Friday, December 15, 2017

What is behind envy? Approach from a psychosocial perspective

What is behind envy? Approach from a psychosocial perspective. Ginés Navarro-Carrillo, Ana-María Beltrán-Morillas, Inmaculada Valor-Segura & Francisca Expósito.  Revista de Psicología Social/International Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 32, 2017 - Issue 2, Pages 217-245.

Abstract: Envy strongly influences many spheres of social life. However, the psychology of envy is still in its infancy. A theoretical and empirical examination of envy was performed with a psychosocial focus via two exploratory studies. In Study 1 (N = 141), participants were asked to describe an event in which they experienced envy, indicating which people they envied and the reasons for that envy. In Study 2 (N = 311), the relationship between envy and several psychosocial variables such as self-efficacy, self-esteem and perceived control were analysed, as well as the predisposition to express aggressive behaviours in response to this emotion. The results of Study 1 revealed that friends were the most envied people, and abilities or personal skills were the most frequent sources of envy. Likewise, the results of Study 2 showed that self-efficacy, self-esteem and perceived control predicted envy, which in turn predicted the expression of verbal aggressive behaviours.

Sex differences in academic strengths contribute to gender segregation in education and occupation: A longitudinal examination of 167,776 individuals

Sex differences in academic strengths contribute to gender segregation in education and occupation: A longitudinal examination of 167,776 individuals. S. Dekhtyar et al. Intelligence,

•    Women and men exhibit different patterns of academic strengths at age 16.
•    Men and women pursue careers reflecting their earlier academic strengths.
•    Career gender segregation is related to the extent careers demand varying skills.
•    Sex differences in academic strengths cannot fully explain gendered career choices.

Abstract: We investigate whether sex differences in academic strengths have an impact on society by affecting the career choices made by women and men. By longitudinally following 167,776 individuals from Sweden, we found that (1) more 16-year old girls than boys had a relative strength in verbal/language school subjects than in technical/numerical ones, whereas more boys than girls had a relative strength in technical/numerical school subjects than in verbal/language ones; (2) when these girls and boys attained higher education and entered employment, they largely pursued careers cognitively matching their initial academic strengths; (3) while individuals generally made career choices in line with their academic strengths, men and women matched on these strengths nevertheless made rather distinct career choices, in particular women with technical/numerical strengths who largely avoided careers demanding these skills; (4) sex distribution in education and occupation was related to the extent these career paths were perceived as either numerically or verbally demanding. Taken together, although gender segregation is to some extent associated with individuals making choices matching their academic strengths, the vast discrepancies in career outcomes between men and women can be only in part attributed to sex differences in academic performance.

Gender differences in romantic relationship memories: who remembers? Who cares?

Gender differences in romantic relationship memories: who remembers? Who cares? Diane Holmberg, Tabatha M. Thibault & Jennifer D. Pringle. Memory,

ABSTRACT: Two studies were conducted to assess patterns of gender differences in memory for romantic relationship events. Results suggested that people believe that women have better memory for romantic relationship events than men, that better relationship memory predicts higher levels of relationship well-being, and that the association between relationship memory and relationship well-being is somewhat stronger for women than for men. Women did tend to have somewhat better relationship memory than men, as assessed via subjective reports from both partners in mixed-sex relationships, and via the number of details partners provided when asked to recall a specific relationship event (i.e., their first date). Consistent with the lay theories, both own and partner’s better relationship memory predicted higher levels of relationship well-being; however, the association between better relationship memory and higher levels of relationship well-being was equally strong for both genders. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

KEYWORDS: Relationships, gender differences, relationship well-being, lay theories

In the domain of instrumental harm, deontological agents were uniformly preferred across a variety of social roles. Regarding impartial beneficence, are preferred for roles of direct interaction (friend, spouse, etc)

Everett, Jim A C, Nadira S Faber, Julian Savulescu, and Molly Crockett. 2017. “Everett Et Al. The Cost of Being Consequentialist”. PsyArXiv. December 15.

Abstract: Previous work has demonstrated that people are more likely to trust “deontological” agents who reject instrumentally harming one person to save a greater number than “consequentialist” agents who endorse such harm in pursuit of the greater good. It has been argued that these differential social perceptions of deontological vs. consequentialist agents could explain the higher prevalence of deontological moral intuitions. Yet consequentialism involves much more than decisions to endorse instrumental harm: another critical dimension is impartial beneficence, defined as the impartial maximization of the greater good, treating the well-being of every individual as equally important. In three studies (total N = 1,634), we investigated preferences for deontological vs. consequentialist social partners in both the domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence, and consider how such preferences vary across different types of social relationships. Our results demonstrate consistent preferences for deontological over consequentialist agents across both domains of instrumental harm and impartial beneficence: deontological agents were viewed as more moral and trustworthy, and were actually entrusted with more money in a resource distribution task. However, preferences for deontological agents were stronger when those preferences were revealed via aversion to instrumental harm than impartial beneficence. Finally, in the domain of instrumental harm, deontological agents were uniformly preferred across a variety of social roles, but in the domain of impartial beneficence, people prefer deontologists for roles requiring direct interaction (friend, spouse, boss) but not for more distant roles with little-to-no personal interaction (political leader).

