Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sexual Growth Mindsets and Rejection Sensitivity in Sexual Satisfaction: Men reported higher sexual rejection sensitivity than women

Sexual Growth Mindsets and Rejection Sensitivity in Sexual Satisfaction. Rachel A. Cultice, Diana T. Sanchez, Analia F. Albuja. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, November 11, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075211054390

Abstract: Research suggests that having a sexual growth mindset (SGM), or believing that a person can become a better sexual partner over time, may improve sexual relationships. The present research investigated the impact of SGMs on a new sexual outcome: sexual rejection sensitivity. In Study 1, adults in romantic relationships completed measures of SGM and sexual rejection sensitivity from their own and from their partner’s perspective (N = 377; 49.9% women; Mage = 29.1 years, SDage = 12.2 years). Findings show that perceived partner, but not own, SGM is associated with lower sexual rejection sensitivity, and sexual rejection sensitivity mediated the link between perceived partner SGM and own sexual satisfaction. In Study 2, we replaced perceived partner SGM with actual partner SGM by recruiting both members of 104 different-sex romantic couples (Mage = 43.9 years, SDage = 14.5 years). Study 2 finds that partner, but not own, SGM was negatively associated with sexual rejection sensitivity. Further, sexual rejection sensitivity was negatively associated with sexual satisfaction in Study 1 and for women in Study 2. This work demonstrates the importance of sexual partners’ implicit beliefs about sexuality (perceived or reported) in understanding sexual outcomes.

Keywords: sexuality, romantic relationships, growth mindset, rejection sensitivity

Adults had positive reactions after talking to the emotionally responsive Replika chatbot, a chatbot, face to face with a human, or with a human online, & had fewest conversational concerns with a chatbot vs. FTF/online with a human

Is chatting with a sophisticated chatbot as good as chatting online or FTF with a stranger? Michelle Drouin et al. Computers in Human Behavior, November 16 2021, 107100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.107100


• Adults had positive reactions after talking to the emotionally responsive Replika chatbot.

• Adults had similar positive emotions after chatting with a chatbot, FTF with a human, or with a human online.

• Strangers liked partners most when chatting FTF with a human vs. human online or with a chatbot.

• Strangers had fewest conversational concerns when speaking with a chatbot vs. FTF or online with a human.

Abstract: Emotionally-responsive chatbots are marketed as agents with which one can form emotional connections. They can also become weak ties in the outer layers of one's acquaintance network and available for social support. In this experiment, which was designed to study the acquaintance process, we randomly assigned 417 participants into three conditions: face-to-face (FTF) chat with a human, online chat with a human, and online chat with a commercially-available, emotionally-responsive chatbot, Replika. After a 20-min getting-acquainted chat, participants reported their affective state and relational evaluations of the chat. Additionally, all chats were recorded and text analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program. In all conditions, participants reported moderate levels of positive emotions and low levels of negative emotions. Those who chatted FTF with a human reported significantly more negative emotions than those who chatted with a bot. However, those who chatted with a human also reported more homophily with and liking of their chat partner and that their partner was more responsive. Meanwhile, participants had fewest conversational concerns with the chatbot. These findings have implications for future computer-mediated interaction studies: conversations with chatbots appear to have different affordances and effects on chatter enjoyment and conversational concerns in getting-acquainted contexts. These results may help designers improve reception and marketability for chatbots in consumer markets.

Keywords: ChatbotsDyadic interactionsAffectComputer-mediated communicationConversational dynamicsHuman-computer interaction

The penis, more than the vulva, the male face, more than the female face, and in general the male sexual characteristics more than the female ones, are significantly more salient in the gender attribution process

Sex/Gender Attribution: When the Penis Makes the Difference. Stefano Federici, Alessandro Lepri & Eleonora D’Urzo. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Nov 15 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-021-02152-z

Abstract: The present study aimed to replicate Kessler and McKenna’s (1978) ethnomethodological study that investigated how an individual attributes gender to a person. By administering figures depicted on overlays (Overlay Study), Kessler and McKenna found that the penis more than the vulva and the male sexual characteristics more than the female ones were significantly more salient in the gender attribution process. From all this, their adage is: “See someone as female only when you cannot see them as male.” Taking as a model Kessler and McKenna’s Overlay Study, we administered to 592 adults 120 new digital stimuli elaborated on realistic frontal images of human nudes to verify if the previously obtained results would be confirmed by using more realistic images. We found that the participants attributed male gender 86% of the time when the penis was shown, but only attributed female gender 67% of the time when the vulva was shown. All findings had strong statistical significance, confirming the findings of the Overlay Study that the penis makes the difference in gender recognition. Beyond an ethnomethodological approach, we have interpreted and discussed our results from the outlook of evolutionary and cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, concluding that the cultural stereotypes and prejudices that affect gender attribution might not just be a mere cultural product, but rather the consequence of evolved cognitive biases.


