Thursday, July 14, 2022

We, especially those in high quality relationships, respond positively to being outperformed by our romantic partner. Reasons: greater empathy; relationship as a source of self-affirmation; finding partner's success beneficial for oneself

Thai, Sabrina. 2022. “Comparing You, Me, and Us: Social Comparisons in the Context of Close Relationships.” PsyArXiv. July 14. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Social comparisons in the context of close relationships occur often in daily life. Yet, limited research has examined the various types of comparisons that can occur in relationships and the interpersonal consequences of these comparisons. I first describe the types of comparisons individuals can make in close relationships (between themselves and a close other, between their relationship and another, and between a close other and another person) and the interpersonal consequences of these comparisons. I then discuss how examining comparisons in close relationships leads to new ways of thinking about social comparisons: Comparisons have a greater reach than previously thought (dyadic and cumulative longitudinal effects of comparisons), they are more complex than simply comparing the self to others, and they influence relationship outcomes and reveal processes that have not yet been examined. These new insights and directions demonstrate how this intrapersonal process has important interpersonal consequences.

Face-to-face sex positions are more likely to stimulate the clitoris, especially when the woman is above

Coital positions and clitoral blood flow: A biomechanical and sonographic analysis. K. Lovie, A. Marashi. Sexologies, July 5 2022.


Objective: To create biomechanical models of five common coital positions, and evaluate the degree of contact and forces against the clitoris. To evaluate clitoral blood flow before and after engaging in these positions.

Methods: Biomechanical models were rendered of a male and female pelvis in the following coital positions: face-to-face/female above, sitting/face-to-face, face-to-face/male above (with and without pillow), and kneeling/rear entry. The thrusting force and gravitational force were estimated for the pelvis(es) providing the main forces. The areas of contact between the pelvises were identified and highlighted. Sonography of the clitoris was performed before and after a healthy volunteer couple engaged in each position, using a Philips Lumify™ ultrasound (Koninklijke Philips N.V., Amsterdam, Netherlands) with a L12-4 linear array transducer (4–12 MHz).

Results: The biomechanical models for each position, with the exception of kneeling/rear entry, reveal a large amount of contact with the clitoris. Clitoral blood flow increased after engaging in each position except for kneeling/rear entry. Positions in which the gravitational force of the thrusting partner was in the same direction of (and thereby augmenting) the thrusting force resulted in intense clitoral blood flow (face-to-face/female above, and face-to-face/male above). Augmenting the face-to-face/male above position with a pillow generated a component of the male pelvic gravitational force in the direction of the clitoris; this resulted in more blood flow to all components of the cavernous body.

Conclusion: From a biomechanical perspective, different coital positions vary in their potential to stimulate the clitoris. These positions lead to variable increases in clitoral blood flow, concordant with our biomechanical models.

Keywords: ClitorisBiomechanicsSexual positionsSonography

Caring for children makes people all over the world more conservative, and most of the association between age and social conservatism is accounted for by parenthood

Kerry, Nicholas, Damian Murray, Laith Al-Shawaf, Carlota Batres, Khandis Blake, Youngjae Cha, Zoran Pavlović, et al. 2022. “Parenthood and Parental Care Motives Are Associated with Increased Social Conservatism: Experimental and Cross-cultural Evidence.” PsyArXiv. July 13. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Differences in attitudes on social issues such as abortion, immigration, and sex are hugely divisive, and understanding their origins is among the most important tasks facing human behavioural sciences. Despite the clear psychological importance of parenthood and the motivation to provide care for children, researchers have only recently begun investigating their influence on social and political attitudes. Because socially conservative values ostensibly prioritize safety, stability, and family values, we hypothesized that being more invested in parental care might make socially conservative policies more appealing. Studies 1 (pre-registered; n=376) and 2 (n=1,913) find novel evidence of conditional experimental effects of a parenthood prime, such that people who engaged strongly with a childcare manipulation showed an increase in social conservatism. Study 2 also finds evidence that this effect is mediated by increases in parental care motivation. Study 3 (n=2,610, novel data from 10 countries) and 4 (n=426,444, World Values Survey data) find evidence that both parenthood and parental care motivation are associated with increased social conservatism around the globe. Further, most of the positive association globally between age and social conservatism is accounted for by parenthood. These findings support the hypothesis that parenthood and parental care motivation increase social conservatism.

People intuitively prefer invisible-hand explanations of social phenomena over explanations that resort to intended goals

Jonušaitė, Izabelė, and Tomer D. Ullman. 2022. “The Invisible Hand as an Intuitive Sociological Explanation.” PsyArXiv. July 13. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The invisible hand is a type of explanation, often used in the social sciences and economics. An invisible-hand explanation accounts for a state of affairs as the emergent outcome of individual actions, without the individuals intending the explained phenomenon. Invisible-hand explanations have been used in formal settings to account for a variety of phenomena, from segregation to traffic norms. But, they have not been studied cognitively and empirically as an intuitive explanation type. Here, we propose and show that people intuitively prefer invisible-hand explanations over intentional-design explanations. We first establish that given pairs of explanations are equally likely to cause a social phenomenon (equal likelihood ratio). We then show that in a paired hypothesis question, people prefer an invisible-hand to an intentional-design explanation (posterior odds favor invisible hand). Given this, we conclude that people have a prior preference for invisible-hand explanations. We additionally examine individual differences in this prior preference, showing a small-but-significant relationship between a preference for intentional-design explanations, and conspiratorial beliefs.

