Wednesday, April 27, 2022

From 2019... Even subtle perturbations in sleep quality from one night to the next negatively impact anxiety; disturbed sleep might be an underappreciated factor in the escalating rates of anxiety disorders.

Overanxious and underslept. Eti Ben Simon, Aubrey Rossi, Allison G. Harvey & Matthew P. Walker. Nature Human Behaviour volume 4, pages100–110. Nov 4 2019.

Abstract: Are you feeling anxious? Did you sleep poorly last night? Sleep disruption is a recognized feature of all anxiety disorders. Here, we investigate the basic brain mechanisms underlying the anxiogenic impact of sleep loss. Additionally, we explore whether subtle, societally common reductions in sleep trigger elevated next-day anxiety. Finally, we examine what it is about sleep, physiologically, that provides such an overnight anxiety-reduction benefit. We demonstrate that the anxiogenic impact of sleep loss is linked to impaired medial prefrontal cortex activity and associated connectivity with extended limbic regions. In contrast, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave oscillations offer an ameliorating, anxiolytic benefit on these brain networks following sleep. Of societal relevance, we establish that even modest night-to-night reductions in sleep across the population predict consequential day-to-day increases in anxiety. These findings help contribute to an emerging framework explaining the intimate link between sleep and anxiety and further highlight the prospect of non-rapid eye movement sleep as a therapeutic target for meaningfully reducing anxiety.

Lesbian cis women feminists express greater levels of negativity toward trans women than other cis women (heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual) do

This is my TERF! Lesbian Feminists and the Stigmatization of Trans Women. Meredith G. F. Worthen. Sexuality & Culture, Apr 26 2022.

Abstract: Though there is evidence of an historical exclusion of trans women from lesbian feminist separatist spaces supported by radical feminist lesbian anti-trans discourse as well as modern examples of anti-trans perspectives promoted by feminists sometimes described as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, it remains unclear as to if there is a significant association between being a lesbian cis woman feminist and harboring negative attitudes toward trans women or alternatively, if the recent proliferation of exclusionary tactics directed toward trans women’s rights (especially via social media) has been the result of loud voices among a minority who have been successful anti-trans mouthpieces as of late. The current study utilizes survey data (N = 1461 cis women; n = 331 lesbian cis women) to investigate the following research questions: (1) do lesbian cis women feminists express greater levels of negativity toward trans women than other cis women (heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual) do? and (2) is there a relationship between feminist identity among lesbian cis women and the stigmatization of trans women (as undeserving of rights, as incapable parents/mothers, as excluded from the military, and as sexually problematic)? Results provide ample evidence of anti-trans perspectives among some lesbian cis women feminists. Overall, the findings provide a starting point to begin to understand how to dismantle the complexities embedded in the relationships between feminism, lesbian identity, and trans negativity and work toward a trans-inclusive future of feminism.


1 “Womyn-born womyn” is a phrase used to describe those who were born and labeled female as their sex assigned at birth and who have lived their entire lives as females. It emphasizes the significance of sex essentialism and the uniqueness of “female experiences.” In this conceptualization, females who are “womyn-born womyn” endure the oppressions of patriarchy in distinct ways that differ from those are not “womyn-born womyn” (Browne, 2009, p. 548).

2 This is despite the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 statute that now (as of 2019) explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

3 Reforms to the U.K. GRA Gender Recognition Act (GRA) were suggested in 2018 and were denied in 2020. If put into place, the reforms would have made it easier for trans people to self-identify their genders because the requirements to provide a Gender Recognition Certificate and gender dysphoria diagnoses from two different medical professionals would have been dropped.

4 Trans-exclusionary feminists who reinforce sex essentialism incorrectly argue that if trans women were allowed into “women’s only” spaces, they could subject cis women to “unwanted exposure of male genitalia,” “male sexual objectification,” “male sexual violence,” and “male predation” (Burt, 2020, p. 375).

5 Numerous scholars have documented that trans women are at very high risk of sexualized violence (James et al., 2016; Meyer, 2015; Schilt & Westbrook, 2009; Wodda & Panfil, 2014) and sexual objectification (Sevelius, 2013) by hetero cis men.

