Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Identity fusion is traditionally conceptualized as innately parochial, with fused actors motivated to commit acts of violence on out-groups, largely conditional on threat perception

The Fusion-Secure Base Hypothesis. Jack W. Klein, Brock Bastian. Personality and Social Psychology Review, June 16, 2022.

Abstract: Identity fusion is traditionally conceptualized as innately parochial, with fused actors motivated to commit acts of violence on out-groups. However, fusion’s aggressive outcomes are largely conditional on threat perception, with its effect on benign intergroup relationships underexplored. The present article outlines the fusion-secure base hypothesis, which argues that fusion may engender cooperative relationships with out-groups in the absence of out-group threat. Fusion is characterized by four principles, each of which allows a fused group to function as a secure base in which in-group members feel safe, agentic, and supported. This elicits a secure base schema, which increases the likelihood of fused actors interacting with out-groups and forming cooperative, reciprocal relationships. Out-group threat remains an important moderator, with its presence “flipping the switch” in fused actors and promoting a willingness to violently protect the group even at significant personal cost. Suggestions for future research are explored, including pathways to intergroup fusion.

Keywords: social identity, identity fusion, intergroup relations, group attachment, secure base

In male–female pairs more men walk to the right of a female, possibly because men prefer to occupy the optimal “fight ready” side

Who goes where in couples and pairs? Effects of sex and handedness on side preferences in human dyads. Paul Rodway & Astrid Schepman. Laterality, Jun 21 2022.

Abstract: There is increasing evidence that inter-individual interaction among conspecifics can cause population-level lateralization. Male–female and mother–infant dyads of several non-human species show lateralised position preferences, but such preferences have rarely been examined in humans. We observed 430 male–female human pairs and found a significant bias for males to walk on the right side of the pair. A survey measured side preferences in 93 left-handed and 92 right-handed women, and 96 left-handed and 99 right-handed men. When walking, and when sitting on a bench, males showed a significant side preference determined by their handedness, with left-handed men preferring to be on their partner’s left side and right-handed men preferring to be on their partner’s right side. Women did not show significant side preferences. When men are with their partner they show a preference for the side that facilitates the use of their dominant hand. We discuss possible reasons for the side preference, including males prefering to occupy the optimal “fight ready” side, and the influence of sex and handedness on the strength and direction of emotion lateralization.

Keywords: Evolutionfighting hypothesisbehavioural asymmetryaggressionleftward gaze


In the observational study it was found that in 57% of pairs, men walked on the right side of the pair, and women in 43%. The proportion of men walking on the right was robustly above the chance value of 50%, based on Bonferroni-corrected frequentist inferencing and on Bayesian credible intervals and the Bayes Factor. This shows that humans, like many other species (Regaiolli, Spiezio, Ottolini, Sandri, & Vallortigara, 2021; Zaynagutdinova et al., 2021), exhibit lateralized position preferences when in a pair. In addition, the finding adds to the examples of other human social behaviours, such as kissing, cradling and embracing, which show patterns of lateralization. The greater number of men on the right side is compatible with the readiness to fight hypothesis which predicted that men would want to walk with their dominant hand on the outside of the formation, and because right-handed men are more frequent in a population, there would be more men on the right side of a pair. We evaluate this interpretation in more depth shortly.

For the survey data, the prediction from the readiness to fight hypothesis that men, but not women, would show a preference to have their dominant hand on the outside of the formation, was supported for walking and sitting on a bench. In contrast, there was no evidence for an overall preference to be on the right of a pair, and thus the data were not compatible with a right-hemisphere hypothesis that applies universally to all. The dominant-hand hypothesis also did not receive clear support because the preference to be on the right, when walking and sitting, applied to men but not women. Despite this, the dominant-hand hypothesis could account for the observational and survey data if it is assumed that men get to be on their preferred side more often, perhaps by having a stronger side preference and / or being more assertive. For example, manipulating objects might be more important to men than women, and so men might have a stronger preference to have their dominant hand on the outside of a pair, so it is free to manipulate objects (we are grateful to Dr Tucker Gilman for this suggestion). The stronger effect of handedness for side preferences in bench sitting compared to walking could be related to this. Further research is required to examine these possibilities. Taken together, without including additional moderating influences, the observational data and survey data are more compatible with a readiness to fight hypothesis than with a universal right-hemisphere hypothesis, or the dominant-hand hypothesis.

