Thursday, February 7, 2019

Paul Romer suggestions for the World Bank: outsource the bank’s research; for good reasons, the bank’s shareholders have chosen to protect its diplomatic function, at the expense of its research

Paul Romer, Nobel Prize in Economics, suggestions for the World Bank. https://paulromer.net/ft_oped/

First, outsource the bank’s research upon which it depends for identifying problems and proposing solutions. Diplomacy and science cannot both thrive under the same roof. One consequence of the bank’s commitment to diplomacy is its necessary embrace of the helpful ambiguity that makes it possible for multilateral institutions to allow “Chinese Taipei” compete in the Olympic Games without “Taiwan, China” having a seat in the UN. Dispassionate examination makes clear that what the bank does to maintain conformity on the diplomatic front is not compatible with scientific research.

All that matter in science are the facts. When complex political sensitivities are allowed to influence research by stifling open disagreement, it ceases to be scientific. For good reasons, the bank’s shareholders have chosen to protect its diplomatic function, at the expense of its research.

Outsourcing research would be a better, more efficient way for the bank to establish the facts needed to do its job. This would also be an investment in the universities that make the discoveries that drive human progress.

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My question: What about the IMF?

An exogenously-induced optimism engenders greater dishonesty than pessimism; dishonesty is positively correlated with self-reported optimism and mood upswings

Optimism, pessimism, mood swings and dishonest behavior. Erez Siniver, Gideon Yaniv. Journal of Economic Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2019.01.007

Highlights
•    The effects of optimism, pessimism and mood swings on dishonesty are examined.
•    An exogenously-induced optimism engenders greater dishonesty than pessimism.
•    Dishonesty is positively correlated with self-reported optimism and mood upswings.
•    Optimism in coping with a mental challenge does not trigger a sense of entitlement.

Abstract: The present paper reports the results of two experimental studies designed to examine the effects of optimism, pessimism, and mood swings on dishonest behavior. In Study 1, optimistic and pessimistic moods were exogenously induced to two classes of economics students who subsequently performed the die-under-the-cup task. Subjects experiencing an optimistic mood were found to exhibit greater dishonesty than those experiencing a pessimistic mood. In Study 2, economics students were asked, before and after taking a much-feared exam, to indicate on an optimism/pessimism mood scale how they felt about their success in it, subsequently performing the die-under-the-cup task. Dishonesty was found to be positively (negatively) correlated with post-exam optimism (pessimism) as well as with mood upswings (downswings) occurring between the post and pre-exam points of time. A side study ruled out the possibility that post-exam optimism induced a sense of entitlement which could have driven greater dishonesty.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Association of Fetal Growth With General and Specific Mental Health Conditions

Association of Fetal Growth With General and Specific Mental Health Conditions. Erik Pettersson, Henrik Larsson, Brian D’Onofrio, et al. JAMA Psychiatry, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4342

Key Points

Question  Do the associations between fetal growth and later mental health conditions remain after controlling for familial confounding factors and psychiatric comorbidity?

Findings  This register-based study including more than 1 million participants and using a within-sibling pair design found that higher birth weight (statistically adjusted for gestational age) significantly lowered the risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. Furthermore, an increase in birth weight by 1 kg significantly decreased a general factor of psychopathology by 0.047 SDs and a specific neurodevelopmental factor by 0.159 SDs.

Meaning  After controlling for familial factors and psychiatric comorbidity, fetal growth was most strongly associated with specific neurodevelopmental disorders.
Abstract

Importance  It is unclear if the associations between fetal growth and later mental health conditions remain after controlling for familial factors and psychiatric comorbidity.

Objective  To examine the associations between fetal growth and general and specific mental health conditions, controlling for familial factors.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This register-based study conducted in Sweden analyzed 546 894 pairs of full siblings born between January 1, 1973, and December 31, 1998. Sibling pairs were followed up through December 31, 2013. First, population-based and within-sibling pair associations (which controlled for time-invariant familial confounders) between fetal growth and the outcomes were estimated. Second, exploratory factor analysis was applied to the outcomes to derive 1 general factor and 4 specific and independent factors. Third, the general and specific factors were regressed on fetal growth. Statistical analysis was performed from March 27, 2017, to October 27, 2018.