We aimed to replicate Kessler and McKenna’s (1978) Overlay Study, which administered stylized drawings of the human body, by using realistic images taken from pictures of human models. We expected to find confirmation that primary sexual characteristics (genitals) would determine gender attribution (male/female) more than secondary/gender-linked sexual characteristics, and that male sexual characteristics would determine gender attribution more than female sexual characteristics, with a significantly stronger effect of the penis compared to the vulva, ceteris paribus. The results have disconfirmed the null hypothesis and substantially reconfirmed the results obtained in the previous Overlay Study. When the penis was shown in a picture, the participants attributed male gender 86% of the times when the penis was shown, but only 67% attributed female gender when the vulva was shown. In other words, female attribution when the vulva appeared in a human picture was about 1:200 (female/male) compared with male attribution when the human body showed a penis. Furthermore, the participants attributed male gender to neutral stimuli (3 male and 3 female variables) five times more often when the penis was displayed than when the vulva was shown. All findings had a strong statistical significance, leading us to substantiate the Kessler and McKenna’s (1978) adage, “See someone as female only when you cannot see them as male” (p. 158). Female gender attribution appears to be triggered only when every other male cue has been excluded. In other words, gender cues are neither equally powerful nor salient. Therefore, all other things being constant, a female cue is recognized as such only in the absence of male cues. Whereas a male gender cue most likely equals male, a female cue equals female with much less probability. In this sense, we have defined above the Freudian and ethnomethodological attribution of female gender as an apophatic process.

Unlike Kessler and McKenna’s ethnomethodological approach, which they used to explain the gender attribution as a purely cultural construction, we also use the interpretative model of evolutionary psychology, which has spread after the Overlay Study, mainly by Cosmides and Tooby (Cosmides, 1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). Evolutionary psychology overcomes any dichotomy between nature and nurture or biological and cultural. Psychological/cognitive mechanisms/processes and cultural products co-evolve, so that environment forms; environment is necessary for the emergence and activation of each mechanism/process. Therefore, given that behavior requires evolved psychological mechanisms combined with environmental input in a causal chain, beyond the ethnomethodological interpretive model that makes use of the cultural construction of gender (patriarchal and phallocentric), we provide an explanation of our findings from an evolutionary psychology approach as cognitive adaptations that guide human behavior to adapt to the environment.

Seen from a less dichotomous and more dialogic and circular approach to interrelations between nature and culture, gender attribution is neither just pre-programmed nor simply derived from the social environment. The fact that, in a phallocentric culture, a penis makes somebody a male and not a female, as Freud’s psychological theory of human development also taught, does not negate the fact that these evolved cognitive adaptations were guided by an adapted mind (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). There is no doubt that, in patriarchal cultures, the female role is derived from the space left free by the male role, though still under patriarchal control. So we can read biological cues as cultural: “the only sign of femaleness is an absence of male cues” (Kessler & McKenna, 1978, p. 152). However, this does not contradict that what culture has expressed, strengthened, sedimented, socially stratified, and handed down through cultural products and memes may have evolved from cognitive processes that have guaranteed human survival (Barkow, 1992; Buss, 2001; Carruthers et al., 2006; Ji & Yap, 2016; Lumsden & Wilson, 1981). In case of ambiguity or complexity in the detection of gender cues, a cognitive bias has saved humans from a risky encounter with an aggressive male (Dimberg & Öhman, 1996; Dimberg et al., 2000; Navarrete et al., 2009). This is consistent with our data about the ability to recognize a masculine face as a face of a man—this attribution is 1000 times more likely than attributing a feminine face to a woman—or about the certainty in gender attribution, according to which participants stated they were less certain when they had to attribute female gender to a picture (as opposed to male gender). This finding would also rule out the null hypothesis for the second assumption (H2). A male face is an excellent predictor of male gender attribution (Jackson, 1992; Simpkins, 2014) and, if associated with the penis, as previously found by Kessler and McKenna (1978), can overshadow all other female cues (face or vulva).

