Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Scientific texts in the life sciences 1969-2019: Cluttering of texts, increasing use of emotion adjectives and adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs in life sciences across 50 years: implications for emotions and readability in academic texts. Ju Wen & Lei Lei. Scientometrics, Jul 11 2022.

Abstract: Writing in a clear and simple language is critical for scientific communications. Previous studies argued that the use of adjectives and adverbs cluttered writing and made scientific text less readable. The present study aims to investigate if the articles in life sciences have become more cluttered and less readable across the past 50 years in terms of the use of adjectives and adverbs. The data that were used in the study were a large dataset of 775,456 scientific texts published between 1969 and 2019 in 123 scientific journals. Results showed that an increasing number of adjectives and adverbs were used and the readability of scientific texts have decreased in the examined years. More importantly, the use of emotion adjectives and adverbs also demonstrated an upward trend while that of nonemotion adjectives and adverbs did not increase. To our knowledge, this is probably the first large scale diachronic study on the use of adjectives and adverbs in scientific writing. Possible explanations to these findings were discussed.

Rolf Degen summarizing... Curvy female bodies, with low waist-to-hip ratios, pop out in men's and women's visual search

Cloud, J. M., Stone, A. M., & McCarthy, J. D. (2022). No time to “waist:” low waist-to-hip ratios pop out in visual search. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Jul 2022.

Abstract: Previous research demonstrates that evolutionarily relevant stimuli (e.g., snakes, angry faces) “pop-out” of visual arrays, leading to faster and more accurate identification compared with stimuli that do not impact fitness as strongly. The present study investigated the identification of low (vs. high) waist-to-hip ratios (WHR) using a visual search paradigm: participants searched for a discrepant female torso in matrices of otherwise identical female torsos. Participants viewed 3 × 3 and 5 × 5 matrices of female torsos with low (.70) or high (.90) WHRs and indicated whether a torso with a discrepant WHR was present or absent via a button press. As predicted, participants were faster and more accurate in detecting a low WHR among high WHRs than the reverse; however, results failed to support the predicted interaction whereby matrix size would more strongly affect participants’ ability to detect a torso with a discrepant WHR of .90 than .70. These results suggest that female torsos with low WHR readily capture attention but still require serial processing.

In our audacity, we infer others' political leanings from their faces alone --- and are willing to discriminate against those with dissenting faces

Partisan Discrimination Without Explicit Partisan Cues. Jeffrey Lyons, Stephen M. Utych. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Vol. 10 No. 1 (2022), Jul 13 2022.

Abstract: Much research has demonstrated that Democrats and Republicans use information about party affiliation to discriminate against one another. However, we know little about how people gain the necessary information about other people’s partisanship to engage in discriminatory behavior. We explore whether people perceive partisanship when shown only images of faces, and whether they then use these perceptions to engage in partisan discrimination. We find that they do. Using two studies we show that the partisan perceptions people derive from seeing images of faces influence discrimination of job applicants, and propensities to engage is a wide range of social interactions. People appear to be making judgements about partisanship using only facial appearance, and are willing act on that perception. The implication of this finding is that partisan discrimination is likely widespread, and does not require the explicit communication of partisan affiliations.