Main Outcome and Measures  The outcomes were 11 psychiatric diagnoses (depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, drug use, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder) and court convictions of violent crimes. Birth weight (in kilograms) statistically adjusted for gestational age was the exposure.

Results  The mean (SD) age of the 1 093 788 participants was 27.2 (6.8) years (range, 15.1-40.9 years) and 51.5% were male. Nine outcomes were significantly associated with birth weight in the population at large: depression (odds ratio [OR], 0.96; 95% CI, 0.95-0.98), anxiety (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.92-0.95), posttraumatic stress disorder (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.89-0.93), bipolar disorder (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.89-1.00), alcohol abuse (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.87-0.91), drug use (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.80-0.85), violent crimes (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.83-0.86), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.86-0.90), and autism (OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.97). Only depression (OR, 0.95; 95% CI 0.92-0.98), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.87-0.99), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.82-0.89), and autism (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.69-0.76) remained significantly associated within sibling pairs. An exploratory factor analysis indicated that 1 general and 4 specific factors (capturing anxiety, externalizing, neurodevelopmental, and psychotic conditions) fit the outcomes well. Across almost all sensitivity analyses, an increase in birth weight by 1 kg significantly reduced the general (β, −0.047; 95% CI, −0.071 to −0.023) and the specific neurodevelopmental factors (β, −0.159; 95% CI, −0.190 to −0.128) within sibling pairs.

Conclusions and Relevance  Controlling for familial confounders, reduced fetal growth was associated with a small but significant increase in the general factor of psychopathology and a moderate increase in a specific neurodevelopmental factor.

A gamma-ray determination of the Universe’s star formation history

A gamma-ray determination of the Universe’s star formation history. The Fermi-LAT Collaboration. Science Nov 30 2018:Vol. 362, Issue 6418, pp. 1031-1034. DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8123

Gamma rays reveal the Universe's history

How many stars have formed in the Universe, and when did they do so? These fundamental questions are difficult to answer because there are systematic uncertainties in converting the light we observe into the total mass of stars in galaxies. The Fermi-LAT Collaboration addressed these questions by exploiting the way that gamma rays from distant blazars propagate through intergalactic space, which depends on the total amount of light emitted by all galaxies. The collaboration found that star formation peaked about 3 billion years after the Big Bang (see the Perspective by Prandini). Although this is similar to previous estimates from optical and infrared observations, the results provide valuable confirmation because they should be affected by different systematic effects.

Abstract: The light emitted by all galaxies over the history of the Universe produces the extragalactic background light (EBL) at ultraviolet, optical, and infrared wavelengths. The EBL is a source of opacity for gamma rays via photon-photon interactions, leaving an imprint in the spectra of distant gamma-ray sources. We measured this attenuation using 739 active galaxies and one gamma-ray burst detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope. This allowed us to reconstruct the evolution of the EBL and determine the star formation history of the Universe over 90% of cosmic time. Our star formation history is consistent with independent measurements from galaxy surveys, peaking at redshift z ~ 2. Upper limits of the EBL at the epoch of reionization suggest a turnover in the abundance of faint galaxies at z ~ 6.

Macro‐Level Research on the Effect of Firearms Prevalence on Suicide Rates: The new analysis finds no significant effect

Macro‐Level Research on the Effect of Firearms Prevalence on Suicide Rates: A Systematic Review and New Evidence. Gary Kleck. Social Science Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12602

Abstract
Objective: To systematically review the methods and findings of previous macro‐level research on the effect of firearms prevalence on suicide rates, and carry out a better state‐level analysis.

Methods: A cross‐sectional model of suicide rates is estimated with weighted least squares, using direct survey measures of gun prevalence.

Results and Conclusion: Prior macro‐level research is afflicted by the use of small samples of large heterogeneous units, invalid measures of gun prevalence, and few controls for confounders. The methodologically soundest prior research indicates that gun prevalence affects rates of gun suicides, but not total suicides. The new analysis likewise finds no significant effect of gun prevalence on total suicide rates.