In the side of the bed preferences, the survey data showed that participants largely avoided “both sides equally” responses. Individual preferences for the side of the bed were not associated with sex or handedness. The bed question is helpful in the interpretation of the data. First, it showed that participants were not responding in a mindless or heuristic way, simply selecting the same response for each question. This provides confidence in the walking and bench data, because it suggests that participants expressed genuine preferences. Second, it showed that the typically habitual, long-lasting, and daily arrangement of a couple in bed did not determine the preferred side when walking and sitting on a bench. Third, although this is debatable, lying in bed is not usually a situation in which a man is required to fight a foe, and therefore this question served as a useful control condition. The observed pattern is compatible with the predictions from a fighting readiness hypothesis, if fighting-related behaviours are context-specific and only instantiated in relevant settings where fighting may be required. However, the bed data may contain some noise, because people tend not to sleep on their backs, and rotating into other positions can reverse the left and right sides, so some caution is required in the interpretation of the bed data.

Some researchers have discussed whether a fighting drive is still relevant in modern Western societies. For example, Faurie and Raymond (2013) suggest that, rather than fighting leading to survival of the individual involved in the fight, in modern non-violent societies, fighting, along with sporting achievements, may instead serve as a ritualized display aimed at attracting mates and promoting procreation. However, evolutionary theorizing accommodates vestigial behaviours that may have conferred Darwinian fitness in the past but that are no longer adaptive (see e.g., Rognini, 2018). A drive to be prepared to fight, even if it is unlikely to be necessary, may still be present in men as a behavioural trait at an implicit level, even if, in most situations, it is not necessary to exhibit the fighting for which the man readies himself.

Other potential explanations of these findings cannot be discounted. One interpretation is that they were caused by sex and handedness differences in emotional lateralization, which caused a stronger side preference in right and left-handed males. There is evidence that males are more strongly lateralized than females (Hirnstein, Hugdahl, & Hausmann, 2019), and stronger leftward perceptual asymmetries in males have been reported with line bisection (Jewell & McCourt, 2000) and the chimeric faces task (Innes, Burt, Birch, & Hausmann, 2016). There is also evidence for sex differences in the lateralization of emotion perception (Bourne, 2005; Burton & Levy, 1989; Rodway et al., 2003; Van Strien & Van Beek, 2000; but see Borod et al., 2001), and in social behaviours involving emotional connections, such as cradling (Packheiser, Schmitz, et al., 2019). It is possible that stronger emotional asymmetries in men may predispose them to more strongly prefer to occupy one side of the pair, because it aids social interaction or the monitoring threats from other males. In relation to this, Marzoli, Prete, and Tommasi (2014) propose that the leftward gaze bias could facilitate the monitoring of the dominant hand of other people, either for aiding communication or for monitoring potentially aggressive acts. A stronger leftward gaze to the hands than to other body parts, when looking at angry bodily postures, is in accord with this suggestion (Calbi, Langiulli, Siri, Umiltà, & Gallese, 2021; see also Lucafò et al., 2021). In addition, men have been found to be more strongly lateralized than women when looking at facial emotions of threat in male faces (Rahman & Anchassi, 2012). However, for stronger emotional lateralization in males to account for the current findings, it would have to be assumed that left-handed males have opposite emotional asymmetries to right-handed males. Some research has found this reversal in left-handers (Willems et al., 2010) while other evidence indicates weaker right hemisphere emotional lateralization, but not a reversal (Elias et al., 1998). In sum, it is apparent that an explanation of the side preference in terms of differences in lateralized emotion processing, due to sex and handedness, is consistent with the current findings and other research.

More research is needed to determine which of these alternative explanations is supported by the evidence. The fighting readiness explanation predicts that men will show a stronger side preference in more threatening environments, such as when it is dark, or when walking through a crowd of unfamiliar people. In contrast, a sex and handedness difference in lateralized emotion processing would not predict a stronger side preference in men under more threatening circumstances, if the asymmetry was operating to facilitate social communication with a partner. However, if it was functioning to facilitate the monitoring of the environment for potential threats from aggressive conspecifics, then a stronger side preference could be expected. In this case, the men’s preference for the side that facilitates the use of their dominant hand, and the monitoring of threats in the environment, could be the manifestation of a general behaviour to be “fight ready”.

Small effect sizes for some of our data could be said to be a limitation of the findings. For example, in the observational study, we observed a Cohen’s h of .13 which is a very small effect size. However, the preference was statistically robust, and the proportion of men on the right (.57) was meaningfully higher than chance (.50). The small effect size is most probably a reason why this subtle bias had not yet been discovered, because it is not noticeable via everyday non-systematic observation. If the effect had been larger, it is likely that people would have noticed the bias routinely in their daily lives. The survey data showed a medium effect size for the key interaction between Sex and Handedness for the walking and bench data (OR = 6.388). This may be because in the survey, people could express their preferences, which were not diluted to the same extent as the observational data, where additional random effects and conflicting inter-individual preferences could interfere with individual preferences. In this respect, the observational data and survey data are most usefully considered together because they complement each other’s limitations.

