Saturday, April 1, 2023

Demography Leads to More Conservative European Societies

Fieder, Martin and Huber, Susanne, Demography Leads to More Conservative European Societies. Mar 20233. SSRN:

Abstract: On basis of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (in total 66,188 participants from 14 European countries) and the European Gender and Generation Survey (in total 121,248 participants from 11 countries), we investigated i) whether differences in political attitude and attitudes on family values (i.e. attitude towards homosexual couples, attitude towards female reproduction) are associated with differences in the average number of children, and ii) whether such an association between fertility and attitudes affects the population share of those attitudes in the following generations.We found that in most analyzed countries, right-wing/conservative individuals have, on average, more children and grandchildren than left-wing/liberal individuals. We further found that the proportion of right-wing/conservative individuals increases from generation to generation. These findings suggest that differential demography may lead to a shift of prevailing political attitudes.

Keywords: political attitude, family attitudes, fertility, Europe

Examining the Sexual Double Standards and Hypocrisy in Partner Suitability Appraisals Within a Norwegian Sample

Examining the Sexual Double Standards and Hypocrisy in Partner Suitability Appraisals Within a Norwegian Sample. Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair et al. Evolutionary Psychology, March 27, 2023.

Abstract: Sexual double standards are social norms that impose greater social opprobrium on women versus men or that permit one sex greater sexual freedom than the other. This study examined sexual double standards when choosing a mate based on their sexual history. Using a novel approach, participants (N = 923, 64% women) were randomly assigned to make evaluations in long-term or short-term mating contexts and asked how a prospective partner's sexual history would influence their own likelihood of having sex (short-term) or entering a relationship (long-term) with them. They were then asked how the same factors would influence the appraisal they would make of male and female friends in a similar position. We found no evidence of traditional sexual double standards for promiscuous or sexually undesirable behavior. There was some evidence for small sexual double standard for self-stimulation, but this was in the opposite direction to that predicted. There was greater evidence for sexual hypocrisy as sexual history tended to have a greater negative impact on suitor assessments for the self rather than for same-sex friends. Sexual hypocrisy effects were more prominent in women, though the direction of the effects was the same for both sexes. Overall, men were more positive about women's self-stimulation than women were, particularly in short-term contexts. Socially undesirable sexual behavior (unfaithfulness, mate poaching, and jealous/controlling) had a large negative impact on appraisals of a potential suitor across all contexts and for both sexes. Effects of religiosity, disgust, sociosexuality, and question order effects are considered.


The study of SDS has yielded several important results. First, we found a lack of evidence for SDS effects in the traditional direction. Second, we found that people were more discerning of a prospective mate's sexual history in long-term versus short-term contexts and that women were more discerning than men. Third, we found that participants showed some level of hypocrisy—being more cautious when making appraisals for themselves compared to a same-sex friend. Fourth, we found that sexual histories could be reduced to three factors: self-stimulation, promiscuity, and cheating & controlling, and that these factors affected appraisals and were the subjects of SDS and hypocrisy effects in different ways. Finally, we found little evidence that covariates affected the pattern of the results in a meaningful way. We now discuss these key findings in turn.

A Lack of SDS at the Personal Level

Generally, when people are asked what norms, they believe exist in society, they tend to confirm traditional SDS (the societal level). However, when people are asked what attitudes they themselves hold (appraisals at the personal level), the pattern can disappear (Crawford & Popp, 2003). Overall, and in line with our predictions, we found a lack of evidence for traditional SDS, and we actually found a reversed sexual double standard in the case of self-stimulation and promiscuous behavior. Rather than women being judged harshly for engaging in porn use, masturbation, and sex toy ownership, they were actually judged to be a slightly more suitable partner for a male friend in short-term contexts, regardless of participant gender, while this aspect of their history had little influence on their suitability as a long-term one. Men in contrast were judged as negatively on the basis of their self-stimulating behavior—more so by women than men and particularly in long-term contexts. Notably, promiscuous women were not evaluated more negatively than promiscuous men in long-term MCs. This pattern was found regardless of perspective (first or third person) and largely generalized to self-stimulating targets and targets with cheating & controlling behavior (unfaithful, jealous, or mate poaching).