Direct replication of Gervais & Norenzayan (2012): No evidence that analytic thinking decreases religious belief

Direct replication of Gervais & Norenzayan (2012): No evidence that analytic thinking decreases religious belief. Clinton Sanchez, Brian Sundermeier, Kenneth Gray, Robert J. Calin-Jageman. PLoS One,

Abstract: Gervais & Norenzayan (2012) reported in Science a series of 4 experiments in which manipulations intended to foster analytic thinking decreased religious belief. We conducted a precise, large, multi-site pre-registered replication of one of these experiments. We observed little to no effect of the experimental manipulation on religious belief (d = 0.07 in the wrong direction, 95% CI[-0.12, 0.25], N = 941). The original finding does not seem to provide reliable or valid evidence that analytic thinking causes a decrease in religious belief.

Check also Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational. Tomas Ståhl, Jan-Willem van Prooijen. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 122, February 01 2018, Pages 155–163.

And: Public Perceptions of Partisan Selective Exposure. Perryman, Mallory R.. The University of Wisconsin - Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. 10607943.

And: 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. Pre-print:
And: Science Denial Across the Political Divide — Liberals and Conservatives Are Similarly Motivated to Deny Attitude-Inconsistent Science. Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

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

And: Individuals with greater science literacy and education have more polarized beliefs on controversial science topics. Caitlin Drummond and Baruch Fischhoff. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114 no. 36, pp 9587–9592, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704882114

And: Expert ability can actually impair the accuracy of expert perception when judging others' performance: Adaptation and fallibility in experts' judgments of novice performers. By Larson, J. S., & Billeter, D. M. (2017). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(2), 271–288.
And: Bottled Water and the Overflowing Nanny State, by Angela Logomasini. How Misinformation Erodes Consumer Freedom. CEI, February 17, 2009

And Competing cues: Older adults rely on knowledge in the face of fluency. By Brashier, Nadia M.; Umanath, Sharda; Cabeza, Roberto; Marsh, Elizabeth J.
Psychology and Aging, Vol 32(4), Jun 2017, 331-337.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Many lesbian and gay adoptive parents reported that birth parents had intentionally selected a same-sex adoptive couple

Farr, R. H., Ravvina, Y. and Grotevant, H. D. (2017), Birth Family Contact Experiences Among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents With School-Age Children. Fam Relat. doi:10.1111/fare.12295


Objective: To examine how lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents navigate openness dynamics with children's birth family across a 5-year period, when children are preschool- to school-age.

Background: Few studies regarding birth family contact have included longitudinal data as well as a sample of adoptive parents of varying sexual orientations. Thus, this study used a multiprong theoretical approach grounded in emotional distance regulation, families of choice, and gender theory.

Method: A mixed-methods approach with longitudinal quantitative survey and qualitative interview data from 106 lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parent families was employed to examine the type of contact, its frequency, who was involved, perceptions of this contact, and the extent to which formal agreements exist between adoptive and birth families regarding contact.

Results: Findings revealed variations in the status and perceptions of contact across adoptive families. We also discovered that many lesbian and gay adoptive parents reported that birth parents had intentionally selected a same-sex adoptive couple, and birth parents appeared to have distinct reasons for this choice.

Conclusion: Although some differences in birth family contact distinguished lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parent families, these families generally appeared more similar than different.

Implications: Implications—particularly a need for demonstrated competencies in adoption openness—are discussed for adoption professionals in policy, practice, and legal realms.

Exploring the Relationship between Secularity and Marital Behavior -- Male Atheists Forced to Marry Religious Women!

Exploring the Relationship between Secularity and Marital Behavior. Maryam Dilmaghani. Marriage & Family Review,

ABSTRACT: The higher religiosity of women is a longstanding feature of the religious landscape in the Western World. With the recent vibrancy of secular movements, the greater religiosity of women is reflected in a gender imbalance within the secular groups. For instance, more than three quarters of American atheists are male. Given the effects of both religiosity and secularity on worldview and lifestyle, this gender imbalance is likely consequential for marital behavior and outcomes. Using the latest cycle of the Canadian General Social Survey focused on family, this paper examines how marital behavior of individuals without any tie with religion or spirituality compares with others. Secular males are found appreciably more likely to experience marital dissolution, whereas their female counterparts are shown no different from others. This result lends support to the theories that posit religiosity as a complementary marital trait, requiring the mating of the like. The analysis also indicates that union formation behavior of secular females manifests a larger shift away from the traditional conceptions of marriage compared with secular males. Various explanations are explored.

KEYWORDS: cohabitation, divorce, gender, religiosity, secularity

Are Negative Nominal Interest Rates Expansionary? It seems not.

