Friday, August 11, 2017

Reproductive mode and the shifting arenas of evolutionary conflict

Furness, A. I., Morrison, K. R., Orr, T. J., Arendt, J. D. and Reznick, D. N. (2015), Reproductive mode and the shifting arenas of evolutionary conflict. Ann NY Acad Sci, 1360: 75–100. doi:10.1111/nyas.12835

Abstract: In sexually reproducing organisms, the genetic interests of individuals are not perfectly aligned. Conflicts among family members are prevalent since interactions involve the transfer of limited resources between interdependent players. Intrafamilial conflict has traditionally been considered along three major axes: between the sexes, between parents and offspring, and between siblings. In these interactions, conflict is expected over traits in which the resulting phenotypic value is determined by multiple family members who have only partially overlapping fitness optima. We focus on four major categories of animal reproductive mode (broadcast spawning, egg laying, live bearing, and live bearing with matrotrophy) and identify the shared phenotypes or traits over which conflict is expected, and then review the empirical literature for evidence of their occurrence. Major transitions among reproductive mode, such as a shift from external to internal fertilization, an increase in egg-retention time, modifications of embryos and mothers for nutrient transfer, the evolution of postnatal parental care, and increased interaction with the kin network, mark key shifts that both change and expand the arenas in which conflict is played out.

Rolf Degen's Comments:


The effects of sex drive and paraphilic interests on paraphilic behaviours in a nonclinical sample of men and women

The effects of sex drive and paraphilic interests on paraphilic behaviours in a nonclinical sample of men and women. Katrina N. Bouchard, Samantha J. Dawson and Martin L. Lalumière.  The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality,

Abstract: Research on samples of men and women from the general population suggests that paraphilic interests and behaviours are more common in men than in women, but the reasons for this sex difference are unclear. In addition, there is little research on how paraphilic interests lead to engagement in paraphilic behaviours. In this study, we assessed the frequency of engagement in a broad range of paraphilic behaviours in a nonclinical sample of men and women. We expected that men would report engaging in paraphilic behaviours more frequently than women. We also examined whether sex drive explained the sex difference in the frequency of engagement in paraphilic behaviours, as well as whether the relationship between paraphilic interests and frequency of engagement in paraphilic behaviours was stronger at high levels of sex drive. A sample of 305 men and 710 women completed an online survey assessing paraphilic interests and behaviours as well as three measures of sex drive. As expected, sex differences were found, with men reporting more frequent engagement in most paraphilic behaviours. After controlling for socially desirable responding, sex drive fully accounted for the male-biased sex differences. One measure of sex drive–the Sexual Behaviour and Desire Questionnaire–moderated the relationship between paraphilic interests and frequency of engagement in paraphilic behaviours, such that paraphilic interests were most strongly associated with paraphilic behaviours at high levels of sex drive. Taken together, these findings provide further support for the importance of sex drive in understanding the paraphilias.

KEY WORDS: Nonclinical sample, paraphilic behaviours, paraphilic interests, sex differences, sex drive

CEO Turnover and Political Repositioning

CEO Turnover and Political Repositioning. Yosef Bonaparte. University of Colorado Working Paper, June 2017,

Abstract: This paper examines the relation between political regime change, a new president from a new party, and propensity for CEO turnover. Our key conjecture is that some companies, especially those that are politically sensitive, will politically reposition to adapt to the new political regime, and this political repositioning will be reflected in increased CEO turnover. We find support for this hypothesis, for CEO turnover is at least 24% more likely to happen following political regime change. The economic significance of this CEO political repositioning varies by company characteristics, with repositioning greater among large cap stocks, stocks held by short term investors, and sectors that are politically sensitive. However, political repositioning decreases stock performance relative to the sector, though this effect is weakly significant. These results suggest that political regime change causes firms to reevaluate the required skills of the CEO. Collectively, we find that political repositioning is an important determinant of CEO turnover.

Keywords: CEO turnover and political repositioning
JEL Classification: G02, G11, G12

An evolutionary perspective on cooperative behavior in gamers

Devilly, G. J., Brown, K., Pickert, I., & O'Donohue, R. (2017). An evolutionary perspective on cooperative behavior in gamers. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 6(3), 208-221.

Abstract: This research was the first experimental study to investigate the effect of video gaming on measures of cooperative behavior from an evolutionary standpoint. The final sample comprised a total 117 participants (39 male, 78 females), with a mean age of 24 years (SD = 8.93). Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 media conditions (violent book, violent video game, nonviolent video game, and violent TV show) and measured on prosocial behavior before any media exposure and assessed on cooperative behavior after media exposure. Novice and regular gamers did not differ on prosocial behavior before gaming. After media exposure, a self-constructed version of the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game was used to measure cooperation. Further analyses were then conducted to measure differences between conditions on cooperative behavior. It was found that ***regular and multiplayer gamers were not significantly higher or lower on measures of cooperative behavior compared to novices or solitary gamers***. Although nonsignificant, effect sizes were consistent with past research which suggests heightened cooperation in regular gamers. Media type exposure did not have a significant effect on cooperative behavior. Findings suggest that cooperative behavior is not less prominent in regular or multiplayer gamers than novices or solitary gamers. These results indicate that, contrary to the predictions one may make from the GAM model of violent gaming (Anderson & Bushman, 2001), violent media exposure does not appear to produce reductions in prosocial or cooperative behavior.

