Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Putting numbers to our happiness

Bryson, A. and MacKerron, G. (2017), Are You Happy While You Work?. Econ J, 127: 106–125. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12269

Abstract: Using a new data source permitting individuals to record their well-being via a smartphone, we explore within-person variance in individuals’ well-being measured momentarily at random points in time. We find paid work is ranked lower than any of the other 39 activities individuals can report engaging in, with the exception of being sick in bed. Precisely how unhappy one is while working varies significantly with where you work; whether you are combining work with other activities; whether you are alone or with others; and the time of day or night you are working.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Inequity aversion is observed in common marmosets

Inequity aversion is observed in common marmosets but not in marmoset models of autism induced by prenatal exposure to valproic acid. Miyuki Yasue et al. Behavioural Brain Research, Volume 343, 2 May 2018, Pages 36–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.01.013

•    Male and female marmosets show inequity aversion.
•    Valproic acid-induced ASD animals did not respond negatively to inequity.
•    Marmoset models of ASD cared less about others’ reward conditions than controls.

Abstract: Humans and various nonhuman primates respond negatively to inequity not in their favor (i.e., inequity aversion), when inequity between two individuals is introduced. Common marmosets, a highly prosocial species, further discriminated between human actors who reciprocated in social exchanges, and those who did not. Conversely, marmoset models of autism, induced via prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA marmosets), did not discriminate. Interestingly, previous studies of inequity aversion in marmosets have produced negative results, or were limited to males. Recent studies suggest that inequity aversion is highly influenced by the tasks employed. Here we show inequity aversion in both male and female marmosets using a novel task which required a relatively long duration of response. Marmosets were required to hold a spoon for 2 s to receive a reward. Marmosets successfully performed the task when they observed an unfamiliar conspecific partner obtaining the same reward (equity test). However, when they witnessed the partner receiving a more attractive reward for equal effort (inequity test), unexposed marmosets, which were not exposed to either valproic acid or saline during the fetal period refused to respond. This inequity aversion was not observed in unexposed marmosets when the partner was absent. In contrast, marmosets with fetal exposure to valproic acid (VPA marmosets) successfully executed the task irrespective of their partners’ reward conditions. As prenatal exposure to valproic acid is a well-known procedure to induce autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-like behaviors in rodents, we propose that VPA marmosets failed to show inequity aversion due to weak social motivation or interest towards others.

Keywords: Animal model; Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD); Monkey; Inequity aversion; Prosocial behaviors; Valtroic acid (VPA); Marmosets

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Self-Control: Assessing Self-Control with the ASEBA Self-Control Scale

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Self-Control: Assessing Self-Control with the ASEBA Self-Control Scale. Yayouk E. Willems et al. Behavior Genetics, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10519-018-9887-1

Abstract: This study used a theoretically-derived set of items of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment to develop the Achenbach Self-Control Scale (ASCS) for 7–16 year olds. Using a large dataset of over 20,000 children, who are enrolled in the Netherlands Twin Register, we demonstrated the psychometric properties of the ASCS for parent-, self- and teacher-report by examining internal and criterion validity, and inter-rater and test–retest reliability. We found associations between the ASCS and measures of well-being, educational achievement, and substance use. Next, we applied the classical twin design to estimate the genetic and environmental contributions to self-control. Genetic influences accounted for 64–75% of the variance in self-control based on parent- and teacher-report (age 7–12), and for 47–49% of the variance in self-control based on self-report (age 12–16), with the remaining variance accounted by non-shared environmental influences. In conclusion, we developed a validated and accessible self-control scale, and show that genetic influences explain a majority of the individual differences in self-control across youth aged 7–16 years.

In this case, the APA attempted to “sell” itself as a solution to the perceived violent video game problem

Selling violent video game solutions: A look inside the APA's internal notes leading to the creation of the APA's 2005 resolution on violence in video games and interactive media. Allen Copenhaver, Christopher J. Ferguson. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 57, March–April 2018, Pages 77–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2018.01.004

Abstract: For decades politicians, parent groups, researchers, media outlets, professionals in various fields, and laymen have debated the effects playing violent video games have on children and adolescents. In academia, there also exists a divide as to whether violent video games cause children and adolescents to be aggressive, violent, and even engage in criminal behavior. Given inconsistencies in the data, it may be important to understand the ways and the reasons why professional organizations take a stance on the violent video game effects debate which may reflect greater expressed certitude than data can support. This piece focuses on the American Psychological Association's internal communications leading to the creation of their 2005 Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media. These communications reveal that in this case, the APA attempted to “sell” itself as a solution to the perceived violent video game problem. The actions leading to the 2005 resolution are then compared to the actions of the APA's 2013–2015 Task Force on Violent Media. The implications and problems associated with the APA's actions regarding violent video games are addressed and discussed below.

