Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Asymmetry in belief revision: People are better able to believe in a claim once thought to be false, as opposed to unbelieving something once believed to be true

Asymmetry in Belief Revision. Brenda W. Yang, Alexandria R. Stone, Elizabeth J. Marsh. Applied Cognitive Psychology, August 24 2022.

Abstract: Information changes: science advances, newspapers retract claims, and recommendations shift. Successfully navigating the world requires updating and changing beliefs, a process that is sensitive to a person’s motivation to change their beliefs as well as the credibility of the source providing the new information. Here, we report three studies that consistently identify an additional factor influencing belief revision. Specifically, we document an asymmetry in belief revision: people are better able to believe in a claim once thought to be false, as opposed to unbelieving something once believed to be true. We discuss how this finding integrates and extends prior research on social and cognitive contributions to belief revisions. This work has implications for understanding the widespread prevalence and persistence of false beliefs in contemporary societies.

There is no convincing evidence that interventions for the most common childhood mental disorders are beneficial in the long term

 Editorial Perspective: Are treatments for childhood mental disorders helpful in the long run? An overview of systematic reviews. Annelieke M. Roest, Ymkje Anna de Vries, Albert W. Wienen, Peter de Jonge. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, August 29 2022.

Abstract: Mental disorders may have severe consequences for individuals across their entire lifespan, especially when they start in childhood. Effective treatments (both psychosocial and pharmacological) exist for the short-term treatment of common mental disorders in young people. These could, at least theoretically, prevent future problems, including recurrence of the disorder, development of comorbidity, or problems in functioning. However, little is known about the actual effects of these treatments in the long run. In the current editorial perspective, we consider the available evidence for the long-term (i.e., ≥2 years) effectiveness and safety of treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavior disorders, and anxiety and depressive disorders for children between 6 and 12 years old. After providing an overview of the literature, we reflect on two key issues, namely, methodological difficulties in establishing long-term treatment effects, and the risk–benefit ratio of treatments for common childhood mental disorders. In addition, we discuss future research possibilities, clinical implications, and other approaches, specifically whole-of-society-actions that could potentially reduce the burden of common childhood mental disorders.

Long-term treatment of behavior disorders

Psychosocial treatments of behavior disorders include child-level interventions such as social skills training, parent-level interventions such as parent management training, and multicomponent interventions, which target both the child and its parents and/or teachers. Concerning pharmacological treatments, while second-generation antipsychotics are prescribed most often, a wide range of drug classes have been studied, including antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, stimulants, and nonstimulants (Epstein et al., 2015). No drugs have received FDA or EMA approval for the treatment of behavior disorders, with the exception of risperidone for persistent aggression in conduct disorder in Europe.

Epstein et al. (2015) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions for disruptive behavior (e.g., as part of CD or ODD) in children and adolescents. This systematic review included studies with different designs, such as RCTs, extension trials, and cohort studies. A systematic review by Pillay et al. (2018) focused on the harms of first- and second-generation antipsychotics in the treatment of psychiatric and behavioral conditions in children, adolescents, and young adults and also included a variety of study designs, for example, RCTs, extension trials, cohort studies, and individual patient data meta-analyses.

Epstein et al. (2015) included a few small studies of antipsychotics and stimulants, which reported positive effects on disruptive behaviors in the short term. However, no studies with a follow-up long enough were available to conclude anything about the long-term effectiveness of treatment. Among psychosocial treatments, parent-level and multicomponent programs showed positive long-term effects, yet the number of studies was low and outcomes were not consistently positive (Epstein et al., 2015). In addition, studies uniformly failed to note whether the harms of psychosocial interventions were investigated (Epstein et al., 2015).

Antipsychotics prescribed for behavior disorders are associated with side effects such as extrapyramidal symptoms (particularly with first-generation antipsychotics), weight gain, sleepiness, sedation, and high triglyceride levels. Unfortunately, there are few studies with a long-term follow-up. However, second-generation antipsychotics have been found to also increase the risk for weight gain, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes in the long term (Pillay et al., 2018). Therefore, clinicians should weigh the benefits and harms when prescribing antipsychotics, especially when alternatives exist (Pillay et al., 2018).


Overview of (a lack of) systematic reviews

The impression that emerges from this overview is that there is no convincing evidence that interventions for the most common childhood disorders are beneficial in the long term. In addition, high withdrawal rates and exclusion of patients with a history of adverse events potentially distort findings of long-term studies on adverse effects of pharmacological treatments (Charach et al., 2011; Pillay et al., 2018), while reporting of potential negative effects of psychological treatments in primary studies is absent (Epstein et al., 2015). Virtually all reviews we discussed also concluded that there were few studies with a long-term follow-up available, often too few to allow firm conclusions. A potential reason for the lack of long-term studies is that many systematic reviews on treatment effects exclusively focused on RCTs, and RCTs with long-term follow-up periods are very scarce.

In conclusion, the scientific literature cannot answer the important policy and health care question regarding the long-term effectiveness and safety of treatment of childhood mental disorders with any confidence. We discuss potential methodological reasons in the next part of this editorial.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Feminine traits (facial structure with large eyes, full lips, & an oval face shape, & a curvaceous body with relatively large breasts, a narrow waist, & full hips & buttocks) are often claimed to cue women’s reproductive potential; no evidence of this association

Lidborg, Linda H., and Lynda Boothroyd. 2022. “Do Women’s Morphological Traits Predict Reproductive Outcomes? A Systematic Review.” PsyArXiv. August 25. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Sexually dimorphic – or feminine – traits in women include a neotenous facial structure with large eyes, full lips, and an oval face shape, and a curvaceous body with relatively large breasts, a narrow waist, and full hips and buttocks. Compared to men, women also show higher second-to-fourth finger (2D:4D) ratios as well as less muscle mass and lower physical strength. Due to a putative association with oestrogen levels, feminine traits are often claimed to cue women’s reproductive potential. However, evidence for this purported relationship typically uses reproductive proxies rather than actual biological fitness. Here, we report a systematic review of direct reproductive outcomes as a function of morphological traits in women. The review comprised measures of 2D:4D, voice pitch, and upper-body strength in women from 14 samples, and showed a mixture of null, positive, and negative effects. Given how commonly traits such as facial femininity, WHR, and breast size are claimed to signal fertility, it is noteworthy that we were not able to locate a single study measuring women’s fertility as a function of either of those traits. Overall, our review shows that the current evidence base is too weak to support the claim that women’s morphological traits cue fertility.

We establish a robust and economically significant negative association between the tightness and breadth of kin-based institutions—their kinship intensity—and economic development

Kin-based institutions and economic development. Duman Bahrami-Rad, Jonathan Beauchamp, Joseph Henrich, Jonathan Schulz. SSRN August 25, 2022.