6 It is unknown how many of these emails were actually received and read by the potential respondents so an exact response rate is also unknown. For example, junk mail filters could have prevented potential respondents from seeing the email invitation, some may have opened the email but decided not to click the link to access the survey, and some may have been deemed ineligible due to identity quotas being met as requested by the author set by SSI (5 of the 8 identity quotas were met).

7 For gender identity, respondents were asked “What best describes your gender?” with responses that were coded as cis men (those that indicated “I identify as a man and my sex assigned at birth was male”), cis women (those that indicated: “I identify as a woman and my sex assigned at birth was female”), trans men (those that indicated “I identify as a man and my sex assigned at birth was female”), trans women (those that indicated “I identify as a woman and my sex assigned at birth was male”), and non-binary (those that indicated “I am gender-nonbinary, gender fluid, or genderqueer”).

8 The survey was held open for 19 days in efforts to meet the quotas set for the LGBT groups. Five quotas were met as follows: gay men (5 days in), bisexual women (7 days in), lesbian women (8 days in), cis men and cis women (16 days in). The quotas for the remaining three groups (bisexual men, trans men, and trans women) were not met. The survey was closed because SSI believed it was not realistic to expect these quotas to fill in a reasonable amount of time.

9 Ancillary analyses (results not shown but available upon request) were conducted using (1) a subsample of only lesbian cis women and hetero cis women (n = 1081) so that lesbian women could be compared to only hetero cis women and (2) a subsample of only lesbian cis women and BPA cis women (n = 726) so that lesbian women could be compared to only BPA cis women. Results demonstrate similar patterns to those presented in Table 3 and there were no new patterns found in any of these analyses thus confirming that the relationships in Table 3 hold true even when the reference groups differ in these ways.

Rolf Degen summarizing... The myth that some people have a real photographic memory has become indispensable in collective consciousness

Myths of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy: Development and Testing of a Questionnaire for Standardized Assessment. Jungmann S.M. · Witthöft M. Verhaltenstherapie, Apr 2022.


Background: Myths in the sense of scientifically untenable statements are widespread in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy and can have considerable consequences (e.g., stigmatization, ineffective/potentially harmful treatments). In German-speaking countries, myths have so far been little investigated, and there is no validated questionnaire specifically for the assessment of myths in clinical psychology/psychotherapy. The aim of the study was to develop a questionnaire on myths in clinical psychology/psychotherapy (FMKPP) and to conduct a first psychometric test on two samples (general population, students). In addition, correlations with personality traits, absorption, and intolerance of uncertainty were examined.

Methods: In a sample of the German general population (n= 286) as well as in college students (n= 368), the factor structure and item characteristics were examined, and correlations with dispositional characteristics were calculated. Results: The FMKPP consists of three factors: “myths about the effectiveness of psychotherapy,” “myths about mental disorders/processes in psychotherapy,” and “myths concerning the functioning of memory.” Reliabilities (McDonald’s ω) were between 0.50 and 0.75. As expected, the FMKPP showed significant positive correlations with absorption and uncertainty intolerance.

Conclusion: The reliability and validity of individual items should be investigated in future studies. The association with intolerance of uncertainty could indicate a function of myths in terms of increasing safety and predictability.

Keywords: MythsFalse assumptionsIntolerance of uncertaintyAbsorption


The aim of the present work was to develop a questionnaire specifically for assessing myths in clinical psychology and psychotherapy and to test its factor structure, psychometric quality, as well as correlations with personality traits on two independent samples (general population, psychology students).

According to the principal component analysis, the FMKPP comprises three factors that can be described in terms of content with the subscales “myths about the effectiveness of psychotherapy,” “myths about mental disorders/processes in psychotherapy,” and “myths concerning the functioning of memory.” This structure shows a clear overlap with the differentiation of myths in the American context of psychotherapy discussed in the review article by Lilienfeld et al. [2013], with regard to “myths about effective interventions,” “myths about memory,” and “myths about the meaning of early experiences.” The two samples were mostly the same with respect to the maximum loadings on the respective factors. The subscales correlated weakly to moderately (r = 0.14–0.28, p ≤ 0.007; Table 3). As with previous studies [Swami et al., 2012; Kanning et al., 2013, 2014; Swami et al., 2016], this finding may indicate that there are differences in myth acceptance depending on the subject area. Since the development and testing of the questionnaire were performed on the same sample, it is also possible that these correlations were overestimated and are in the low range.

