Sunday, January 30, 2022

Gender Diffs in Childhood Trauma, Schizotypy, Negative Emotions: Cognitive Disorganisation (poor attention, concentration, decision-making, social cognition) positively corrs w/physical neglect & sexual abuse as children in women, no links among men

Thomas, Elizabeth H.X., Susan L. Rossell, and Caroline Gurvich. 2022. "Gender Differences in the Correlations between Childhood Trauma, Schizotypy and Negative Emotions in Non-Clinical Individuals" Brain Sciences 12, no. 2: 186. Jan 29 2022.

Abstract: Early life trauma has a negative impact on the developing brain, and this can lead to a wide range of mental illnesses later in life. Childhood trauma is associated with increased psychotic symptoms and negative emotions such as depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms in adulthood. Childhood trauma has also been shown to influence sub-clinical ‘schizotypy’ characteristics of psychosis in the general population. As it has been reported that mental health outcomes after early life trauma exposure are influenced by gender, the current study aimed to investigate the gender differences in the relationship between childhood trauma, schizotypy and negative emotions. Sixty-one non-clinical participants (33 men and 28 women) aged between 18 and 45 completed self-report questionnaires to measure early life trauma, schizotypy and negative emotions. Despite similar levels of childhood trauma in men and women, early life trauma in women was associated with increased schizotypy personality characteristics (Cognitive Disorganisation) and increased depression, anxiety and stress later in life, but no correlations were observed in men. Our findings suggest that the sociocultural and biological processes affected by early life adversities may differ between the genders. Women may be more vulnerable to the influence of childhood trauma, which may be associated with increased psychopathology later in life.

Keywords: schizophrenia spectrum; early life adversity; depression; anxiety; stress

Risk Perception and Behaviour Change, COVID-19: Socializing rebounded after partial vaccination; after full vaccination, communal activities recovered; however, the propensity for protective behaviours declined

Jia, Jayson S., Yun Yuan, Jianmin Jia, and Nicholas Christakis. 2022. “Risk Perception and Behaviour Change After Personal Vaccination for COVID-19 in the USA.” PsyArXiv. January 30.

Abstract: Although vaccines are crucial for giving pandemic-stricken societies the confidence to return to socioeconomic normalcy, vaccination may also induce laxity in personal protective behaviours (e.g., handwashing, facemask use). We use the quasi-experimental context of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the United States to quantify the impact of different stages of personal vaccination on people’s risk perceptions, daily activities, and risk mitigation behaviours, which we measure in a three-wave national panel study (N wave-1 = 7,358, N wave-2 = 3,000, N wave-3 = 2,345) from March to June, 2021, and validate using vaccination, infection, and human mobility data. Socializing rebounded after only partial vaccination. After full vaccination, communal activities recovered; however, the propensity for protective behaviours declined. The effects were heterogenous depending on vaccination level, demographics, and infection history. We further use a utility theory framework to model risk-value trade-offs and risk-construction for different behaviours.

Rolf Degen summarizing... The sport science and coaching community is very susceptible to pseudoscientific bullshit

Stoszkowski, John, Shane Littrell, and Dave Collins. 2022. “Cutting the Crap: The Perceived Prevalence of Pseudoscientific Bullshit in Sport Science and Coaching.”PsyArXiv. January 29 2022.

Abstract: Recent literature has identified and examined the construct of bullshit as a notable threat to the promulgation and use of accurate information. The parallel challenges posed by increasing availability of unfiltered online information have been identified as further exacerbating factors. Accordingly, the present paper adds to this perspective by examining susceptibility to and perceived frequency of bullshit in the sport science and coaching domain. Participants (N = 280) completed several validated instruments examining susceptibility, tendency to engage in and perceived experience of bullshit in their professional environments. Data suggest similar ratings to more general population samples, with educational level acting as a key moderating factor. Implications for practice and psychosocial approaches to bullshit are discussed, in tandem with recommendations for refinements to communication.

