Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Anti-opiates' effects: Opioid Receptor Blockade Lowers Self-Esteem

Shifting the Sociometer: Opioid Receptor Blockade Lowers Self-Esteem. Kristina Tchalova, Sophie Beland, Mona Lisa Chanda, Daniel J Levitin, Jennifer A Bartz. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, nsad017, March 24 2023. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsad017

Abstract: Given the evolutionary importance of social ties for survival, humans are thought to have evolved psychobiological mechanisms to monitor and safeguard the status of their social bonds. At the psychological level, self-esteem is proposed to function as a gauge—sociometer— reflecting one’s social belongingness status. At the biological level, endogenous opioids appear to be an important substrate for the hedonic signalling needed to regulate social behaviour. We investigated whether endogenous opioids may serve as the biological correlate of the sociometer. We administered 50 mg naltrexone (an opioid receptor antagonist) and placebo in counterbalanced order to 26 male and female participants on two occasions approximately one week apart. Participants reported lower levels of self-esteem—particularly self-liking—on the naltrexone (vs. placebo) day. We also explored a potential behavioral consequence of naltrexone administration: attentional bias to accepting (smiling) faces—an early-stage perceptual process thought to maximize opportunities to restore social connection. Participants exhibited heightened attentional bias towards accepting faces on the naltrexone (vs. placebo) day, which we interpret as an indicator of heightened social need under opioid receptor blockade. We discuss implications of these findings for understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of sociality as well as the relationship between adverse social conditions, low self-esteem, and psychopathology.

Keywords: opioid, naltrexone, self-esteem, belonging, social connection, sociometer theory

No Appreciable Effect of Education on Aging-Associated Declines in Cognition: A 20-Year Follow-Up Study

No Appreciable Effect of Education on Aging-Associated Declines in Cognition: A 20-Year Follow-Up Study. Giovanni Sala et al. Psychological Science, March 24, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976231156793

Abstract: Education has been claimed to reduce aging-associated declines in cognitive function. Given its societal relevance, considerable resources have been devoted to this research. However, because of the difficulty of detecting modest rates of change, findings have been mixed. These discrepancies may stem from methodological shortcomings such as short time spans, few waves, and small samples. The present study overcame these limitations (N = 1,892, nine waves over a period of 20 years). We tested the effect of education level on baseline performance (intercept) and the rate of change (slope) in crystallized and fluid cognitive abilities (gc and gf, respectively) in a sample of Japanese adults. Albeit positively related to both intercepts, education had no impact on either the gc or the gf slope. Furthermore, neither intercept exhibited any appreciable correlation with either slope. These results thus suggest that education has no substantial role (direct or mediated) in aging-related changes in cognition.

Further evidence that news recommendations on search engines and social media do not create the feared filter bubbles and echo chambers

More of the Same? Homogenization in News Recommendations When Users Search on Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Efrat Nechushtai, Rodrigo Zamith & Seth C. Lewis. Mass Communication and Society, Mar 23 2023. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2023.2173609

Abstract: Amid concerns over algorithmic gatekeeping and the power of digital platforms to serve as engines for polarization and disinformation, we examined the performance of algorithmic recommendation systems as news intermediaries by crowdsourcing search results about newsworthy topics. This study offers a crowdsourced audit of the recommendations made by Google, Google News, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to ideologically, geographically, and demographically diverse U.S. participants (N = 1,598), examining the extent to which search algorithms on major platforms personalized results and drove traffic to particular kinds of websites. The findings of our cross-platform analysis show that rather than creating filter bubbles, the sorting mechanisms on platforms strongly homogenize exposure to information, at least among its top results. This effect was evident across search terms and platforms. At the same time, each platform prioritizes different types of content, with professionally produced news dominant on some platforms but not others, and politically conservative mainstays like Fox News being particularly recurrent.

Inconsistent and Very Weak Evidence for a Direct Association Between Childhood Personality and Adult Ideology

Fasching, Neil, Kevin Arceneaux, and Bert N. Bakker. 2023. “Inconsistent and Very Weak Evidence for a Direct Association Between Childhood Personality and Adult Ideology.” PsyArXiv. March 23. doi:10.31234/osf.io/cqvsz


Objective: Past research in (political) psychology has put forward that individual differences in psychological needs shape ideology. Most evidence supporting this claim is cross-sectional. Two previous longitudinal studies showed preliminary evidence that childhood personality traits linked to negativity bias correlate with political ideology in adulthood, yet these studies have limitations. We add depth and breadth to the study of the childhood personality-adult ideology link with additional data, measures, and measurement approaches.

Methods: We report the results from two longitudinal studies (combined N=13,822) conducted in the UK that measure personality traits in childhood (5-11 years old) and political ideology from puberty (age 16) to early (age 26) and middle adulthood (age 42).

Results: We find very weak and inconsistent evidence that childhood personality traits related to negativity bias are directly associated with general conservatism, social conservatism, or economic conservatism across different stages of adulthood. Across the board, Bayes Factors most often indicate strong evidence for the null hypothesis.

Conclusion: We offer evidence that the results of previous research are not as robust or as consistent as many scholars in the extant literature presume. Our findings call for more, not less, research on the link between childhood personality and political ideology.