Unlike Kessler and McKenna’s study, the present investigation also examined the pleasantness of the trans-images, that is, those with a balanced co-presence of male (= 3) and female (= 3) variables (Supplementary material, Tables S1 and S2). Of the participants, 98% found unpleasant the 20 neutral gender pictures, significantly more than how they felt about other pictures with unbalanced gender sexual characteristics. This can be explained in several ways that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. These cross-sex/gender/clothing pictures, more than others, might recall the image of transsexual individuals, thus triggering the widespread sense of transphobia (Hill & Willoughby, 2005; Killermann, 2017). It is equally likely that the strong ambiguity of these pictures could have triggered the so-called uncanny valley phenomenon, that is, the emotional response to a humanoid whose resemblance to a human being is confusing (Mori, 1970). These 20 stimuli, more than others, confused respondents because they did not allow a clear dichotomous gender attribution (humanoid: human = picture with balanced co-presence of gender characteristics: picture with non-balanced co-presence of gender characteristics; MacDorman et al., 2009). In addition, processing facilitation increases positive affect (Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001), also described as the pleasure of cognitive ease (Kahneman, 2011) or feeling of familiarity (de Vignemont, 2018). This uncanny valley/transphobia effect, caused by neutral stimuli, can also be explained using, once again, signal detection theory (Spackman, 1989). The perturbing effect (uncanny valley/transphobia) occurs when an individual cannot recur to a simplifying heuristic—to a rule of thumb, as (Kahneman, 2011) wrote—to make a difficult judgment about the gender of a person, due to the co-presence of salient male and female cues of sexual characteristics, for example, people with intersex or transsexual characteristics (in our study, the neutral stimuli).

Characteristics of the Sample

Based on the results, the main sociodemographic variables of the participants, treated independently, did not significantly affect the responses on the Adult Gender Attribution Test. The sample was mostly young adults (about 19 years of age), certainly due to the fact that the recruitment took place on a university campus. Of the participants, 97% identified themselves in the male/female binary gender mode among Facebook’s 58 gender options. We have no official data on the transgender population in Italy: While we are writing this work, the first demographic survey is underway in Italy (see: www.studiopopolazionespot.it/). According to the demographic study on transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States by (Nolan et al., 2019), the range of estimated prevalence is 0.39–2.7%. Therefore, transgender non-binary people among the participants of this study (2.9%) seem to be slightly higher than the U.S. range. Less than 1% of males (sex assigned at birth) did not see/define themselves as a man, choosing another gender identity. By contrast, 3% of females did not feel like a woman; this was significantly different from males. The males had remained more “loyal” to their cisgender identity, that is, their sex assigned at birth aligns with their gender identity and gender expression (Killermann, 2017), compared with their female counterparts. Put another way, “I’m a male, so I’m a man.” This increased female trans-sexuality that appears in our sample is in line with what has already been found in several studies (Baumeister, 2000; Lehmiller, 2018): Women’s sexual behavior is more variable (flexible) than men’s over the course of their lives.

Regarding sexual orientation, our sample does not seem to match the survey data reported by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT, 2012) on the homosexual population. ISTAT found that about 2.4% of the Italian population declared themselves to be homosexual or bisexual and 77% heterosexual. Conversely, 84% of our participants affirmed themselves to be exclusively heterosexual and 4% homosexual or bisexual. The difference can be explained by the fact that the survey of sexual orientation was conducted with different metrics. In fact, ISTAT percentages refer to a breakdown of the population into categories that include both sexual orientation (hetero, gay, and bisexual) and gender identity (transgender and other identity).

Regarding religious affiliation, the Catholic affiliation of participants was lower (53%)—but higher than no religion (42%)—than the Italian average among a student population aged between 18 and 34 (respectively, about 61% and 36%), according to Ipsos Public Affairs (2017). Addressing a sexually explicit issue seems to attract more people without religious affiliation and with a left-wing political orientation (33%).

Limits of the Study

We will discuss what we consider to be the most relevant limitation of the study below.

  1. 1.

    Generalizability of the results (Kukull & Ganguli, 2012). Although the research is based on a large number of participants, due to the characteristics of the sample (e.g., the prevalence of university students) and the recruitment context (i.e., a university campus), the results may not be generalizable, for example, to the Italian population.

  2. 2.