Abstract: Though many theories have been advanced to account for global differences in economic prosperity, little attention has been paid to the oldest and most fundamental of human institutions: kin-based institutions---the set of social norms governing descent, marriage, clan membership, post-marital residence and family organization. Here, focusing on an anthropologically well established dimension of kinship, we establish a robust and economically significant negative association between the tightness and breadth of kin-based institutions---their kinship intensity---and economic development. To measure kinship intensity and economic development, we deploy both quantified ethnographic observations on kinship and genotypic measures (which proxy endogamous marriage patterns) with data on satellite nighttime luminosity and regional GDP. Our results are robust to controlling for a suite of geographic and cultural variables and hold across countries, within countries at both the regional and ethnolinguistic levels, and within countries in a spatial regression discontinuity analysis. Considering potential mechanisms, we discuss evidence consistent with kinship intensity indirectly impacting economic development via its effects on the division of labor, cultural psychology, institutions, and innovation.

Keywords: kin-based institutions, cousin marriage, inbreeding coefficient, cultural evolution, economic development

JEL Classification: D01, J12, J16, N30, Z12, Z13

In a sample of 290 Canadian heterosexual young adults, unrestricted sociosexuality positively predicted same-sex indirect aggression (malicious gossip, social exclusion, and guilt induction) and intrasexual competitiveness

Intrasexual Competitiveness Mediates the Link Between Unrestricted Sociosexuality and Indirect Aggression. Adam C. Davis, Graham Albert & Steven Arnocky. Evolutionary Psychological Science, Jul 6 2022.

Abstract: The constellation of co-adapted traits that facilitate short-term mating promote the use of riskier and interpersonally antagonistic intrasexual competition tactics. Aggressive behavior can be used to vie against rivals for mates and resources that facilitate reproductive success; however, there is limited research regarding whether individual differences in a short-term mating orientation (i.e., unrestricted sociosexuality) are reliably associated with same-sex aggression, particularly indirect aggression. There is also some research suggesting that short-term mating tendencies are linked to inter-individual variability in the desire to compete with same-sex others for access to mates and reproductive resources (i.e., intrasexual competitiveness). We therefore speculated that intrasexual competitiveness might help to explain why those pursuing a short-term mating strategy may perpetrate more indirect aggression toward same-sex peers. In a sample of 290 Canadian heterosexual young adults, unrestricted sociosexuality positively predicted same-sex indirect aggression and intrasexual competitiveness, and intrasexual competitiveness mediated the positive link between unrestricted sociosexuality and indirect aggression. Exploratory analyses revealed that the desire facet of sociosexuality was driving the effect. These findings suggest that those with a short-term mating orientation, particularly those with unrestricted sociosexual desires, engage in more indirect aggression against same-sex peers, and that this association is, in part, explained by an inclination to be combative with same-sex rivals over social and mating resources.

Ideal Life Expectancy: The Determinants, Processes, and Consequences of the Desire to Live a Long Life

Ideal Life Expectancy: The Determinants, Processes, and Consequences of the Desire to Live a Long Life. Fiona Sophia Rupprecht . Philosophischen Fakultät und Fachbereich Theologie der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Doktorgrades Dr. Phil. Sep 2021.

Extended Abstract

The rapid increase in human life expectancy during the last decades sees many individuals confronted with the prospect of living a very long life. Whereas advances in life expectancy are often being celebrated in scientific communities, it is still largely unclear to what extent individuals embrace the prospect of a long life and wish to reach a very old age. To address this issue, the present dissertation focuses on the construct of ideal life expectancy, which can be defined as a personal desire regarding the length of one’s life. Understanding personal ideal life expectancies, and the antecedents, processes, and consequences surrounding them, is particularly important when assuming that individuals’ beliefs, choices, and behavior can affect their aging process and actual length of life.

Within the general introduction of this dissertation (see Chapter 1), the construct of ideal life expectancy is embedded in the theoretical frameworks of self-discrepancy theory and the psychology of life-longings. With this, it is highlighted that individual ideal life expectancies constitute self-related ideals, which can and often do diverge from perceptions of reality (i.e., perceived life expectancies). Indeed, many individuals seem to wish for a life longer than the one they anticipate, express a certain dissatisfaction with the length of their life, and experience a phenomenon we have labeled as subjective life expectancy discordance (i.e., the discordance between ideal and perceived life expectancy). In all this, ideal life expectancy is however a construct with considerable interindividual differences and it is scarcely understood why some individuals consider their perceived life expectancy ideal, whereas others would opt for rather short or unrealistically long lives.

The central research questions of this dissertation focus on the contexts and experiences (i.e., culture, age, health, and the coronavirus pandemic) as well as personal belief systems and mindsets regarding living, aging, and death that can determine individual ideal life expectancies. Furthermore, it is addressed how processes of anticipation, evaluation, and contrasting likely surround the immediate formation of ideal life expectancies. When forming their ideal life expectancy, individuals need to rely on more general anticipations of their personal life in old age as well as the specific anticipation of perceived life expectancy. Individuals can then evaluate those anticipations as (un-)desirable, (un-)acceptable, or even threatening (cf. aging-related fears) and can be encouraged or discouraged to wish for a certain life expectancy.  Consequently, individuals are free to actively decide on an ideal life expectancy that is in concordance and acceptance of their anticipations, or in discordance and in contrast to their anticipations. Here, it is studied how certain aging-related fears as well as general anticipations of the future relate to ideal life expectancies. Lastly, affective and behavioral consequences of individual ideal life expectancies are investigated. Particularly, it is assumed that (strong) discordances between perceived and ideal life expectancies can stimulate health behavior change, but also negatively affect psychological well-being and foster experiences of dissatisfaction and despair. The specific research questions have resulted in four empirical research papers gathered in this cumulative dissertation.  Paper #1 (see Chapter 2) summarizes prior research on longevity motivation and identifies three common belief systems and mindsets: The essentialist mindset idealizes an infinite life and aims at conquering or halting a biologically determined aging process.  The medicalist mindset evaluates aging based on health and sees longevity as burdened only when pathology occurs. The stoicist mindset is a mindset of acceptance, which tolerates the challenges and vulnerabilities of the aging process as long as dignity and meaning can be preserved. The mindsets are then empirically explored in regard to the construct of ideal life expectancy. Results indicate that culture, self-rated health, and death acceptance act as potential determinants of ideal life expectancy. Additionally, the interplay of perceived and ideal life expectancy is able to predict health behavior change.  Lastly, ideal life expectancy and its discordance to perceived life expectancy are established as stable and reliable constructs.

Paper #2 (see Chapter 3) targets the relationship between ideal and perceived life expectancy more explicitly. Results indicate that average ideal life expectancies lie cleary above average perceived life expectancies and that most individuals would strive for a longer life than they anticipate. This experience of subjective life expectancy discordance seems to ease in old age, when ideal and perceived life expectancies become more concordant. In line with predictions of self-discrepancy theory, a stronger subjective life expectancy discordance was negatively related to different aspects of psychological wellbeing. Over the time span of two years, subjective life expectancy discordance predicted increases in negative affect. Additionally, subjective life expectancy discordance contributed to another form of subjective aging discordance: Individuals wishing to live longer than they anticipated to, also wished to be younger again than they perceived themselves to be. Thus, a discordance and dissatisfaction regarding the future aging process and length of life seemed to predict a discordance and dissatisfaction regarding the current aging process.

