Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Determined yet Dehumanized: People Higher in Self-control Are Seen as More Robotic

Lapka, Samantha, Franki Y. H. Kung, Justin P. Brienza, and Abigail Scholer. 2022. “Determined yet Dehumanized: People Higher in Self-control Are Seen as More Robotic.” PsyArXiv. March 23. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Desire is part of human nature, and being vulnerable to desire is part of what differentiates humans from machines. However, individuals with high self-control—who demonstrate impressive resistance to their desires—may appear to lack such human vulnerability. We propose that people perceived as high in self-control tend to be dehumanized as more robotic, relating to potentially negative social consequences. Across 6 studies (N = 2,007), people perceived those higher in self-control as more robotic. Additionally, we found some evidence that this robotic-dehumanization was related to less interest in spending time with the high self-control person. This outcome was reliably linked to lower warmth perceptions which correlated with greater robotic-dehumanization. Together, our results offer new insights into the social dynamics of exhibiting high self-control.

Over the whole range of IQ, intelligence appears to have a small protective effect against every psychopathological condition considered

Shevchenko, Victoria, Ghislaine Labouret, Franck Ramus, and Hugo Peyre. 2022. “Predictive Capacity of IQ and Its Constituents for Psychopathology: A Study of the EDEN Cohort.” PsyArXiv. March 23. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The objective of this study was to provide a more complete description of the potential relations between intelligence and psychopathology, over the entire IQ range. We relied on a longitudinal study named EDEN which provides data for a large cohort of children who were subject to regular follow-ups since birth. Firstly, we tested correlations between IQ indices and psychopathology. Secondly, we performed a correlation analysis between verbal/performance IQ discrepancy and psychopathology. Psychopathology was defined in terms of three conditions: internalizing disorder, conduct disorder and social problems. We hypothesized a presence of a relation between cognitive ability and the aforementioned conditions, but we refrained from putting forward a hypothesis on the sign of this relation given the variability of the existing literature. The results of the present study constitute weak evidence in favour of the alternative hypothesis.

Chimpanzees are very interested in their conspecifics' skulls, but what goes on in the chimpanzee's mind when they encounter those skulls remains unanswerable

Staring death in the face: chimpanzees' attention towards conspecific skulls and the implications of a face module guiding their behaviour. André Gonçalves, Yuko Hattori and Ikuma Adachi. Royal Society Open Science, March 2022.

Abstract: Chimpanzees exhibit a variety of behaviours surrounding their dead, although much less is known about how they respond towards conspecific skeletons. We tested chimpanzees' visual attention to images of conspecific and non-conspecific stimuli (cat/chimp/dog/rat), shown simultaneously in four corners of a screen in distinct orientations (frontal/diagonal/lateral) of either one of three types (faces/skulls/skull-shaped stones). Additionally, we compared their visual attention towards chimpanzee-only stimuli (faces/skulls/skull-shaped stones). Lastly, we tested their attention towards specific regions of chimpanzee skulls. We theorized that chimpanzee skulls retaining face-like features would be perceived similarly to chimpanzee faces and thus be subjected to similar biases. Overall, supporting our hypotheses, the chimpanzees preferred conspecific-related stimuli. The results showed that chimpanzees attended: (i) significantly longer towards conspecific skulls than other species skulls (particularly in forward-facing and to a lesser extent diagonal orientations); (ii) significantly longer towards conspecific faces than other species faces at forward-facing and diagonal orientations; (iii) longer towards chimpanzee faces compared with chimpanzee skulls and skull-shaped stones, and (iv) attended significantly longer to the teeth, similar to findings for elephants. We suggest that chimpanzee skulls retain relevant, face-like features that arguably activate a domain-specific face module in chimpanzees' brains, guiding their attention.

5. Conclusion and future directions

We began this study with the central assumption that chimpanzee skulls are perceived like degraded chimpanzee faces and that they would likewise be subjected to the same biases. We proposed three working hypotheses: H1a, chimpanzees look longer at conspecific stimuli versus non-conspecific stimuli (conspecific stimuli > non-conspecific stimuli); H1b, chimpanzees look longer at frontal/diagonal conspecific stimuli versus laterally presented conspecific stimuli (frontal ≈ diagonal > lateral); H2, within conspecific stimuli, chimpanzees look longer at chimpanzee faces followed by skulls and stones (face > skull > stone) and H3, just as elephants direct their attention towards elephant tusks, likewise chimpanzees look longer at conspecific teeth versus other facial regions (teeth > eye ≈ nose). Overall, we found support for all three hypotheses. For H1a, chimpanzees exhibited significantly longer looking durations towards conspecific relative to non-conspecific stimuli when types were pooled (see electronic supplementary material, Data). They also looked significantly longer across most types (skull and face) and orientations (frontal and diagonal) except for stone stimuli (looking durations were relatively longer toward frontal chimpanzee stones, but the difference was only significant when compared for dog stones) reinforcing the ‘degraded face assumption'. For H1b, chimpanzees showed significantly longer looking durations for frontal/diagonal conspecific stimuli in comparison with laterally presented conspecific stimuli, again showing similar biases to previous facial research experiments. For H2, with the chimpanzee-only stimuli, the chimpanzees did look significantly longer at the chimpanzee faces compared with chimpanzee skulls and chimpanzee-shaped stones, but this dropped below significance when comparing the chimpanzee skull with the chimpanzee-shaped stone, although the direction of difference fitted our prediction further supporting the ‘degraded face assumption'. For H3, in the chimpanzee skull regions, our prediction that chimpanzees would look predominantly at the teeth compared with other areas was also upheld. They looked significantly longer at the teeth versus the eye socket and the nasal regions of the skull.