From 2018, Sleep to be social: The critical role of sleep and memory for social interaction

Diekelmann, S., Paulus, F., & Krach, S. (2018). Sleep to be social: The critical role of sleep and memory for social interaction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41, E10. doi:10.1017/S0140525X17001327

Abstract: Humans are highly social animals who critically need to remember information from social episodes in order to successfully navigate future social interactions. We propose that such episodic memories about social encounters are processed during sleep, following the learning experience, with sleep abstracting and consolidating social gist knowledge (e.g., beliefs, first impressions, or stereotypes) about others that supports relationships and interpersonal communication.

The Problem of Non-Shared Environment in Behavioral Genetics: Intrinsic stochasticity of molecular processes underlying individual development creates minor fluctuations in gene expression

The Problem of Non-Shared Environment in Behavioral Genetics. Oleg N. Tikhodeyev, Оlga V. Shcherbakova. Behavior Genetics, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10519-019-09950-1

Abstract: The role of non-shared environment (NSE) in the development of psychological traits is usually comparable with that of the genotype. However, no specific factors of NSE with significant impact on such traits have been discovered so far. We propose that the current failures in understanding the origin of NSE are at least partly due to the fact that behavioral genetics has left out one of the key sources of phenotypic variation. This source is the intrinsic stochasticity of molecular processes underlying individual development. At the critical stages of ontogeny, even minor fluctuations in gene expression or gene-product functioning can remarkably affect the phenotype; this role is experimentally proved in multiple model organisms. In the present paper, several mechanisms of molecular stochasticity, which could affect the development of psychological traits, are discussed. We propose to distinguish external NSE (any external differences) and internal NSE (intrinsic molecular stochasticity). Available data indicate that the impact of external NSE is likely to be low, which makes the presumptive role of internal NSE rather decisive. If our assumption is true, the paradigm of behavioral genetics should be revised, and comprehensive analysis of molecular stochasticity during individual development is strongly required.

India Ramps Up Spending On Coal Exploration

India Ramps Up Spending On Coal Exploration
Reuters, Feb 1 2019, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/india-ramps-spending-coal-exploration-164148471.html


NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian government will increase spending on exploration of coal and lignite by 20 percent in the coming financial year but will slash funding for coal mine safety and conservation, according to the budget document released on Friday.

India is one of the world’s largest consumers of coal and rising imports of the fuel are adding to a burgeoning trade deficit, prompting the government to invest in developing more domestic resources.
In the 2019/20 financial year that begins in April, the government aims to spend 6 billion rupees ($84 million) on exploration of coal and lignite, the document for the 2019/20 budget showed.

At the same time, it will cut spending on conservation, safety and related infrastructure development by about a third from last year to 1.35 billion rupees, according to the document.

India is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a coal miner, with one miner dying every six days on average in 2017, according to government data, but this will be the second straight year that the government has cut spending on safety.

The coal ministry said that coal companies had their own safety budgets….

The coal ministry said it had increased spending for exploration in 2019/20 to develop more coal blocks to increase domestic coal production and minimize imports.

“This will also enable (the) release of more coal blocks for auction/allocation,” the ministry said.


 [...]

Learning curves & teaching when acquiring nut-cracking: Chimpanzees more rapidly acquired the technique when an apprentice, and reached adult efficiency earlier than humans

Learning curves and teaching when acquiring nut-cracking in humans and chimpanzees. Christophe Boesch, Daša Bombjaková, Amelia Meier & Roger Mundry. Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 1515 (2019). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-38392-8