Are Negative Nominal Interest Rates Expansionary? Gauti Eggertsson, Ragnar Juelsrud & Ella Getz Wold. NBER Working Paper, November 2017.

Abstract: Following the crisis of 2008 several central banks engaged in a radical new policy experiment by setting negative policy rates. Using aggregate and bank-level data, we document a collapse in pass-through to deposit and lending rates once the policy rate turns negative. Motivated by these empirical facts, we construct a macro-model with a banking sector that links together policy rates, deposit rates and lending rates. Once the policy rates turns negative the usual transmission mechanism of monetary policy breaks down. Moreover, because a negative interest rate on reserves reduces bank profits, the total effect on aggregate output can be contractionary

Passionate love's function is to tell our partners that we are committed to the relationship thru signalling we are not seeking more attractive alternatives, giving assurances that we lack the will to replace, reject or cheat on the partner

Passion, Relational Mobility, and Proof of Commitment: A Comparative Socio–Ecological Analysis of an Adaptive Emotion in a Sexual Market. Junko Yamada, Mie Kito, Masaki Yuki. Evolutionary Psychology, Volume: 15 issue: 4,

Abstract: Although monogamy, the exclusive bonding with a specific partner, is one characteristic of modern human mating, long-term romantic relationships inherently possess the commitment problem, which is the conflict between maintaining a relationship with a certain partner and seeking attractive alternatives. Frank has argued that love and passion help solve this problem because they make individuals commit voluntarily to the relationship, leading the other party to also be committed with less concern over being cheated on or rejected. Combining this idea with the comparative socio‐ecological approach, we hypothesize that passion will be more pronounced in social environments in which people have greater freedom to choose and replace their partners (i.e., high relational mobility) than in societies in which relationships tend to be more stable and hard to change (i.e., low relational mobility). To test this hypothesis, we compared Americans (living in a society with high relational mobility) and Japanese (living in a society with low relational mobility). As predicted, Americans were more passionate toward their romantic partners than Japanese, and this cultural difference was partially explained by the levels of perceived relational mobility in participants’ local ecology. Moreover, more intense passion was found to lead to greater commitment behaviors in both societies. The importance of taking socioecological factors into consideration for the theory of the adaptive function of interpersonal emotions is also discussed.

Keywords: passion, commitment, human mating, socioecological approach, relational mobility

What China Gets Right About Relationships. Sam Massie. Feb 16, 2015. Extract:
Actions, Not Words

When I started dating “Jane,” I felt uneasy, because she wouldn’t say the sweet, flirtatious things I expected from a girlfriend. Once, I came home to Shanghai after a week in Indonesia, and instead of saying “I missed you!” or “so good to see you!”, she just launched into conversation as if we’d bumped into each other in the company cafeteria. When I told her I loved her, she responded with a nod and a blank face. I started to worry, did she love me back?

But meanwhile, she started to do countless little nice things for me, without calling attention to herself. She bought me shorts at Old Navy. She took a goofy picture of us with an old Polaroid camera, bought it a frame with bunny ears, and gave it to me. When I threw a birthday party, she blew up balloons and hung them everywhere, brought chips and fresh salsa from a Mexican restaurant, and even arranged a wheelchair so my friend with the sprained ankle could come. As if this wasn’t enough, she also cooked me a delicious pesto meal, complete with red wine and scented candles, and painted me an oil painting which referenced a text message I’d sent her a month before and nearly forgotten about. She had done so much, and I had worried because she’d said too little!

My Chinese teacher, Su Wei, is a master of bold, considerate actions. Once, during Christmas holiday, I took the train up from New York to see him. Even though I only had two hours, he drove 40 minutes to the train station and 40 minutes back, just so he could show me his new house. He gave me a book, a case of jasmine tea for my mom, and a giant bag of pistachios to bring back to China.

Since college, Su Wei has opened his house to his favorite students, saying “this is your home!” Whenever I visit, his wife Liu Mengjun always cooks a huge meal, and there’s always a bed made in the guest room in case I want to spend the night. Once, I casually asked for orange juice, and from then on, there was always was a quart of Tropicana in the fridge whenever I visited. Unique among my college professors, Su Wei has taken an active interest in his student’s lives, and continued to support them as a friend and mentor long after graduation. As a novelist, teacher, and poet, he is more expressive than Jane, but he still leads with his actions.

This emphasis on action goes back to Confucius. In Book IV, Verse XXIV of the Analects, he declared: “The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct.” He could easily be describing Jane or Su Wei.

Introversion and Sincerity

My Chinese coworkers prefer to stay quiet in unfamiliar social settings. The thought is, “I don’t want to go first” or “I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” This makes team lunches dreadfully boring. Our American office manager, Melissa, has tried to force employees to be social with Friday Happy Hours at the office, but instead of socializing, most employees rush to grab a beer or a popcorn and then return to their desks.

