Wednesday, January 4, 2023

We provide a novel finding that self-perceived attractiveness has significant (negative) effects on mask-wearing intention

Post COVID-19, still wear a face mask? Self-perceived facial attractiveness reduces mask-wearing intention. Seung Eun Cha, Xyle Ku and  Incheol Choi. Front. Psychol., Jan 4 2023.

Abstract: With the emerging post-COVID era, wearing face masks has become a domain of personal choice. Then, who wants to continue wearing a mask when it is no longer mandatory? In this article, we expect and examine the role of self-perceived attractiveness in predicting mask-wearing intention and its mechanism across three studies (total N = 1,030). Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that individuals with high (vs. low) self-perceived attractiveness were less willing to wear a mask, due to a weaker endorsement of the belief that mask-wearing enhances their perceived attractiveness (i.e., mask attractiveness belief). Study 3 further revealed that this mediational association was stronger in situations where the need to deliver a favorable impression was high (job interview context) versus low (walking a dog context). Overall, we provide a novel finding that self-perceived attractiveness has significant effects on mask-wearing intention via mask attractiveness belief in the post-pandemic of COVID-19. Our findings suggest that mask-wearing can shift from being a self-protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic to a self-presentation tactic in the post-pandemic era.

Evidence from Airports on the Effects of Infrastructure Privatization: We show that outright ownership rather than control rights alone is associated with the most improvement after privatization

All Clear for Takeoff: Evidence from Airports on the Effects of Infrastructure Privatization. Sabrina T. Howell, Yeejin Jang, Hyeik Kim & Michael S. Weisbach. NBER Working Paper 30544. Oct 2022. DOI 10.3386/w30544

Abstract: Infrastructure assets have undergone substantial privatization in recent decades. How do different types of owners target and manage these assets? And does the contract form—control rights (concession) vs. outright ownership (sale)—matter? We explore these questions in the context of global airports, which like other infrastructure assets have been privatized by private firms and private equity (PE) funds. Our central finding is that PE acquisitions bring marked improvements in airport performance along a rich array of dimensions such as passengers per flight, total passengers, number of routes, number of airlines, cancellations, and awards. Net income increases after PE acquisitions, which does not reflect lower costs or layoffs. In contrast, in the few cases where non-PE acquisitions bring some improvement, it appears to reflect targeting rather than operational changes. Overall, we find little evidence that privatization alone increases airport performance; instead, infrastructure funds improve performance both in privatization and subsequent acquisitions from non-PE private firms. These effects are largest when there is a competing airport nearby. Finally, we show that outright ownership rather than control rights alone is associated with the most improvement after privatization.


A key metric of airport efficiency is passengers per flight. The more customers an airport can serve with existing runways and gates, the more services it can deliver and the more earnings it can generate. When PE funds buy government-owned airports, the number of passengers per flight rises an average 20 percent. There's no such increase when non-PE private firms acquire an airport. Overall passenger traffic rises under both types of private ownership, but the rise at PE-owned airports, 84 percent, is four times greater than that at non-PE-owned private airports. Freight volumes and the number of flights, other measures of efficiency, show a similar pattern. Evidence from satellite image data indicates that PE owners increase terminal size and the number of gates. This capacity expansion helps enable the volume increases and points to the airport having been financially constrained under previous ownership.

PE firms tend to attract new low-cost carriers to their airports, which in turn may lead to greater competition and offer consumers better service and lower prices. With regard to routes, PE acquirers increase the number of new routes, especially international routes, more than other buyers. International passengers are often the most profitable airport users, especially in developing countries.

A PE acquisition is also associated with a decline in flight cancellations and an increase in the likelihood of receiving a quality award. When an airport shifts from non-PE private to PE ownership, its odds of winning an award rise by 6 percentage points. The average chance of winning such an award is just 2 percent.

The fees that airports charge to airlines rise after airport privatizations. When the buyer is a PE firm, there is also a push to deregulate government limits on those fees. For example, after three Australian airports were privatized in the mid-1990s, the price caps governing airport revenues were replaced with a system of price monitoring that allows the government to step in if fees or revenues become excessive.