There are other limitations with the present research. First, it is unclear whether the side preferences in the survey reflect actual preferences, or the side that a person typically occupies, reflecting a memory rather than a preference, or a mixture of these influences. Clarifying this will be relevant to understanding the cause of the side bias. Second, the observational study was conducted in a particular location in the UK. While we have no reason to believe that the findings do not generalize to other locations where male–female pairs are able to walk freely, this requires testing. However, it can be noted that the survey data were from participants from throughout the UK, and the side preferences complemented those obtained in the observational study. This provides confidence in the generalizability of the observational data. Finally, it would have been desirable for all survey images to be matched for the presence of stick figures, so that all conditions were matched along that dimension.

In sum, our observations show that in male–female pairs more men walk to the right of a female than to the left from the pair’s perspective. Unlike women, men report significant side preferences when walking or sitting with a female partner, and this preference is dependent on their handedness. The side that men prefer, when with a partner, facilitates the use of their dominant hand and this might be because men want to be in the best position to fight effectively. There are other plausible explanations of the side preference exhibited by men, including an effect of sex and handedness on the strength and direction of emotional lateralization, or a stronger desire in males to be able use their dominant hand. Further research is desirable to clarify the cause of the side preference in human dyads.

More intelligent people know better how the economy works, regardless of education level

Smart people know how the economy works: Cognitive ability, economic knowledge and financial literacy. Chien-An Lin, Timothy C.Bates. Intelligence, Volume 93, July–August 2022, 101667.


• Tested if cognitive ability drives economic knowledge and financial literacy.

• Ability strongly predicted greater economic knowledge.

• Ability predicted greater financial literacy.

• Effects on financial literacy mediated by economic knowledge.

• Associations not influenced by education or economic training.

Abstract: Cognitive ability correlates positively with many financial outcomes but why? One important relationship to understand is the degree to which cognitive ability is associated with greater knowledge of economics, but this has not been tested extensively. Here in two large, pre-registered studies (N = 1356), we tested the relationship between cognitive ability and both economic knowledge and financial literacy. Three predictions were key: i) Cognitive ability would show a large positive association with economic knowledge; ii) Cognitive ability would be associated with better financial literacy and iii) Greater economic knowledge would be positively associated with financial literacy. All three predictions were supported and replicated. Cognitive ability predicted economic knowledge (r = 0.37 to 0.52) independent of and with much larger effects than either educational attainment or economics courses. The findings extend effects of general ability to include greater awareness of economic functions, and improved use of economic information which improves lifetime financial wellbeing.

Keywords: Economic knowledgeCognitive abilityFinancial literacyFinancial knowledge

9. General discussion

Study 2 successfully replicated all study 1 findings relating cognitive ability to economic knowledge and to financial literacy. Four major results emerged in this set of studies. First, controlling for multiple demographic variables, cognitive ability accounted for substantial variance in economic knowledge and in financial literacy. Second the association of cognitive ability with economic knowledge was largely unchanged when education level was controlled. Even controlling for economic training left the association largely undiminished. This suggests that the association of cognitive ability and economic knowledge is not an artifact of exposure to education or, perhaps even more surprisingly, even of specific training in economics. Though this is contrary to some intuitions regarding effects of teaching, it is in line with large studies testing intelligence, knowledge, and knowledge acquisition (Ree & Carretta, 2022). These show that intelligence is powerful predictor of knowledge and knowledge acquisition, but that knowledge itself is a poor predictor of knowledge acquisition. The findings, then, are in line with the idea that knowledge acquisition is strongly under the control of cognitive ability and with relatively weaker effects of teaching due to the strong influence of ability on knowledge acquisition (Ree & Carretta, 2022). Third, supporting importance of cognitive ability for financial wellbeing, we found that brighter people reported better management of investment, insurance, and careful spending. Finally, study 2 replicated the link between cognitive ability, economic knowledge, and financial literacy. These robust positive associations of cognitive ability with economic knowledge and financial literacy are compatible with the possibility that improvements in general ability may cascade into valued improvements not only in economic knowledge but also in lifetime financial outcomes.