Paper #3 (see Chapter 4) investigates a number of psychological constructs targeting the finitude of life (i.e., future time perspective with its three subcomponents future time opportunity, extension, and constraint, fear of death, and ideal life expectancy) in times of the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas the research indicates that future time perspectives decreased over the course of the pandemic and that fear of death peaked at its beginning, ideal life expectancies remained surprisingly stable throughout the pandemic. Ideal life expectancies thus seem to be shaped by more enduring contexts and experiences (e.g., health state and socioeconomic status) rather than momentary and transitory ones. Furthermore, it is explored how ideal life expectancy relates to the other psychological constructs of finitude: Next to the respective cross-sectional relations, higher ideal life expectancy seemed predictive of increases in future time opportunity, future time extension, and fear of death, leading up to the topic of the fourth publication.  Paper #4 (see Chapter 5) focuses on the role of aging-related fears for individual ideal life expectancies. Following predictions of terror management theory, it is assumed that a strong fear of death is related to pushing death into the more distant future and wishing for a longer life. In contrast, fears regarding the aging process, such as the fear of loneliness in old age and the fear of aging-related diseases could color anticipations of aging in such negative and threatening ways that individuals may prefer to avoid those by wishing for a shorter life. Results indicate that differentiations mainly occur in regard to whether individuals would like to reach a very old age. Indeed, a stronger fear of death was related to higher ideal life expectancies and the wish to reach a very old age across two studies. Additionally, individuals fearing loneliness in old age or aging-related diseases while being unafraid of death, wished for particularly short lives. Explicitly negative anticipations of the aging process such as aging-related fears can thus partly explain why individuals wish for longer or shorter lives.

In the general discussion (see Chapter 6), the findings of the four research papers are summarized and synthesized. In regard to contexts and experiences, aspects of an individual’s biography such as culture, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and health state seemed decisive for individual ideal life expectancies. In contrast, ideal life expectancies seem rather unaffected by temporary contexts such as the coronavirus pandemic. Three overarching belief systems and mindsets for longevity motivation were identified.  Additionally, individuals’ views on death (i.e., fear of death and death acceptance) were associated with ideal life expectancies. Regarding the more immediate formation of ideal life expectancies, reciprocal processes between anticipations of the own aging process and future (e.g., future time perspective) and personal ideal life expectancies can be assumed. Research furthermore supports the assumption that individuals actively differentiate between the more rational anticipation that is perceived life expectancy and the personal desire that is ideal life expectancy. Whereas most individuals wish to live longer than they anticipate, particularly older adults also experience concordance between their ideal and perceived life expectancy. The general discussion also highlights and discusses the finding that a subgroup of individuals wishes to live less long than they anticipate to. Lastly, next to ideal life expectancy’s impact on health behaviors and psychological well-being, there seem to be cognitive consequences in regard to states of acceptance, the envisioning of the future, and potentially, active goal-setting and intention-building. The discussion concludes in an expanded research model and highlights social contexts and relationships, aspects of subjective aging, and the end of life as potential areas for future research surrounding ideal life expectancy.

The main implications of this dissertation refer to the reliability and stability of the construct of ideal life expectancy, its embeddedness in the research on self-related ideals and the research on subjective aging, and the more far-reaching content of the identified mindsets of longevity motivation. On a practical level, individual and average ideal life expectancies could affect research questions, medical treatment and decision making, as well as societal views on old and very old individuals. Due to relations to negative psychological well-being and fear of death, the constructs of ideal life expectancy and subjective life expectancy discordance may furthermore be of importance for overall psychopathology. Most importantly, however, this dissertation is able to show that many individuals indeed appreciate the prospect of a long life—a finding that could be utilized to foster a positive but realistic approach to living into very old age.

Monday, August 29, 2022

College Kids' Unemployment & Coresidence With Parents: Declining availability of 'matched jobs' that require a college degree explains two thirds of the rise in unemployment and coresidence 2013-1996

Boomerang College Kids: Unemployment, Job Mismatch and Coresidence.Stefania Albanesi, Rania Gihleb & Ning Zhang. NBER Working Paper 30397, August 2022. DOI 10.3386/w30397

Abstract: Labor market outcomes for young college graduates have deteriorated substantially in the last twenty five years, and more of them are residing with their parents. The unemployment rate at 23-27 year old for the 1996 college graduation cohort was 9%, whereas it rose to 12% for the 2013 graduation cohort. While only 25% of the 1996 cohort lived with their parents, 31% for the 2013 cohort chose this option. Our hypothesis is that the declining availability of ‘matched jobs’ that require a college degree is a key factor behind these developments. Using a structurally estimated model of child-parent decisions, in which coresidence improves college graduates' quality of job matches, we find that lower matched job arrival rates explain two thirds of the rise in unemployment and coresidence between the 2013 and 1996 graduation cohorts. Rising wage dispersion is also important for the increase in unemployment, while declining parental income, rising student loan balances and higher rental costs only play a marginal role.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Competitiveness and Jealousy Across the Ovulatory Cycle: A Hormone-Based analysis reveals no compelling evidence for (hormone-related) cycle shifts in intrasexual competitiveness, attractiveness ratings, or jealousy

Women’s Intrasexual Competitiveness and Jealousy Across the Ovulatory Cycle: A Hormone-Based Study. Julia Stern, Tabea Hildebrand, Kathleen Casto. Social Psychological and Personality Science, August 26, 2022.

Abstract: Research on social status competition among women suggests that underlying hormonal shifts associated with the ovulatory cycle systematically drive alterations in preferences and behavior. Specifically, it is proposed that the fertile window, marked by heightened estradiol and lower progesterone levels, is related to increased psychological motivation for intrasexual social comparison, leading to increasing competitiveness and jealousy. In this pre-registered, longitudinal study, 257 women provided saliva samples for hormone assays, rated the attractiveness of other women, and self-reported intrasexual competitiveness and jealousy across four testing sessions. Multilevel analyses revealed no compelling evidence for (hormone-related) cycle shifts in intrasexual competitiveness, attractiveness ratings, or jealousy. Rather, women higher in intrasexual competitiveness seem to rate other women as more attractive in general. We discuss how our results contribute to a growing body of literature suggesting that women’s social attitudes and preferences are more stable and less hormonally influenced than previously assumed.

Keywords: ovulatory cycle, steroid hormones, intrasexual competitiveness, social comparison, jealousy

Popular theories in biosocial and evolutionary psychology suggest that women’s social status behaviors are regulated systematically by the hormonal and physiological processes underlying the ovulatory cycle. Specifically, the brief mid-cycle fertile window is thought to be associated with greater intrasexual social comparison and mate-seeking behavior. This study’s aim was to address whether or not women’s intrasexual social comparison changes across predicted phases of the menstrual cycle and in relation to phase-associated hormone levels. We found no compelling evidence that the fertile window of the cycle is related to increased derogation of other women as potential rivals, self-reported intrasexual competitiveness, or self-reported jealousy. Thus, attitudes and perceptions associated with status and competition with other females do not appear to vary systematically across the cycle. Further, we found no compelling evidence that the fertile window is associated with evaluating men’s faces as more attractive (supplement), in contrast to findings for men’s bodies, voices, or behaviors (Jünger, Kordsmeyer, et al., 2018Jünger, Motta-Mena, et al., 2018Stern et al., 2020). Rather, women higher in intrasexual competitiveness rated other women’s faces as being more attractive in general, regardless of conception risk or levels of ovarian hormones. This effect was stronger when the other women were rated as being more attractive by men. Further, women higher in intrasexual competitiveness also reported generally higher levels of jealousy.