Out of all 20 misconceptions, the myth “Some people have a real photographic memory” (item 25) was most consistently accepted in both samples (mean = 4.72/4.53, SD = 1.14/1.13). Like a study in the USA [Patihis et al., 2014], which found 87.7% agreement with this misconception about the functioning of memory, the present study showed agreement rates (at least “somewhat agree”) of 89.2% (S1) or 83.7% (S2). The sociodemographic data of the student sample examined here (S2) is most comparable to the sample of Patihis et al. [2014] (students, 75% female, mean = 20 years). A high level of myth acceptance, as well as varying levels depending on the myth, can be explained in different ways, e.g., by the person’s experiences and attitudes, the type of studies or professional activity, or the myth’s popularity and media coverage [Lewandowsky et al., 2012; Lilienfeld et al., 2013; Appel and Schreiner, 2014]. The fact that “myths concerning the functioning of memory” are particularly widespread could be explained by the immediate concern and everyday relevance of memory processes, but also by the constant high media presence and controversy about the connection between memory and psychopathological processes [Crews, 1995; Appel and Schreiner, 2014]. Although misconceptions were found to be persistent [Lilienfeld et al., 2013; Otgaar et al., 2019], the present study found, consistent with previous research, that the mediation of relevant expertise – e.g., for those studying psychology – is associated with significantly lower myth acceptance [Standing and Huber, 2003; Taylor and Kowalski, 2004; Furnham and Hughes, 2014].

The item analysis indicated satisfactory to good psychometric properties. Three items showed low discriminative power in one sample each (S1: item 17; S2: items 6 and 15) (rit < 0.30) [Lienert and Raatz, 1994]. Regarding item 17 (“A very high intelligence quotient raises the risk of mental disorders”), from a scientific point of view there are also isolated divergent findings. In a study with over 10,000 adolescents [Keyes et al., 2017], the presence of a mental disorder showed no correlation or a negative one with IQ (among the disorders were ADHD, substance use disorder, and various anxiety disorders; the exception was a positive correlation with depression). With regard to the psychopathological severity across all disorders, greater severity was associated with lower fluid intelligence [Keyes et al., 2017]. A recent study [Karpinski et al., 2018] found, however, that a very high IQ (above the 98th percentile) is associated with a higher rate of ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and anxiety and depressive disorders; but interpretation of the result should take into consideration the study’s significant methodological limitations (e.g., self-reported diagnoses), and no direct (causal) connection (“intelligence increases the risk”) has been demonstrated. The fact that item 17 cannot currently be indisputably evaluated scientifically in the form of such a sweeping statement could also explain the low factor loadings and the low discriminative power of the item, which should be checked in further studies and might lead to exclusion of the item.

Item 6 (“Disclosing the diagnosis ... harms the therapeutic alliance”) showed the lowest agreement of all the statements, especially among psychology students, with comparably high variance. Furthermore, the explanation of item 6 might be more heavily corrected and internalized by those studying psychology, due to its practical relevance compared to the other statements. With regard to item 15 (“Patients with a mental disorder, e.g., schizophrenia, are often violent”), it was striking that, contrary to the other items (except item 22), the student sample on average agreed more often than did participants from the general population. In addition, there was an unexpected positive correlation between myth acceptance and the number of semesters of study (r = 0.26, p < 0.001), with a comparatively low average number of semesters overall (mean = 3.6, SD = 2.2), which could indicate that the students had acquired some knowledge of mental disorders, which, however, could also have led to assumptions that are incorrect from a scientific standpoint.