Abstract: Humans are considered superior to other species in their tool using skills. However, most of our knowledge about animals comes from observations in artificial conditions with individuals removed from their natural environment. We present a first comparison of humans and chimpanzees spontaneously acquiring the same technique as they forage in their natural environment. We compared the acquisition of the Panda nut-cracking technique between Mbendjele foragers from the Republic of Congo and the Taï chimpanzees from Côte d’Ivoire. Both species initially acquire the technique slowly with similar kinds of mistakes, with years of practice required for the apprentice to become expert. Chimpanzees more rapidly acquired the technique when an apprentice, and reached adult efficiency earlier than humans. Adult efficiencies in both species did not differ significantly. Expert-apprentice interactions showed many similar instances of teaching in both species, with more variability in humans due, in part to their more complex technique. While in humans, teaching occurred both vertically and obliquely, only the former existed in chimpanzees. This comparison of the acquisition of a natural technique clarifies how the two species differed in their technical intelligence. Furthermore, our observations support the idea of teaching in both species being more frequent for difficult skills.

Taxing Top Earners: The revenue maximizing top tax rate is approximately 49 percent in a quantitative human capital model, instead of the recently established view of 73pct

Taxing Top Earners: A Human Capital Perspective. Alejandro Badel, Mark Huggett, Wenlan Luo. July 9, 2018. http://faculty.georgetown.edu/mh5/research/top-earners.pdf

Abstract: An established view is that the revenue maximizing top tax rate for the US is approximately 73percent. The revenue maximizing top tax rate is approximately 49 percent in a quantitative human capital model. The key reason for the lower top tax rate is the presence of two new forces not captured by the model underlying the established view. These new forces are strengthened by the endogenous response of top earners’ human capital to a change in the top tax rate.

Keywords: Human Capital, Marginal Tax Rates, Top Earners, Laffer Curve

Owner personality and the wellbeing of their cats share parallels with the parent-child relationship

Owner personality and the wellbeing of their cats share parallels with the parent-child relationship. Lauren R. Finka, Joanna Ward, Mark J. Farnworth, Daniel S. Mills. PLOS February 5, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211862

Abstract: Human personality may substantially affect the nature of care provided to dependants. This link has been well researched in parents and children, however, relatively little is known about this dynamic with regards to humans’ relationships with non-human animals. Owner interactions with companion animals may provide valuable insight into the wider phenomenon of familial interactions, as owners usually adopt the role of primary caregiver and potentially surrogate parent. This study, using cats as an exemplar, explored the relationship between owner personality and the lifestyles to which cats are exposed. In addition, it explored owner personality as it related to reported cat behaviour and wellbeing. Cat owners (n = 3331) responded to an online survey examining their personality and the health, behaviour and management of their cats. Owner personality was measured using the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to assess: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness. Owners also provided information concerning the physical health, breed type, management and behavioural styles of their cats. Generalised linear mixed models were used to identify relationships between owner personality and a range of factors that may have welfare implications for the wider companion animal population, and specifically, cats. Higher owner Neuroticism was associated with an increased likelihood of non-pedigree rather than pedigree cat ownership, a decreased likelihood of ad libitum access to the outdoors, cats being reported as having a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight. Other owner personality traits were generally found to correlate more positively with various lifestyle, behaviour and welfare parameters. For example, higher owner Extroversion was associated with an increased likelihood that the cat would be provided ad libitum access to the outdoors; higher owner Agreeableness was associated with a higher level of owner reported satisfaction with their cat, and with a greater likelihood of owners reporting their cats as being of a normal weight. Finally higher owner Conscientiousness was associated with the cat displaying less anxious/fearful, aggressive, aloof/avoidant, but more gregarious behavioural styles. These findings demonstrate that the relationship between carer personality and the care received by a dependent, may extend beyond the human family to animal-owner relationships, with significant implications for the choice of management, behaviour and potentially the broader wellbeing of companion animals.