    Social desirability (Babbie, 2010). Whenever we ask people for information, they answer through a filter of what will make them look good. This is especially true when participants are asked to respond to extremely sensitive topics such as sexuality. For example, a respondent was convinced that the test was intended to measure attitudes toward transgender people—despite the fact that, to prevent any misunderstanding about the purposes of the research, the information sheet expressly stated that the study did not concern transphobia, “gender theories,” or queer theories. That person could have answered the question, “How pleasant is the picture you have just seen?” with a higher score of pleasantness, so as not to appear as a moralistic transphobic, intolerant person. This limit of explicit measures on sexuality (Baumeister, 2000) could be overcome by using procedures of implicit gender attribution (Wittenbrink & Schwarz, 2007), knowing that gender attribution is processed below the level of consciousness (subliminally; Ito & Urland, 2003; Sapolsky, 2017).

  3. 3.

    Ecological experimental context. Although the purpose of our study was to replicate the Overlay Study with more realistic stimuli, this does not mean that the environmental setting and nature of the stimuli were entirely ecological. For example, a more ecological gender-attribution process could have been observed in how an individual attributes the gender of a live person in their presence. Now, if it is true that gender attribution is processed by an evolved mental module to solve a specific adaptive problem (e.g., recognition of an aggressive male), the specificity of these cognitive modules is extremely dependent on the context (Fodor, 1983). As evolutionary psychology teaches us, an innate psychological mechanism is not equally effective in solving a logical abstraction of the same problem, for example, in solving the same problem through the solution of abstract syllogism (Cosmides, 1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 19921994).

  4. 4.

    Cross-cultural method. The presented experimental design did not include a comparison between samples from different cultures. However, comparing different cultures would allow us to investigate whether the process of gender attribution can be ascribed more to human universals (Atran, 1998; Brown, 1991)—that is, to the effect of evolved psychological mechanisms—rather than to the influence of memes.

  5. 5.

    Replication of the Overlay Study. We decided to exclude in the Adult Gender Attribution Test one question that was included in the original study: “How would you change the figure to make it into the other gender?” (Kessler & McKenna, 1978, p. 146). This question should have been presented below each of the 120 stimuli and would have enabled us to analyze relevant qualitative information. Our choice was dictated by the fact that we did not want to increase the time needed to complete the test, especially because it was administered online (which would have compromised the reliability of the data we wanted to collect).

During the review process of the present study, one of the reviewers pointed out to us that we should have acknowledged in some way that sex is not binary, as follows:

Some people with XY chromosomes never develop a penis because they have an insensitivity to androgens. Some people are intersex. Some have too many or too few sex chromosomes. And as we learn more about the variations in the biology of people that impact their sex and gender identity it is important to understand sex/gender as cultural. If a penis is what makes someone male, then are sex reassignment surgeries to either add a penis (for transgender men) or remove a penis (for transgender women) more common than the addition or removal of a vulva?

We fully agree with the reviewer’s assertion that sex is not binary, and that reality (biology) is more complex than how psychological mechanisms, evolved to solve adaptive problems related to survival, lead us to think fast (about fast and slow thinking, see Kahneman, 2011). We feel differently about gender transition. Counterintuitively, in our view, a female-to-male transition is easier than a male-to-female transition for two patriarchal cultural reasons: (1) the male androcentric model is socially better defined and aspired to than the female model and thus easier to adopt; and (2) a male-to-female transition involves a more serious transgression of power hierarchies than vice versa and thus is socially more difficult to accept. However, this issue is far beyond the scope of this study and deserves empirical verification that this study does not provide.

Gender differences in how people lied about personal qualities were larger in more gender egalitarian countries, probably because there is less gender-atypical (relative to gender-typical) deceptive self-presentation in these countries

Gender Gaps in Deceptive Self-Presentation on Social-Media Platforms Vary With Gender Equality: A Multinational Investigation. Dasha Kolesnyk, Martijn G. de Jong, Rik Pieters. Psychological Science, November 15, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976211016395

Abstract: Deceptive self-presentation on social-media platforms appears to be common. However, its prevalence and determinants are still largely unknown, partly because admitting such behavior is socially sensitive and hard to study. We investigated deceptive self-presentation from the perspective of mating theories in two key domains: physical attractiveness and personal achievement. A truth-telling technique was used to measure deceptive self-presentation in a survey of 12,257 adults (51% female) across 25 countries. As hypothesized, men and women reported more deceptive self-presentation in the domain traditionally most relevant for their gender in a mating context. However, contrary to lay beliefs (N = 790), results showed larger gender differences in deceptive self-presentation in countries with higher gender equality because there is less gender-atypical (relative to gender-typical) deceptive self-presentation in these countries. Higher gender equality was also associated with less deceptive self-presentation for men and women worldwide.