Reliabilities were within the acceptable range for the FMKPP total scale and for the “myths about the effectiveness of psychotherapy” subscale (ω = 0.70–0.75). The subscales “myths about mental disorders/processes in psychotherapy” (ω = 0.61/0.50) and “myths concerning the functioning of memory” (ω = 0.69/0.63) yielded low values and should be checked in further studies. The low reliability of the subscale “myths about mental disorders/processes in psychotherapy” in S2 can be explained, among other things, by the fact that the two ambiguous items (6 and 13) were assigned to the second factor, to the disadvantage of S2 (content fit and higher loadings in S1). This factor also appeared to be less consistent in content, since it covers myths about both characteristics of mental disorders and processes of psychotherapy (therapeutic alliance, side effects).

Regarding correlations with personality traits, our findings indicate a lack of connection with “Openness.” The association with personality traits may also be determined by the specific content of the myths. While Swami et al. [2016] identified a negative relationship between “Openness” and a scientific myth (r= –0.21, p < 0.001), Swami et al. [2012] found no relationship to everyday (psychological) myths. Moreover, the operationalization of the construct “Openness” could also explain the differences between our study’s findings and those of Swami et al. [2016]. While we used the BFI short version, which assesses the imaginative and aesthetic components of Openness, Swami et al. [2016] studied “Openness” with the BFI more comprehensively, including the intellectual curiosity component, which was also used to explain the negative relationship with acceptance of the myth. It should also be further investigated to what extent the content and/or, for example, the form of presentation is important (more detailed description of a scenario [Swami et al., 2016]).

Consistent with the findings of Patihis et al. [2014], this first psychometric test of the FMKPP presents positive correlations between absorption (the disposition to pay more attention to sensory/imaginative experiences) and the total score as well as the subscale “myths concerning the functioning of memory” of the FMKPP (r = 0.18–0.45, p < 0.003). In previous studies, absorption was related, for one thing, to suggestibility [Eisen and Carlson, 1998], which might explain an association with greater myth acceptance in general. On the other hand, people with a higher level of absorption had greater hypnotic responsivity and more frequent reports of childhood abuse [Eisen and Carlson, 1998; Roche and McConkey, 1990]. Both areas are directly related to the factor “myths concerning the functioning of memory” of the FMKPP.

Also as expected, positive correlations were found between the FMKPP and the UIS (total FMKPP: r = 0.20–0.21, p < 0.018), which could indicate that people with higher myth acceptance have a greater need for safety and control over events and the future. Comparison of the subscales showed a differentiated picture. An inability to act associated with intolerance of uncertainty (e.g., “It paralyzes me to have to act,” low self-esteem) was, for example, positively correlated with “myths about mental disorders/processes of psychotherapy,” which could be explained by the overlapping content of the two subscales (self-esteem issues, causes of mental problems). Considering the study design (construction and validation for the same sample in each case), the (already weak) correlations may have been overestimated so that the correlations must be interpreted carefully and should only be regarded as preliminary indications. To be able to derive more reliable statements, including on (different) functions of myths, it will be necessary to conduct further studies with more representative samples and investigation of additional variables (e.g., fearfulness or situational use of myths).


This study should be interpreted as a presentation of the development and the first test of the FMKPP. An examination of the factor values and item analysis revealed some, although comparatively few, inconsistent findings between the two samples (maximum loadings, items 6 and 13), low discriminative power of items 6, 15, and 17 (<0.30) [Lienert and Raatz, 1994 ], and ambiguities of content (item 11, item 17 see discussion above). Item 11 (“… important… to vent one’s anger”) showed unambiguous factor values and was therefore assigned to the corresponding factor (“myths concerning the functioning of memory”), but its content is rather removed from the other myths about memory. One association with this factor could be that item 11 also addresses an underlying cause (comparable to traumatic experiences) and how it is dealt with (repression as inadequate) so that the classification was left in this form during the first trial. These limitations in factor structure and item analysis can probably also explain the low reliabilities of the two subscales “myths about mental disorders” and “myths about the functioning of memory” and should be studied in a more representative general population.