Why men are the main COVID-19 transmitters: Despite no observed differences in viral load in nasopharyngeal samples, adult males showed a significantly higher viral load in saliva samples than adult women; plus men have higher aerosol emissions

Men are the main COVID-19 transmitters: behavior or biology? Monize V. R. Silva, Mateus V. de Castro, Maria Rita Passos-Bueno, Paulo A. Otto, Michel S. Naslavsky & Mayana Zatz. Discover Mental Health volume 2, Article number: 1, 2022. Jan 24 2022.


Background: COVID-19 has affected millions of people worldwide. Clinical manifestations range from severe cases with lethal outcome to mild or asymptomatic cases. Although the proportion of infected individuals does not differ between sexes, men are more susceptible to severe COVID-19, with a higher risk of death than women. Also, men are pointed out as more lax regarding protective measures, mask wearing and vaccination. Thus, we questioned whether sex-bias may be explained by biological pathways and/or behavioral aspects or both.

Methods: Between July 2020 and July 2021, we performed an epidemiological survey including 1744 unvaccinated adult Brazilian couples, with there was at least one infected symptomatic member, who were living together during the COVID-19 infection without protective measures. Presence or absence of infection was confirmed by RT-PCR and/or serology results. Couples were divided into two groups: (1) both partners were infected (concordant couples) and (2) one partner was infected and the spouse remained asymptomatic despite the close contact with the COVID-19 symptomatic partner (discordant couples). Statistical analysis of the collected data was performed aiming to verify a differential transmission potential between genders in couples keeping contact without protective measures.

Results: The combination of our collected data showed that the man is the first (or the only) affected member in most cases when compared to women and that this difference may be explained by biological and behavioral factors.

Conclusions: The present study confirmed the existence of gender differences not only for susceptibility to infection and resistance to COVID-19 but also in its transmission rate.


All the results obtained in the present study strongly suggest that males are not only more susceptible to COVID-19 severity, as shown in worldwide epidemiological surveys, but they are also more likely to transmit the virus to their partners when compared to females in the household transmission context. The epidemiological findings in the present survey are consistent with the results of other published studies involving couples where one of the partners was infected by their spouses [4041]. Female individuals aged between 17 and 65 years were also frequently found to be secondary cases [41].

Aiming to analyze a more homogeneous cohort and since age is an important predictor of severity and risk of death by COVID-19, we focused our survey on couples of comparable ages and economic status and therefore similar access to health care. It is also important to note that the survey was performed before the vaccination was started.

One of the possible current biological hypotheses for such gender variable transmission rate is a differential viral load in saliva, which has been explored as an important clinical measure of disease severity due to its positive association with many COVID-19 inflammatory markers [42]. These factors, together with the higher adoption of hygiene and protective measures among females, may justify the lower transmission rates in this group.

Interestingly, in a recent study of our group [43] it was observed that, although there were no observed gender differences in viral load in nasopharyngeal samples, adult males showed a significantly higher viral load in saliva samples (verified by RT-LAMP viral testing) than adult women.

These observations, together with the evidence of higher aerosol emission by men which makes them more likely to be “superspreaders” than women, support the hypothesis that male individuals are more efficient virus transmitters than females, which is related to biological and behavioral aspects.

This study has some limitations regarding the relatively modest number of couples included in the present cohort when compared with other epidemiological surveys of in-house transmission [4041]. Additionally, the couples who responded the questionnaire are on average younger than the mean age of the population since, in Brazil, younger people have more access and familiarity with internet than older adults [44]. Nevertheless, our study brings new knowledge to the field of public health regarding SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics.

In short, the present study confirmed the existence of gender differences not only for susceptibility to infection and resistance to COVID-19 but also in the transmission rate.

Unattractive faces are more attractive when the bottom-half is masked, an effect that reverses when the top-half is concealed

Unattractive faces are more attractive when the bottom-half is masked, an effect that reverses when the top-half is concealed. Farid Pazhoohi & Alan Kingstone. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications volume 7. Jan 24 2022.