Keywords: mating theories, self-presentation, gender differences, randomized response, cross-cultural survey

This study is the first to assess the universality of gender differences in deceptive self-presentation on social-media platforms across countries using a truth-telling mechanism to add to the veracity of participants’ responses. Data from 25 countries (N = 12,257) revealed that men and women engaged in deceptive self-presentation primarily about qualities that are traditionally important for evaluations by the opposite sex. Specifically, women were more likely to practice deception about their physical appearance on social-media platforms than men were: Average prevalence rates were 18% for men and 20% for women. In contrast, men were more likely to practice deception about their personal achievement on social-media platforms than women were: Average prevalence rates were 14% for men and 10% for women. These gender differences were partially consistent with lay beliefs and with previous research on the deceptive self-presentation strategies used by genders in mating contexts (Toma et al., 2008Toma & Hancock, 2010Tooke & Camire, 1991), but they went beyond these as well.

Across countries, we expected higher levels of countries’ gender equality to be associated with lower deceptive self-presentation in both domains (Hypothesis 2). Mating perspectives agree that gender differences in mating preferences, and thus in mating strategies, are contingent on the social context (Buss & Schmitt, 2019Eagly & Wood, 2013). Our expectation was based on the idea that because gender equality is associated with more freedom in mating choices (Schmitt, 2005), the overall motivation to engage in deceptive self-presentation is reduced. Higher gender equality indeed led to lower deceptive self-presentation in the domain of physical appearance, but gender equality did not affect deceptive self-presentation in the domain of personal achievement. This is consistent with the notion that women’s preference for a partner with equal or higher access to resources remains even when women’s socioeconomic status increases (Townsend, 1989).

Further, the magnitude of gender differences in deceptive self-presentation varied with the level of gender equality in countries. Prior research has found that higher levels of gender equality and country development can sometimes amplify and sometimes attenuate gender differences in mating behavior and preferences (Schmitt, 2015). In our first study, people’s lay beliefs favored the attenuation hypothesis. In contrast, our large-scale cross-national study supported the amplification of gender differences because of higher levels of national gender equality. Specifically, our data indicated that with higher gender equality, the prevalence of gender-atypical deceptive self-presentation dropped more sharply than the prevalence of gender-typical deceptive self-presentation did. That is, the drop in deceptive self-presentation about physical attractiveness associated with gender equality was significantly larger for men than for women. The reverse pattern emerged for deceptive self-presentation about personal achievement: The drop in countries with high gender equality was large for women, but there was no significant drop for men.

The findings are consistent with the notion that gender equality does not make gender differences larger or smaller but that it facilitates the expression of ingrained gender predispositions (Schmitt et al., 2008Schwartz & Rubel-Lifschitz, 2009). That is, whether gender differences are larger or smaller depends on whether lack of gender equality suppresses or enhances gender differences for a specific behavior. In the case of deceptive self-presentation on social-media platforms about one’s physical attractiveness and personal achievement, it appears that lack of gender equality enhances gender-atypical lies. In other words, a more restrictive mating environment forces people to engage in deceptive self-presentation even in the domains that are less central for them in mating competition from an evolutionary perspective, and gender gaps are attenuated. Further research could examine whether the same pattern holds for other deceptive self-presentation strategies (Tooke & Camire, 1991) specific to either intrasexual or intersexual competition, such as deceptive self-presentation about one’s promiscuity as opposed to one’s committed relationships.

It is important to note that higher gender equality was associated with lower deceptive self-presentation on social-media platforms in the domain of physical attractiveness for men and women worldwide, potentially decreasing the negative effects of social-media consumption on body satisfaction and body image (Fardouly & Vartanian, 2015). Furthermore, gender differences in the prevalence of deceptive self-presentation across the globe were statistically significant but not very large in an absolute sense (2% difference for physical attractiveness and 4% difference for personal achievement). This might be due to changes in labor division worldwide. Eagly and Wood (2013) proposed that because of higher involvement of women in the workforce, men in recent years have been placing more value on their mate’s financial prospects, whereas women find the mate’s physical appearance more important.

Our study addressed calls to examine how the Internet and online behavior in general shape social life and “may change our mating psychology in many ways” (Buss & Schmitt, 2019, p. 104). Future cross-national research could compare our estimates of deceptive self-presentation on social-media platforms with the deceptive self-presentation rates of comparable off-line behaviors, such as résumé tampering or the purchase of imitation brands. Higher deceptive self-presentation rates on online social-media platforms than in off-line behavior could support the prediction of matching theories that exposure to a larger number of successful and attractive peers on social-media platforms can decrease satisfaction with oneself (Li et al., 2018) and thereby stimulate a need to engage in deceptive self-presentation.