This is the near-opposite of American bluster and extroversion. Americans seem to have a script for these situations: “How’s it going.” “So, what do you do?” “Whatcha got going on this weekend?” Usually they don’t care about the answer — sorry, Mark, no one wants to hear about your bike trip — but the script forces people together, and facilitates new connections.

These two stances, introversion versus extroversion, sincerity vs. small talk, lead to different outcomes. The first stance leads to a few close friendships, the second leads to lots of acquaintances. There is no word for “networking” in Chinese. How could there be, after Confucius himself said, “Have no friends not equal to yourself”? On the flip side, small talk can open up friendships, but too often, these “friendships” get stuck in a sort of Demilitarized Zone of fake cheer and irony. Americans may be more outgoing on average, but that doesn’t make them less lonely.

Of course, China has its own insincere social rituals, but they revolve around banquets, toasting, gift-giving, and trying to one-up each other in Generosity and Actions. These rituals create, if not sincere friendship, then at least a strong bond of mutual dependency.

Friendships Are More Intimate

When I have made it past the “friend” barrier with a Chinese person, he or she has often becomes as close as a Westerner I’ve known for many years. Angela, who joined us on the trip to Yixing, is a senior HR manager, but she treats her hires like her children. She’s invited me and Dandan to go hiking with her teenage son, and regularly hosts dinner parties at her house. Su Wei, my Chinese teacher, knows more about my love life than my parents do.

My coworker Lincoln, a thoughtful digital marketer with a pirate’s goatee, has already become a swimming buddy and political debating partner. We’ll head to the Xuhui District public swimming pool, where of course, we have to strip naked to change into our bathing suits, and swim for an hour or two. Then we’ll order noodles at the Lanzhou Noodle restaurant and talk politics and history until the Shanghai Metro hits closing time.

Even Chinese-Americans like my friend Charles, who moved to Vermont when he was 8, says “yo” and “a’ight,” and is otherwise the perfect image of a Dartmouth frat boy, haven’t lost this trait. Charles won’t hesitate to spend an entire Saturday and Sunday with one of his “boys” or “girls”, drinking, eating, and telling mutually incriminating stories. The language is English and the content is American, but the format remains Chinese.

Whether it’s Angela, Su Wei, Lincoln, or Charles, they all manage to be close without resorting to the exaggerated sentimentality of my Western friends. None of them has ever said, “It’s SO good to see you!” Instead, they simply invite me into their lives and invest hours together.

As a special class of friendship, dating in China is less like a “relationship” between two individuals and more like a merger of two lives. The ideal Shanghainese boyfriend will cook his girl’s meals, fold her laundry, and of course, pay for everything — as my American roommate Jon has learned to do for his local girlfriend, Sabrina. Continuous communication on WeChat is the norm; matching “couple clothes” are not uncommon. Even the concept of “dating” itself implies a steady march towards marriage. Western hook-up culture, while spreading, remains limited to young professionals in places like central Shanghai.

The deepest bond, of course, is between parent and child. One day, Jane asked her mother what she would do if she died. Without missing a beat, without even changing her expression, her mother said, “Oh, I would kill myself.”

They tend to say less and do more, showing their care through considerate actions instead of words. The wall between strangers is higher, perhaps, but once you’ve crossed that wall, everything is shared.

Demographics and Innovation -- Younger populations are more innovative

Derrien, François and Kecskes, Ambrus and Nguyen, Phuong-Anh, Demographics and Innovation (December 11, 2017). HEC Paris Research Paper No. FIN-2017-1243. Available at SSRN:

Abstract: We argue that a younger labor force produces more innovation. Using the native born labor force projected based on local historical births, we find that a younger age structure causes a significant increase in innovation. We use three levels of analysis in succession – commuting zones, firms, and inventors – to examine or eliminate various effects such as firm and inventor life cycles. We also find that innovation activities reflect the innovative characteristics of younger labor forces. Our results indicate that demographics increase innovation through the labor supply channel rather than through a financing supply or consumer demand channel.

Keywords: Innovation; Demographics; Age structure; Labor markets; Firms; Inventors; Patents

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Resistance to Extinction and Psychopathology, With New Evidence of How a CS Can Act Like a US in The Sexual conditioning of Male Japanese Quail (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica)

Resistance to Extinction and Psychopathology, With New Evidence of How a CS Can Act Like a US in The Sexual conditioning of Male Japanese Quail (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica). Köksal, FalihKumru, GülsenDomjan, Michael. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, Volume 30.