Abstract: Facial attractiveness in humans signals an individual’s genetic condition, underlying physiology and health status, serving as a cue to one’s mate value. The practice of wearing face masks for prevention of transmission of airborne infections may disrupt one’s ability to evaluate facial attractiveness, and with it, cues to an individual's health and genetic condition. The current research investigated the effect of face masks on the perception of face attractiveness. Across four studies, we tested if below- and above-average attractive full faces are equally affected by wearing facial masks. The results reveal that for young faces (Study 1) and old faces (Study 2) a facial mask increases the perceived attractiveness of relatively unattractive faces, but there is no effect of wearing a face mask for highly attractive faces. Study 3 shows that the same pattern of ratings emerged when the bottom-half of the faces are cropped rather than masked, indicating that the effect is not mask-specific. Our final Study 4, in which information from only the lower half of the faces was made available, showed that contrary to our previous findings, highly attractive half-faces are perceived to be less attractive than their full-face counterpart; but there is no such effect for the less attractive faces. This demonstrates the importance of the eye-region in the perception of attractiveness, especially for highly attractive faces. Collectively these findings suggest that a positivity-bias enhances the perception of unattractive faces when only the upper face is visible, a finding that may not extend to attractive faces because of the perceptual weight placed on their eye-region.

General discussion

In the current research we investigated the effect of facial masks on the perception of facial attraction. Specifically, we tested whether below- and above-average full faces are equally affected by wearing facial masks. Our first study revealed that for younger faces a facial mask will increase the perceived attractiveness if the unmasked face is relatively unattractive, but wearing a mask will not help or hinder highly attractive faces. Study 2 revealed that this pattern of results generalises to old faces. And our Study 3 showed that the same effect occurs even when the bottom half of young faces are cropped rather than masked, i.e., the effect is not mask-specific.

Collectively, our first two studies, which show that face masks will help and never hinder one's perceived attractiveness conflicts with the findings of Miyazaki and Kawahara (2016) who showed that facial mask decrease the perceived attractiveness in a pre-COVID-19 pandemic era. Interestingly, the same lab has tested the same question recently during the pandemic and reported a similar result to our first two studies—attractiveness of below-average faces increased (Kamatani et al., 2021). A similar pattern of improvement in attractiveness ratings of unattractive faces is confirmed in another post-pandemic study (Patel et al., 2020), signifying the change in attitudes in response to social norms associated with mask wearing (Carbon, 2021). However, the results of Kamatani et al. (2021) for masked faces of above-average attractiveness showed a reduction in perception of attractiveness compared to unmasked faces—a result not found in the studies here and those of Patel et al. (2020). Such discrepancy might be a result of cultural differences (Japanese vs. Western) or due to differences in the stimuli used, in terms of their range of attractiveness.

Our final Study 4 examined if our previous findings are specific to the removal of information from the lower half of the face, or does it reflect a more general positivity bias where any incomplete face information is inferred to be attractive (Orghian & Hidalgo, 2020). The results did not support this possibility. When observers were asked to judge the attractiveness of faces that had the upper half of the face removed (including the eyes), the effect was to reduce the perceived attractiveness of highly attractive faces, and to have no positive effect on less attractive faces. This latter study demonstrates that in North America the effect of perceiving an incomplete face can be detrimental; and it supports previous work indicating that the eye-region has a special status in perceptions of facial attractiveness (Kwart et al., 2012; Nguyen et al., 2009). Indeed, the fact that in Studies 1–3 the eye region of the face was preserved helps to explain why masking or cropping the lower half of the face had no effect on the perceived attractiveness of highly attractive faces. Collectively, across four experiments, our study reveals that facial masks increase the perceived attractiveness of less attractive faces, while they do not affect those that are highly attractive. This finding applies to young and old faces, and it extends to other methods of isolating the region of the upper face; but it does not apply to the situation when the lower half of the face is isolated. These findings suggest that a positivity-bias enhances the perception of unattractive faces when only the upper face is visible, a finding that may not extend to attractive faces because of the perceptual weight placed on their eye-region.