Monday, January 10, 2022

Female dolphins possess a well-developed clitoris, which may very well have evolved as a sheer pleasure dispenser

Evidence of a functional clitoris in dolphins. Patricia L.R. Brennan, Jonathan R. Cowart, Dara N. Orbach. Current Biology, Volume 32, Issue 1, 10 January 2022, Pages R24-R26.

Summary: In species that copulate during non-conceptive periods, such as humans and bonobos, sexual intercourse is known to be pleasurable for females. Dolphins also copulate throughout the year, largely to establish and maintain social bonds1. In dolphins, the clitoris is positioned in the anterior aspect of the vaginal entrance2, where physical contact and stimulation during copulation is likely. Clitoral stimulation seems to be important during female–female sexual interactions in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), which rub each other’s clitorises using snouts, flippers, or flukes3. Determining a sexual pleasure response in animals not amenable to neurobehavioral examination is difficult, but investigation of the clitoris may elucidate evidence of functionality. In this study, we assessed macro- and micromorphological features of the clitoris in common bottlenose dolphins to examine functional features, including erectile bodies with lacunae, extensible collagen and/or elastin fibers, and the presence and location of sensory nerves. Our observations suggest the clitoris of dolphins has well-developed erectile spaces, is highly sensitive to tactile stimulation, and is likely functional.

US men and women both reported more conflict with mothers-in-law than with mothers, and mothers reported more conflict with their daughters-in-law than with their daughters

Mother-in-Law Daughter-in-Law Conflict: an Evolutionary Perspective and Report of Empirical Data from the USA. Jessica D. Ayers, Jaimie Arona Krems, Nicole Hess & Athena Aktipis. Evolutionary Psychological Science, Jan 10 2022.

Abstract: Relationships with genetic relatives have been extensively studied in the evolutionary social sciences, but affinal, i.e., in-laws, relationships have received much less attention. Yet, humans have extensive interactions with the kin of their mates, leading to many opportunities for cooperative and conflictual interactions with extended kinship networks. To contribute to the scholarship on affinal bonds, and particularly on perceptions of affinal conflict, we collected empirical data on cooperation and conflict among affines. Here, we report empirical evidence of self-reported cooperative and conflictual aspects in affinal relationships in a Western sample. US men and women both reported more conflict with mothers-in-law than with mothers, and mothers reported more conflict with their daughters-in-law than with their daughters. We discuss the implications of this work and directions for future research.

Dominance in humans is of great importance; it's separated from prestige—an alternate avenue to high status in which status arises from information (e.g. knowledge, skill, etc.) or other non-rival goods

Dominance in humans. Tian Chen Zeng, Joey T. Cheng and Joseph Henrich. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, January 10 2022.

Abstract: Dominance captures behavioural patterns found in social hierarchies that arise from agonistic interactions in which some individuals coercively exploit their control over costs and benefits to extract deference from others, often through aggression, threats and/or intimidation. Accumulating evidence points to its importance in humans and its separation from prestige—an alternate avenue to high status in which status arises from information (e.g. knowledge, skill, etc.) or other non-rival goods. In this review, we provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of dominance as a concept within evolutionary biology, discuss the challenges of applying it to humans and consider alternative theoretical accounts which assert that dominance is relevant to understanding status in humans. We then review empirical evidence for its continued importance in human groups, including the effects of dominance—independently of prestige—on measurable outcomes such as social influence and reproductive fitness, evidence for specialized dominance psychology, and evidence for gender-specific effects. Finally, because human-specific factors such as norms and coalitions may place bounds on purely coercive status-attainment strategies, we end by considering key situations and contexts that increase the likelihood for dominance status to coexist alongside prestige status within the same individual, including how: (i) institutional power and authority tend to elicit dominance; (ii) dominance-enhancing traits can at times generate benefits for others (prestige); and (iii) certain dominance cues and ethology may lead to mis-attributions of prestige.

5. Discussion

The evidence reviewed above indicates that dominance continues to be a viable route to rank acquisition, impacting both social influence and fitness in humans across a wide range of contexts, and plays a role in human status asymmetries from the youngest of ages. However, the human-specific complications presented in this review cannot be overlooked. First, we comment on some important methodological and theoretical issues with research programmes that attempt to measure dominance in our species. Second, we look into gender-specific effects of dominant strategies for rank acquisition. Also finally, because norms may place bounds on the effectiveness of coercion-based strategies to rank attainment or even modify their function, we lay out the evidence for three social dynamics that influence dominance attainment and their interaction with prestige, and use concepts previously developed to consider how socioecological and institutional factors affect when and how dominant individuals can attain influence.