Keywords: Violent video games and aggression; Violent media; Media & crime; Media & politics; Task forces

Big Five Traits and Inclusive Generalized Prejudice

Crawford, Jarret,and Mark J Brandt 2018. “Big Five Traits and Inclusive Generalized Prejudice”. PsyArXiv. February 5. psyarxiv.com/6vqwk

Abstract: Existing meta-analytic evidence finds that low levels of Openness and Agreeableness correlate with generalized prejudice. However, previous studies relied on restricted operationalizations of generalized prejudice that only assessed prejudice toward disadvantaged, low-status groups. Across four samples (total N = 7,543), we tested the associations between Big Five traits and generalized prejudice using an inclusive operationalization of generalized prejudice. A meta-analysis of these findings indicates that Openness was only very weakly related to inclusive generalized prejudice, r = -.03, 95%CI [-.07, -.001], whereas low Agreeableness was reliably associated with inclusive generalized prejudice (r = -.23, 95%CI [-.31, -.16]). We additionally found that perceived target ideology moderated relationships between Openness and Conscientiousness and prejudice, and that perceived target status moderated relationships between Agreeableness and Extraversion and prejudice. These results provide new and more nuanced insights into the relationship between personality and prejudice.

Is regulation to blame for the decline in American entrepreneurship?

Nathan Goldschlag, Alex Tabarrok; Is regulation to blame for the decline in American entrepreneurship?, Economic Policy, Volume 33, Issue 93, 1 January 2018, Pages 5–44, https://doi.org/10.1093/epolic/eix019

SUMMARY: Mounting evidence suggests that economic dynamism and entrepreneurial activity are declining in the United States. Over the past 30 years, the annual number of new business startups and the pace of job reallocation have declined significantly. We ask whether this decline in dynamism can be explained by federal regulation. We combine measures of dynamism with RegData, a novel dataset leveraging the text of the Code of Federal Regulations to create annual measures of the total quantity of regulation by industry. We find that rising federal regulation cannot explain secular trends in economic dynamism.

We contend that video game playing behavior, particularly insofar as it occurs within the home, alters the routine activities of individuals in such a way as to decrease the number of criminal opportunities present within a society

Cocooned from Crime: The Relationship Between Video Games and Crime. Kevin McCaffree, K. Ryan Proctor. Society, February 2018, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 41–52. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-017-0211-0

Abstract: The majority of research on the relationship between video game playing behavior and crime has been conducted by psychologists, has focused only on violent videogames, and suffers from two major shortcomings. First, psychologists have adopted correlational or experimental methodologies that do not in fact assess the empirical relationship between video game playing behavior and crime. Instead, they examine the relationship between video game playing behavior and aggression, and then infer research findings have social implications related to crime. Second, when making such inferences, these studies presume that meso and macro level phenomena are nothing more than the aggregated consequences of micro level events. Recent studies, however, have raised questions surrounding these two components of psychological research, as they have identified negative relationships between video game playing behavior and crime at county and national levels. In this study, we propose that these seemingly contradictory results can be explained using routine activities theory (Cohen and Felson 1979). We contend that video game playing behavior, particularly insofar as it occurs within the home, alters the routine activities of individuals in such a way as to decrease the number of criminal opportunities present within a society. We provide an initial test of this hypothesis using UCR, CPS, and Census data. As predicted by routine activities theory, we find that rates of video game playing behavior in the home are negatively associated with both violent and property crime.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Evidence for Sex Ratio Adjustment in Humans

It’s a Boy! Evidence for Sex Ratio Adjustment in Humans. Kristen J. Navara. Chapter in Choosing Sexes pp 13-31. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-71271-0_2

Abstract: Since the beginning of human existence, there has been a keen interest in the factors that influence whether a boy or girl is produced and the development of practices or methods to control it. While the overall natal ratio of boys to girls produced by humans hovers at a stable 1.06 boys for every girl, there is now evidence that these sex ratios vary substantially among populations, in response to severe life events, in conjunction with the position and timing of intercourse, and even with ambient temperature. In this chapter, I compile the evidence implicating many of these factors as modulators of offspring sex ratios in humans and discuss how these influences may interact to determine whether a boy or a girl is produced.