Christians and Buddhists Are Comparably Happy on Twitter: A Large-Scale Linguistic Analysis of Religious Differences in Social, Cognitive, and Emotional Tendencies

Christians and Buddhists Are Comparably Happy on Twitter: A Large-Scale Linguistic Analysis of Religious Differences in Social, Cognitive, and Emotional Tendencies. Chih-Yu Chen1 and Tsung-Ren Huang. Front. Psychol., 06 February 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00113

Abstract: Are different religions associated with different social, cognitive, and emotional tendencies? Although major world religions are known to encourage social interactions and help regulate emotions, it is less clear to what extent adherents of various religions differ in these dimensions in daily life. We thus carried out a large-scale sociolinguistic analysis of social media messages of Christians and Buddhists living in the United States. After controlling for age and gender effects on linguistic patterns, we found that Christians used more social words and fewer cognitive words than Buddhists. Moreover, adherents of both religions, similarly used more positive than negative emotion words on Twitter, although overall, Christians were slightly more positive in verbal emotional expression than Buddhists. These sociolinguistic patterns of actual rather than ideal behaviors were also paralleled by language used in the popular sacred texts of Christianity and Buddhism, with the exception that Christian texts contained more negative and fewer positive emotion words than Buddhist texts. Taken together, our results suggest that the direct or indirect influence of religious texts on the receivers of their messages may partially, but not fully, account for the verbal behavior of religious adherents.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The presence of an observing other curbs unethical behaviour; the mere presence of others does not reduce unethical behaviour if they do not observe the participant

Köbis, Nils, Simone van der Lingen, Terence D. Dores Cruz, Daniel Iragorri-Carter, Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Francesca Righetti, and Paul van Lange. 2019. “The Look over Your Shoulder: Unethical Behaviour Decreases in the Physical Presence of Observers.” PsyArXiv. February 5. doi:10.31234/osf.io/gxu96

Abstract: Research in behavioural ethics repeatedly emphasizes the importance of others for people’s decisions to break ethical rules. Yet, in most lab experiments participants faced ethical dilemmas in full privacy settings. We conducted three experiments in which we compare such private set-ups to situations in which a second person is co-present in the lab. Study 1 manipulated whether that second person was a mere observer or co-benefitted from the participants’ unethical behaviour. Study 2 investigated social proximity between participant and observer –being a friend versus a stranger. Study 3 tested whether the mere presence of another person who cannot observe the participant’s behaviour suffices to decrease unethical behaviour. By using different behavioural paradigms of unethical behaviour, we obtain three main results: first, the presence of an observing other curbs unethical behaviour. Second, neither the payoff structure (Study 1) nor the social proximity towards the observing other (Study 2) qualifies this effect. Third, the mere presence of others does not reduce unethical behaviour if they do not observe the participant (Study 3). Implications, limitations and avenues for future research are discussed.

The Gender Gap in Orgasms–We find a strong association between women’s orgasms & the type of sexual behavior in which partners engage: Women who receive oral sex are more likely to reach orgasm

The Gender Gap in Orgasms: Survey Data from a Mid-Sized Canadian City. Nicole Andrejek & Tina Fetner. International Journal of Sexual Health, https://doi.org/10.1080/19317611.2018.1563014

Abstract

Objective: Previous research has established a gap in orgasm frequency between men and women. This study investigates explanations for the gender gap in orgasm.

Methods: Crosstab analysis and logistic regression are used to examine the gender gap in orgasms from one Canadian city: Hamilton, Ontario (N = 194).

Results: We find a strong association between women’s orgasms and the type of sexual behavior in which partners engage. Women who receive oral sex are more likely to reach orgasm.

Conclusion: Sexual practices focused on clitoral stimulation are important to reducing the gender gap in orgasms.

Keywords: Sexualities, orgasm, gender, survey, sexual behavior

The subjective nature of humor in Internet trolling depends on whether an individual has trolled; the groups that indicated trolling as a “bullying” behavior were the groups who had never been trolled

A Qualitative Analysis of Internet Trolling. Evita March, and Jessica Marrington. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/cyber.2018.0210

Abstract: Internet trolling is receiving increasing research attention and exploration; however, disagreement and confusion surround definitions of the behavior. In the current study, 379 participants (60 percent women) completed an online questionnaire providing qualitative responses to the following: How do you define Internet trolling? What kind of behaviors constitutes Internet trolling? Does Internet trolling differ from Internet cyberbullying? Have you ever been trolled online, and if so how did it feel? Word frequency analyses indicated that Internet trolling is most commonly characterized as an abusive aggressive behavior. Responses also highlight the subjective nature of humor in trolling depending on whether an individual has trolled. Interestingly, the groups that indicated trolling as a “bullying” behavior were the groups who had never been trolled. Results of the current study highlight the need to differentiate between “kudos” trolling and Cyber Abuse.