Philosophers have long debated whether moral virtue is necessary for happiness, or whether morality and happiness are incompatible. Yet, little empirical research addresses this fundamental question: Are moral people happier?

Sun, Jessie, Wen Wu, and Geoffrey Goodwin. 2022. “Moral People Tend to Be Happier.” PsyArXiv. July 13. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Philosophers have long debated whether moral virtue is necessary for happiness, or whether morality and happiness are incompatible. Yet, little empirical research addresses this fundamental question: Are moral people happier? Here, we examined the association between reputation-based measures of moral character and self-reported well-being in the U.S. and China. Three studies suggest that those who are more moral in the eyes of close others (e.g., friends, family, romantic partners; Studies 1 and 3), coworkers (Study 2), and acquaintances (Study 3) generally experience a greater sense of subjective well-being and meaning in life. Together, these studies provide the most comprehensive evidence to date of a positive association between morality and well-being.

In sum, the results of three studies provide evidence for a robust and general positive association between moral character and well-being. These studies represent the most comprehensive investigation to date of this longstanding question about the relation between two fundamental aspects of the good life. However, given the scope of the question and the complexity of conceptualizing and measuring morality, our investigation is far from the last word on whether moral people are happier. Although reputation-based measures of morality have substantial advantages over both self-report and behavioral measures, they have their own limitations.
First, by definition, reputation-based measures of moral character only allow us to draw conclusions about the wellbeing implications of being visibly (im)moral (26, 28). How significant a limitation this is depends on how successfully people can actually hide their immoral traits and behaviors from others. We suspect that while people may be able to conceal some specific immoral behaviors (29), it is a much harder task to permanently conceal one’s genuinely immoral character. If this is true, then reputation-based measures of moral character, particularly when drawn from multiple sources, are unlikely to be substantially distorted in this respect. 
A second potential limitation of reputation-based measures is that moral character judgments could be tainted by irrelevant information. For example, it is plausible that people might use how much they like a person as a heuristic for whether that person is morally good.
However, supplemental analyses suggested that the association between moral character and well-being tended to be robust even when accounting for how much the targets’ informants liked them (see Table S29). Moreover, given that experimental evidence suggests that positive moral character information causally increases perceivers’ overall positive impressions of a hypothetical target (13), the extent to which a perceiver likes a target could be a mechanism that explains why moral people are happier, rather than a confound. Due to the correlational nature of our study designs, the findings of all three studies are causally ambiguous. However, given the paucity of research on this important question, and the difficulty of manipulating morality, our primary goal was to provide a thorough description of the direction, functional form, and specificity of the association between morality and well- being. After all, before we can attempt to explain a phenomenon, it is important to “know the thing we are trying to explain” (30, 31).
Nevertheless, we conducted additional analyses to rule out possible demographic confounds (e.g., age, gender, race, SES, and religiosity). The results of Studies 1 and 2 were generally robust to the inclusion of these control variables, but the results for Study 3 were inconclusive due to the large amounts of missing demographic data (see Table 40 S31). Finally, the question of whether moral people are happier may depend in part on what range of morality is being considered and how morality is conceptualized. Although we made efforts to sample from across the spectrum of moral character, we were unable to sample targets who were either extremely moral or extremely immoral (see Supplemental Materials, Table 45 S28). Nonetheless, our results do indicate that within the normal range of moral functioning inhabited by the large majority of people, people who are more moral are happier than people who are less moral. 6 Morality is notoriously difficult to define; indeed, centuries of philosophical theorizing have not yet resulted in widespread convergence on what it means to be a moral person (32).
We intentionally conceptualized morality in a very broad and ecologically valid way, with a definition that spanned multiple different aspects of moral character that are relevant to everyday social life. It therefore remains possible that the relation we observed may not hold if moral goodness is conceptualized more narrowly (e.g., as constituted by utilitarian attitudes, or a more expansive moral circle; 33, 34). Our results provisionally speak against this possibility, however, since we did not see different relations between two major dimensions of morality (i.e., kindness and integrity) and well-being (see Supplemental Materials, Table S23). Nonetheless, future work might document more distinct connections between other varieties of morality and well-being. Despite these caveats, the research presented here breaks new ground by providing the strongest evidence to date of a positive association between morality and well-being in the U.S. and China. Our findings are incompatible with the idea that a moral life is characterized by onerous self-sacrifice; instead, morality and personal fulfilment seem to go hand in hand