Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Mandarin Chinese speakers overestimated how well native English-speaking Americans understood what they said in Chinese, & understood their intentions, even when informed that the listeners knew no Chinese

Lau, B. K. Y., Geipel, J., Wu, Y., & Keysar, B. (2022). The extreme illusion of understanding. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Apr 2022. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0001213

Abstract: Though speakers and listeners monitor communication success, they systematically overestimate it. We report an extreme illusion of understanding that exists even without shared language. Native Mandarin Chinese speakers overestimated how well native English-speaking Americans understood what they said in Chinese, even when they were informed that the listeners knew no Chinese. These listeners also believed they understood the intentions of the Chinese speakers much more than they actually did. This extreme illusion impacts theories of speech monitoring and may be consequential in real-life, where miscommunication is costly. 

Men who pervasively gaze at women’s bodies more likely to assume women invite/tolerate rough sexual conduct toward them; women who pervasively gaze at men’s bodies more likely to attribute responsibility to women for their role in sexual assault

Body Gaze as a Marker of Sexual Objectification: A New Scale for Pervasive Gaze and Gaze Provocation Behaviors in Heterosexual Women and Men. Ross C. Hollett, Shane L. Rogers, Prudence Florido & Belinda Mosdell. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Mar 29 2022. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-022-02290-y

Abstract: Body gaze behavior is assumed to be a key feature of sexual objectification. However, there are few self-report gaze measures available and none capturing behavior which seeks to invite body gaze from others. Across two studies, we used existing self-report instruments and measurement of eye movements to validate a new self-report scale to measure pervasive body gaze behavior and body gaze provocation behavior in heterosexual women and men. In Study 1, participants (N = 1021) completed a survey with newly created items related to pervasive body gaze and body gaze provocation behavior. Participants also completed preexisting measures of body attitudes, sexual assault attitudes, pornography use, and relationship status. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across independent samples suggested a 12-item scale for men and women to separately measure pervasive body gaze (5 items) and body gaze provocation (7 items) toward the opposite sex. The two scales yielded excellent internal consistency estimates (.86–.89) and promising convergent validity via positive correlations with body and sexual attitudes. In Study 2, a subsample (N = 167) of participants from Study 1 completed an eye-tracking task to capture their gaze behavior toward matched images of partially and fully dressed female and male subjects. Men exhibited body-biased gaze behavior toward all the female imagery, whereas women exhibited head-biased gaze behavior toward fully clothed male imagery. Importantly, self-reported body gaze correlated positively with some aspects of objectively measured body gaze behavior. Both scales showed good test–retest reliability and were positively correlated with sexual assault attitudes.

Trend that seems to be increasing: Many women in the world’s richer countries appear to seek Mr. Perfect, while their male counterparts are more willing to accept Ms. Goodenough

Skirbekk, V. (2022). Finding a Mate: Contemporary Partnership and Conception. Chapter in: Decline and Prosper!. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Pp 217–245. Apr 1 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91611-4_12

Abstract: In many countries, marriage is no longer considered a prerequisite for childbearing. Cohabitation and children born outside of marriage are both on the rise. Advances in assisted reproductive technology have made it more feasible to have a child without a partner or within the context of a same-sex union, at least for women. In this chapter, I discuss the delay and decrease in marriage, the spread of cohabitation, how people find a mate, trends in same-sex unions, and how changes in partnerships have affected fertility. Although fewer people are married, marriage continues to be one of the most persistent and strongest determinants of fertility. Many individuals also appear to have problems finding a partner, although the reasons differ fundamentally for men and women.

Keywords: Partnership Union formation Mate selection Cohabitation and Marriage Same-sex partnerships In vitro fertilization

More life satisfaction: The "sickly sweet" smell of death (putrescine) may prompt individuals to love their lives more

Smelling Death, Loving Life: the Impact of Olfactory Chemosignals on Life Satisfaction. Michael D. Barnett, Ben K. Mokhtari & Jenna M. Moore. Chemosensory Perception, Mar 16 2022. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12078-022-09297-8


Introduction: Previous research suggests that putrescine — the chemical compound that gives decomposing organic matter its distinctive odor — may trigger an inborn evolutionary mechanism that prompts individuals to avoid the smell of decay. The purpose of these two experiments was to investigate the effects of exposure to putrescine on human cognition.

Methods: Two between-subjects experiments (experiment 1 N = 109; experiment 2 N = 108) compared individuals exposed to either putrescine, ammonia, or water. Experiment 1 measures included odorant ratings (i.e., intensity, familiarity, repugnance, goodness), implicit measures (i.e., word completion task, moral judgment vignettes, and opinions on the death penalty), and explicit measures (i.e., death attitudes, self-esteem, and life satisfaction); experiment 2 measures included odorant ratings and life satisfaction.

Results: In experiment 1, there were no differences by odorant condition on implicit measures; however, those exposed to putrescine reported higher life satisfaction than those exposed to water. These results were replicated in experiment 2.

Conclusions: Exposure to putrescine may activate psychological threat management processes, which are then interpreted as higher life satisfaction.

Implications: Human olfactory perception is sensitive to putrescine, and putrescine may exert some subtle psychological effects on human cognition.

From a Survey and Twin Study: The belief that human attributes are determined by biology belongs to the few psychological traits that are not influenced by genes

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Biological Essentialism, Heuristic Thinking, Need for Closure, and Conservative Values: Insights From a Survey and Twin Study. J. J. Morosoli, F. K. Barlow, L. Colodro-Conde & S. E. Medland. Behavior Genetics, Apr 3 2022. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10519-022-10101-2

Abstract: Biological essentialism, the belief that human attributes are determined by biology, is a core component of essentialist thinking. Previous studies have shown that individual differences in essentialist thinking are associated with heuristic thinking, cognitive ability and style, conservative values, and prejudice. None, however, have examined whether biological essentialism is itself heritable, or the extent to which familial aggregation explains associations with core correlates. In order to do this, we analyzed data from a genetically informative sample of families with twins in Australia (N = 2,103), as well as general population samples from the UK (N = 501) and the US (N = 500). Genetic factors had little influence in individual differences in biological essentialism or in its relationship with heuristic thinking. Conservative values were genetically correlated with cognitive styles (i.e., need for closure and heuristic thinking). These findings support a bigger role of genes in explaining the relationship between cognitive processes and moral reasoning and ideology than they do the association between cognitive processes and essentialist thinking.

Participants with dark personality traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy) didn't feel like they needed to reduce them, while the others would have liked even a little more of them

Lighten the darkness: Personality interventions targeting agreeableness also reduce participants' levels of the dark triad. Nathan W. Hudson. Journal of Personality, March 14 2022. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12714


Objective: Previous research suggests that people want to change their big five traits—and moreover, they may be able to do so. This paper extends these findings in three ways. First, I examined the extent to which people want to change their levels of the dark triad—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. Second, I tested whether desires to change the dark triad predicted actual changes in the corresponding traits across approximately four months. Finally, participants received an intervention designed to change their big five personality traits. Consequently, I tested whether this intervention could also facilitate changes in the dark triad.

Method: The present study was a 16-wave, weekly, intensive longitudinal design (N = 467).

Results: Results revealed that participants generally did not want to change their levels of the dark triad. Nevertheless, individual variance in desires to change the dark triad did predict actual changes in the dark triad across four months. Moreover, interventions targeting agreeableness spurred changes in all three dark triad traits.

Conclusions: This research suggests that taking small steps to become more agreeable may also reduce individuals' levels of the dark triad. These findings may have implications for future research, as well as therapeutic treatments.