Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sex Differences in Response to Deception Across Mate-Value Traits of Attractiveness, Job Status, and Altruism in Online Dating

Sex Differences in Response to Deception Across Mate-Value Traits of Attractiveness, Job Status, and Altruism in Online Dating. Jessica Desrochers, Megan MacKinnon, Benjamin Kelly, Brett Masse & Steven Arnocky. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Oct 18 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-021-01945-6

Abstract: Sex differences in mate preferences are well established. It is also well understood that humans often seek to manipulate their standing on important mate-value traits. Yet, there is a paucity of work examining potential sex differences in response to deception along these important dimensions. In Study 1, a sample of 280 undergraduates (123 females) responded to a hypothetical online dating scenario asking participants to rank how upset they would be if deceived about a date’s attractiveness, occupation, or volunteerism. Women ranked occupation deception as more upsetting than men did, and men ranked attractiveness deception as more upsetting than women did. Given potential measurement differences between forced-choice and continuous response options, Study 2 randomly assigned 364 undergraduates (188 females) to one of the deceptions conditions and asked them to report their level of upset and willingness to go on the date using a continuous response scale. Women were more likely than men to cancel the date if the deception involved volunteerism or occupation. There was no significant sex difference in the attractiveness condition. Neither mate value nor sociosexuality moderated the sex difference in the levels of upset due to the deception. Together, these findings demonstrate that women and men exhibit differences in the degree to which they become upset by opposite sex deceptions in online dating, regardless of self-perceived mate value and sociosexuality, in alignment with evolved sex differences in mate preferences.

Country membership & the need for approval of others were hypothesized to moderate the direct & indirect effects of attachment insecurity on depression via social self-efficacy

Cross-cultural differences in adult attachment and depression: A culturally congruent approach. Wang, Chiachih D. C.,Jin, Ling,Han, GiBaeg,Zhu, Wenzhen,Bismar, Danna. Journal of Counseling Psychology, Oct 14 , 2021. https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2021-92362-001

Abstract: This cross-cultural study investigated a conditional indirect effect model in which country membership (South Korea or United States) and the need for approval of others (AO) were hypothesized to moderate the direct and indirect effects of attachment insecurity on depression via social self-efficacy (SSE). A total of 673 Korean university students and 401 American university students completed research questionnaires. Results indicated that Korean students endorsed a significantly higher level of AO than American students. Additionally, findings revealed that the strengths of several significant direct and indirect effects varied significantly by country membership and AO. Finally, we found a significant three-way interaction (Attachment avoidance × Country membership × AO), suggesting the necessity of considering cultural differences in attachment influence. The limitations and implications of our cross-cultural findings for decolonization in Western-based psychology are discussed.

Cheating under the Circumstances in Marital Relationships

Cheating under the Circumstances in Marital Relationships: The Development and Examination of the Propensity towards Infidelity Scale. Carmen Gabriela Lișman & Andrei Corneliu Holman. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 392; October 15 2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100392

Abstract: Most of the previously developed scales addressing infidelity were developed on young samples in dating relationships and with limited couple experience. The present study proposes an instrument to measure the proneness for infidelity among married people with substantial experience as a couple. Specific contexts described by the items, in which unfaithful behavior might occur, were selected from those revealed by previous research on people’s motives of past infidelity. Across two studies (N = 618) we examined the factorial structure and the psychometric characteristics of the Propensity towards Infidelity Scale (PTIS). Results revealed a one-dimensional structure of the PTIS and supported its reliability, its construct, criterion and incremental validity. PTIS emerged as negatively associated with two measures of adherence to moral standards, and positively related to past unfaithful behavior. Furthermore, the new instrument was found to bring a significant contribution in explaining these behaviors beyond two other scales of infidelity intentions.