Overall, we did not replicate previous studies reporting enhanced competitor derogation, self-reported intrasexual competitiveness, or jealousy in women’s fertile phase (see Tables 1 and 2). Nevertheless, our results are in line with a preregistered large diary study reporting that self-reported jealousy or narcissistic rivalry was unrelated to fertility (Arslan et al., 2021) and with results regarding evaluations of other women’s body attractiveness across the cycle from the same dataset (Stern et al., 2021). Our findings are further in line with two large-scale studies reporting no evidence for a link of ovarian hormones with self-reported intrasexual competitiveness or anxious jealousy (Hahn et al., 20162020). Given that more recent studies reporting null effects (including the current study) employed larger sample sizes and used validated methods (Tables 1 and 2), the reported results cast doubt on previous findings.

Women might, contrary to prior theory, not provoke or derogate other women when they are fertile due to the high costs of victimization especially when at a higher risk for aggression from other females (Bröder & Hohmann, 2003Hurst et al., 2017Krems et al., 20162021Necka et al., 2018). Aggression can lead to social exclusion, decrease the desirability as a potential mate, negatively affect health and wellbeing, and might even affect the possibility to conceive (Archer, 2004Campbell, 1999Vaillancourt, 2013). Rather than systematically fluctuating in coordination with fertility, the present study showed that women higher in intrasexual competitiveness reported higher levels of jealousy and rated other women’s faces as being more attractive in general. These findings suggest that intrasexual competitiveness increases the salience of other women’s physical attractiveness and are in line with the suggestion that women should direct their attention and competitive efforts toward their most formidable same-sex competitors (Reynolds, Baumeister, & Maner, 2018). Comparative evaluations of physical attractiveness would be a necessary precursor. Further, in the current study, (heterosexual) women rated other women’s faces as being more attractive than men’s faces in general, which suggests that the facial pictures were evaluated based on generalized perceptions of a feminized conceptualization of beauty rather than on sexual desire, per se. Thus, context-independent pictures of faces may be less likely to capture state fluctuations in mating psychology associated with underlying hormonal shifts. Indeed, previous studies report that trait-like, stable or genetic factors account for more variation in face perceptions than contextual factors (e.g., menstrual cycle or self-perceived attractiveness; Zietsch et al., 2015).

In summary, our results contribute to a growing line of research suggesting that women do not have hormone-dependent and strongly fluctuating social preferences across their cycle. These results are similar to other recent research that has shown no cycle-relevant changes in women’s emotion recognition ability (Shirazi et al., 2010) and political orientation (Harris et al., 2014), although there is debate on mating preferences (e.g., Gangestad et al., 2019Jones et al., 2019Stern et al., 2019). Important cycle-related patterns of cognitions and behavior have been observed and are necessary to uncover. However, it is possible that such effects are specific to a narrower set of directly reproductively related cognitions and behaviors, such as higher sexual desire and feeling more attractive (e.g., Arslan et al., 2021Jones et al., 2018Schleifenbaum et al., 2021). Thus, perhaps women’s social attitudes and preferences are more stable and less hormonally influenced than previously assumed.


There are several limitations of this study. First, we used facial photographs from a database that did not include information about the target women’s position in the cycle. Previous research suggests that women are more attentive to or respond with higher levels of jealousy to other fertile women (Hurst et al., 2017Krems et al., 20162021Necka et al., 2018). Thus, results may differ when explicitly investigating shifts in attractiveness ratings across the rater’s and target’s cycle phases. Second, we did not investigate real social interactions. The fact that women did not derogate other women’s attractiveness when evaluating facial pictures does not necessarily mean that they would not try to derogate other women in direct social interactions, that is, during a real competition. Third, the measures we used to assess self-reported intrasexual competitiveness and jealousy were originally designed to assess traits rather than states, which might have led to little variation in these measures across the cycle (although previous studies reported effects using the exact same measures and between-subjects analyses do not suggest limited ability to detect cycle effects). Fourth, we collected our data in a WEIRD country (Germany) and are not able to generalize our results to other countries or investigate cultural differences. Fifth, recent work has pointed out that estradiol levels assessed with salivary immunoassays may not correspond to conception risk or show the expected peak in the fertile phase (Arslan et al., 2022). Thus, we cannot rule out that analyzing estradiol with a different method (e.g., potentially more valid analyses via LCMS that were not available when our hormone assays were analyzed) would have led to different results.

Wives on average reported lower daily sexual desire for their spouse; relational (marital satisfaction, commitment), cognitive (sex-role identification, stress, self-esteem), and emotional (mood, depressive symptoms) factors did not matter

An Empirical Investigation of the Roles of Biological, Relational, Cognitive, and Emotional Factors in Explaining Sex Differences in Dyadic Sexual Desire. Juliana E. French et al. Biological Psychology, August 27 2022, 108421.


• Husbands reported higher levels of sexual desire for their spouse than did wives

• Testosterone accounted for the sex difference in sexual desire for one’s spouse

• Relational, cognitive, and emotional variables did not account for this sex difference

Abstract: One challenge many marital couples face is that they experience discrepant levels of sexual desire for one another. Such discrepancies are particularly likely to arise in mixed-sex relationships because, at least in long-term relationships, men tend to have higher levels of sexual desire for their partner than do women. But what underlies this sex difference? We used a dyadic study of 100 mixed-sex community-based newlywed spouses to investigate the role of biological, relational, cognitive, and emotional factors in explaining sex differences in dyadic sexual desire for a long-term partner. Consistent with predictions, wives on average reported lower daily sexual desire for their spouse than did husbands. Moreover, individual differences in men’s and women’s levels of circulating testosterone explained this sex difference whereas relational (marital satisfaction, commitment), cognitive (sex-role identification, stress, self-esteem), and emotional (mood, depressive symptoms) factors did not. These findings advance our knowledge of factors that influence dyadic sexual desire and may have practical implications for treating relationship distress in mixed-sex marriages.

Keywords: Dyadic Sexual DesireTestosteroneSex differencesMarriage

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Those who commit suicide and take animals to their deaths are much more likely to kill dogs than cats

Peticide: An Analysis of Online News Media Articles of Human Suicide Involving Pet Animals. Janette Young,James Andrew Oxley,V. Tamara Montrose & Harold Herzog. Anthrozoös, Aug 26 2022.