9.1. Future directions and limitations

We found that cognitive ability is associated with improved economic knowledge, even controlling for education and specific exposure to economics education. Economic knowledge thus joins the growing set of “mental toolkits” such as knowledge of scientific reasoning and analytic thinking (Čavojová, Šrol, & Jurkovič, 2020Ståhl & Van Prooijen, 2018) positively associated with cognitive ability. Identifying additional mental toolkits linked to cognitive ability is a valuable direction for future study. By contrast, the lack of association of formal education with knowledge and literacy suggests that intelligent people may actively seek out, learn, and abstract this economic knowledge as an aid to understanding the world and achieving their goals, even when, and independent of exposure to formal education. Capitalising on whatever these self-guided opportunities are would be of value. The finding that, despite economics being one of the most popular subjects in higher education (Brückner et al., 2015), economic training had only a tiny influence on economic knowledge, suggests that future research might focus on improving the efficacy of economic education. Also, since financial literacy was reliably associated with education and economic training, effective education investments leading to improved student outcomes could influence wellbeing via improved financial behaviours.

This research has limitations that should also be mentioned. The financial knowledge subscale of financial literacy proved less reliable than desirable. Other studies have found modest reliabilities for some of these scale, e.g. in the National Financial Capability Study Omega was under 0.7 (NFCS, 2018). More robust measure of financial knowledge may be possible: For instance including options which include additional choices, such as “not having life insurance but I have no dependants”. Testing could also usefully be expanded to include novel financial products, for instance cryptocurrency (Steinmetz, von Meduna, Ante, & Fiedler, 2021) and non-fungible tokens (Trautman, 2021). Given the trillions of dollars involved, volatility, legal frameworks, etc. association of these assets may differ in their association with ability. Another limitation is that we recruited only UK participants. Replicating these findings in different cultures with distinct norms, for instance, surrounding private ownership or lending money for interest, for example, the concept of Riba (Siddiqi, 2004), our findings would be more robust. Future research could also use these findings to help unpack links of cognitive ability to cognate topics, such as economic attitudes.

To conclude, the present studies corroborated the associations between cognitive ability and multiple financial outcomes. The data provided evidence for substantial positive effects of cognitive ability on economic knowledge in addition to financial literacy. In addition, the studies highlighted surprising weak effects of (current) education and economics training on economic knowledge independent of ability. Economic knowledge and financial literacy are central topics in areas of socioeconomics, political policy, and economics, but the present results suggest a role for cognitive ability which is too seldom discussed. This research begins to fill this gap.

Prevalence (about 10pct) and Correlates of Sexual Aversion: A Canadian Community-Based Study

Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Aversion: A Canadian Community-Based Study. David Lafortune et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, June 22 2022.


Background: Sexual aversion (SA) is a chronic difficulty impacting sexual, relational and psychological wellbeing. Yet, there is a dearth of studies exploring its prevalence and associated factors.

Aim: To estimate the prevalence of SA and examine its correlates among a community sample of Canadian adults.

Methods: A large web-based sample of the Quebec (Canada) adult population (n = 1,935) completed an online survey on sexual wellbeing. Prevalence rates were estimated for SA and other sexual difficulties. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify correlates of SA.

Outcomes: Demographics (eg, gender, employment status), self-reported experiences of sexual difficulties (low sexual desire and arousal, vaginal dryness, pain during sexual intercourse, erectile difficulties, premature or delayed ejaculation, and orgasm difficulties), and markers of psychosexual wellbeing (eg, psychological distress, performance anxiety) according to the presence or absence of SA were assessed.

Results: The prevalence of SA was 9.7% (95% CI: 8.5–11.2) in the present sample (6.9% [95% CI: 5.1–8.9] in men, 11.3% [95% CI: 9.4–13.4] in women and 17.1% [95% CI: 9.4–27.4] in nonbinary and/or trans individuals). The multivariate logistic regression model explained 31% of the likelihood of experiencing SA. SA was related to psychological distress (aOR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.33–2.38), sexual satisfaction (aOR: .59, 95% CI:.49–0.70), sexual performance anxiety (aOR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.45–2.98), and discomfort with sex-related information (aOR: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01–1.04)

Clinical implications: Several psychosexual correlates of SA were documented and could be targeted by practitioners during the assessment and treatment of individuals living with SA.

Strengths and limitations: The study's strengths include its large, gender diverse sample and use of comprehensive diagnostic criteria for SA. Probability-based sampling methods and longitudinal studies should be conducted to address the current study's limitations.

Conclusion: SA research is critical to document its prevalence in different sociodemographic groups, explore additional intrapersonal and interpersonal mechanisms involved in SA etiology, and ensure that the needs of people living with SA are met with tailored interventions.

Key Words: Sexual AversionPrevalenceSexual DysfunctionsPsychosexual Wellbeing