The extraverted and individuals high on agreeablemenss are less likely to have negative affective evaluations of the opposing party

It’s Personal: The Big Five Personality Traits and Negative Partisan Affect in Polarized U.S. Politics. Steven W. Webster. American Behavioral Scientist, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0002764218756925?journalCode=absb

Abstract: One of the most important developments within the American electorate in recent years has been the rise of affective polarization. Whether this is due to notions of group-based conflict or ideological disagreement, Americans increasingly dislike the opposing political party and its supporters. I contribute to this growing literature on affective polarization by showing how differences in individuals’ Big Five personality traits are predictive of both whether an individual dislikes the opposing party and the degree to which they express this hostility. Modeling negative affect toward the opposing party as a two-stage process, I find that Extraverted individuals are less likely to have negative affective evaluations of the opposing party. Additionally, conditional on disliking the opposing party, my results indicate that higher levels of Agreeableness lowers the degree to which individuals dislike the out-party. Moreover, these relationships are substantively stronger than common sociodemographic predictors such as age, race, and educational attainment.

Keywords: personality, negative partisanship, affective polarization

The Relationship Between Sexualized Appearance and Perceptions of Women’s Competence and Electability

The Relationship Between Sexualized Appearance and Perceptions of Women’s Competence and Electability. Julia K. Smith et al. Sex Roles, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0898-4

Abstract: Women do not have a uniform or standardized “suit” to wear in the workplace so they must make daily decisions about what to wear. Some propose that women should dress in a sexualized way to gain power and influence, but sexy attire is related to lower perceptions of competence for women in leadership positions. We explored the effect of revealing or conservative attire on perceptions of women’s leadership competence. We also used eye-tracker technology to determine whether looking at sexualized body parts (i.e., breasts, hemline) was related to lower perceptions of leadership competence and electability. A female candidate for a student senate presidency at a U.S. university wearing revealing clothing was perceived by 191 college students as less honest and trustworthy, electable, and competent than one wearing conservative clothing. Sexualized body parts were looked at longer when the candidate was wearing revealing clothing compared to conservative clothing. Furthermore, mediation analyses indicated that the revealing clothing led participants to gaze at sexualized body parts, which, in turn, led to perceiving the candidate as less honest/trustworthy, which lowered their evaluations of her competence and electability. These findings suggest that viewing a woman in a sexy outfit can lead others to stare more at her body and make negative evaluations of her personal attributes. This finding has implications for the choices women make in workplace and leadership contexts.

Unsocial subjects vs social ones: No significant differences in self-esteem, social comparisons, emotional regulation, self-harm, suicidal ideations, quality of relations with others, anxiety sensitivity, social anhedonia or depression

Does it matter when we want to Be alone? Exploring developmental timing effects in the implications of unsociability. Robert J. Coplan, Laura L. Ooi, Danielle Baldwin. New Ideas in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2018.01.001

•    Unsociability refers to a non-fearful preference for solitude.
•    We discuss various approaches to conceptualizing and measuring this construct.
•    A theoretical model of developmental timing effects for unsociability is proposed.
•    Links between unsociability and well-being may vary across development.

Abstract: Unsociability is a characteristic that refers to individual differences in the non-fearful preference for solitude. There is continued debate pertaining to the potential costs and benefits of solitude for our well-being. In this essay, we consider various approaches to the conceptualization and measurement of unsociability, and explore its implications for socio-emotional functioning. Further, we propose a somewhat speculative theoretical model of developmental timing effects for unsociability, which postulates non-linear variations in the implications of a heightened preference for solitude from early childhood to emerging adulthood. After considering the existing empirical support for this model, we outline remaining topics of concerns and suggest the most pressing directions for future research.

Keywords: Unsociability; Solitude; Social withdrawal; Preference for solitude; Developmental timing

---My question is: why then there is such apprehension in parents with child's unsociabilty? I trust the parents more than the researchers, something is not being captured in these samples we are studying.

Disclosure: I am quite unsocial.