Thursday, November 4, 2021

Four patterns of dark personalities: The troublemaker, the self-absorbed, the manipulator, and the exploiter

Into the heart of darkness: A person-centered exploration of the Dark Triad. Matthew J.W.McLarnon. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 186, Part A, February 2022, 111354.


• Past person-centered Dark Triad research has mostly found ordered profiles.

• This study uses advanced factor analyses to identify an optimal measurement model.

• Person-centered analyses using optimal factor scores show profiles that are unique.

• Thus, person-centered approaches may be viable for continuing Dark Triad research.

• Future research should, however, use advanced factor models of the Dark Triad.

Abstract: Previous research has sought to leverage person-centered methods (i.e., latent profile analysis; LPA) to examine the Dark Triad, which has aimed to illuminate subgroups of individuals who demonstrate distinct patterns of the Dark Triad variables. However, past research has predominantly concluded that variable-centered analyses may be better suited for the Dark Triad. Yet, other research has described how advanced factor analyses can more comprehensively identify the complex and nuanced multidimensionality and sources of variance underlying the Dark Triad. This study applies these modern factor analysis methods, namely bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling (B-ESEM), which subsequently facilitates the more effective extraction of unique, configurationally-distinct profiles of the Dark Triad. In particular, across two large datasets (n = 13,271 and 1042), results showed evidence for four distinct profiles and highlight relations with several theoretically interesting covariates, thereby providing evidence of construct validity of the Dark Triad profiles. Person-centered approaches may, therefore, be viable for future Dark Triad research. However, it is recommended that factor scores from the B-ESEM, if identified as optimal, be used as input for the person-centered analyses.

Sin good purchases are highly concentrated with 10% of households paying more than 80% of taxes on alcohol and cigarettes; the two most taxed clusters comprise 8% of households, pay 68% of sin taxes, are older, less educated, and lower income

 Who Pays Sin Taxes? Understanding the Overlapping Burdens of Corrective Taxes. Christopher Conlon, Nirupama L. Rao & Yinan Wang. NBER Working Paper 29393, October 2021.

Abstract: We find that sin good purchases are highly concentrated with 10% of households paying more than 80% of taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Total sin tax burdens are poorly explained by demographics (including income), but are well explained by eight household clusters defined by purchasing patterns. The two most taxed clusters comprise 8% of households, pay 68% of sin taxes, are older, less educated, and lower income. Taxes on sugary beverages broaden the tax base but add to the burdens of heavily taxed households. Efforts to increase sin taxes should consider the heavy burdens borne by few households. 

Men with larger neck musculature are rated as stronger, more masculine, and higher in fighting ability and short-term attractiveness

Caton, Neil R., and David M. G. Lewis. 2021. “Intersexual and Intrasexual Selection for Neck Musculature in Men: Attractiveness, Dominance, and Actual Fighting Success.” PsyArXiv. November 3. doi:10.31234/   

Abstract: Countless organisms are equipped with physiological armor that reduce damage from opponents. Because humans have sustained a long evolutionary history of hand-to-hand combat, selection would have been placed on morphological structures which reduce rotational acceleration to the head and increase the likelihood of victory. Grounded in over 60 years of sports performance theory and recent theoretical work in evolutionary biology, geometric morphometric analyses revealed that larger neck musculature in professional combatants (N = 715) was associated with greater real-world fighting success, after for adjusting for allometry (Study 1). Because sexual dimorphism emerges from selection on morphological structures that improve men’s fighting success, we then discovered that the human neck is the most sexually dimorphic feature of human anatomy when compared to 91 other anatomical features (N = 6,068; Study 2). This male-biased sexual dimorphism held after controlling for these 91 allometric measurements, and held across every world region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North, Central, and South America). Because human psychological systems consequently evolved to attend to men’s secondary sexual characteristics, we discovered that men (N = 564 stimuli) with larger neck musculature (Study 3: geometric morphometrics; Study 4: physiological neck strength; Study 5: photorealistic stimuli) are rated (N = 772 raters) as stronger, more masculine, and higher in fighting ability and short-term attractiveness, after accounting for allometry. Combined, our research introduced a new secondary sexual characteristic to the biological, anthropological, and psychological sciences: the human neck.

Despite chimpanzee mothers continuing to care for and transport dead infants for days, weeks, or even longer, chimpanzees find the smell of decaying corpses aversive

Putrescine-- a chemical cue of death—is aversive to chimpanzees. James R. Anderson, Hanling Yeow, Satoshi Hirata. Behavioural Processes, November 3 2021, 104538.


• In chimpanzees and other primates, mothers often carry their dead infants.

• It is unclear whether chimpanzees find the smell from decaying corpses aversive.

• We presented chimpanzees with a dead bird, a glove, and putrescine, ammonia, or water.

• Chimpanzees showed most avoidance in the putrescine condition.

• The odour of putrescine—associated with decaying corpses—is aversive to chimpanzees.

Abstract: As in many other species of nonhuman primates, chimpanzee mothers with a dead infant may continue to care for and transport the infant for days, weeks, or even longer. The bereaved females do this despite what humans perceive as the foul odour from the putrefying corpse. Putrescine is a major contributor to the “smell of death,” and it elicits behaviours aimed at getting rid of the source of the smell, or escape responses in mammals including humans. However, it has never been shown that the odour of putrescine is aversive to chimpanzees. To address this question, we visually presented six adult chimpanzees with the corpse of a small bird, or a stuffed glove, in association with putrescine, ammonia, or water, and recorded the chimpanzees’ reactions. The apes spent significantly less time near the object when it was paired with putrescine than the other substances, although they showed no signs of increased arousal or anxiety. We interpret the findings as evidence of an aversion to the smell of death in chimpanzees, discuss the implications for understanding the continued maternal-like behaviour of bereaved female chimpanzees, and suggest future research directions for the field of comparative evolutionary thanatology.

Keywords: death, mother-infant bond, olfactionPan troglodtyesthanatology