Abstract: This paper is organized in three sections. In the first section, we discuss the relevance of comparative psychology to clinical issues by relating resistance to extinction to psychological disorders involving anxiety, addiction, and fetishism. In the second section, we review areas of comparative psychology that deal in one way or another with the general problem of treating an insignificant event as it were significant. We describe research on supernormal stimuli, evaluative conditioning, acquired drives, incentive sensitization, and consummatory response theory. In the third section of the paper, we present new research on second-order sexual conditioning of male Japanese quail related to the consummatory response theory. First-order conditioning was conducted by pairing the presentation of a terrycloth object (CS1 or conditioned stimulus 1) with copulation with a female (the US or unconditioned stimulus). The male quail came to approach the terrycloth object during the first-order conditioning phase. In addition, about half of the quail also showed conditioned consummatory responses directed towards the terrycloth object. During the second-order conditioning phase, the terrycloth object was used to condition responding to a light (CS2) in the absence of further exposures to the unconditioned stimulus. Birds that showed conditioned consummatory behavior towards CS1 persisted in this behavior during the second-order phase and showed successful second-order conditioning of the light. In contrast, birds that failed to develop conditioned consummatory responses to CS1 showed rapid extinction and minimal second-order conditioning. The implications of these finding for learning theory and for psychopathology are discussed.

Smoking status and attractiveness among exemplar and prototypical identical twins discordant for smoking

Smoking status and attractiveness among exemplar and prototypical identical twins discordant for smoking. Andrew L. Skinner, Andy Woods, Christopher J. Stone, Ian Penton-Voak, Marcus R. Munafò. Royal Society Open Science,

Abstract: Smoking is associated with negative health of skin and increased signs of facial ageing. We aimed to address two questions about smoking and appearance: (1) does facial appearance alone provide an indication of smoking status, and (2) how does smoking affect the attractiveness of faces? We used faces of identical twins discordant for smoking, and prototypes made by averaging the faces of the twins. In Task 1, we presented exemplar twin sets and same sex prototypes side-by-side and participants (n = 590) indicated which face was the smoker. Participants were blind to smoking status. In Task 2 a separate sample (n = 580) indicated which face was more attractive. For the exemplar twin sets, there was inconclusive evidence participants selected the smoking twin as the smoker more often, or selected the non-smoking twin as the more attractive more often. For the prototypes, however, participants clearly selected the smoking prototypes as the smoker more often, and the non-smoking prototypes as the more attractive. Prototypical faces of smokers are judged more attractive and correctly identified as smokers more often than prototypical faces of matched non-smokers. We discuss the possible use of these findings in smoking behaviour change interventions.

Now I’m 3: Young Children’s Concepts of Age, Aging, and Birthdays

Now I’m 3: Young Children’s Concepts of Age, Aging, and Birthdays. Jacqueline D. Woolley, Amanda M. Rhoads. Imagination, Cognition and Personality,

Abstract: In two studies, we examined 99 3- to 5-year-old American children’s concepts of age, aging, and birthdays. Previous research has shown that preschool-age children understand that all living beings grow, and that growth is a biological process. Humans, however, are distinct from other living things in that we attach great significance to the aging process. Specifically, in Western cultures, we have an annual ritual to celebrate the day we were born—the birthday party. Thus, although the biological mechanism of aging is continuous and invisible, it is marked by discrete yearly celebrations. We examine the proposal that, in part due to its salience as a cultural ritual, children interpret the birthday party as playing a causal role in the aging process. Results indicate that young children understand certain important biological aspects of the aging process but exhibit confusion regarding others, including the causal role of the annual birthday party.

Looking at the past through a telescope: adults postdated their earliest childhood memories

Looking at the past through a telescope: adults postdated their earliest childhood memories. Qi Wang, Carole Peterson, Angel Khuu, Carissa P. Reid, Kayleigh L. Maxwell & Julia M. Vincent. Memory,

ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have consistently shown a telescoping error in children’s dating of earliest childhood memories. Preschool children through adolescents systematically date their earliest memories at older ages, in comparison with the age estimates provided by their parents or by themselves previously. In the current study, we examined the dating of earliest childhood memories in two samples of college adults and collected independent age estimates from their parents. Consistent with our findings with children, adults significantly postdated their earlier memories by approximately 12 months (Study 1) and 6 months (Study 2). The actual age of earliest memories was 2.5 years after adjusted for telescoping errors, 1 year earlier than what is commonly believed at 3.5 years. These findings challenge commonly held theoretical assumptions about childhood amnesia and highlight critical methodological issues in the study of childhood memory.

KEYWORDS: Childhood amnesia, postdating, earliest memory, memory age estimate, telescoping

Check also Peterson, C., Hallett, D. and Compton-Gillingham, C. (2017), Childhood Amnesia in Children: A Prospective Study Across Eight Years. Child Dev.

The False Belief in Fear Appeals: Ignoring Theory and Misinterpreting Evidence

Ignoring Theory and Misinterpreting Evidence: The False Belief in Fear Appeals. Gerjo Kok, Gjalt-Jorn Ygram Peters, Loes T. E. Kessels, Gill A. ten Hoor & Robert A. C. Ruiter. Health Psychology Review,

Abstract: Use of fear appeals assumes that when people are emotionally confronted with the negative effects of their behavior they will change that behavior. That reasoning is simple and intuitive, but only true under specific, rare circumstances. Risk-perception theories predict that if people will experience a threat, they want to counter that threat. However, how they do so is determined by their coping efficacy level: if efficacy is high, they may change their behavior in the suggested direction; if efficacy is low, they react defensively. Research on fear appeals should be methodologically sound, comparing a threatening to a non-threatening intervention under high and low efficacy levels, random assignment, and measuring behavior as outcome. We critically review extant empirical evidence and conclude that it does not support positive effects of fear appeals. Nonetheless, their use persists, and is even promoted by health psychology researchers, causing scientific insights to be ignored or misinterpreted.