Even psychological placebos have an effect

Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale – Three Randomized-Controlled Studies. Jens Gaab, Joe Kossowsky, Ulrike Ehlert, Cosima Locher. Scientific Reports (2019), doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37945-1

Abstract: In recent years, placebos have evolved from a mean to control for ‘therapeutic chaff’ to something that has clinically relevant effects with biological underpinning and that is considered to have clinical as well as scientific potential. However, the wealth of scientific placebo research is conceptualized in a biomedical context, i.e. based on placebos provided with a biomedical treatment rationale, whereas little is known about effects and mechanisms of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale. This has important repercussions not only on placebo research, but also on attempts to establish specificity of psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy. Therefore, we set out to assess the effects and possible components of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale in three experiments on healthy subjects. We show that placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale are effective in short- as well as mid-term, but only when provided by a trustworthy, friendly and empathetic experimenter. These findings indicate that placebos are effective outside the medical context and thus need be controlled for in non-medical trials. Furthermore, it highlights and confirms the importance of a plausible psychological treatment rationale in the context of a therapeutic alliance for psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy.

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Press release: Even psychological placebos have an effect. Reto Caluori. Universität Basel Kommunikation & Marketing, Feb 05 2019. https://idw-online.de/de/news710065

Women’s preferences for more masculine looking men are stronger in countries with higher sociosexuality and where national health indices and human development indices are higher

Marcinkowska UM, Rantala MJ, Lee AJ, Kozlov MV, Aavik T, Cai H, Contreras-Garduño J, David OA, Kaminski G, Li NP, Onyishi IE, Prasai K, Pazhoohi F, Prokop P & Rosales Cardozo SL (2018) Women's preferences for men's facial masculinity are strongest under favourable ecological conditions. Scientific Reports. https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/handle/1893/28677

Abstract: The strength of sexual selection on secondary sexual traits varies depending on prevailing economic and ecological conditions. In humans, cross-cultural evidence suggesting women's preferences for men’s testosterone dependent masculine facial traits are stronger under conditions where health is compromised, male mortality rates are higher and economic development is higher. Here we use a sample of 4483 exclusively heterosexual women from 34 countries and employ mixed effects modelling to test how social, ecological and economic variables predict women’s facial masculinity preferences. We report women’s preferences for more masculine looking men are stronger in countries with higher sociosexuality and where national health indices and human development indices are higher, while no associations were found between preferences and indices of intra-sexual competition. Our results show that women’s preferences for masculine faces are stronger under conditions where offspring survival is higher and economic conditions more favorable.

Both Republicans and Democrats exhibit a strong tendency to consume news stories depicting disunity in the outparty

Fight Clubs: Media Coverage of Party (Dis)unity and Citizens’ Selective Exposure to It. John V. Kane. Political Research Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912919827106

Abstract: News media play a key role in communicating information about political parties to the American public. However, our understanding of how media depict relations between elites and the broader party coalitions remains limited. Moreover, while research suggests that forced exposure to such information can affect political attitudes, it remains unclear whether citizens are willing to selectively expose themselves to such communications. To address these two interrelated questions, this study first employs a content analysis to explore patterns in news coverage of inter- and intra-party relations throughout the Obama presidency. Next, two survey experiments investigate the degree to which such relations affect citizens’ self-exposure to such information. Taken together, the analyses uncover two important asymmetries. First, throughout Obama’s presidency, mass media depicted a Republican coalition virtually always against the president, yet substantial discord within the Democratic Party. Second, though partisans show no propensity to consume news depicting inparty unity (vs. disunity), both Republicans and Democrats exhibit a strong tendency to consume news stories depicting disunity in the outparty. Insofar as partisans’ self-exposure to such information is a necessary precondition for attitudinal and behavioral change, these findings have notable implications for how mass media stand to shape partisanship in the United States.