Political correctness: We may feel pressure to publicly espouse views on a set of sensitive socio-political topics that we may not privately hold & such misrepresentations may render public discourse less vibrant & informative

Political Correctness, Social Image, and Information Transmission. Luca Braghieri, January 9, 2021. https://drive.google.com/file/d/15GyR5ploSF9LtDmKw4tu4xtr_ojEGYcr/view

Abstract: A prominent argument in the debate about political correctness is that people may feel pressure to publicly espouse views on a set of sensitive socio-political topics that they may not privately hold, and that such misrepresentations may render public discourse less vibrant and informative. This paper provides a formalization of the argument in terms of social image and evaluates it experimentally in the context of college campuses, where the debate about political correctness has been particularly heated. The results of the experiment show that: i) social image concerns indeed drive a wedge between the sensitive socio-political attitudes that college students report in private and in public; ii) public utterances are less informative than private utterances according to a host of measures of informativeness suggested by the theoretical model; iii) information loss is exacerbated by the fact that the natural audience in the environment, namely other college students, are partially naive about the ways in which social image concerns distort their peers’ public statements. 

Being exposed to tearful faces evokes the intention to support the crier (compared to seeing the same face without tears); support ratings by female participants and for female targets were stronger

Tears evoke the intention to offer social support: A systematic investigation of the interpersonal effects of emotional crying across 41 countries. Janis H. Zickfeld et al. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 95, July 2021, 104137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104137

Abstract: Tearful crying is a ubiquitous and likely uniquely human phenomenon. Scholars have argued that emotional tears serve an attachment function: Tears are thought to act as a social glue by evoking social support intentions. Initial experimental studies supported this proposition across several methodologies, but these were conducted almost exclusively on participants from North America and Europe, resulting in limited generalizability. This project examined the tears-social support intentions effect and possible mediating and moderating variables in a fully pre-registered study across 7007 participants (24,886 ratings) and 41 countries spanning all populated continents. Participants were presented with four pictures out of 100 possible targets with or without digitally-added tears. We confirmed the main prediction that seeing a tearful individual elicits the intention to support, d = 0.49 [0.43, 0.55]. Our data suggest that this effect could be mediated by perceiving the crying target as warmer and more helpless, feeling more connected, as well as feeling more empathic concern for the crier, but not by an increase in personal distress of the observer. The effect was moderated by the situational valence, identifying the target as part of one's group, and trait empathic concern. A neutral situation, high trait empathic concern, and low identification increased the effect. We observed high heterogeneity across countries that was, via split-half validation, best explained by country-level GDP per capita and subjective well-being with stronger effects for higher-scoring countries. These findings suggest that tears can function as social glue, providing one possible explanation why emotional crying persists into adulthood.

Keywords: Emotional cryingEmotional tearsAttachmentCross-culturalSocial support

Assessing Well-Being Across Space and Time: Measurement Equivalence of the WHO-5 in 36 European Countries and Over 8 Years

Assessing Well-Being Across Space and Time: Measurement Equivalence of the WHO-5 in 36 European Countries and Over 8 Years. Waleed A. Jami & Markus Kemmelmeier. Journal of Well-Being Assessment, Nov 11 2021. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41543-021-00042-8

Abstract: Subjective well-being is a universal and vital element of human flourishing. The WHO-5 is one of the most widely used scales for assessing general well-being and depression. Despite translations in over 30 languages, no comprehensive study has thus far examined the measurement equivalence of the WHO-5 across countries and time. Lack of measurement invariance might occur because of the variation in how people in different societies respond to surveys or differences in the cultural norms surrounding the expression of well-being and emotions. In this study, we relied on three waves of the European Quality of Life Survey (2009, 2014, 2017a, 2017b) to determine to what extent the WHO-5 taps the same construct in an equivalent fashion across 36 European countries over an 8-year span. We found evidence for both configural and metric invariance across different conceptualizations of culture and indicators of response styles. Although scalar invariance was not reliably found in multigroup factor analysis, results from alignment optimization revealed adequate approximate invariance across groupings, suggesting that the WHO-5 is applicable for cross-cultural mean comparisons. However, it is debatable if approximate invariance is sufficient to establish a clinical criterion for depression/impaired mental health. We discuss the implications of our results.