(a) Theoretical and methodological challenges

Because dominance produces status or influence over others' actions that is achieved against anothers' preferences, survey measures that tap the colloquial understanding of ‘social influence’ or ‘status' or that rely on the definition of status in social psychology (which involves gaining deference through changing another's preferences; [51]) may fail to capture the full impact of dominance. Indeed, a recent high-profile analysis of questionnaire responses [3] found across a range of large-scale societies, that people rated dominant traits (defined by ‘cost-infliction inclinations and abilities') to have weak or no impact on social influence after controlling for prestigious traits (benefit-provisioning inclinations and abilities). However, in several follow-up studies, Cheng et al. [147] demonstrated that the descriptors of the dependent variable (social influence) in the study strongly activated prestige-related concepts, which would make ‘prestige' appear more important in the results. Translations often magnified this problem by using synonyms for ‘reputation' and sometimes ‘prestige’ itself in the target language for the dependent variable. Additionally, the analyses suffered from high collinearity between dominance and prestige, which rendered any firm conclusions inappropriate. However, reanalyses designed to address this issue revealed an important role for dominance, albeit less than for prestige—which is not unexpected given the translation process and the semantics of words used for the dependent variable. For the reasons we have described, prestige may often be more important than dominance in many contexts, but as we have reviewed, dominance continues to play an important role.

Studies of non-human primates use multiple measures of dominance, such as resource control after competitive bouts, or directionality of aggression and formal dominance signals. These measures usually correlate, but not always, leading to doubts about construct validity in some species [148]. Nevertheless, recent research in humans that treats dominance as a trait reflecting stable individual differences in ability and tendency to use force-based strategies for rank pursuit [49] generally finds very high inter-rater correlations of subject's dominance (approx. 78–0.88 in [49]; greater than 0.8 in [51]), and Cronbach's alpha (0.83 in [56]; 0.83–0.93 in [51]; 0.86 in [115]), indicating that naturalistic groups reach near-consensus on a dominance construct that demonstrates excellent validity according to standard psychological criteria. Empirically, measured dominance and prestige tend to be uncorrelated (r = 0.03–0.12 in [49]; r = 0.01 in [51r = −0.12–0.17 in [117]) or negatively correlated (e.g. [129]), which means that the high level of collinearity that people believe exists between prestige and dominance in [3] may not be empirically reflected in naturalistic groups in the laboratory or the field. An older tradition in the measurement of dominance inspired by primate ethology uses purely relational measures (such as the direction of unreciprocated agonistic behaviours) to measure dominance as an emergent phenomenon specific to a group, which is closer to the theoretical foundations of dominance as a concept. When used together with survey-assessed trait dominance, relational and trait dominance strongly correlate, regardless of whether the survey is filled by observers or by group participants [12]. Overall, the evidence points to the importance of avoiding self-report measures in favour of integrating both other-report measures and ethological observations to produce secure measurements of the dominance construct.

(b) Gender-specific effects

Current research supports the view that dominance plays a role in status attainment for both men and women in same and mixed-gender contexts [51,64,115,117,118]. However, evidence exists for gender-specificity in the way dominance impacts social status. For example, in a study of status among same-sex face-to-face groups in Canada [51], women perceived as dominant were deemed less likeable by other women (r = −0.24, p = 0.025), whereas dominant men incurred little to no social penalty (r = 0.08, p = 0.43). Among the egalitarian Chabu in Ethiopia, dominance contributed less to leadership attainment among women than among men [55].

One potential explanation for this comes from social role theory [149]: women's lower status across societies results from social norms emphasizing that women ought to be communal—warm, nurturing, kind—while men should strive to be agentic—assertive, authoritative and independent [150152]. A proclivity to sanction gender norm violations [153,154] may result in backlash against women who exercise dominance, who are often described by scholars as overly agentic relative to norm expectations [155158]. Backlash occurs even when dominant women seek to lead groups with communal and other-serving (stereotypically feminine) goals [159], and among same-sex sanctioners [160]. Alternatively, because men and women may have tended to solve problems in different social domains over evolutionary history, dominance may be a more socially valued trait in men than in women for both cultural and biological reasons [161]—a hypothesis that may be tested with further cross-cultural research.

(c) The social dynamics of prestige and dominance

While prestige and dominance coexist as pathways to status in humans, they need not operate independently. Many high-status individuals may derive influence from both prestige and dominance processes. This is especially important given the factors reviewed that limit the effectiveness of coercive tactics alone. Alongside the more straightforward process where subordinates are compelled into compliance exclusively via coercive threats, three mechanisms may produce an overlap between dominance and prestige status components.