Abstract: While pets may be protective for some people at risk of suicide, they may also become a risk factor or even become co-victims when humans end their own lives. It is important to protect against simplistic approaches to human–animal relationships, especially where simplification may endanger human and/or animal lives. Using publicly accessible online media articles between 2010 and 2020, this research sought to progress our understanding of suicidal acts involving pet animals. Sixty-one articles from six countries were identified; a mixed-methods qualitative descriptive (QD) approach to analysis was undertaken composed of descriptive statistical mapping followed by thematic content analysis. Almost 90% of the articles reported the deaths of multiple humans and 23% reported the deaths of multiple animals. A total of 116 animals were identified: mainly dogs, but also 8 cats, 2 rabbits, and 2 non-specified pets. Most animals died, with only nine surviving. Five key categories of scenarios were identified: extended suicides, mercy killings, suicide pacts, family annihilators, and unique. A further level of analysis was undertaken focused on the family annihilator reports (44/61 articles) using a published homicide-suicide typology. Key points to emerge from this analysis include the possibly higher vulnerability of dogs compared with other species. The terms “extended suicide” and “peticide” are discussed with the recommendation that the killing of pet animals be linguistically aligned with that of other killings. A focus on human–animal relationships reveals commonly unexplored intersections across criminology, mental health, and domestic violence and suggests the potential for collaboration across these fields driven by multi-species awareness. This research adds to arguments for data on animal presence in scenarios of human violence to be collected so that responses to protect vulnerable animals, and humans, can be developed.

Keywords: Animalsfamilicidehomicide-suicidehuman–animal interactionpeticidepets

Religious people reported having less sex on average (mainly driven by the significantly lower sex frequency among non-cohabiting religious individuals); also, religiosity was linked with overall higher levels of sex life satisfaction

Religiosity, Sex Frequency, and Sexual Satisfaction in Britain: Evidence from the Third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). Nitzan Peri-Rotem, Vegard Skirbekk. The Journal of Sex Research, Aug 26 2022.

Abstract: Previous studies on the relationship between religiosity and sexual behavior have yielded mixed results, partly due to variations by gender and marital status. Furthermore, less is known about this relationship in relatively secularized societies, as in the case of Britain. In this study, we used data from the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) to explore the link between religiosity (11% of men and 16% of women stated that religion and religious beliefs were very important to them) and sex frequency and satisfaction among men and women in different types of relationships. Women and men who saw religion as more important in their lives reported having less sex on average, though this was mainly driven by the significantly lower sex frequency among non-cohabiting religious individuals compared to their less religious peers. At the same time, religiosity was linked with overall higher levels of sex life satisfaction. This relationship appeared to be largely mediated by attitudes on the appropriate context for sexual intercourse. These findings highlight the importance of sociocultural norms in shaping sexual behavior and sexual satisfaction.

Keywords: religionreligiositysex frequencysexual satisfactionsexual attitudes


Our findings suggest that both sex frequency and sexual satisfaction vary by religiosity, though this relationship differs across types of unions. In accordance with our first hypothesis, among single non-cohabiting individuals, the more religious had less frequent sex compared to their less religious peers. This finding was consistent when religiosity was measured either by subjective importance of religion or religious service attendance. Nonetheless, those who attributed greater importance to religion and religious beliefs reported higher satisfaction from sex life. In line with our second hypothesis, more religious married women reported higher sexual satisfaction than their less religious peers, though this relationship was not found among married men. Interestingly, unpartnered religious men also reported higher satisfaction from sex life, though this relationship disappeared after we included controls for attitudes to casual sex and sex without love, or when the sample was limited to sexually active respondents. In addition, we found a non-linear relationship between number of lifetime sexual partners and sexual outcomes for women, where having no or many partners was linked to lower sexual satisfaction. Higher approval of casual sex or sex without love was also found to be negatively associated with sexual satisfaction for both men and women.

As our study shows, the relationship between sex frequency and sexual satisfaction is neither simple nor straightforward; across all relationship types, too little or too much sex was associated with lower sexual satisfaction, suggesting that an optimum exists in terms of frequency related to higher satisfaction levels. This is in line with Kornrich et al. (2013, p. 18), who argued that “couples are not purely interested in the amount of sex they have – they undoubtedly also care about the quality of sex.” Previous studies have shown that increased investments in exclusive long-term partnerships and greater time to develop satisfactory trusting relationships can matter for sexual satisfaction, while sex outside a committed relationship is often related to lower sexual satisfaction (Farvid & Braun, 2017; Waite & Joyner, 2001). As religious individuals are less likely to engage in casual sex (Burdette et al., 2009; Kuperberg & Padgett, 2016), and are more likely to limit sexual activity to a relationship based on love (Hardy & Willoughby, 2017; Iveniuk et al., 2016), this can lead to lower expectations of sexual activity outside a formal union, as well as increased satisfaction from sex life in general.

However, it is possible that religious sentiments about the sanctity of marital sex, as well as disapproval of sex outside marriage, matter more for women’s than for men’s sexual satisfaction. This is also evident by the relatively higher levels of sexual satisfaction among more religious cohabiting men when all other variables were held constant, while no similar relationship was found among cohabiting women.

As expected, the findings on ethnic minority groups showed similar patterns to that of more religious people, as women who identified as South Asian or Black reported lower sex frequency compared to women who identified as White. Furthermore, this relationship appeared among women who were unpartnered or in a steady non-cohabiting relationship, but not among those who were cohabiting or married. According to Krull et al. (2021), since ethnic minority groups can be at a relatively disadvantaged position, having sex outside a stable union and the prospect of unintended pregnancy could be perceived as particularly risky and stigmatizing.

Our findings also showed a significant association between educational attainment and sexual frequency and satisfaction; overall, highly educated individuals reported having less frequent sex, as well as reduced satisfaction from sex life compared to those with lower qualifications. This may be the result of several factors, including higher work load among the highly educated, greater work related stress levels, or increased investment in labor market capital and careers over relationship-based capital (Abdoly & Pourmousavi, 2013). However, the complex pathways underlying the relationships between education and sexual outcomes require further investigation, which is beyond the scope of this study.

Our research suggests that changes in sexual behavior need to be understood in a context of changes in religious norms and beliefs and other societal level trends. The postponement of union formation is related to less frequent sex, while also increasing the exposure to casual sex among those with weaker religious orientation. Therefore, the decline in religiosity and the rise in the single population are likely to exacerbate these trends, which may potentially result in lower sexual satisfaction.

Our study had several strengths. We used representative data and focused on a topic that so far has received insufficient attention in sex research – the role of religion, and how religiosity relates to sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction. There is a scarcity of studies which have looked at religion by relationship type and our study did this. We believe our findings and analyses can provide valuable and novel insights that can be of use for scholars interested in the intersections of sex and religion in contemporary societies.

The present study had some limitations in terms of information in our dataset. For example, we lacked information on religiosity and religious beliefs during childhood, which meant that we could not investigate how religion changes over the life course, and how this relates to sexual behaviors. Further, the dataset did not include detailed information on physiological and mental illnesses and disease histories, health risk factors, personality, and labor market histories – all of which may relate to both sexual behavior and religious trajectories. In addition, the Natsal-3 survey relied on self-reported data, which may be subject to desirability bias. However, this bias is minimized by the use of computer-assisted self-interview technology for the questions concerning sexual experiences and sexual function (Erens et al., 2013). Another potential limitation is the under-representation of Asian men and women in the sample, given the observed differences in sexual behavior between British Asian and the population of British White, who form the majority in the UK. Nevertheless, the Natsal-3 sample is still largely representative of the resident population in Britain.

