Wednesday, December 15, 2021

People’s perceptions of their partner’s sexual goals were indeed accurate, but that accuracy was not associated with relationship quality or sexual satisfaction for the perceiver or their partner

Accuracy in perceptions of a partner’s sexual goals. Norhan Elsaadawy et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, December 11, 2021.

Abstract: Intimate partners engage in sex for a variety of reasons, and their perceptions of each other’s sexual goals play an important role in intimate relationships. How accurate are these perceptions of a partner’s sexual goals and is accuracy associated with relationship quality and sexual satisfaction for the couple? To answer these questions, we conducted a 21-day dyadic daily experience study of 121 couples, which we analyzed using two different approaches to examine accuracy: the profile approach and the Truth and Bias Model. Results from these two approaches demonstrated that people’s perceptions of their partner’s sexual goals were indeed accurate, but that accuracy was not associated with relationship quality or sexual satisfaction for the perceiver or their partner. Rather, perceiving a partner’s sexual goals in normative (or socially desirable) ways was associated with relationship quality and sexual satisfaction for both the perceiver and their partner. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: accuracy, sexual goals, intimate relationships, romantic relationships, partner perceptions, dyadic daily experience

There is evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of digital interventions for the treatment of depression for a variety of populations; however, reported effect sizes may be exaggerated because of publication bias

Moshe, I., Terhorst, Y., Philippi, P., Domhardt, M., Cuijpers, P., Cristea, I., Pulkki-Råback, L., Baumeister, H., & Sander, L. B. (2021). Digital interventions for the treatment of depression: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(8), 749–786.

Abstract: The high global prevalence of depression, together with the recent acceleration of remote care owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted increased interest in the efficacy of digital interventions for the treatment of depression. We provide a summary of the latest evidence base for digital interventions in the treatment of depression based on the largest study sample to date. A systematic literature search identified 83 studies (N = 15,530) that randomly allocated participants to a digital intervention for depression versus an active or inactive control condition. Overall heterogeneity was very high (I2 = 84%). Using a random-effects multilevel metaregression model, we found a significant medium overall effect size of digital interventions compared with all control conditions (g = .52). Subgroup analyses revealed significant differences between interventions and different control conditions (WLC: g = .70; attention: g = .36; TAU: g = .31), significantly higher effect sizes in interventions that involved human therapeutic guidance (g = .63) compared with self-help interventions (g = .34), and significantly lower effect sizes for effectiveness trials (g = .30) compared with efficacy trials (g = .59). We found no significant difference in outcomes between smartphone-based apps and computer- and Internet-based interventions and no significant difference between human-guided digital interventions and face-to-face psychotherapy for depression, although the number of studies in both comparisons was low. Findings from the current meta-analysis provide evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of digital interventions for the treatment of depression for a variety of populations. However, reported effect sizes may be exaggerated because of publication bias, and compliance with digital interventions outside of highly controlled settings remains a significant challenge

How to Tell the Boss You’re Burned Out (Without Derailing Your Career)

How to Tell the Boss You’re Burned Out (Without Derailing Your Career). By Rachel Feintzeig. The Wall Street Journal, Dec 13 2021.

We’re sharing more at work these days, but it can be risky to confess to being overwhelmed. Here’s how and when to speak up.

You’re burned out at work. Does your manager need to know?


Still, talking about burnout with a boss isn’t the same as talking about it with a friend. Stigma around mental-health challenges is real, psychologists warn. How can you get some breathing room, and back to feeling like yourself, without jeopardizing your career?

You don’t need to share just for the sake of sharing, Dr. Caldwell-Harvey says. “The goal is to share so that you can ask for what you need.”

Assess what it would take to stop feeling overwhelmed, and think about whether you really require permission to get it. Can you attend virtual therapy on Thursday mornings without telling your boss? Do you need a deadline extension, different work hours or a leave of absence? Speak up if you need to, and mention burnout by name if your colleagues seem supportive of diverging viewpoints and mental-health struggles, Dr. Caldwell-Harvey says.

But keep it simple. Your manager isn’t your therapist, she adds.