Keywords: infidelity; propensity towards infidelity; infidelity motives; scale development; marriage

Exploiting minimum-wage variation within multi-state commuting zones, we document a negative relationship between minimum wages and firm variety; a binding minimum wage further reduces the mass of firms, exacerbating the distortion

Jha, Priyaranjan and Rodriguez-Lopez, Antonio, Minimum Wage and Firm Variety (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9312, SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3932020

Abstract: Exploiting minimum-wage variation within multi-state commuting zones, we document a negative relationship between minimum wages and firm variety in the U.S. restaurant and retail trade industries. To explain this finding, we construct a heterogeneous-firm model with a monopsonistic labor market and endogenous firm variety. The decentralized equilibrium underprovides the mass of firms compared to the outcome achieved by a welfare-maximizing planner. A binding minimum wage further reduces the mass of firms, exacerbating the distortion. Workers value employer variety, and thus, by reducing firm variety the minimum wage reduces workers’ welfare even if the average wage increases.

Keywords: minimum wage, number for firms, love of employer variety

JEL Classification: J380, J420

Men are more optimistic about their performance and more willing to compete than women in both verbal skills &, larger, in math; women update their beliefs and choices more negatively than men do after negative feedback

A (Dynamic) Investigation of Stereotypes, Belief-Updating, and Behavior. Katherine B. Coffman, Paola Ugalde Araya & Basit Zafar. NBER Working Paper 29382, Oct 2021. DOI 10.3386/w29382

Many decisions – such as what educational or career path to pursue – are dynamic in nature, with individuals receiving feedback at one point in time and making decisions later. Using a controlled experiment, with two sessions one week apart, we analyze the dynamic effects of feedback on beliefs about own performance and decision-making across two different domains (verbal skills and math). We find significant gender gaps in beliefs and choices before feedback: men are more optimistic about their performance and more willing to compete than women in both domains, but the gaps are significantly larger in math. Feedback significantly shifts individuals' beliefs and choices. Despite this, we see substantial persistence of gender gaps over time. This is particularly true among the set of individuals who receive negative feedback. We find that, holding fixed performance and decisions before feedback, women update their beliefs and choices more negatively than men do after bad news. Our results highlight the challenges involved in overcoming gender gaps in dynamic settings.

Compared to faces paired with non-moral vignettes, those paired with prosocial vignettes were rated significantly more attractive, confident, & friendlier; significant interaction between vignette type & face age was detected for attractiveness

He, Dexian, Clifford I. Workman, Xianyou He, and Anjan Chatterjee. 2021. “What Is Good Is Beautiful (and What Isn’t, Isn’t): How Moral Character Affects Perceived Facial Attractiveness.” PsyArXiv. October 18. psyarxiv.com/yj8ps

Abstract: A well-documented “beauty-is-good” stereotype is expressed in the expectation that physically attractive people have more positive characteristics. Recent evidence also finds that unattractive faces are associated with negative character inferences. Is what is good (bad) also beautiful (ugly)? Whether this conflation of aesthetic and moral values is bidirectional is not known. This study tested the hypothesis that complementary “good-is-beautiful” and “bad-is-ugly” stereotypes bias aesthetic judgments. Using highly controlled face stimuli, this pre-registered study examined whether moral character influences perceptions of attractiveness for different ages and sexes of faces. Compared to faces paired with non-moral vignettes, those paired with prosocial vignettes were rated significantly more attractive, confident, and friendlier. The opposite pattern characterized faces paired with antisocial vignettes. A significant interaction between vignette type and the age of the face was detected for attractiveness. Moral transgressions affected attractiveness more negatively for younger than older faces. Sex-related differences were not detected. These results suggest information about moral character affects our judgments about facial attractiveness. Better people are considered more attractive. These findings suggest that beliefs about moral goodness and physical beauty influence each other bidirectionally.