Keywords: Fear appeals, graphic health warnings, threatening communication, Extended Parallel Process Model, review

In male speech, either um or uh accounts for about one out of fifty words; for female speech it is only one out of seventy words

How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conversation. N. J. Enfield. Basic Books, ISBN-13: 978-0465059942.

"In male speech, either um or uh accounts for about one out of fifty words; for female speech it is only one out of seventy words."

Check also What Shall We Talk about in Farsi? Content of Everyday Conversations in Iran. Mahdi Dahmardeh, R. I. M. Dunbar. Human Nature, Pay attention to the table there.

Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men's bodily attractiveness

Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men's bodily attractiveness. Aaron Sell, Aaron W. Lukazsweski, Michael Townsley. Proceedings of the Royal Society B,

Abstract: Evolution equips sexually reproducing species with mate choice mechanisms that function to evaluate the reproductive consequences of mating with different individuals. Indeed, evolutionary psychologists have shown that women's mate choice mechanisms track many cues of men's genetic quality and ability to invest resources in the woman and her offspring. One variable that predicted both a man's genetic quality and his ability to invest is the man's formidability (i.e. fighting ability or resource holding power/potential). Modern women, therefore, should have mate choice mechanisms that respond to ancestral cues of a man's fighting ability. One crucial component of a man's ability to fight is his upper body strength. Here, we test how important physical strength is to men's bodily attractiveness. Three sets of photographs of men's bodies were shown to raters who estimated either their physical strength or their attractiveness. Estimates of physical strength determined over 70% of men's bodily attractiveness. Additional analyses showed that tallness and leanness were also favoured, and, along with estimates of physical strength, accounted for 80% of men's bodily attractiveness. Contrary to popular theories of men's physical attractiveness, there was no evidence of a nonlinear effect; the strongest men were the most attractive in all samples.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The feeling of beauty and the amplitude of pleasure are independent of stimulus duration

Beauty at a glance: The feeling of beauty and the amplitude of pleasure are independent of stimulus duration. Aenne A. Brielmann; Lauren Vale; Denis G. Pelli. Journal of Vision December 2017, Vol.17, 9. doi:10.1167/17.14.9

Abstract: Over time, how does beauty develop and decay? Common sense suggests that beauty is intensely felt only after prolonged experience of the object. Here, we present one of various stimuli for a variable duration (1–30 s), measure the observers' pleasure over time, and, finally, ask whether they felt beauty. On each trial, participants (N = 21) either see an image that they had chosen as “movingly beautiful,” see an image with prerated valence, or suck a candy. During the stimulus and a further 60 s, participants rate pleasure continuously using a custom touchscreen web app, After each trial, participants judge whether they felt beauty. Across all stimulus kinds, durations, and beauty responses, the dynamic pleasure rating has a stereotypical time course that is well fit by a one-parameter model with a brief exponential onset (roughly 2.5 s), a sustained plateau during stimulus presentation, and a long exponential decay (roughly 70 s). Across conditions, only the plateau amplitude varies. Beauty and pleasure amplitude are nearly independent of stimulus duration. The final beauty rating is positively correlated with pleasure amplitude (r = 0.60), and nearly independent of duration (r = 0.10). Beauty's independence from duration is unlike Bentham's 18th-century notion of value (utility), which he supposed to depend on the product of pleasure amplitude and duration. Participants report having felt pleasure as strongly after a mere 1 s stimulus as after longer durations, up to 30 s. Thus, we find that amplitude of pleasure is independent of stimulus duration.

Anti-Flynn effects -- What causes the secular declines in IQ? A Data Synthesis and Analysis of Predictors

Woodley of Menie, M. A., Peñaherrera-Aguirre, M., Fernandes, H. B. F., & Figueredo, A.-J. (2017). What Causes the Anti-Flynn Effect? A Data Synthesis and Analysis of Predictors. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences,