For all the risk, a lot of positives can come from sharing how you’re really doing—deeper trust with colleagues, permission for others to open up, a nudge away from a pressure-cooker work culture toward something more humane. You could be less miserable, and so could everyone else.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, 42, felt herself approaching burnout a couple of years ago while working for an advertising firm. An earlier bout had landed her in the emergency room, suffering from an intense migraine that left her unable to move. She didn’t want to go back to that. But she worried she’d be perceived as weak or unable to handle her job if she confessed how she was feeling.

She came up with a specific ask: She wanted to take off an entire month. She picked August, when business tended to be slowest, and approached her boss in January, giving him plenty of time to prepare for her absence.

“There was no emotion in it,” she says of how she presented the idea. She told him she was burned out and would have to leave the company later that year if she couldn’t take a break. To her surprise, he said sure.

“If you don’t say something, nothing will change,” says Ms. Rosenberg, who went on to found the Good Advice Company, a marketing and communications consultancy in Los Angeles. “But you have to be brave enough to say something.”

Burnout can feel like a uniquely individual experience, as if you’re the only one who can’t keep pace. But workplace researchers say it isn’t just you.

Employees across industries feel worn down and used up because what they are being asked to do is unrealistic, says Erin Kelly, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of the book “Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It.” The backlog of tasks, the lack of resources—it isn’t sustainable for long.

“There had already been a speedup in many jobs before the pandemic, and then we turned up that volume,” she says.

A yoga class or a meditation session isn’t going to fix the problem. Instead, Dr. Kelly’s research examining an overworked IT division at a Fortune 500 firm before the pandemic found that team interventions are what make a difference. Employees whose managers were trained to check in to see how they were doing personally and professionally, and to give them flexibility to work how they wanted, had significantly lower levels of burnout and psychological distress than a control group. They were also 40% less likely to quit.

Another thing that helped: workshops where folks shared their stress and plotted what the team could let go of, like superfluous meetings clogging their calendars.

“Employees reported that they just felt free,” Dr. Kelly says. “It’s going to be easier to approach as a collective project than to stick your own neck out as an individual.”

Anne Ngo started struggling last fall as the second wave of the pandemic hit Toronto, where she lives. Isolated in her apartment, working 12-hour days, she began having anxiety attacks, difficulty sleeping and back and shoulder pain. Demand at her job as a recruiter at Ada, which provides clients with AI chat bots, had come roaring back, and she was tasked with trying to fill 40 to 50 roles a quarter instead of the usual 20.

“I was just one person,” the 33-year-old said. She began to feel like a cog, never really having an impact as colleagues ordered up an ever-increasing number of new hires. Yet the job became her life.

“I just couldn’t shut off,” she says.

She waited until she had hit her goals for the quarter before approaching Chelsea MacDonald, the company’s senior vice president of operations.

“I needed to have leverage of, ‘I did well, but I did well compromising my own well-being, and I don’t think this is ok,’ ” Ms. Ngo says. “I’m pretty sure I just blurted out everything I’d been holding for months.”

Ms. MacDonald says she’s happy Ms. Ngo spoke up. Ms. Ngo started therapy and acupuncture, while Ms. MacDonald talked to other teams to help reduce the demands on her.

“The honest answer is the workload just has to change,” Ms. MacDonald says. Instead of workers suffering, “the business needs to feel a little bit of pain.”

By January, Ms. Ngo had won a promotion and was able to hire for her own team, to spread the load. She sometimes wishes she had said something earlier about her burnout.

Talking about it, she says, “was a relief.”

Men overperceive women's attractiveness, while women underperceive men's attractiveness

Error Management Theory and biased first impressions: How do people perceive potential mates under conditions of uncertainty? David M.G. Lewis et al. Evolution and Human Behavior, December 15 2021.