Belgian couples feel satisfied more via relatively higher happiness, Japanese couples more through less negative affect

Relatively Happy: The Role of the Positive-to-Negative Affect Ratio in Japanese and Belgian Couples. Alexander Kirchner-Häusler et al. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, October 11, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220221211051016

Abstract: Satisfied couples in European-American cultural contexts experience higher ratios of positive to negative affect during interactions than their less satisfied counterparts. The current research tests the possibility that this finding is culture-bound. It compares proportions of positive to negative affect during couple interactions in two different cultural contexts: Belgium and Japan. Whereas Belgian relationship goals (e.g., mutual affirmation and self-esteem) call for the experience of positive affect, Japanese relationship goals (e.g., harmony and self-adjustment) call for the avoidance of negative affect. We propose that these differences result in different affect ratios in close relationships. To test this idea, we tracked positive and negative feelings during couple interactions. Fifty-eight Belgian and 80 Japanese romantic couples took part in a lab interaction study, in which they discussed a topic of disagreement. Using a video-mediated recall, participants rated their positive and negative feelings during the interaction; relationship satisfaction was assessed before the interaction. As expected, Belgian couples’ positive-to-negative affect ratios were more positive than those of Japanese couples. Furthermore, in both cultures relationship satisfaction was positively associated with more positive affect ratios, but this effect was significantly stronger for Belgian than Japanese couples. Finally, mediation analyses showed that higher affect ratios were achieved in culturally different and meaningful ways: satisfied Belgian couples showed higher ratios primarily through higher levels of positive feelings, whereas satisfied Japanese couples showed higher ratios primarily through lower levels of negative feelings.

Keywords: affect, ratio, culture, couples, relationship satisfaction

The current study set out to examine the role of culture for the experience of positive and negative feelings in close relationships. Given cultural differences in close relationship goals, we expected that Belgian relationships would be characterized by a relatively greater focus on positive affect compared to Japanese relationships. We tested our assumption by inviting couples from Belgium (considered a “Western” context) and Japan (considered an “East-Asian” context) to take part in a standardized disagreement interaction, and to rate their affect during their interaction through a video-mediated recall procedure. This approach allowed us to examine affective experiences as they occurred in actual interactions and relationships in different cultures, and as reported by the key actors themselves—the couples under study. As such, we (a) “conceptually replicated” (Crandall & Sherman, 2016) previous findings about couple affect ratios using a less-represented Western context (Belgium, rather than the United States) and different affect measures (continuous self-report rather than single retrospective self-report or coded behavior) and (b) extended previous findings by highlighting the role of culture in affective experiences in close relationships.

In our analyses, we focused on positive-to-negative affect ratios as an indicator of affective balance in couples’ relationships. We were particularly interested in the link between affect ratios and partners’ relationship satisfaction. As predicted, Belgian couples showed significantly more positive average ratios than Japanese couples, suggesting that Belgian couples generally experienced more positive relative to negative affect during their disagreement interactions than Japanese couples (H1). These differences were also associated with well-functioning relationships within the cultural contexts: While couples who were more satisfied with their relationships in both cultures showed more positive affect ratios than less satisfied couples, higher affect ratios were more characteristic for more satisfied Belgian than more satisfied Japanese couples, and the difference between satisfied and less satisfied couples was more pronounced in Belgium than in Japan (H2). Finally, we found that the link between affect ratios and relationship satisfaction came about in culturally different ways: More positive affect ratios in more satisfied Belgian couples were mediated by greater proportions of positive affect, but by lower proportions of negative affect in more satisfied Japanese couples (H3).

