Sunday, November 26, 2017

Consumers told their organic food experience would be shared with others had more pleasantness ratings, felt more joyful and hopeful. Favoring organic foods can be viewed as a costly signaling trait, leading to flaunting about one's prosocial tendencies.

Sweet taste of prosocial status signaling: When eating organic foods makes you happy and hopeful. Petteri Puska et al. Appetite,

Abstract: As the current research suggests that there are links between prosocial acts and status signaling (including sustainable consumer choices), we empirically study (with three experiments) whether food consumers go green to be seen. First, we examine how activating a motive for status influences prosocial organic food preferences. Then, we examine how the social visibility of the choice (private vs. public) affects these preferences. We found that when consumers' desire for status was elicited, they preferred organic food products significantly over their nonorganic counterparts; making the choice situation visible created the same effect. Finally, we go beyond consumers' evaluative and behavioral domains that have typically been addressed to investigate whether this (nonconscious) “going green to be seen” effect is also evident at the level of more physiologically-driven food responses. Indeed, status motives and reputational concerns created an improved senso-emotional experience of organic food. Specifically, when consumers were led to believe that they have to share their organic food taste experiences with others, an elevation could be detected not only in the pleasantness ratings but also in how joyful and hopeful they felt after eating a food sample. We claim that the reason for this is that a tendency to favor organic foods can be viewed as a costly signaling trait, leading to flaunting about one's prosocial tendencies. According to these findings, highlighting socially disapproved consumption motives, such as reputation management, may be an effective way to increase the relatively low sales of organic foods and thereby promote sustainable consumer behavior.

Keywords: Organic food; Prosocial signaling; Status; Motivational priming; Senso-emotional experience; Nonconscious behavior

Saturday, November 25, 2017

This study finds that with the increase of agreeableness, women tend to be Republicans, but men tend to be Democrats

Gender Differences in the Effects of Personality Traits on Party Identification in the US. Ching-Hsing Wang.  Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. Volume 38, 2017 - Issue 3, Pages 335-362.

ABSTRACT: This study examines whether the Big Five personality traits have different effects on male and female party identification in the United States. Research has found associations between personality traits and partisanship in the United States. However, there is solid evidence of gender differences in personality traits, and past studies have not yet considered whether personality-partisanship relationship might be gender-differentiated. This study finds that with the increase of agreeableness, women tend to be Republicans, but men tend to be Democrats. Furthermore, as openness to experience increases, women are more likely to be strong partisans, but men are more likely to be independents or leaning partisans. To sum up, this study provides evidence that the effects of the Big Five personality traits on party identification vary by gender and suggests that it is wrong to assume that the Big Five personality traits have the same impacts on male and female party identification.

KEYWORDS: Personality, gender differences, party identification, Big Five

Predicting Personality from Book Preferences with User-Generated Content Labels

Predicting Personality from Book Preferences with User-Generated Content Labels. Ng Annalyn, Maarten W. Bos, Leonid Sigal, and Boyang Li. IEEE Transactions On Affective Computing, 2017.

Abstract—Psychological studies have shown that personality traits are associated with book preferences. However, past findings are based on questionnaires focusing on conventional book genres and are unrepresentative of niche content. For a more comprehensive measure of book content, this study harnesses a massive archive of content labels, also known as ‘tags’, created by users of an online book catalogue, Combined with data on preferences and personality scores collected from Facebook users, the tag labels achieve high accuracy in personality prediction by psychological standards. We also group tags into broader genres, to check their validity against past findings. Our results are robust across both tag and genre levels of analyses, and consistent with existing literature. Moreover, user-generated tag labels reveal unexpected insights, such as cultural differences, book reading behaviors, and other non-content factors affecting preferences. To our knowledge, this is currently the largest study that explores the relationship between personality and book content preferences.

Index Terms—Personality Profiling, Narrative Preferences, Social Media, Behavioural Footprints

The Political Economy of Famine: the Ukrainian Famine of 1933

The Political Economy of Famine: the Ukrainian Famine of 1933. Natalya Naumenko. Job Market Paper, 2017.

