism, whiteness

Consecration in American Sociology, 1980–2020: The number of awards & honorable mentions has grown dramatically despite the number of American Sociology Asssociation sections being constant & membership having declined

Visualizing the Expanding Space of Consecration in American Sociology, 1980–2020. Nicholas Hoover Wilson, Damon Mayrl. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, August 26, 2021.

Abstract: This visualization explores changes in the scope and dynamics of consecration within American sociology by examining awards granted to members of the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) constituent sections. Consecration is important because it signals quality to nonspecialists, boosts intellectual careers, and can be a crucial vector introducing various forms of inequality. We show that with ASA sections, the number of awards, multiple award winners, and honorable mentions has grown dramatically, especially since 2010, and that this has occurred even as the number of ASA sections has remained constant and overall ASA membership has declined.

Keywords: knowledge, science, consecration, awards, academic disciplines

Capuchin monkeys: Cognitive performance was impaired by negative experiences; contrary to predictions, positive experiences did not have a facilitative effect on cognitive performance

Webster, M. F., & Brosnan, S. F. (2021). The effects of positive and negative experiences on subsequent behavior and cognitive performance in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, Aug 2021.

Abstract: Our understanding of animals’ affective processing is notably limited compared to the wealth of research on humans, largely due to difficulties in measurement. Moreover, despite a recent increase in the understanding of the interaction between affect and cognition in animals, most research has focused on negative affect, with the result that we continue to know little about the effects of positive affect. In this study, we tested 15 adult capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] apella) using a novel methodology that took advantage of capuchins’ species-typical behavior to engineer both a positive and negative experience, using the same apparatus to minimize extraneous impacts. Following a positive or negative experience (that presumably induced positive and negative affect, respectively), or a control with no manipulation, we assessed subjects’ performance on a cognitive task, a computerized delayed match-to-sample. As predicted, behavior following the negative condition suggested a negative affective state, with increased rates of scratching (commonly used as an indicator of stress in nonhuman primates) compared to both the positive and control conditions. Cognitive performance was also impaired in the negative condition compared to the other two. Contrary to predictions, however, the positive condition did not have a facilitative effect on cognitive performance, but behavioral results indicate that we may not have induced a truly positive affective state. Although we add to evidence that a negative experience can influence subsequent behavior and cognitive performance in nonhuman primates, our work highlights our lack of knowledge about the impact of positive affect, if any, on behavior and cognition.

Jealousy was 29% heritable, and non-shared environmental influences explained the remaining variance (71%); no transmission of relationship models from parents to children

Why are some people more jealous than others? Genetic and environmental factors. Tom R. Kupfer et al. Evolution and Human Behavior, August 27 2021.

Abstract: Research on romantic jealousy has traditionally focused on sex differences. We investigated why individuals vary in romantic jealousy, even within the sexes, using a genetically informed design of ~7700 Finnish twins and their siblings. First, we estimated genetic, shared environmental and nonshared environmental influences on jealousy, Second, we examined relations between jealousy and several variables that have been hypothesized to relate to jealousy because they increase the risk (e.g., mate-value discrepancy) or costs (e.g., restricted sociosexuality) of infidelity. Jealousy was 29% heritable, and non-shared environmental influences explained the remaining variance. The magnitude and sources of genetic influences did not differ between the sexes. Jealousy was associated with: having a lower mate value relative to one's partner; having less trust in one's current partner; having been cheated by a previous or current partner; and having more restricted sociosexual attitude and desire. Within monozygotic twin pairs, the twin with more restricted sociosexual desire and less trust in their partner than his or her co-twin experienced significantly more jealousy, showing that these associations were not merely due to the same genes or family environment giving rise to both sociosexual desire or trust and jealousy. The association between sociosexual attitude and jealousy was predominantly explained by genetic factors (74%), whereas all other associations with jealousy were mostly influenced by nonshared environmental (non-familial) factors (estimates >71%). Overall, our findings provide some of the most robust support to date on the importance of variables predicted by mate-guarding accounts to explain why people vary in jealousy.