Cultural Differences in Positive Versus Negative Affect

Overall, interactions of Belgian couples center more around positive feelings than those of Japanese couples: Belgian couples reported more positive feelings than their Japanese counterparts, and they also reported more positive feelings than they reported negative feelings. In contrast, Japanese couples reported positive and negative feelings to more similar extents. These cultural differences in couple affect during disagreement interactions parallel cultural differences in the general frequency or intensity of positive and negative feelings yielded by research comparing individuals from other Western and East-Asian contexts (Kitayama et al., 2000Mesquita & Karasawa, 2002Miyamoto & Ryff, 2011Scollon et al., 2004Suh et al., 1998Tsai & Levenson, 1997). We also found cultural differences in the association between affect ratios and relationship satisfaction: While more satisfied couples from both cultures showed relatively higher affect ratios, this was more strongly the case for satisfied Belgian than Japanese couples. Again this findings is consistent with previous research showing that positive affect is tied more strongly to wellbeing in Western than in East-Asian cultures (Kuppens et al., 2008Suh et al., 1998). This study thus expands research on cultural differences in affective valence beyond the level of the individual, and suggests that similarly meaningful differences in affect can be found at the level of couple interactions.

Affect and Relationship Goals

Previous work had suggested that well-functioning relationships of European-American couples seem to be characterized by positive affect ratios (Gottman, 1993b). The current study conceptually replicated the original studies with couples in Belgium, a less studied cultural context that we assumed is similarly characterized by individualist, Western values (Schwartz et al., 2001); the latter idea is further supported by our results which, similar to findings in the U.S., highlight the particular importance of positive affect for Belgian relationships. The emphasis on positive over negative affect in both countries may be understood from shared relationship goals of mutual affirmation, fostering each partner’s positive self-view, and being positively distinct from others (Rothbaum et al., 2000). To the extent that couples succeed in achieving these goals, they would be expected to experience relatively more positive feelings (Kim & Markus, 1999Kitayama & Markus, 2000). Our mediation models further support the idea that positive affect (not negative) was the primary driving force behind higher positive-to-negative affect ratios in satisfied Belgian couples (compared to less satisfied Belgian couples).

In Japan, couple relationships were also marked by more positive relative to negative affect, and satisfied couples showed higher affect ratios than less satisfied ones. Yet, differences between satisfied and less satisfied couples were markedly smaller than those between their Belgian counterparts, a finding that fits previous work on the lesser importance of greater positivity for individual wellbeing across a range of East-Asian countries (Suh et al., 1998). Moreover, the differences in affect ratios between high and low satisfaction couples were primarily driven by the levels of negative (not positive) feelings. One way of interpreting this finding is that satisfied Japanese couples, consistent with the central tendency of avoiding disruptions of harmony (Elliot et al., 2001Kitayama et al., 1997), are particularly motivated to avoid or quickly resolve higher levels of negative affect (even if negative affect may initially alert partners to adjust their behavior). That positive feelings do not play a bigger role in relationship satisfaction for Japanese couples is consistent with the Japanese belief that an excess of positive feelings is harmful to relationships (e.g., because it may reduce attentiveness to the needs of the partner or may disrupt harmony, Uchida & Kitayama, 2009), a belief that is shared by other East-Asian cultures (see e.g., Sims et al., 2015, for results with Chinese-origin samples).

Overall, the present work suggests that couple interactions in different cultures are marked by different affective experiences. More satisfied couples report affective patterns that appear more in line with the relationship practices in their respective cultures. This finding is consistent with previous research that has found that individuals who experience the normative emotions of their culture report higher wellbeing (De Leersnyder et al., 20142015). Couples and clinical practitioners might benefit from the insight that relationship satisfaction takes a different shape in different cultures. Depending on the culture in which you ask, the question of what feelings characterize a good and fulfilled relationships may be answered differently. Future research should explicitly test what processes and behaviors between partners might give rise to culturally beneficial patterns of affect (e.g., Schoebi et al., 2010), and test the efficacy of culturally tailored interventions with couples from varied cultural backgrounds (Ibrahim & Schroeder, 1990).

