Sunday, January 9, 2022

Chess Girls Don’t Cry: Male players are substantially quicker to quit when dominated by a female than by a male; in contrast, female players’ behaviour differs little as a function of the gender of the opponent

Chess Girls Don’t Cry: Gender Composition of Games and Effort in Competitions among the Super-Elite. Maryam Dilmaghani. Journal of Economic Psychology, January 8 2022, 102482.


• Using a sample of super-elite chess games, the paper examines whether the gender composition of games affects effort level.

• Male players are substantially quicker to quit when dominated by a female than by a male.

• In contrast, female players’ behaviour differs little as a function of the gender of the opponent.

Abstract: The deterministic nature of chess makes the outcome strongly predictable, especially among the elite. As a result, instead of ending in a checkmate or a forced tie, elite chess games end either in the resignation of the player in a losing position or a mutually agreed upon draw. Traits such as competitiveness, over-confidence, and risk tolerance, all more prevalent among males, likely prolong the games. In contrast, susceptibility to intimidation and stereotype threat, more relevant to females, likely accelerate the completion of games. Using a recent sample of super-elite chess games, the present paper shows that males are substantially quicker to quit when dominated by a female than by a male. In contrast, female players’ behaviour differs little as a function of the gender of opponents. The results are interpreted through the “mere effort” impact of stereotype threat and the self-handicapping concept.

Keywords: GenderChessCompetitivenessEffortStereotype threatSelf-handicapping

JEL J16Z20

Relationship-defining memories are a boon to marital happiness (marital satisfaction, intimacy, well-being, quality, etc.)

The relationship between the reminiscence of relationship-defining memories and marital outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Mohammad Reza Majzoobi, Simon Forstmeier. Journal of Family Theory & Review, January 7 2022,

Abstract: The current systematic review aimed to explore the interdependence of relationship-defining memories (RDMs) with positive and negative marital outcomes in order to gain a deeper insight into the nature, content, and the reminiscence of RDMs, as well as the role they may serve in the marital relationship. The studies included in the current systematic review had addressed RDMs and their impact on marital outcomes among healthy people above the age of 18 who are in a romantic relationship. After checking the studies found in our search through the scientific databases against the eligibility criteria, 16 studies were included in the systematic review, of which 14 were found to be eligible for a meta-analysis. The results of the meta-analysis indicated a relatively moderate and high correlation of RDMs with marital outcomes (r = .334) and marital satisfaction (r = .445), respectively. The review of included studies revealed that there is an inextricable link between RDMs and significant marital outcomes such as marital satisfaction, intimacy, well-being, quality, and suchlike.


The present systematic review aimed to explore the interrelationship between RDMs and marital outcomes. The review of the included studies suggested that RDMs do appear to represent an effective way to predict marital outcomes. The meta-analysis of the studies scrutinized the relationship between RDMs and marital outcomes and yielded a moderate overall effect size (r = .334). The effect size for the relationship between RDMs and marital satisfaction was high (r = .445). On the other hand, the studies that had examined the impact of interior effective factors of RDMs on marital outcomes, implicitly or explicitly, indicated that there is an association between the reminiscence of RDMs and the increase of positive marital outcomes or the decrease of negative ones.


How RDMs are associated with positive marital outcomes has been interpreted through a diversity of approaches, such as the social bond, self-expansion, self-determining, sense-making, and self-regulation, each of which outlines some substantial explanation as to which of the change mechanisms of RDMs seems likely to be the best.

Social bond model

Drawing on ecological theories, some researchers believe that the reminiscence of RDMs may be effective because of their social function, based on which the reminiscence of RDMs leads to the development of a kind of social bond essential for the survival of the species. These researchers assume that the reminiscence of RDMs helps couples experience disclosure process and positive emotions, which in turn may lead to the increase of their marital intimacy (Alea & Bluck, 2007; Alea & Vick, 2010).