The net effect of a PE acquisition is a rough doubling of an airport's operating income, due mostly to higher revenues from airlines and retailers in the terminal rather than cost-cutting. The driving forces behind these improvements appear to be new management strategies, which likely includes greater compensation for managers, alongside investments in new capacity as well as better passenger services and technology.

Chimpanzee and Human Risk Preferences Show Key Similarities—In the world of chimpanzees, too, young males take the greatest risks, to get a better position in the hierarchy

Chimpanzee and Human Risk Preferences Show Key Similarities. Lou M. Haux et al. Psychological Science, January 3, 2023.

Abstract: Risk preference impacts how people make key life decisions related to health, wealth, and well-being. Systematic variations in risk-taking behavior can be the result of differences in fitness expectations, as predicted by life-history theory. Yet the evolutionary roots of human risk-taking behavior remain poorly understood. Here, we studied risk preferences of chimpanzees (86 Pan troglodytes; 47 females; age = 2–40 years) using a multimethod approach that combined observer ratings with behavioral choice experiments. We found that chimpanzees’ willingness to take risks shared structural similarities with that of humans. First, chimpanzees’ risk preference manifested as a traitlike preference that was consistent across domains and measurements. Second, chimpanzees were ambiguity averse. Third, males were more risk prone than females. Fourth, the appetite for risk showed an inverted-U-shaped relation to age and peaked in young adulthood. Our findings suggest that key dimensions of risk preference appear to emerge independently of the influence of human cultural evolution.