Abstract: Anti-Flynn effects (i.e., secular declines in IQ) have been noted in a few countries. Much speculation exists about the causes of these trends; however, little progress has been made toward comprehensively testing these. A synthetic literature search yielded a total of 66 observations of secular IQ decline from 13 countries, with a combined sample size of 302,234 and study midyears spanning 87 years, from 1920.5 to 2007.5. Multilevel modeling (MLM) was used to examine the effect of study midyear, and (after controlling for this and other factors) hierarchical general linear modeling (GLM) was used to examine the following sequence of predictors: domain “g-ness” (a rank-order measure of g saturation) Index of Biological State (IBS; a measure of relaxed/reversed selection operating on g), per capita immigration, and the 2-way interactions IBS × g-ness and Immigration × g-ness. The MLM revealed that the anti-Flynn effect has strengthened in more recent years. Net of this, the GLM found that g-ness was a positive predictor; that is, less aggregately g-loaded measures exhibited bigger IQ declines; IBS was not a significant predictor; however immigration predicted the decline, indicating that high levels of immigration promote the anti-Flynn effect. Among the interactions there was a negative effect of the Immigration × g-ness interaction, indicating that immigration promotes IQ decline the most when the measure is higher in g-ness. The model accounted for 37.1% of the variance among the observations.

Social Origins of Inventors, Parental Education, IQ -- Data from Finland

The Social Origins of Inventors. Philippe Aghion, Ufuk Akcigit, Ari Hyytinen, Otto Toivanen. NBER Working Paper No. 24110.

Abstract: In this paper we merge three datasets - individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data - to analyze the determinants of an individual's probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual's IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family interactions, by looking at biological versus non-biological parents. Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation.

I like that you feel my pain, but I love that you feel my joy -- Empathy for a partner’s negative versus positive emotions independently affect relationship quality

I like that you feel my pain, but I love that you feel my joy -- Empathy for a partner’s negative versus positive emotions independently affect relationship quality. Michael R. Andreychik. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,

Abstract: Given the myriad ways in which close relationships impact human well-being, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to healthy relationship functioning. One such factor is the extent to which partners empathize with each other’s emotional experiences. To date however, research examining empathy’s relevance for social relationships has focused overwhelmingly on empathy for others’ specifically negative emotions. Building on recent scholarship demonstrating the separability of empathy for others’ negative versus positive emotions, the present work argues that both of these empathic capacities contribute to relationship quality and that they do so via different pathways. A first study showed that whereas perceptions of a partner’s negative empathy and positive empathy were each independently associated with relationship quality, this association was substantially stronger for positive empathy. A second, experimental study demonstrated independent causal effects of negative empathy and positive empathy and showed that these effects were mediated by different mechanisms. These results suggest that although having a partner who empathizes with one’s negative emotions is good for relationships, having a partner who (also) empathizes with one’s positive emotions may carry even greater benefits.

Keywords: Close relationships, positive empathy, negative empathy, relationship science, social support

Explicit Sexual Movie Viewing in the United States According to Selected Marriage and Lifestyle, Work and Financial, Religion and Political Factors

Explicit Sexual Movie Viewing in the United States According to Selected Marriage and Lifestyle, Work and Financial, Religion and Political Factors. Aaron M. Frutos, Ray M. Merrill. Sexuality & Culture. Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 1062–1082.

Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to evaluate explicit sexual movie use among men and women in the United States according to relationship, lifestyle, work, financial, religious, and political factors. Analyses involved 11,372 adults who responded to questions about demographics and explicitly sexual movie use in the General Social Survey (GSS) from 2000 to 2014. Viewing of an explicit sexual movie in the previous year was significantly greater in men than women (35 vs. 16%); Blacks than Whites (33 vs. 22%); and never married (41 vs. 18% married, 31% separated, and 24% divorced). It also decreased with older age, higher education, and more children in the household. After model adjustment for these variables, viewing an explicit sexual movie was associated with a number of relationship, lifestyle, financial, religious, political, and other variables. For example, viewing such movies was related to less happiness in marriage, multiple sex partners in past year, less satisfaction with one’s financial situation, no religious preference, and a more liberal political orientation. The effect of some variables on pornography viewing differed between men and women. For example, out of men and women who consider themselves to be “not spiritual”, men were more likely to view pornography than women. Explicit sexual movie viewing is associated with factors from diverse domains, including poorer relationship quality, more liberal sexual views and practices, poorer economic conditions, lower religious orientation or commitment, and more liberal political views.

Homosexual orientation seems associated with a less pronounced sexual differentiation of brain white matter tracts & a less pronounced functional connectivity of the self-referential networks

Manzouri A, Savic I. Cerebral sex dimorphism and sexual orientation. Hum Brain Mapp. 2017;00:1–12.