Self-expansion model

Drawing on the Aron and Aron self-expansion model (1997, as cited in Bazzini et al., 2007), another group of researchers suggested that the reason why the reminiscence of RDMs contributes to the increase of marital closeness may be that the rememberers and their partners share some overlapping viewpoints with one another, which in turn intensify the sense of connectedness between them. The other reason could be that the reminiscence of RDMs drives couples to review and reevaluate the various events of their marital life more rigorously, which then provides an opportunity for them to response to and validate each other through understanding and acceptance of one another's perspectives. Put in other words, recalling their joint RDMs, running gags, nicknames, and life experiences, couples attain a secret language that amplify their relational bond (ziv, 1997, as cited in Bazzini et al., 2007).

Self-determination theory

Another prominent approach regarding the impact of reminiscence of RDMs on marital outcomes is self-determination theory, which states that people try to satisfy three needs in their life: the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). It seems likely that recalling the need-satisfying RDMs could scaffold couples' attitudes pertinent to their marital relationship and bring them to perceive their marital relationship as a need-satisfying one, which in turn leads them to experience higher rates of marital satisfaction and commitment (Guilbault & Philippe, 2017). Philippe et al. (2013) stated that the satisfaction of need in one of the spouses bring not only him or her, but also his or her partner to feel positive consequences, so that the satisfaction of needs in couples' RDMs leads the rememberers to behave in an intimate and open manner toward their partners, which in turn caused their partners to perceive more marital quality. Philippe et al. also concluded that aside from their directive function (the impact of RDMs on rememeberers and their partners' cognitions, emotions, and behaviors), RDMs appear to have a self-function (the impact of marital relationship on RDMs). That is, just as it is reasonable to assume that the quality of recalling RDMs determines the quality of couple's relationship, so too is it reasonable to suppose that couples with high level of perceived marital quality are likely to recall more satisfactory and positive RDMs. In fact, there is a reciprocal relationship between RDMs and marital outcomes that can serve to send the two on an upward or downward spiral together.

Sense-making model

In addition to positive RDMs, negative ones are likely to result in positive outcomes in couples as well, so that the recalling of RDMs may probably develop or facilitate the sense-making process regarding negative and stressful life experiences. In the course of sense-making, which is a communicational process, couples come to a new organization and understanding of their marital experiences and issues, which may then lead to the improvement of their marital well-being. As factors like involvement (the extent of engagement and interest of the parties), turn-taking (the balance between parties in terms of the share they have in the conversation), perspective-taking (the amount of verbal and non-verbal attention each person pay to his/her partner's point of view and approval or disapproval of it), and coherence (the ability of individuals to organize and integrate the narrative) increase in the reminiscence of RDMs by couples, so does the ability to find meaning and consequently the level of well-being of their relationship (Koenig Kellas et al., 2010). According to the cognitive change theory, sense-making during the reminiscence of RDMs causes some cognitive changes that help couples gain a deep insight into what has happened, which in turn leads them to put distress behind them (Frattaroli, 2006).

Self-regulation model

Self-regulation theory states that recalling RDMs regarding past difficulties provides couples with the opportunity to engage in a mastery experience, in which they find themselves expressing and controlling their emotions, which in turn results in experiencing a stronger sense of self-efficacy in emotional regulation (Frattaroli, 2006). In addition, Osgarby and Halford (2013) believed that reviewing of RDMs, even if it contributes to sadness, still has therapeutic properties, mainly because this kind of sadness, according to emotionally focused couple therapy, appears to be a vulnerable primary emotion that has its roots in the couple's attachment needs and serves a crucial role in an effective treatment. Reminiscence therapy and reviewing a couple's history can be a useful manner to elicit the mentioned primary emotions that many emotionally focused therapists seek to evoke in the treatment process (Pinquart & Forstmeier, 2012).