Abstract: The famine of 1932–1933 in Ukraine killed as many as 2.6 million people out of the population of approximately 30 million. Three main explanations have been offered: negative weather shock, poor economic policies, and genocide. This paper uses variation in exposure to poor government policies and in ethnic composition within Ukraine to study the impact of policies on mortality, and the relationship between ethnic composition and mortality. It documents that (1) bad government policies (collectivization and the lack of favored industries) significantly increased mortality; (2) collectivization increased mortality due to drop in production on collective farms and not due to overextraction from collectives (although the evidence is indirect); (3) back-of-the-envelope calculations show that collectivization raised total 1933 death toll by at least 19%; (4) controlling for exposure to poor Soviet economic policies, Ukrainians seem more likely to die (although this result is underpowered); (5) Ukrainians were more exposed to policies that later led to mortality (collectivization and the lack of favored industries); (6) conditional on being exposed to the same bad economic policy, Ukrainians are not more likely to die (e.g., there is no evidence that collectivization was enforced more harshly on Ukrainians). These results provide several important takeaways. Most importantly, the evidence is consistent with both sides of the debate. (1) – (3) support those who argue that mortality was due to bad policy. (4) is consistent with those who argue that ethnic Ukrainians were targeted. For (5) and (6) to support genocide, it has to be the case that Stalin had the foresight that his policies would fail and lead to famine mortality years after they were introduced (and therefore disproportionately exposed Ukrainians to them).

A change in woman's behavior: Demand of male escorts for women, couples grows

Male escorts for women, couples demand grows: global survey. Queensland University Press Release., Nov 22 2017.

A quarter of Australia's 516 male escorts cater to women and couples, a global survey of the 61 countries which host online male escort websites has found.

But Australia is well behind the United Kingdom in sites catering for women or couples where more than 50 per cent of the 5487 male escorts cater to women and couples, the survey, conducted by by Professor John Scott and Adjunct Professor Victor Minichiello from QUT's Crime and Justice Research Centre and researchers from The Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, found.

"Uganda and Argentina are the only other countries that have more male escorts seeking females and couples than solely male clients," Professor Scott, from QUT School of Justice, said.

"It's assumed that men are the primary market for male escorts, and while it is true that most escorts target male clients, our survey suggests a significant emerging market for women who pay for sexual services from men.

"While more than 57 per cent of identified websites catered to male customers only, 11 per cent were specifically for female clients and a similar number of sites were for couples, most of the opposite sex.

"As expected, we found twice as many male escorts had male clients only (72,106) as against the 32,948 escorts for women or couples."

The results of the survey are contained in the blog About Male Escorts [] and will be published as a book chapter in Male Sex Work and Society (Volume II), to be released in 2018. The survey found a total of 324,852 profiles of male escorts online but after eliminating duplications (many male sex workers list on multiple sites) there were 105,009 male escorts.

Professor Scott said Mexico's nine websites led the table in this emerging aspect of the sex industry.

"Mexico had 14,531 male escorts prepared to cater to women and couples; Brazil (6892) the United States (3481), the United Kingdom (2926), Spain (2357), Germany (359), and Japan (327) followed.

"Other countries with a high percentage of escorts for women and couples include Chile (41 per cent), Germany (42 per cent), Hungary (45 per cent) and Malaysia (46.5 per cent)."

Professor Scott said even traditional, socially conservative societies hosted male escort websites with escorts who advertised online as catering for women and couples.

"Malaysia has 88 escorts on its nine sites and 41 of them provide for women and couples, and the United Arab Emirates has 124 escorts for women or couples out of 337 male escorts," he said.

"In jurisdictions where sex work or same-sex relations are heavily penalised, it is possible that escort sites are known only to participants within relatively closed social networks. They may also be listed on the 'dark web' - these sites were not included in the survey.

"If you are a woman or a couple seeking a male escort using online male escort services, you are out of luck in Costa Rica, Finland, Israel, Panama and Taiwan where the male escorts have male clients only.

"There are slim pickings in Bulgaria, China, Estonia, Uruguay and Paraguay where each country has just one male escort who has found a niche in the market and offers this service."

"The average price worldwide seems to be $200 an hour but it can be thousands of dollars for a weekend, especially among the international male escorts who list on websites around the world.