Abstract: People must make inferences about a potential mate's desirability based on incomplete information. Under such uncertainty, there are two possible errors: people could overperceive a mate’s desirability, which might lead to regrettable mating behavior, or they could underperceive the mate’s desirability, which might lead to missing a valuable opportunity. How do people balance the risks of these errors, and do men and women respond differently? Based on an analysis of the relative costs of these two types of error, we generated two new hypotheses about biases in initial person perception: the Male Overperception of Attractiveness Bias (MOAB) and the Female Underperception of Attractive Bias (FUAB). Participants (N = 398), who were recruited via social media, an email distribution list, and snowball sampling, rated the attractiveness of unfamiliar opposite-sex targets twice: once from a blurred image, and once from a clear image. By randomizing order of presentation (blurred first vs. clear first), we isolated the unique effects of uncertainty—which was only present when the participant saw the blurred image first. As predicted, men overperceived women's attractiveness, on average. By contrast, as predicted, women underperceived men's attractiveness, on average. Because multiple possible decision rules could produce these effects, the effects do not reveal the algorithm responsible for them. We explicitly addressed this level of analysis by identifying multiple candidate algorithms and testing the divergent predictions they yield. This suggested the existence of more nuanced biases: men overperceived the attractiveness of unattractive (but not attractive) women, whereas women underperceived the attractiveness of attractive (but not unattractive) men. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating algorithm in analyses of cognitive biases.

Keywords: Error Management TheoryCognitive biasesHuman matingPerson perceptionAlgorithmLevels of analysis

In direct support of the assumed Dunning-Kruger effect, individuals whose political knowledge scores are low are most prone to overestimation

Rapeli L. (2022) Accuracy of Self-Assessments of Political Sophistication. In: Kristensen N.N., Denk T., Olson M., Solhaug T. (eds) Perspectives on Political Awareness. Springer, Cham. Dec 2021.

Abstract: Political knowledge is the primary indicator of political sophistication, which refers to expertise in the realm of politics. Sophisticated individuals hold more accurate, stable, and consistent political opinions and display many behaviors that are widely considered conducive for democracy. Political knowledge is also largely synonymous with political awareness. For methodological and pragmatic reasons, it would often be convenient to assess individuals’ knowledge about politics through survey self-assessments. Surveys are increasingly conducted online without supervision by a professional interviewer, which makes it impossible to reliably ask knowledge questions due to googling. Self-assessments offer a potential way around the problem, but their reliability has not yet been ascertained. The scarce evidence about the accuracy of such evaluations and research on cognitive biases suggests that they are likely to be inaccurate. This article offers evidence of the accuracy of self-assessments of political sophistication among various sociodemographic groups. The analysis makes use of recently gathered data focusing on political sophistication in Finland among a representative sample of the voting age population. The findings offer some optimism regarding self-assessments as a proxy for more extensive measures of political awareness. However, age and gender-related differences in accuracy are cause for some concern.

Overall, the results imply that loneliness can be a rising concern in emerging adulthood, although the frequently used term “loneliness epidemic” seems exaggerated

Buecker, S., Mund, M., Chwastek, S., Sostmann, M., & Luhmann, M. (2021). Is loneliness in emerging adults increasing over time? A preregistered cross-temporal meta-analysis and systematic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(8), 787–805. Dec 2021.

Abstract: Judged by the sheer amount of global media coverage, loneliness rates seem to be an increasingly urgent societal concern. From the late 1970s onward, the life experiences of emerging adults have been changing massively due to societal developments such as increased fragmentation of social relationships, greater mobility opportunities, and changes in communication due to technological innovations. These societal developments might have coincided with an increase in loneliness in emerging adults. In the present preregistered cross-temporal meta-analysis, we examined whether loneliness levels in emerging adults have changed over the last 43 years. Our analysis is based on 449 means from 345 studies with 437 independent samples and a total of 124,855 emerging adults who completed the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Loneliness Scale between 1976 and 2019. Averaged across all studies, loneliness levels linearly increased with increasing calendar years (β = .224, 95% CI [.138, .309]). This increase corresponds to 0.56 standard deviations on the UCLA Loneliness Scale over the 43-year studied period. Overall, the results imply that loneliness can be a rising concern in emerging adulthood. Although the frequently used term “loneliness epidemic” seems exaggerated, emerging adults should therefore not be overlooked when designing interventions against loneliness.