Keywords: JealousyTwinsMate value discrepancyTrustInfidelitySociosexualityIndividual differencesGenetics

4. Discussion

The current research aimed to shed light on why people differ in romantic jealousy. Our findings suggest that people differ in jealousy partly because of genetic influences, but mostly because of nonshared environmental influences. We did not detect an influence of the shared environment on jealousy. We also examined associations between jealousy and specific variables that have been hypothesized by mate-guarding accounts to influence jealousy proneness. Our findings provide some of the most robust evidence to date that mate value discrepancy, trustworthiness of a mate, and sociosexuality are associated with romantic jealousy.

Overall, 29% of variation in jealousy was attributable to genetic factors, with the remainder attributable to the nonshared environment. This genetic contribution to variation is on the low side compared to other psychological traits, including measurements of personality and emotions, for which the heritability is typically closer to 50% (Polderman, Benyamin, de Leeuw, et al., 2015). However, our finding is in line with those of Walum, Larsson, Westberg, Lichtenstein, and Magnusson (2013), who reported that sexual and emotional jealousy were 32% and 26% heritable, respectively. Also in line with Wallum et al., we found no evidence for sex differences in the magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on jealousy, or for different genetic or non-shared environmental influences operating in men or women. In other words, even though women reported higher jealousy than men, individual variation in jealousy within the sexes was influenced similarly by genetic and environmental factors.

The finding that familial environmental influences did not influence jealousy has theoretical implications. According to influential accounts of attachment theory, mental models of relationship expectations are transmitted from parents to children, through learning during infancy (Fonagy & Target, 2005Van IJzendoorn, 1995Verhage et al., 2016; c.f., Barbaro et al., 2017), and these mental models later determine emotion reactions, including jealousy, towards perceived relationship threats in adulthood (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2005Sharpsteen & Kirkpatrick, 1997). Our finding that variation in jealousy is not influenced by familial environmental factors, which includes parenting, is inconsistent with these accounts. An implication is that research that seeks to understand variation in – and the development of – jealousy should attend more to genetic and nonshared environmental influences than to shared environmental factors such as parenting behavior. However, one caveat is that a limitation of twin studies is that they do not control for genetic and environmental interplay (for example, parental genes shaping the twin's family environment) which can confound the estimate of the influence of the family environment (Keller, Medland, & Duncan, 2010). Therefore, it is safest to say that we found no influence of the family environment ‘independent of genetic factors’ (Turkheimer, D'Onofrio, Maes, & Eaves, 2005).

In contrast to attachment theory's parental transmission account, mate-guarding perspectives hypothesize that jealousy should be primarily influenced by factors that increase the risk of infidelity by one's mate (Buss, 2013). These will often be socio-ecological variables (e.g., the attractiveness of one's mate, or the number of rivals in one's environment) which presumably derive more from the nonshared environment than the shared environment. Our finding of a substantial nonshared environmental influence on variation in jealousy is therefore consistent with mate-guarding accounts (though not uniquely consistent with those accounts). Note, however, that the estimate of the nonshared environment also includes measurement error.

The second aim of our study was to examine three of the variables predicted by mate-guarding accounts to influence jealousy: mate value discrepancy, cues to a mate's likelihood of infidelity (namely trust and actual experiences of infidelity), and sociosexuality. The strongest predictors of jealousy were more restricted sociosexual attitude and desire. Further, these relations were stronger for people in a relationship and for women. More sociosexually-restricted individuals may be more invested in fewer relationships and more motivated to protect them and, hence, experience more jealousy in response to cues to infidelity threats (Brase et al., 2014Buss, 2013Russell & Harton, 2005). Previous studies have most often not detected associations between jealousy and sociosexual orientation (Harris, 2003Peters et al., 2014Russell & Harton, 2005), but our findings were based on a much larger sample of individuals (N > 7000) than previous studies. The current finding was further strengthened by the discordant-twin design analysis within monozygotic twin pairs, which also detected a negative association between sociosexual desire and jealousy. This approach suggests that the association does not arise merely because sociosexual desire and jealousy emerge from the same genetic or family environmental sources. Results from the bivariate twin analyses were in accordance because they showed that nonshared environmental factors instead of familial factors explained the majority of the association (71%). Although it is therefore possible that restricted sociosexual desire causes higher jealousy, co-twin-control analyses cannot guarantee causal relationships or rule out reverse causation (McGue et al., 2010). Reverse causation (or bi-directional causation) is plausible, if, for example, individuals with higher jealousy pursue more exclusive relationships to reduce the possibility of infidelity by their mate.