"It's important to note that websites such as Rentmen and Hourboy included escort profiles from around the world and were often hosted in countries where sex work was legal. These websites were among the largest overall and mostly cater for male clients."

Professor Scott said the survey counted only male sex workers operating online, not those in brothels or massage parlours or outdoor settings.

"The figures fluctuate over time with sex workers and websites entering and leaving the market. The fluidity makes the online marketplace appealing for many."

To check for the validity and emerging trends over time, a similar survey will be conducted annually.

Contrary to our predictions, our sample of serial murderers did not demonstrate strong evidence of psychopathy

Serial Homicide Perpetrators’ Self-Reported Psychopathy and Criminal Thinking. Scott E. Culhane, Stephannie Walker, Meagen M. Hildebrand. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology,

Abstract: The current research reports 61 male serial murderers’ responses to self-report questionnaires designed to assess levels of psychopathy and criminal thinking. Three separate measures of psychopathy were included. Contrary to our predictions, results indicated that our sample of serial murderers did not demonstrate strong evidence of psychopathy. Rather, the percentage of inmates who could be classified as having psychopathic tendencies is on par with the general population of prisoners. Only half of the participants had an interpretable criminal thinking style scale. Temperament and power issues were the two factors of greatest significance for understanding the serial homicide perpetrators’ criminal cognition. In line with expectations, multiple significant correlations were observed for the measures. Implications and limitations of the research are discussed.

My commentary: May they be more intelligent and be able to lie better when writing the questionnaires? They may purposefully alter things to appear as the other inmates...

Some brain lesions make improvements...

Neural correlates of improvements in personality and behavior following a neurological event. Marcie L. King, Kenneth Manzel, Joel Bruss, Daniel Tranel. Neuropsychologia,

•    Evidence for improvement in personality and behavior following a neurological event.
•    Improvement related to frontal polar and anterior dorsolateral prefrontal damage.
•    Both lesion location and premorbid functioning contribute to improvements.

Abstract: Research on changes in personality and behavior following brain damage has focused largely on negative outcomes, such as increased irritability, moodiness, and social inappropriateness. However, clinical observations suggest that some patients may actually show positive personality and behavioral changes following a neurological event. In the current work, we investigated neuroanatomical correlates of positive personality and behavioral changes following a discrete neurological event (e.g., stroke, benign tumor resection). Patients (N=97) were rated by a well-known family member or friend on five domains of personality and behavior: social behavior, irascibility, hypo-emotionality, distress, and executive functioning. Ratings were acquired during the chronic epoch of recovery, when psychological status was stabilized. We identified patients who showed positive changes in personality and behavior in one or more domains of functioning. Lesion analyses indicated that positive changes in personality and behavior were most consistently related to damage to the bilateral frontal polar regions and the right anterior dorsolateral prefrontal region. These findings support the conclusion that improvements in personality and behavior can occur after a neurological event, and that such changes have systematic neuroanatomical correlates. Patients who showed positive changes in personality and behavior following a neurological event were rated as having more disturbed functioning prior to the event. Our study may be taken as preliminary evidence that improvements in personality and behavior following a neurological event may involve dampening of (premorbidly) more extreme expressions of emotion.

Keywords: personality; behavior; lesion; neurological event

Friday, November 24, 2017

We report a novel illusion––curvature blindness illusion: a wavy line is perceived as a zigzag line

Curvature Blindness Illusion. Kohske Takahashi. i-Perception, Volume 8, issue 6,

Abstract: We report a novel illusion––curvature blindness illusion: a wavy line is perceived as a zigzag line. The following are required for this illusion to occur. First, the luminance contrast polarity of the wavy line against the background is reversed at the turning points. Second, the curvature of the wavy line is somewhat low; the right angle is too steep to be perceived as an illusion. This illusion implies that, in order to perceive a gentle curve, it is necessary to satisfy more conditions––constant contrast polarity––than perceiving an obtuse corner. It is notable that observers exactly “see” an illusory zigzag line against a physically wavy line, rather than have an impaired perception. We propose that the underlying mechanisms for the gentle curve perception and those of obtuse corner perception are competing with each other in an imbalanced way and the percepts of corner might be dominant in the visual system.

Keywords: contours or surfaces, curvature perception, illusion, perception