Recent decades have seen widespread secularization, with declines in religiosity and decreasing levels of religious affiliation in Western countries. At the same time rapid changes in family forms have taken place, with later transitions into stable relationships, higher proportions not forming families, more cohabitation, increased levels of family dissolution, and greater proportions remaining single in younger adulthood than earlier. These changes in the religious and demographic makeup of the United Kingdom and other Western countries can have implications on many life domains, including sexual activity patterns and sexual satisfaction levels.

Given continued societal level changes in terms of demography, living arrangements, religiosity, and education in a context of population aging, one needs a broad research approach in order to better foresee future developments and consider ways that can improve sexual satisfaction. It is therefore necessary to collect detailed longitudinal data on sexual attitudes and behaviors which includes information on religiosity – and study these. Health and individual characteristics, but also normative and faith-related factors can have important effects. Future studies should pay more attention to religion when assessing sexual behavior and satisfaction, including when studying population level trends and differences among population subgroups.

The relationship between health and political ideology begins in childhood: Healthy children more likely to express conservative ideology as older adults, independent of personality, academics, and later-life heath

The relationship between health and political ideology begins in childhood. Viji Diane Kannan et al. SSM - Population Health, August 24 2022, 101214.


Healthy children more likely to express conservative ideology as older adults.

Independent of personality, academics, and later-life heath.

Association driven by children with better health.

Childhood health may be mediating social forces to produce adult ideology.

Abstract: We investigate whether childhood health status influences adult political ideology and whether health at subsequent life-stages, adolescent personality traits, or adolescent academic aptitude mediate this relationship. Using a national longitudinal cohort sample, we found that better health among children under age 10 was positively related to conservative political ideology among adults over age 64. Children with excellent health compared to very poor health were 16 percentage points more likely to report having a conservative political ideology in adulthood. Children with excellent health compared to very poor health were 13 percentage points less likely to report having a liberal political ideology in adulthood. Adults who had excellent health as children were 30 percentage points more likely to report conservative ideology than liberal ideology. However, the difference in ideological position for adults who had very poor childhood health was negligible. That is, the health and ideology relationship is being driven by those who were healthier early in life, after controlling for family income and material wealth. No evidence was found for mediation by adolescent heath, adult heath, adolescent personality traits, or adolescent academic aptitude. The magnitude of the coefficient for childhood health was substantively and statistically equivalent across race and sex. We discuss the possibility that, instead of being mediated, childhood health may actually be a mediator bridging social, environmental, and policy contexts with political ideology. We also discuss the potential of social policy to influence health, which influences ideology (and voting participation), which eventually circles back to influence social policy. It is important to understand the nexus of political life and population health since disparities in voice and power can exacerbate health disparities.

Keywords Life-courseSelf-rated health statusPolitical ideology

4. Discussion

Political science research indicates that the impressionable formative years for political socialization begin early in life during childhood and that ideological expression can be influenced by childhood stimuli such as trauma, friendships, and new experiences. We show that one such early life contributor is health. We expand on recent evidence linking health to political partisanship. Party politics changes over time. We focused on ideology which more strongly relates to policy stances and political beliefs as well as conceptions of how the world operates and a variety of individual preferences (e.g., grammar, humor, art, room decorations) (Carney et al., 2008Cichocka, Bilewicz, Jost, Marrouch, & Witkowska, 2016Glasgow, Cartier, & Wilson, 1985Jost, Nosek, & Gosling, 2008Wilson, 1990Wilson, Ausman, & Mathews, 1973). Ideology not only informs people's electoral choices, but how they conduct their lives.

We show that the relationship between health and ideology begins in childhood. And, our results provide no evidence that childhood health is mediated by health at subsequent life-stages. Adolescent and adult health have no relation to adult political ideology independent of childhood health. Childhood is, thus, a sensitive period for the relationship between health and ideology.

We also show that the relationship between health and ideology endures over nearly six decades, potentially influencing a lifetime of electoral decisions. Thus, the impact of local physical, social, and policy environments on childhood health could have lasting implications for the ideological composition of those local electorates.

We proposed that adolescent personality and academics could mediated the health and ideology relationship. However, our findings do not show statistically significant mediation of childhood health through these adolescent characteristics as a whole. Nonetheless, the Vigor and Maturity personality traits individually served as mediators, although in opposing directions. Vigor was related to conservative ideology while Maturity was related to liberal ideology. Another explanation for the lack of mediation might also be that suggested by behavioral genetics research, which has shown that rather than personality contributing to ideology, both ideology and personality derive from a common underlying heritable latent factor (Hatemi & Verhulst, 2015Verhulst, Eaves, & Hatemi, 2012). Similarly, since health is heritable, researchers have proposed that health may also partly derive from genetic factors giving rise to personality and ideology (Pacheco & Fletcher, 2015).

Adults who had excellent childhood health were 30 percentage points more likely to identify with conservative ideology than to identify with liberal ideology. However, the difference in ideological position for adults who had very poor childhood health was negligible. That is, the health and ideology relationship is being driven by those who began life with an advantaged health position, even controlling for early life family income and material wealth. From very poor to excellent childhood health, the probability of adult conservative ideology monotonically increases and liberal ideology monotonically decreases.

These results occur in the context of a longitudinal cohort analysis. Project Talent participants were high schoolers in 1960. The age range was ten years. Most participants were very close in age, within a four-year range, with fewer students in the younger and older tails. Students hailed from small rural towns and big cities and differed in their economic, cultural, and social backgrounds (American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2016). This cohort witnessed the same national and cultural events during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood — school desegregation, civil rights, labor rights, Medicare/Medicaid, two wars, various protests, various assassinations, etc. The distribution of health levels and the distribution of ideological positions likely differs for this generation compared to recent generations. At a minimum, other generations are expected to differ in intercept and slope. Thus, we acknowledge the specificity of our study's findings to the Baby Boomer generation. We encourage the use of data from other generations in future studies to elucidate the health and ideology relationship under different social, economic, and cultural conditions.

In addition to being from one cohort, our sample was between 63 and 74 years of age. One concern with a sample of older adults is that of growing conservatism with age. However, studies have shown that ideology tends to be stable across the life-span (Sears & Brown, 2013Sears & Funk, 1999) and that persons aging beyond young adulthood and middle age have tended to become more liberal in many respects (Glenn, 1974). Americans of this age group express a mix of conservative and liberal positions regarding trust in government, trust in big business and markets, support for social programs, and support for marginalized groups (Desilver, 2014). However, larger percentages hold consistently liberal or consistently conservative views (Desilver, 2014). Our findings may not hold across the globe in countries where economic and social conservatism are uncorrelated or even negatively correlated. Studies using data from other countries would illuminate more of the health and ideology relationship under different ideological dynamics. Another consideration with this age group is that of mortality selection over the nearly six decades between PT60 and PTPS12. While mortality is likely higher among unhealthy participants, still the distribution of health levels in PTPS12 was not heavily skewed toward healthy participants and showed a general decline of health with age. Furthermore, frequencies at all levels of childhood and adolescent health are similar for the total PT60 sample and the PTPS12 sample.