Consistent with previous findings, people who reported being cheated on in the past, and those cheated on in their current relationship, also reported greater jealousy (Bendixen et al., 2015Burchell & Ward, 2011Edlund et al., 2006Murphy et al., 2006Sagarin et al., 2003). Additionally, having lower trust in one's partner was associated with higher jealousy (both on individual level and when we compared monozygotic co-twins discordant on trust in their partner). Therefore, findings suggest that variables assessing cues to a mate's likelihood of infidelity (trust and actual experiences of infidelity) relate to jealousy.

Also consistent with previous studies (Buss & Shackelford, 1997Sidelinger & Booth-Butterfield, 2007), individuals who reported having a lower mate value than their partner reported higher jealousy. When examining associations within monozygotic twins only, those associations were non-significant (unlike associations between jealousy and sociosexual desire and mate trustworthiness), so the possibility that the association is due to similar genes influencing both mate value discrepancy and jealousy cannot be ruled out. However, the regression betas in the discordant twin design did not decrease in size, suggesting that the sample size of monozygotic twins may have been underpowered to detect an association. Moreover, the bivariate analyses did not detect familial influences on the association between jealousy and mate value discrepancy, indicating that the association between mate value discrepancy and jealousy is unlikely to be explained by similar genes or shared familial influences.

The study has some limitations. First, all measurements were based on self-reports. While the use of self-report questionnaires is common in psychology research (including most of the jealousy literature), they can be prone to measurement bias due to factors such as social desirability, which could, for example, have contributed to the low prevalence of cheating reported in our sample. Nonetheless, our self-report jealousy scale, which used 11 items describing jealousy-eliciting situations of varying severity, was likely to be a more sensitive measure of jealousy than measures commonly used. Many previous studies (e.g., Walum et al., 2013) have assessed jealousy with only two items asking participants how upset they would be in response to their partner's sexual infidelity and their partner's emotional infidelity. Another limitation was that the sample of discordant twin pairs contributing to the discordant-twin design analyses was much smaller than the sample in the overall regression analyses. Therefore, non-significant effects of sociosexual attitude, being cheated on in the past, and mate value discrepancy on jealousy within monozygotic twins could be due to lower power in these analyses. There are other potentially influential environmental variables that we were not able to assess in the current research. For example, perceived number and quality of rivals has been hypothesized to increase jealousy by increasing risks of cuckoldry or mate poaching (Buss, 2013Pollet & Saxton, 2020), and perspectives other than the mate-guarding account propose that variables such as self-esteem are associated with jealousy (DeSteno, Valdesolo, & Bartlett, 2006). Future research on these factors using genetically informed studies would be valuable. Additionally, future research would benefit from using children-of-twins or nuclear twin designs that allow for the estimation of interplay between sources of variance that are impossible to disentangle using classical twin designs and might bias estimation of shared environmental influences (Keller et al., 2010).

In summary, this study confirms that people differ in jealousy partly because of genetic influences, but mostly because of nonshared environmental influences. Our findings provide some of the most robust evidence in support of several factors that have been hypothesized by mate-guarding accounts to influence jealousy proneness, and show that these factors similarly influence both men and women. Discerning the causes of variation in jealousy is an important step towards tackling the socially harmful consequences of jealousy, such as domestic violence and homicide.