First, culturally evolved institutional hierarchies may grant formal leaders, managers and other authorities power through control over rewards and punishments, which creates the conditions for dominance via coercive threats; institutionally powerful individuals tend to resort to dominant social tactics especially when prestige is lost [162]. Because such positions may in some societies be attained (or be assumed to be attained) through skill, competence or knowledge, high-status authorities may demonstrate prestige ethology even as they keep aggressive or coercive tactics in their toolboxes for use in limited occasions. Such roles may exist even in egalitarian societies, for example among shamans, who tend to be simultaneously respected and feared [56,163].

Second, traits, attributes and motivations that generate coercive threat may themselves constitute valued abilities worthy of emulation or deference in some situations. Physically formidable men may be seen as more capable of generating benefits for in-group members through their perceived capacity to punish free-riders, to facilitate inter-group competition [134,164,165] or to compel broader coalitional support from others [1,52].

Third, displays of confidence, which are frequent among dominant individuals [166] can lead to an undeserved prestigious reputation relative to their true skill. This will depend on the quality of information on other's skill levels, meaning that this mechanism is more likely to operate in complex large-scale societies with high levels of specialization and where ephemeral interactions with strangers are important.

88.7% of participants indicated that they have been, are currently in, or are open to being in an interracial relationship; women were more likely than men to say that they were not open to interracial dating

Interracial Dating: A Closer Look at Race and Gender Differences in Heterosexual Dating Preferences. Kelsey Chappetta & Joan Barth. Sexuality & Culture, Jan 10 2022.

Abstract: As the U.S. has become increasingly diverse, it might be expected that attitudes toward racial groups other than ones’ own should be improving. Interracial romantic relationships are the penultimate test of racial tolerance and acceptance, and these relationships are increasing in the U.S. The goal of this study was to investigate race and gender differences within the context of dating. The online study (N = 843, 51.1% male) examined if racial/ethnic dating preferences vary by race/ethnicity, if there are gender differences in racial/ethnic dating preferences, and if one race/ethnicity is the most preferred to date (after excluding one’s own race). Participants were asked if they would consider being in an interracial relationship and if so, they were further questioned about their racial dating preferences. Surprisingly, 88.7% of participants indicated that they have been, are currently in, or are open to being in an interracial relationship. Results indicated that women were more likely than men to say that they were not open to interracial dating, and White people were less open than other racial groups. According to social exchange theory, White and Asian people should have been the most preferred dating partners. However, our findings did not fully support this. Asian people were the least preferred dating partners while White people were the most preferred (excluding one’s own race) across all racial groups.

The author identified 11 infidelity-hiding strategies; more than 70% of the participants indicated a willingness to use at least seven strategies

Catch me if you can: Strategies for hiding infidelity. Menelaos Apostolou. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 189, April 2022, 111494.


•Identified 53 acts that people perform in order to hide infidelity.

• Identified 11 infidelity-hiding strategies

• Machiavellianism was a significant predictor of all infidelity-hiding strategies.

• More than 70% of the participants indicated a willingness to use at least seven strategies.

Abstract: People employ different strategies in order to detect their partners' infidelities. In turn, culprits employ infidelity-hiding strategies in order to avoid detection, and the current research aimed to identify these strategies, and to examine whether they were predicted by the Dark Triad personality traits. More specifically, Study 1 employed qualitative research methods on a sample of 297 Greek-speaking participants, and identified 53 acts that people perform in order to hide their infidelity from their partners. Study 2 employed quantitative research methods on a sample of 300 Greek-speaking participants who had been unfaithful to their current or previous partners, and classified the identified acts into 11 broader infidelity-hiding strategies. The most likely to be used one was the “Be discreet,” followed by the “Eliminate digital evidence” and the “Keep the same behavior.” In addition, more than 70% of the participants indicated a willingness to use seven or more such strategies. It was also found that, participants who scored high in Machiavellianism, were more likely to employ the identified strategies than low scorers. The two sexes indicated a similar willingness to use most of the identified strategies, and for several strategies, significant age effects emerged.

Keywords: Infidelity-hiding strategiesMating strategiesInfidelityDark TriadCheatingMachiavellianism


1  be discreet

2  eliminate digital evidence

3  keep the same behaviors

4  keep the same routine

5  use friends for coverage

6  secure eletronic devices and accounts

7  infrequent contact

8  not appear suspiciolus

9  show more interest to my partner

10  use different e-mail or phone

11  present the extra-pair partner as a friend or colleague