Limitations and Future Directions

There are some limitations to take into account when interpreting our results. First, our analyses focused on partners’ self-reports of their affect during the interaction, assessed by a second-by-second video-mediated recall, and cannot speak to emotional behaviors. Some of the previous research on balance theory focused on coded behaviors. While video-mediated recall of affect has been found to correspond to emotional behaviors (Gottman & Levenson, 1985Mauss et al., 2005), we cannot be sure that our results would replicate with behavioral measures.8 We would expect that a study on affect ratios in emotional behaviors may show somewhat similar patterns as found with our self-report measure, but may also face particular cross-cultural challenges, such as differences in display rules or expressivity (see e.g., Safdar et al., 2009).

A second limitation of this study is that it only focused on one particular type of interaction, that is, discussions of a disagreement in the relationship. Decades of research with European-American couples have provided strong support for the validity of conflict interactions as a way to probe affective patterns and quality of relationships (Gottman & Notarius, 2000). However, the same may not be true for other cultures. While conflict is thought to be unavoidable in relationships in Western cultures, such as Belgium or the United States, and conflict resolution an important indicator of relationship quality, this may not be true in non-Western contexts, such as Japan (Rothbaum et al., 2000). It is possible that affective patterns during conflict interactions are less relevant to relationship satisfaction in Japanese couples. Future research should aim at expanding and comparing the findings of the present study to situational contexts that are more central to relationship practices in non-Western cultures (e.g., cooperation, perspective taking).

A third limitation of our study is that it focuses on cultural differences in affect during interactions, but fails to explain the types of processes that may underlie any differences. Research on conflict interactions has shown that contextual elements are extremely important to the (emotional) course of conflict between people. Examples of such contextual elements are the behavioral strategies to manage the early emergence of disagreements (e.g., attempts to avoid conflict either physically or mentally; Hample & Hample, 2020), the different ways that conflict may start between actors (e.g., jointly or unexpectedly; Hample et al., 2019), or conflict narratives (Lewiński et al., 2018); all of these elements may differ between cultures. Future research should aim to provide a detailed picture of how disagreement may emerge and unfold in different cultures, including a cross-cultural analysis of wider contextual variables that contribute to differential unfolding.

A fourth limitation relates to the affect ratios themselves. Discussions of the early findings on affective balance in relationship have often shown a tendency to “essentialize” the ratios established, referring to 5:1 as the “magic ratio” in relationships (e.g., Stillman, 2020). Similar tendencies have been found for ratio research in other fields (e.g., in the context of teaching; Sabey et al., 2019). It is important to point out that the ratios yielded by our research differed somewhat from those in previous work: Even less-satisfied Western couples in our study showed higher proportions (8.5:1) than the stable partners in the original article (5:1). This may have been due, in part, to the different approach taken, with a higher time resolution and slightly different criteria to categorize affect as positive or negative. More generally, we would caution against treating the ratios of our highly satisfied couples (32.57:1 in Belgium, 6.52:1 in Japan) as absolute standards or goals. The main goal of the current study was not to establish new, definite ratios for relationships in different cultures, but to highlight the important role that culture plays for emotions in close relationships—a domain of research that has traditionally been dominated by research and perspectives from Western cultural contexts. We see our results as an indication that the ratios of positive over negative feelings may be different for satisfied relationships across cultures, especially between Western and East-Asian cultures.

Finally, our work examines positive and negative affect as couple and interaction-level aggregates, but does not examine how these aggregates emerge dynamically during the interaction. For example, previous work in European-American couples has examined specific sequences of positive and negative patterns (e.g., reciprocity, contagion) in couple interactions and successfully linked them to relationship satisfaction (Gottman & Levenson, 1985Margolin & Wampold, 1981). Our findings may be fruitfully followed up by analyses of the dynamic patterns that underlie different affect ratios in Belgian and Japanese couples. We expect that these patterns are not random, but will reveal some coordination between partners toward culture-specific desirable affect states (Boiger & Mesquita, 2012Boiger et al., 2020). Zooming in on cultural differences in these interpersonal affect patterns could also offer more specific insights into what affective processes contribute to well-functioning relationships in different cultures, and which behaviors may be targets for interventions to increase satisfaction with one’s relationship.