"contrary to the predictions one may make from the general aggression model of violent gaming, violent media exposure does not appear to produce reductions in prosocial or cooperative behavior. Regular gamers were just as prosocial and cooperative as novice gamers"

Check also: Excessive users of violent video games do not show emotional desensitization: An fMRI study. Gregor Szycik et al. Brain Imaging and Behavior, June 2017, Pages 736–743,

And: Overstated evidence for short-term effects of violent games on affect and behavior: A reanalysis of Anderson et al. (2010). By Hilgard, Joseph; Engelhardt, Christopher R.; Rouder, Jeffrey N. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 143(7), Jul 2017, 757-774.

Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence

Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence. Elliott Ash, Massimo Morelli and Richard Van Weelden. Journal of Politics,

Abstract: This article provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of how politicians allocate their time across issues. When voters are uncertain about an incumbent's preferences, there is a pervasive incentive to "posture" by spending too much time on divisive issues (which are more informative about a politician's preferences) at the expense of time spent on common-values issues (which provide greater benefit to voters). Higher transparency over the politicians' choices can exacerbate the distortions. These theoretical results motivate an empirical study of how Members of the US Congress allocate time across issues in their floor speeches. We find that US senators spend more time on divisive issues when they are up for election, consistent with electorally induced posturing. In addition, we find that US house members spend more time on divisive issues in response to higher news transparency.

Biased Policy Professionals -- World Bank interns are shocked, shocked! by confirmation bias.

Biased Policy Professionals. Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon, and Varun Gauri. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 8113.

A large literature focuses on the biases of individuals and consumers, as well as “nudges” and other policies that can address those biases. Although policy decisions are often more consequential than those of individual consumers, there is a dearth of studies on the biases of policy professionals: those who prepare and implement policy on behalf of elected politicians. Experiments conducted on a novel subject pool of development policy professionals (public servants of the World Bank and the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom) show that policy professionals are indeed subject to decision making traps, including sunk cost bias, the framing of losses and gains, frame-dependent risk-aversion, and, ***most strikingly***, confirmation bias correlated with ideological priors, despite having an explicit mission to promote evidence-informed and impartial decision making. These findings should worry policy professionals and their principals in governments and large organizations, as well as citizens themselves. A further experiment, in which policy professionals engage in discussion, shows that deliberation may be able to mitigate the effects of some of these biases.

My comment: Most strikingly? They are shocked, shocked! that policy professionals show confirmation bias. What they expected? Did they do their homework?

"If respondents evaluate data objectively and independent of prior beliefs regarding redistribution,
they should have offered equally accurate assessments of the minimum wage study and skin cream
study frames. Alternatively, if respondents are influenced by their ideologies or values, accuracy in
the minimum wage frame should have been lower than in the skin cream frame. In fact, respondents were significantly less accurate in the minimum wage treatments (45% responded with the correct answer) relative to the skin cream treatments (65% responded with the correct answer [...]"

Check also: Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017.

And: Wisdom and how to cultivate it: Review of emerging evidence for a constructivist model of wise thinking. Igor Grossmann. European Psychologist, in press.

Is Imagination of the Infidelity More Painful than Recalling Actual Infidelity? It is.

Is Imagination of the Infidelity More Painful than Actual Infidelity? Farid Pazhoohi et al. Current Psychology,

Abstract: It has previously been reported that men and women are concerned with different aspects of infidelity. However, some researchers question the existence of such a sex difference. This discrepancy might happen because the intensity of emotions differs between those who have experienced infidelity and those who only imagine how they would feel if that happened. Additionally, the emotions that the betrayer experiences have been neglected in previous studies. Moreover, there has been no investigation regarding the differences between imaginative and actual emotions that someone experience regarding ones’ partner's or own’s infidelity. Therefore, the current study aimed to test the emotions that both men and women and both the betrayer and the victim of betrayal experience in the actual and the imaginative infidelities. Results showed that emotions were more intense while participants imagined infidelity than when they recalled an actual infidelity. Also, sex difference was larger in the imaginative infidelity.

Benefits of income: Associations with life satisfaction among earners and homemakers

Benefits of income: Associations with life satisfaction among earners and homemakers. JudithGere and Ulrich Schimmack. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 119, 1 December 2017, Pages 92-95.