Mating Context and Participant Sex Moderate Appraisals of Sexual History

In this study, we were able to address the fact that little research has considered the role of short-term versus long-term contexts when studying SDS, taking for granted differences in sexual mating psychology that varies both by sex and mating strategy (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). We found that context matters—people rated potential suitors with a sexual history of promiscuity, self-stimulation, and cheating or controlling more harshly if they were considering them as a long-term mate than a short-term one. This difference likely comes from the fact that one of the adaptive problems of those following a short-term mating strategy is identifying opportunities for casual sex. Promiscuity and self-stimulation may act as cues for access and so are tolerated more than in long-term contexts where immediate sexual access becomes less important. Cheating & controlling may have been considered less relevant within short-term contexts for the same reason that kindness is seen as less important in short-term contexts (Li & Kenrick, 2006). Short-term relationships by their very definition make these attributes less relevant—cheating & controlling dynamics tend to happen within ongoing relationships rather than one-night stands.
Another moderator was the sex of the participant. In line with our second prediction, facts about a prospective partner's sexual history generally led to women toward more negative appraisals of than men, regardless of whether they were making judgments for themselves or for same-sex friends. This sex difference was particularly evident for self-stimulating behavior. These sex differences likely reflect the historical asymmetries in the risks associated with sex for men and women. In terms of their reproductive health, having somatic resources “tided up,” and social reputation, the risks of poor sexual decisions for men have historically been much lower than those for women, causing them to evolve to be more cautious about how, when, and with whom they procreate (Buss & Schmitt, 1993).

Is Sexual Hypocrisy a Specific Form of Sexual Double Standard?

By asking participants to make appraisals for themselves, we were in the unique position to examine sexual hypocrisy. Generally, we found that the participants were less willing to pursue an opposite-sex target following sexual history information but were less cautious when appraising same-sex friends in the same situation. This was also true for men in the short-term context, although these men made relatively fewer negative appraisals for self versus male friend compared to women in both MCs and men in a long-term MC. The reason for this difference we suspect lies with the relative risk to the participant associated with the choice. It would pay to be particularly cautious when making decisions for oneself because one must bear the consequences of that decision. The consequences for even the most beloved friend will always have less of an effect on the self. If this explanation holds then further research should find that appraisals of others’ behavior and choices should track the extent to which negative consequences would impact the decision maker—such as degree of genetic relatedness and interdependence (Apostolou, 2017Biegler & Kennair, 2016Perilloux et al., 2008). The traditional double standard is mainly expected to be present in assessment of daughters’, sisters’, mothers’, and wives’ behaviors, not the behavior of sexually available women one is not related to.
Further, appraisals differed for the three behaviors, suggesting that SDS and sexual hypocrisy was not similar for promiscuity, self-stimulation, and cheating & controlling behaviors. The (reversed) SDS effect was more evident for self-stimulation, and more evident in the short-term context, and the sexual hypocrisy effect was stronger for women than for men albeit less pronounced for self-stimulation. Evidently, sexual history is not necessarily best conceptualized as negative information, sometimes sexual history is clearly negative (cheating & controlling behavior), however, self-stimulation is generally not considered negative behavior. The SST perspective highlights the importance of how both sex of actor and MC will influence appraisals of sexual history, for example a woman's sexual availability cues will be assessed more positive for men in a short-term setting than men's sexual availability will be assessed by women. There is more insight to be garnered about further specific sex acts.

Effects of Individual Differences

During our analyses, we included several covariates that one might expect to influence how people use information about sexual history including religiosity, sexual disgust, and sociosexuality. Our third prediction regarding the effect of these individual differences was supported on an overall level. Higher levels of religiosity and sexual disgust, and more restricted sociosexuality were all associated with more negative appraisals of targets with a sexual history. Contrary to our expectation however, the effect of religiosity was not limited to short-term sexual relationships. Overall, while there was evidence that these individual differences affect how sexual history information is used more broadly, these did not seem to enhance or reduce SDS or sexual hypocrisy effects.
Overall, these findings, although original, dovetail neatly with the general finding in the literature that people rarely express the traditional double standard when they judge sexually active others. Further, considering both sexes in both MCs reveals predictable sex differences, where especially men are less negative toward sexually active women in a short-term context. Sexual availability is considered attractive and signaling this is an effective way for women to self-promote or flirt in short-term contexts (Bendixen & Kennair, 2015Kennair et al., 2022).
The most interesting aspect of these findings may be that so many expect to find the traditional pattern expressed in modern society. An implicit negative attitude toward short-term sexual relations might be part of the explanation of why people continue to believe in the traditional sexual double standard. Intrasexual competition between women is probably also a driving mechanism, attempting to downregulate inflation for sexual access. However, the narrative might be leftover norm expectations from an era when there actually was more sexual control over women than men, for example because of religiosity. There are two aspects of the current findings that suggest that this explanation may be too simple. First, while the participants in the current study are from a highly secularized society, egalitarian and sexually liberal society compared to the United States (Bendixen et al., 2017), there are similar findings of reversed double standards or single standards in US samples, too (Crawford & Popp, 2003). Also, religiosity did generally influence the pattern of results for the SDS (although for own pursuit, religiosity was a robust covariate), although religious men were more critical of women for the socially undesirable behaviors factor. This question probably needs resolving with data from even less egalitarian, more religious, and less sexually societies. In the meantime, taking double sexual standards for granted and telling young women about the existence of such double standards, when indeed they might not exist, is probably more limiting for people's sexual liberty than other people's actual attitudes. Displaying a more sex-positive attitude, especially toward short-term sex, may be a better approach, than spreading the myths of traditional double standards and that primarily males are negative to an active female sexuality and agency.