Other limitations require consideration as well. Measurement of childhood health was retrospective, although made by adolescents only a few years older. Prior work suggests such reports are reliable, even taken at far later points in the lifespan (Haas, 2007). Our sample is largely white. Black and white Americans who were adolescents in the 1960s experienced their country and political power differently over the six decades captured in this longitudinal cohort study. However, we found that there was little substantive and no statistical difference between black participants, white participants, and the sample as a whole.

A major limitation is the lack of data over potentially important life stages during the lengthy period between high school and one's late 60s. While Project Talent follow-up surveys were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, unfortunately, participants from those surveys have virtually no overlap with PTPS12. Thus, we are unable to conduct a detailed study of life-course paths or intervening experiences. This study is ideal, however, for examining links between a formative early period and later-life ideology. We are not aware of any other study analyzing the association between health and any political outcome over such a long time period. 

A meta-analytic review of the gender difference in leadership aspirations: Men exhibit higher aspirations than women; the effect size does not decrease with increasing year of study publication

A meta-analytic review of the gender difference in leadership aspirations. Ekaterina Netchaeva et al. Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 137, September 2022, 103744.


• We meta-analytically examine the gender difference in leadership aspirations.

• Findings reveal men exhibit higher aspirations than women.

• The size of this effect does not decrease with increasing year of publication.

• The gender difference is larger among working adults in male-dominated relative to female-dominated industries.

• The gender difference is larger among working adults and post-secondary students, relative to secondary students.

Abstract: Compared to their representation in the workforce, women are significantly underrepresented in leadership roles in the United States. Whereas substantial research attention has been paid to the role of bias and discrimination in perpetuating this gap, less has been devoted to exploring the gender difference in aspirations for these roles. We draw from social role theory to hypothesize that men have higher leadership aspirations than women and test our hypothesis using a meta-analysis of 174 U.S. published and unpublished samples (N = 138,557) spanning six decades. The results reveal that there is a small but significant gender difference in the predicted direction (Hedge's g = 0.22). Notably, the gender difference has not narrowed significantly over time, and appears to widen at college age and among working adults within male-dominated industries. Our results also suggest that the process and dissemination of research in this domain exhibits bias. We discuss the implications of our conclusions for future research.

Keywords: Leadership gender gapGender differencesLeadership aspirationsManagerial aspirationsPolitical ambition

For 31.2% of the music plays, people did not recognize highly salient animal voices (regarding the type of acoustic source as well as the frequency spectra) when executing a counting task

The unnoticed zoo: Inattentional deafness to animal sounds in music. Sandra Utz, Friedericke Knauss & Claus-Christian Carbon. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Aug 25 2022.

Abstract: Inattentional unawareness potentially occurs in several different sensory domains but is mainly described in visual paradigms (“inattentional blindness”; e.g., Simons & Chabris, 1999, Perception, 28, 1059–1074). Dalton and Fraenkel (2012, Cognition, 124, 367–372) were introducing “inattentional deafness” by showing that participants missed by 70% a voice repeatedly saying “I’m a Gorilla” when focusing on a primary conversation. The present study expanded this finding from the acoustic domain in a multifaceted way: First, we extended the validity perspective by using 10 acoustic samples—specifically, excerpts of popular musical pieces from different music genres. Second, we used as the secondary acoustic signal animal sounds. Those sounds originate from a completely different acoustic domain and are therefore highly distinctive from the primary sound. Participants’ task was to count different musical features. Results (N = 37 participants) showed that the frequency of missed animal sounds was higher in participants with higher attentional focus and motivation. Additionally, attentional focus, perceptual load, and feature similarity/saliency were analyzed and did not have an influence on detecting or missing animal sounds. We could demonstrate that for 31.2% of the music plays, people did not recognize highly salient animal voices (regarding the type of acoustic source as well as the frequency spectra) when executing the primary (counting) task. This uncovered, significant effect supports the idea that inattentional deafness is even available when the unattended acoustic stimuli are highly salient.


Inattentional deafness was firstly shown by Dalton and Fraenkel (2012) were participants missed by 70% a voice repeatedly saying “I’m a Gorilla” when they were focusing on a primary conversation. In the present study, not only the validity perspective was extended by using ten excerpts of popular musical pieces from different music genres, but also acoustic signals highly distinctive from the primary sound (i.e., animal sounds) were presented. Including sounds created by nonhumans into music is not only used as artificial stimuli in experimental studies but also in experimental music—the so-called biomusic. Some famous examples are the symphonic poem “Pini di Roma,” by Respighi first performed in 1924, where a recording of a real nightingale was included in the orchestra performance, or Pink Floyd using howling and barking dogs in their songs “Seamus” (1971) and “Dogs” (1976).

Results of the present study using those biomusic elements revealed a successful transfer of the results by Simons and Chabris (1999) and by Dalton and Fraenkel (2012) to the auditory domain of musical processing. Many of the clearly audible, very salient “auditory Gorillas” with no connection to music (in contrast to Koreimann et al., 2014) passed unnoticed by participants listening to musical pieces while being occupied with an attention-consuming counting task.Footnote3 Importantly, this finding based on a paradigm where the primary and secondary auditory signal was very different as they stemmed from different domains (primary signal was a piece of familiar music, the secondary signal was an animal sound) essentially extends the preliminary finding of Koreimann et al. (2014) where the domain was not different between both signals.

Attentional focus

Regression analyses showed that only the objective measure of deviation from the correct number in the counting task seems to be a significant predictor of inattentional deafness. A higher deviation from the correct answer in the counting task led to a higher likeliness to perceive the animal sounds. Therefore, more counting errors on the task led to a lower susceptibility for inattentional deafness. It could therefore be assumed that inattentional deafness is due to a lack of directing the entire attentional focus on the task. It might be that those participants with more errors generally focus less on the primary counting task and have more cognitive resources available to detect the animal sound in the first place. Another explanation might be that errors are a consequence of detecting the animal sound, diverting the attention from the primary task to the sound, and as a result, losing the count. These results are not only consistent with inattentional blindness/deafness literature (e.g., Wayand et al., 2005), but are also in accordance with findings on change deafness (see, e.g., Neuhoff, & Bochtler, 2018; tendentially in Vitevitch, 2003). However, Koreimann et al. (2014) did not find significant differences in the primary task between detecting and not detecting the unusual event. Also, the performance in the study by Vitevitch (2003) was only tendentially slower for those who detected the voice change. Future research has to look closer to the precise parameters of attentional focus on different cognitive processing levels responsible for inattentional deafness.

Perceptual load

The frequency of inattentional deafness could not be explained by the variation of perceptual load in this study. Higher perceptual load did not induce a higher susceptibility for inattentional deafness. Considering the participants’ mean ratings of task difficulty (see Table 3), this might partially be due to the fact that tasks were generally perceived as very demanding. The mean task difficulty of 5.53 (on a rating scale ranging from 1 = very easy to 7 = very demanding) can be considered as very high, especially given the fact that the “easiest” task still received an average rating of 4.20. Therefore, the variance of task difficulty might have been too low and the tasks generally too difficult to be able to clearly differentiate high from low perceptual load.