•    The study tested whether money increases happiness or happy workers earn more money.
•    Results indicated support only for the money-increases-happiness model.
•    Household income predicted life satisfaction regardless of people's earning status.
•    The moderating effect of earning status did not differ across nations.

Abstract: The question of how money and happiness are associated is still debated. This study tested two hypotheses that aim to explain this association: (1) money increases happiness, and (2) happy people make more money. Using data from the World Values Survey (N = 64,923, k = 81 nations), we tested whether earning status (primary vs. non-primary earner) moderates the association between income and happiness. The two theories make different predictions regarding this moderation effect: if money increases happiness, household income should predict happiness equally, regardless of earning status. If happy people earn more money, household income should predict the well-being of primary earners more strongly. Multilevel models indicated that data were consistent with the money-increases-happiness hypothesis: income predicted happiness equally for primary earners, secondary earners, and homemakers who do not contribute to household income directly.

"gender also predicted life satisfaction such that primary-earner wives were more satisfied than homemaker husbands, an effect that did not differ across nations."

Measuring the Impact of an Unanticipated Suspension of Ride-Sourcing with Uber, Lyft

Measuring the Impact of an Unanticipated Suspension of Ride-Sourcing in Austin, Texas. Robert C Hampshire et al.

Abstract: On May 7, 2016 residents of Austin, TX voted against Proposition 1, which would have allowed transportation networking companies (TNCs) to continue using their own background check systems. The defeat of the proposition prompted Uber and Lyft to suspend services in Austin indefinitely. The suspension provided for a natural experiment to measure the impact of the suspension on travel behavior. In examining the impact, we conducted an online survey that combines stated and revealed preference questions (N=1,840) of former Uber and/or Lyft users in Austin to explore the effect of the suspension on travel behavior.

Regression analyses, modeled to capture both the before and after travel behavioral pattern of the suspension, were used to test our hypothesis of the impact of the service suspension on travel behavior along three dimensions — mode choice, trip frequency, and vehicle ownership. Our analysis finds that 42 percent of respondents who had used Uber or Lyft to make a trip prior to the suspension reported transitioning to another TNC as the means by which similar trips were most often made after the suspension. A near equal proportion (41 percent) reported transitioning to a personal vehicle, while 3 percent transitioned to public transit. The analysis also suggests that, when looking at trips made for the same purpose pre and post suspension, individuals that transitioned from Uber or Lyft to a personal vehicle were more likely (23 percent more likely) to make more trips than individuals transitioning from Uber or Lyft to another TNC. Additionally, ***approximately 9 percent reported purchasing an additional vehicle in response to the service suspension***. The vehicle acquisition trend was driven primarily by respondents who were inconvenienced by the service suspension — the odds of acquiring a car for an inconvenienced respondent was more than five times that of an individual who was not. These results suggest that TNCs may contribute to reduced car ownership and trip making.

Keywords: On-demand transportation, ride-sourcing, ride-hailing, transportation network companies, service suspension, travel behavior, vehicle ownership, mode shift

My comment: Are we going to stop buying cars?

Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths

Dispelling the Myth: Training in Education or Neuroscience Decreases but Does Not Eliminate Beliefs in Neuromyths. Kelly Macdonald et al. Frontiers in Psychology, Aug 10 2017.

Abstract: Neuromyths are misconceptions about brain research and its application to education and learning. Previous research has shown that these myths may be quite pervasive among educators, but less is known about how these rates compare to the general public or to individuals who have more exposure to neuroscience. This study is the first to use a large sample from the United States to compare the prevalence and predictors of neuromyths among educators, the general public, and individuals with high neuroscience exposure. Neuromyth survey responses and demographics were gathered via an online survey hosted at We compared performance among the three groups of interest: educators (N = 598), high neuroscience exposure (N = 234), and the general public (N = 3,045) and analyzed predictors of individual differences in neuromyths performance. In an exploratory factor analysis, we found that a core group of 7 “classic” neuromyths factored together (items related to learning styles, dyslexia, the Mozart effect, the impact of sugar on attention, right-brain/left-brain learners, and using 10% of the brain). The general public endorsed the greatest number of neuromyths (M = 68%), with significantly fewer endorsed by educators (M = 56%), and still fewer endorsed by the high neuroscience exposure group (M = 46%). The two most commonly endorsed neuromyths across all groups were related to learning styles and dyslexia. More accurate performance on neuromyths was predicted by age (being younger), education (having a graduate degree), exposure to neuroscience courses, and exposure to peer-reviewed science. These findings suggest that training in education and neuroscience can help reduce but does not eliminate belief in neuromyths. We discuss the possible underlying roots of the most prevalent neuromyths and implications for classroom practice. These empirical results can be useful for developing comprehensive training modules for educators that target general misconceptions about the brain and learning.