The combined results show support for our hypotheses and do suggest a connection between a domain-specific module in the chimpanzee brain directing their attention towards face-like stimuli. This face module evolved and develops within the context of face-to-face interactions (the likely reason all frontal conditions in our experiment, the chimpanzee stimuli received longer looking patterns overall). The skull contains relevant, albeit impoverished face-like features. This relationship is, of course, not incidental, as skulls support faces, but the attention towards skulls appears to be best explained as a by-product of a module originally evolved for decoding facial expressions. Perhaps notably, unlike wild chimpanzees, our captive subjects never interacted with conspecific skeletons. This suggests that, apart from learned associations, similar interest exhibited by their wild counterparts towards conspecific skulls might also be explained by the same recognition mechanism. To further decode the phylogeny of this face–skull relationship, future studies could compare naive human infants' performance in a similar task (1–3-year-olds familiar with human faces, but with no experience of human skulls). Another research avenue would be to replicate McComb et al.’s [12] experiment in the laboratory with the aid of a three-dimensional printer (skulls controlled for size and colour). Finally, neuroimaging studies could further address the precise connection between skull and face stimuli in the brain. The question put forth by Christophe Boesch, at the beginning of our paper, pondering what goes on in the chimpanzee's mind when they encounter conspecific skulls remains unanswerable. In the light of this study, our tentative answer must also, in the end, be phrased as a question: strange, yet familiar?

Do males know? Evidence-driven rainmaking of male bonobos to meet the fertile window of females

Do males know? Evidence-driven rainmaking of male bonobos to meet the fertile window of females. Heungjin Ryu, Chie Hashimoto, David A. Hill, Keiko Mouri, Keiko Shimizu, Takeshi Furuichi. bioRxiv, Mar 14 2022.

Abstract : Female bonobos exhibit prolonged receptivity. One suggested function of the prolonged receptivity is to lower male mating competition. However, it is questionable whether easier access to receptive females can reduce male-male competition, given the exclusive nature of male reproductive success. We tested whether males could determine a fertile phase of females. We found that ovulation probability predicted male mating effort. High-ranking males copulated with the female with higher fertility, and male-male agonistic interactions increased when there were fertile females in the party. When there were multiple females with maximal swelling, males concentrated their mating effort on a female with an older infant whose maximal swelling started earlier, and they continued mating efforts until detumescence (rainmaking). These findings suggest that male bonobos distinguish between fertile and non- fertile phases of females and that having more receptive females in the party does not reduce male-male competition for fertile females. Teaser males use the rainmaker’s rule to meet the periovulatory phase of the female bonobo for better reproductive success.

6- to 11-year old Han children: The youngest children showed a default tendency of honesty and there was an overall age-related shift toward a default tendency of dishonesty

The developmental origins of a default moral response: A shift from honesty to dishonesty. Liyang Sai, Siyuan Shang, Changzhi Zhao, Xinchen Liu, Yuanyuan Jiang, Brian J. Compton, Genyue Fu, Gail D. Heyman. Child Development, March 21 2022.

Abstract: People are sometimes tempted to lie for their own benefit if it would not harm others. For adults, dishonesty is the default response in these circumstances. The developmental origins of this phenomenon were investigated between 2019 and 2021 among 6- to 11-year-old Han Chinese children from China (N = 548, 49% female). Children had an opportunity to win prizes in a behavioral economics game (Experiment 1) or a temptation resistance game adapted from developmental psychology (Experiment 2). In each experiment, the youngest children showed a default tendency of honesty and there was an overall age-related shift toward a default tendency of dishonesty. These findings provide direct evidence of developmental change in the automatic and controlled processes that underlie moral behavior.

Are humans ever truly altruistic? Or are all actions, however noble, ultimately motivated by self-interest?

Belief in Altruistic Motives Predicts Prosocial Actions and Inferences. Ryan W. Carlson, Jamil Zaki. Psychological Reports, May 26, 2021.

Abstract: Are humans ever truly altruistic? Or are all actions, however noble, ultimately motivated by self-interest? Psychologists and philosophers have long grappled with this question, but few have considered laypeople’s beliefs about the nature of prosocial motives. Here we examine these beliefs and their social correlates across two experiments (N = 445). We find that people tend to believe humans can be, and frequently are, altruistically motivated—echoing prior work. Moreover, people who more strongly believe in altruistic motives act more prosocially themselves—for instance, sacrificing greater amounts of money and time to help others—a relationship that holds even when controlling for trait empathy. People who believe in altruistic motives also judge other prosocial agents to be more genuinely kind, especially when agents’ motives are ambiguous. Lastly, people independently show a self-serving bias—believing their own motives for prosociality are more often altruistic than others’. Overall, this work suggests that believing in altruistic motives predicts the extent to which people both see altruism and act prosocially, possibly reflecting the self-fulfilling nature of such lay theories.

Keywords: Altruism, self-interest, lay theories, prosocial behavior, social cognition