Abstract: The neurobiology of sexual orientation is frequently discussed in terms of cerebral sex dimorphism (defining both functional and structural sex differences). Yet, the information about possible cerebral differences between sex-matched homo and heterosexual persons is limited, particularly among women. In this multimodal MRI study, we addressed these issues by investigating possible cerebral differences between homo and heterosexual persons, and by asking whether there is any sex difference in this aspect. Measurements of cortical thickness (Cth), subcortical volumes, and functional and structural resting-state connections among 40 heterosexual males (HeM) and 40 heterosexual females (HeF) were compared with those of 30 homosexual males (HoM) and 30 homosexual females (HoF). Congruent with previous reports, sex differences were detected in heterosexual controls with regard to fractional anisotropy (FA), Cth, and several subcortical volumes. Homosexual groups did not display any sex differences in FA values. Furthermore, their functional connectivity was significantly less pronounced in the mesial prefrontal and precuneus regions. In these two particular regions, HoM also displayed thicker cerebral cortex than other groups, whereas HoF did not differ from HeF. In addition, in HoM the parietal Cth showed “sex-reversed” values, not observed in HoF. Homosexual orientation seems associated with a less pronounced sexual differentiation of white matter tracts and a less pronounced functional connectivity of the self-referential networks compared to heterosexual orientation. Analyses of Cth suggest that male and female homosexuality are not simple analogues of each other and that differences from heterosexual controls are more pronounced in HoM.

There Is No Empirical Evidence for Critical Positivity Ratios: Comment on Fredrickson (2013)

There Is No Empirical Evidence for Critical Positivity Ratios: Comment on Fredrickson (2013). Carol A. Nickerson. Journal of Humanistic Psychology,

Abstract: Fredrickson and Losada (American Psychologist, 2005, 60, 678-686) theorized that a ratio of positive affect to negative affect (positivity ratio) of 2.9013 acts as a critical minimum for well-being. Recently, Brown, Sokal, and Friedman (American Psychologist, 2013, 68, 801-813) convincingly demonstrated that the mathematical work underlying this critical minimum positivity ratio was both flawed and misapplied. This comment addresses Fredrickson’s (American Psychologist, 2013, 68, 814-822) insistence that, regardless of the incorrect mathematical work, substantial empirical evidence exists both for critical minimum and maximum positivity ratios and, more generally, for a (unspecified) nonlinear relation between the positivity ratio and well-being, by first noting that there was a mismatch between Fredrickson and Losada’s (2005) theory and the data used to test it, then describing the methodological and statistical problems of Fredrickson and Losada’s empirical study (2005), and, finally, examining the other studies that Fredrickson (2013) cited as empirical evidence.

Strong evidence that for a number of issue areas, women are more supportive of an activist government than men of the same party

Lizotte, M.-K. (2017), Gender, Partisanship, and Issue Gaps. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. doi:10.1111/asap.12144

Abstract: A defining feature of American politics, including party identification, is the question of the proper role of government. Partisanship is a prevailing way that individuals organize their attitudes. Democrats should take the Democratic Party's positions, and Republicans should take the Republican Party's positions. Instead, people have conflicting considerations that shape their opinions. Given that gender is integral in structuring individuals’ positions in society, it is reasonable to expect that gender differences might produce intraparty differences. This article establishes a gender gap in scope of government that transcends partisanship. Using the cumulative American National Election Study Data 1994–2008, I find strong evidence that for a number of issue areas, women are more supportive of an activist government than men of the same party. Preferences regarding the scope of government provide a coherent explanation for these observed gaps.

First quantitative study of heterospecific sexual behavior between macaques and a non-primate species (sika deer)

Deer Mates: A Quantitative Study of Heterospecific Sexual Behaviors Performed by Japanese Macaques Toward Sika Deer. Noëlle Gunst, Paul L. Vasey, Jean-Baptiste Leca.

Abstract: This is the first quantitative study of heterospecific sexual behavior between a non-human primate and a non-primate species. We observed multiple occurrences of free-ranging adolescent female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) performing mounts and sexual solicitations toward sika deer (Cervus nippon) at Minoo, central Japan. Our comparative description of monkey-deer versus monkey-monkey interactions supported the “heterospecific sexual behavior” hypothesis: the mounts and demonstrative solicitations performed by adolescent female Japanese macaques toward sika deer were sexual in nature. In line with our previous research on the development of homospecific sexual behavior in immature female Japanese macaques, this study will allow us to test other hypotheses in the future, such as the “practice for homospecific sex,” the “safe sex,” the “homospecific sex deprivation,” the “developmental by-product,” and the “cultural heterospecific sex” hypotheses. Further research will be necessary to ascertain whether this group-specific sexual behavior was a short-lived fad or an incipient cultural phenomenon and may also contribute to better understanding the proximate and ultimate causes of reproductive interference.

Education is Related to Greater Ideological Prejudice

P J Henry, Jaime L Napier; Education is Related to Greater Ideological Prejudice, Public Opinion Quarterly, , nfx038,

Abstract: Decades of research have shown that education reduces individuals’ prejudices toward people who belong to different groups, but this research has focused predominantly on prejudice toward ethnic/racial groups, immigrant groups, and general nonconformists. However, it is not clear whether education reduces other prejudices against groups along different dimensions, including ideological identification. An analysis of American National Election Studies data from 1964 to 2012 shows that education is related to decreases in interethnic/interracial prejudice, but also to increases in ideological (liberal vs. conservative) prejudice. This finding could not be explained simply by the greater polarization of the American electorate in the past twenty years. The results require rethinking how and why education is associated with reduced prejudice for certain groups but not others.