Feature similarity and feature saliency

The absence of an effect of feature similarity on the frequency of inattentional deafness can at least partially be attributed to a slight distinction between the two groups. Since the main aim of the present study was to show inattentional deafness to a highly striking auditory stimulus in music, attention was primarily focused on transferring the findings of the visual domain into the auditory domain by using a similar paradigm as was used by Koreimann et al. (2014). Therefore, particular emphasis was put on fitting animal sounds to the musical pieces regarding low feature similarity in order to maximize the effect. The musical pieces with particular distinct low feature similarity were then sorted into the low feature similarity condition, and the rest was sorted into the high feature similarity condition. However, the high feature similarity condition was less distinct since the fit between musical pieces and animal sounds was far more heterogeneous. The small sample size of five musical pieces in each of the groups needs to be taken into account as well, especially with regard to heterogeneity within these relatively small groups. Therefore, interpretation of the differences between musical pieces concerning feature similarity should also be conducted on an individual basis. As can be seen in Table 3, the lowest rate of inattentional deafness was found in The Moldau, by Bedřich Smetana, and in Symphony No. 5, by Ludwig van Beethoven. Whereas feature similarity was high in the Symphony No. 5 (due to the task requiring to follow different instrumental voices in the piece which varied in pitch and were similar in pitch to the Gorilla) it was low in The Moldau (because the task required to pay attention to the violin which was consistently distant in absolute pitch from the roar of the lion that served as the unexpected animal sound). Yet the roar of the Lion and of the Gorilla was easily detected. A similar finding can be reported for the pieces with the highest percentage of inattentional deafness—Ain’t No Sunshine, by Tom Jones, and In the Hall of the Mountain King, by Edvard Grieg. Whereas the high howling of a Wolf and the low-frequency bass voice of the singer in Ain’t No Sunshine suggest a low feature similarity, the cymbals and the cock-a-doodle-doo in the Hall of the Mountain King were comparatively much closer in tone pitch and therefore had high feature similarity. Yet inattentional deafness had a high frequency in both pieces. Differences in feature similarity might not be sufficient to entirely explain why some musical pieces were comparatively much more prone to inattentional deafness than others. Another factor might be, that both the Lion and the Gorilla were often described as a growling sound. A growling animal can be considered as a warning sound. If a significantly lower rate of inattentional deafness could be demonstrated in those musical pieces containing an aggressive sounding animal, this would support the assumption made by Murphy et al. (2013) of the auditory modality having an early warning function which can be crucial for the detection of alarm sounds in the environment. Lastly, it should be taken into consideration that a musical piece is a very complex construct containing several different streams of musical voices. The overall complexity of the piece and the number of instruments or voices in a musical piece might have an impact and should be considered in future research regarding inattentional deafness in music.

In addition to the subjective descriptions, the feature saliency of animal sounds was further analyzed by looking at replicable psychoacoustical measures such as loudness, specific loudness, roughness, and impulsiveness. All manipulated music pieces with animal sounds were compared with the original pieces without animal sounds. All these measures were not able to predict the percentage of missed animal sounds.

General discussion

The results of this study demonstrate that inattentional deafness in the musical realm exists, even when a highly bizarre, noticeable auditory “Gorilla” appears twice during a known musical piece. Contrary to what had previously been shown by Simons and Chabris (1999) feature similarity or our additionally used concept of feature saliency could not predict the susceptibility to inattentional deafness. One explanation might be that our measures were not the most adequate ones to capture those effects of feature similarity or feature saliency. However, as we took great care of addressing subjective as well as established objective measures, this line of argument does not seem to be very probable. Another straightforward reason could be that as soon as a certain level of perceptual load (in our case: the counting tasks) occupies our resources, we are susceptible to inattentional deafness because our attentional resources are becoming too limited. So, we will only detect the auditory “Gorillas” if our attention strays from the primary task leaving enough cognitive resources available. Indeed, we were able to document an impact of attentional focus: Whereas the subjective rating of the ability to focus attention on the specific task by the participants themselves showed no effect, the objective measure of deviance from the counting task could be found to go along with a higher frequency of inattentional deafness. A conclusion of a cause–effect relationship could not be drawn from this result, however.

Although the overall mean frequency of inattentional deafness of 31.2% may seem relatively low in comparison to findings of other authors (e.g., 57% in Koreimann et al., 2014), the results are highly remarkable. It has to be taken into account that not only did inattentional deafness appear in all but two participants and had a frequency rate of 50% or more in ten participants, but it also appeared in musical pieces that were presented after an animal sound in a previous musical piece had already been detected! More than a third (36 out of 101) of the missed animal sounds was missed after the previous detection of a different animal sound. The effect of inattentional deafness was so strong that it even appeared after participants had the chance to develop first ideas regarding the aim of the conducted experiment and to build up an expectation of more animal sounds appearing in the following musical pieces.

Whereas most of the participants expressed genuine surprise when hearing the animal sounds, because they perceived the animal sounds as very salient, other participants reported that they blended in very well with the music and could possibly be mistaken for belonging to the musical piece. This finding confirmed the decision to exclude all unknown musical pieces from further analysis to ensure that the appearance of inattentional deafness was not only due to interpreting the animal sounds as belonging to the musical piece.

Overall, very conservative and strict criteria for actual misses were applied. Animal sounds were also not counted as missed if participants reported hearing the animal sound only once after first presentation of the musical piece for the possibility that this resulted from a lack of remembering how often the animal sound was noticed rather than from inattentional deafness in one of the two appearances of animal sounds within the musical pieces. Considering these limitations in classifying inattentional deafness, the rate of approximately 31.2% is all the more impressive. Not only did inattentional deafness occur in almost all participants and all musical pieces (with very diverse rates of courses), in some participants, the phenomenon also extended over several musical pieces. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no other study has revealed repeated susceptibility to inattentional deafness before. The likeliness of the appearance of inattentional deafness was analyzed regarding differences between people and differences between characteristics of the musical pieces. Not all findings investigated in previous studies could be transferred to the domain of inattentional deafness in music. Yet the focus of the present study lay more on investigating a possible influence of previously unattended facets and generating new hypotheses for future studies. Due to the considerably high heterogeneity of the musical pieces as well as the respective animal sounds used in this study and the high overlapping of different variables, it cannot be ruled out that parameters other than the attended variables played an important role in the frequency of inattentional deafness. Future research should attempt to identify the underlying mechanisms and musical properties that are involved in inducing or constraining inattentional deafness going beyond concepts like conceptual load or feature similarity. Special focus should be directed on the question why some individuals are especially and even repeatedly prone to the phenomenon of inattentional deafness. Individuals’ ability to concentrate and narrow attention to one task as well as differences in motivation and the eagerness to succeed, should hereby be investigated further in order to precisely identify the underlying mechanisms.