In concluding the discussion about the studies included in this systematic review, it should be noted that the studies considered the quantity and quality of RDMs along with psychological and demographic characteristics of rememberers. The inclusion of studies with various designs, a comprehensive age range, as well as statistical populations consisting of both men and women enabled us to present an exhaustive description concerning the field of inquiry. However, none of the included studies considered the individual's reminiscence styles and their association with marital outcomes. The included studies do not specify whether people have a particular style of reminiscing of RDMs or whether they prefer to reminisce a specific kind of RDMs. Watt and Wong (1991 as cited in Amani et al., 2019) introduced five reminiscence styles including integrative, instrumental, transmissive, narrative, escapist, and obsessive, of which the first three styles seem to be useful and constructive, and the next two styles appear to be harmful and destructive. To our knowledge, there are no studies in which the relationship between the mentioned five styles of reminiscence and marital outcome is considered. This seems to be the biggest gap in the area of inquiry. Therefore, it is suggested that researcher take advantage of the five aforementioned reminiscence styles to draw conclusions on how couples' reminiscence styles may predict their marital outcome. For instance, will couples who are used to reminisce their RDMs in an obsessive style have the same marital outcomes as couples who reminisce their marital memories in an integrative or narrative style? Future studies filling the aforementioned gap may make a worthwhile contribution to the field of RDMs.

On the other hand, one of the major limitations of the studies included in this systematic review is that their subjects were predominantly couples with above-average marital quality. None of the studies, except for one (viz., Osgarby & Halford, 2013), provided information related to couples with low levels of marital satisfaction and how they process their RDMs. In addition, the included studies only examined heterosexual couples, and the resultant findings were based on samples from Western societies such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Hence, caution should be exercised when attempting to generalize the findings to homosexual couples and couples from societies not belonging to the Western cultural context. Moreover, although RDMs were assessed using highly precise methods like coding in most studies, only self-assessment questionnaires were used to measure marital outcomes.

To address these shortcomings, reminiscence styles in couples with high and low rates of marital satisfaction should be assessed through creating a number of measures. At the same time, it is also necessary to study the relationship between RDMs and marital outcomes in couples with sexual orientations other than heterosexual, and to study the mentioned relationship in non-Western societies in order to provide a truly exhaustive picture of this relationship. It is suggested as well that researchers take advantages of interviews as well as questionnaires to measure the extent of marital outcomes in their future studies in order to obtain more robust findings.

Despite such gaps, recalling RDMs remains a field with great potential for becoming a major wave approach in couple therapy. As Gottman (1999) argues, if couples share many pleasant memories of their marital relationship, this could be a sign that couples are still experiencing high marital satisfaction, and the therapist can take advantages of this information to highlight the strengths of their relationship. On the other hand, although the couple's history as told by the couple may contain issues that have brought them to treatment, this approach does remain beneficial, because the therapists can draw their attention to the positive memories they have shared with each other and apply them to achieve therapeutic goals.

The Origins and Psychology of Human Cooperation: The authors synthesize experimental and observational evidence from studies of children and adults from diverse societies with research among nonhuman primates

The Origins and Psychology of Human Cooperation. Joseph Henrich and Michael Muthukrishna. Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 72, 2021, pp 207-240.

Abstract: Humans are an ultrasocial species. This sociality, however, cannot be fully explained by the canonical approaches found in evolutionary biology, psychology, or economics. Understanding our unique social psychology requires accounting not only for the breadth and intensity of human cooperation but also for the variation found across societies, over history, and among behavioral domains. Here, we introduce an expanded evolutionary approach that considers how genetic and cultural evolution, and their interaction, may have shaped both the reliably developing features of our minds and the well-documented differences in cultural psychologies around the globe. We review the major evolutionary mechanisms that have been proposed to explain human cooperation, including kinship, reciprocity, reputation, signaling, and punishment; we discuss key culture–gene coevolutionary hypotheses, such as those surrounding self-domestication and norm psychology; and we consider the role of religions and marriage systems. Empirically, we synthesize experimental and observational evidence from studies of children and adults from diverse societies with research among nonhuman primates.

Keywords: cooperation, ultrasociality, evolutionary psychology, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, social behavior