Risk preference is central to human and nonhuman behavior. The current results demonstrate that chimpanzee and human risk preference share key structural similarities and converge in crucial ways. Consistent with recent findings in humans (Frey et al., 2017), our results showed that chimpanzees’ willingness to take risks appears to manifest as a traitlike preference, with high rank-order stability across a set of important domains (based on observers’ assessments) and economic choice behavior. The social-risk domain proves to be the exception (Josef et al., 2016). Furthermore, chimpanzees are, like humans, ambiguity averse and less willing to choose options with unknown risks (Ellsberg, 1961Trautmann & van de Kuilen, 2015). Our results indicate that males are more risk seeking than females, mirroring the same difference in human risk preference (Frey et al., 2021). Finally, chimpanzee risk taking shows an inverted-U-shaped relation to age, peaks in young adulthood, and is lower in older age—again mirroring similar trends in humans (Frey et al., 2021Josef et al., 2016Mata et al., 2016).
According to life-history theory, risk preference should be elevated in periods in which the goal of reproduction and associated proximal goals (e.g., gaining social status) is paramount (Stearns, 1992). Young adulthood is an indispensable transitional stage for male chimpanzees to learn the techniques of socially mature males in order to establish their own social position (Kawanaka, 1993Watts, 2018). Consistent with the young male syndrome in humans (Wilson & Daly, 1985), our results show that male chimpanzees are especially risk prone around their 20s and particularly willing to take risks in order to get a better position in the hierarchy. Higher rank is associated with both relatively high mating (Kaburu & Newton-Fisher, 2015Muller et al., 2011) and paternity (Boesch et al., 2006Langergraber et al., 2013Newton-Fisher et al., 2010Wroblewski et al., 2009) success. Furthermore, our finding of heightened general risk tolerance during young adulthood converges with a recent overview of risk behavior in humans concluding that risk taking is heightened during emerging adulthood (Willoughby et al., 2021).
The current findings, in combination with the multimethod design, enrich the comparative approach in important ways. First, the general and traitlike preference for risk is congruent with evidence suggesting that animal personalities exist across a range of species and that risk-related traits are common characteristics (Wolf et al., 2007). Second, we found that the strangers risk domain was only weakly correlated with the other risk domains. This finding is in line with those of earlier studies indicating that trusting other individuals is not just a special case of risk taking but is based on important forms of social preferences, such as betrayal aversion (Fehr, 2009Haux et al., 2021). Moreover, in humans, willingness to trust does not follow an inverted-U-shaped pattern but instead remains relatively stable across the adult life span (Josef et al., 2016). These results fit ideas that in humans and chimpanzees, the social domain remains prioritized across adulthood (Carstensen et al., 1999Rosati et al., 2020). Third, chimpanzees’ observed ambiguity aversion is in line with results by Rosati and Hare (2011). They found that chimpanzees and bonobos are sensitive to ambiguity in the first trials of their experiment, suggesting that subjects dislike choosing options with unknown risks. Yet it remains unclear to what extent chimpanzees knew that only probability but not the information about outcomes was missing. This raises the question of whether ambiguity attitudes in Ellsberg’s (1961) implementation of the construct can be measured in nonverbal populations.
Fourth, our results suggest that chimpanzees are risk neutral to (minimally) risk prone. Past research offers inconsistent findings in this regard. The variation in risk sensitivity in studies may be explainable in terms of the presentation and experience of probabilities (see Hau et al., 2010Heilbronner & Hayden, 2016Hertwig, 2015Wulff et al., 2018), that is, whether decisions were based on experienced frequencies (see Calcutt et al., 2019Haux et al., 2021Heilbronner et al., 2008Keupp et al., 2021), or whether subjects had to infer probabilities from the task design (see Haun et al., 2011Rosati & Hare, 2011201220132016). Furthermore, the possibility of coming away empty-handed—whether the risky option included the possibility of receiving nothing or always provided at least some amount of food—could also alter the decision (see Haux et al., 2021Keupp et al., 2021).
Finally, the relatively small sample sizes and the concomitant sex and age distributions of past studies limit the generalizability of previous findings. Future research should expand the multimethod approach, for instance, by including several behavioral measures. This would allow researchers to examine the causes behind the variation in previous work and delineate which task characteristics influence chimpanzee risk sensitivity. Studies involving chimpanzees from different groups and environments will further enrich the discussion about the generalizability of behavioral variations. Because of their early-life experiences, sanctuary chimpanzees might display different risk preferences and behavior from those living in zoos and those in the wild (for a discussion on the generalizability across groups, see King et al., 2005Laméris et al., 2021Lutz et al., 2022Weiss et al., 2007Wobber & Hare, 2011). Last but not least, because it has been proposed that bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (humans’ two closest living relatives) show divergent risk preferences (see Rosati, 2017), for a complete reconstruction of our last common ape ancestors preferences, it is essential to also study bonobos’ willingness to take risks in more depth in the future.
In the behavioral sciences, risk preference is a mainstay of and a key building block in theories of choice (Barseghyan et al., 2013Brailovskaia et al., 2018Clark & Lisowski, 2017Dohmen et al., 2011Mata et al., 2018Schonberg et al., 2011Slovic, 1987). In recent years, the measurement and stability has been central to the debate about the nature of risk preferences (Frey et al., 20172021Josef et al., 2016Schildberg-Hörisch, 2018Weber et al., 2002). Our multimethod approach can enrich this discussion, indicating that across various aspects of risk preference, both observer ratings (for a discussion on the validity of human ratings, see the Supplemental Material) and behavioral choices are directionally consistent. These findings offer an important first step toward a general mapping of the construct of risk preference in chimpanzees. Understanding the degree of temporal stability and systematic individual change in chimpanzee risk preference will be an important endeavor for future research (Schildberg-Hörisch, 2018). In addition, “actuarial” data such as the frequency of injuries from hierarchy fights will offer another important addition to a multimethod approach to study risk preference in chimpanzees.
In humans, scholars have proposed that the willingness to take risks and to trust others is transmitted across generations through socialization experiences (Dohmen et al., 2012Roberts et al., 2005Slovic, 1966) but is also subject to genetic influences (Karlsson Linnér et al., 2019). Our findings suggest that human risk preference may in addition also have deeper phylogenetic roots than previously suspected. Structural similarities in risk preferences of humans and one of our closest living relatives are likely to reflect adaptations to similar dynamics in primate life histories.