The construction and validation of the FMKPP used the same sample (although in parallel on two independent samples). In the development process, for example, there was no step-by-step selection of items, which, among other things, might explain the sometimes low item-scale correlations. This method might also lead to a tendency to overestimate the correlations found (Table 3). In light of the weak correlations with absorption and intolerance of uncertainty, as well as the possibility of alpha error inflation, the results should be interpreted very carefully and as preliminary indications.

The choice of the associated constructs was primarily based on prior English-language work. For future research, it would make sense to conduct a stringent convergent and discriminant validation of the FMKPP (e.g., the subject’s agreement with misconceptions from the field of psychology and other sciences, belief/orientation based on empirical findings).

Regarding the sample, it should also be mentioned that the general population studied here comprised a disproportionately high proportion of participants with an academic degree (46%), as well as participants who had studied psychology in the past or were studying it currently (9%). This can be explained by the method of recruitment (“convenience sample”), which occurred via social media among the friends, acquaintances, and family of psychology students, people who presumably have a comparably high school/academic education.

Research to date suggests that schooling in general [Kanning et al., 2013] and psychological training in particular [Gardner and Dalsing, 1986; Standing and Huber, 2003; Kanning et al., 2013] are associated with lower agreement with misconceptions. Since the sample of the general population studied here showed low variance with regard to education, no reliable statement can be made about the relationship between education and myth acceptance. The FMKPP should therefore be examined in future studies with more representative samples (especially with regard to education). Other studies have also shown that higher IQ scores and a critically reflective mindset are associated with lower myth acceptance [McCutcheon et al., 1992; Bensley et al., 2014; Patihis et al., 2014]. Since IQ scores and education are significantly correlated, the question posed for future research is to what extent both factors contribute to the acceptance or rejection of misconceptions.

The statements used in the FMKPP are excerpted from myths that are often studied in the English-speaking world, as well as the authors’ experiences, which can currently be divided into three areas. Additional misconceptions may be interesting to investigate, which could also result in alternative or additional factors. The FMKPP makes no claim as to the completeness of its list of misconceptions in the field of clinical psychology and psychotherapy; its goal is to comparatively efficiently assess misconceptions in the German-speaking countries that also frequently occur internationally and thus to make possible international comparisons.

For single men, testosterone increased ratings of attractiveness for low attractive female faces; for paired men, it increased ratings of attractiveness for the high attractive

Relatively rapid effects of testosterone on men's ratings of female attractiveness depend on relationship status and the attractiveness of stimulus faces. Shawn N. Geniole et al. Hormones and Behavior, Volume 142, June 2022, 105174,


• Effects of testosterone on men’s ratings of female attractiveness

• Testosterone's effects depended on relationship status and attractiveness of the stimulus face.

• For single men, testosterone increased ratings of attractiveness for low attractive female faces.

• For paired men, testosterone increased ratings of attractiveness for high attractive female faces.

Abstract: Attractiveness judgements influence desires to initiate and maintain romantic relationships. Testosterone also predicts relationship initiation and maintenance; such effects may be driven by the hormone's modulation of attractiveness judgements, but no studies have investigated causal (and situation-dependent) effects of the hormone on these judgements. Using a placebo-controlled cross-over design, our preregistered analyses revealed order- and relationship- dependent effects: single heterosexual men judged the women as more appealing when testosterone was administered first (and placebo second), but marginally less appealing when placebo was administered first (and testosterone second). In a more complex model incorporating the women's attractiveness (as rated by an independent set of observers), however, we show that testosterone increases the appeal of women —but this effect depends upon the men's relationship status and the women's attractiveness. In partnered men (n = 53) who tend to derogate attractive alternatives (by rating them as less appealing), testosterone countered this effect, boosting the appeal of these attractive alternatives. In single men (n = 53), conversely, testosterone increased the appeal of low-attractive women. These differential effects highlight the possibility of a newly discovered mechanism whereby testosterone promotes male sexual reproduction through different routes depending on relationship status, promoting partner up- rather than down-grading when partnered and reducing choosiness when single. Further, such effects were relatively rapid [within 85 (±5) minutes], suggesting a potential non-genomic mechanism of action.

Keywords: Facial attractivenessTestosteroneRelationship statusDerogation effect