The main limitation of the current work is that it was conducted on a convenience sample from a secular country which is high in sexual liberalism and has high gender egality. It is entirely possible that SDS are reduced in such countries and would reveal themselves more in countries which are more conservative and religious. Thus, a key future direction would be to replicate these findings in other countries to test for cross-cultural consistency, though often such research demonstrates that mating psychology is remarkably canalized (Thomas et al., 2020). Further, one variable that was not controlled for in the current study was degree of relatedness between friends and participants. Future studies might consider more social dimensions by including different degrees of genetic relatedness and social relations.
Despite sample characteristics, the random assignment procedure into short-term or long-term MCs and question-order manipulation ensures comparability of these factors. Another possible limitation is the comparison for testing hypocrisy; self-suitor versus same-sex friend appraisals that are not directly comparable regarding content. In the self-suitor appraisal, we asked the respondent to consider to what extent the target's sexual behavior reduced or increased the likelihood of pursuing ONS/relationship, while in the same-sex friend appraisal we asked the respondent to report the degree that their friend should pursue an ONS/relationship. The latter might appear more moralistic than the former.

Although daughters and their parents rated ambition and intelligence as the most important qualities of a husband for daughters, in the concrete case, both parties chose the more attractive man

Fugère, M. A., Ciccarelli, N. C., & Cousins, A. J. (2023). The importance of physical attractiveness and ambition/intelligence to the mate choices of women and their parents. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Mar 2023.

Abstract: When women make mate choices, they face potential conflict with their parents. Evolutionary theory predicts, and prior research confirms, that daughters value physical attractiveness (as a signal of genetic quality) more than their parents do when considering a partner for their daughters. However, prior research also shows that daughters and their parents value the most important traits of a mate for daughters similarly (e.g., mutual love, intelligence, etc.). We assessed self-reported mate preferences and responses to an experimental manipulation among 150 daughter–parent pairs. We varied men's physical attractiveness (more vs. less attractive) and ascribed personality characteristics (ambitious/intelligent vs. disorganized/physically fit) in a 2 × 2 independent groups design, testing 8 hypotheses evaluating the relative importance of physical attractiveness and personality traits. Self-reported ratings by both women and their parents indicated that the traits ambition and intelligence were significantly more important than physical attractiveness for a long-term mate for daughters. And, across conditions, both daughters and parents rated the ambitious and intelligent man as a more desirable dating partner than the more attractive man. However, when asked to choose the best mate for daughters, both daughters (68.7%) and their parents (63.3%) chose the more attractive man as the best long-term dating partner for daughters, regardless of his ascribed traits. Furthermore, daughters’ and parents’ choices corresponded 79% of the time. Physical attractiveness may be more important to both daughters and parents than self-reported responses suggest and actual daughter–parent conflict over physical attractiveness in chosen partnerships may be less prevalent than perceived conflict. 

Across the world, adoption of the internet was associated with greater life satisfaction and social well-being

Vuorre, Matti, and Andrew K. Przybylski. 2023. “A Multiverse Analysis of the Associations Between Internet Use and Well-being.” PsyArXiv. March 27. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Internet technologies’ and platforms’ potential psychological consequences remain debated. While these technologies have spurred new forms of commerce, education, and leisure, many are worried that they might negatively affect individuals by, for example, displacing time spent on other healthy activities. Relevant findings to date have been inconclusive and of limited geographic and demographic scope. We examined whether having (mobile) internet access or actively using the internet predicted eight well-being outcomes from 2006 to 2021 among 2,414,294 individuals across 168 countries. We first queried the extent to which well-being varied as a function of internet connectivity. Then, we examined these associations’ robustness in a multiverse of 33,792 analysis specifications. 84.9% of these resulted in positive and statistically significant associations between internet connectivity and well-being. These results indicate that internet access and use predict well-being positively and independently from a set of plausible alternatives.