Keywords: media, self-exposure, partisanship, party unity, cognitive dissonance, schadenfreude

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The survey experiments reveal a second asymmetry. Specifically, the experimental results indicate that, while partisans were nearly equally likely to select news arti-cles discussing inparty unity (vs. news articles discussing inparty disunity), both Republicans and Democrats were far more likely to select a news story depicting outparty disunity (vs. outparty unity or the control condition)—that is, the story in which the president was reported to have alienated a key group in his party’s base. The finding concerning inparty members’ behavior deviates somewhat from the “cognitive dissonance” argument, which would suggest that partisans will avoid self-exposure to information that challenges their existing beliefs and loyalties (Festinger 1962). At the same time, the findings regarding outparty members’ behavior offer additional support for the notion that partisans seek out information that is likely to result in “political schaden-freude” (Combs et al. 2009; Hareli and Weiner 2002).

Again, in light of research which argues that beliefs about the parties’ relations with groups are consequential for citizens’ partisan orientations (Green, Palmquist, and Schickler 2002), as well as recent research on how information about partisan polarization and partisan infighting can affect citizens’ policy attitudes and willingness to compromise (Druckman, Peterson, and Slothuus 2013; Groeling 2010; Kane 2016b), the findings of the present study come with important implications for the manner by which mass media can shape partisanship

Monday, February 4, 2019

Knowing which plants are beneficial or dangerous is a task that we cannot achieve alone; 8- to 18-month-old infants show more social looking toward adults when confronted with plants compared to other objects

The seeds of social learning: Infants exhibit more social looking for plants than other object types. Claudia E lsner, Annie E.Wertz. Cognition, Volume 183, February 2019, Pages 244-255. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.09.016

Highlights
•    Infants look more often to adults when confronted with plants compared to other object types.
•    The increased social looking occurs in the time before infants touch plants.
•    This strategy enables infants to glean information from others before exposure to potentially dangerous plants.

Abstract: Infants must negotiate encounters with a wide variety of different entities over the course of the first few years of life, yet investigations of their social referencing behavior have largely focused on a limited set of objects and situations such as unfamiliar toys and the visual cliff. Here we examine whether infants’ social looking strategies differ when they are confronted with plants. Plants have been fundamental to human life throughout our evolutionary history, and learning about which plants are beneficial and which are dangerous is a task that, for humans, cannot be achieved alone. Using an object exploration paradigm, we found that 8- to 18-month-old infants exhibited more social looking toward adults when confronted with plants compared to other object types. Further, this increased social looking occurred when infants first encountered plants, in the time before touching them. This social looking strategy puts infants in the best position to glean information from others before making contact with potentially dangerous plants. These findings provide a new lens through which to view infants’ social information seeking behavior.

Small minorities report feeling partisan schadenfreude or endorse partisan violence; inducing expectations of electoral victory give strong partisans more confidence to endorse violence against their opponents

Lethal Mass Partisanship: Prevalence, Correlates, & Electoral Contingencies. Nathan P. Kalmoe, Lilliana Mason. PResetnation at the January 2019 NCAPSA American Politics Meeting. https://www.dannyhayes.org/uploads/6/9/8/5/69858539/kalmoe___mason_ncapsa_2019_-_lethal_partisanship_-_final_lmedit.pdf

Abstract: U.S. historical accounts of partisanship recognize its contentiousness and its inherent, latent threat of violence, but social scientific conceptions of partisan identity developed in quiescent times have largely missed that dangerous dimension. We rebalance scholarly accounts by investigating the national prevalence and correlates of 1) partisan moral disengagement that rationalizes harm against opponents, 2) partisan schadenfreude in response to deaths and injuries of political opponents, and 3) explicit support for partisan violence. In two nationally representative surveys, we find large portions of partisans embrace partisan moral disengagement ( 10 - 60%) but only small minorities report feeling partisan schadenfreude or endorse partisan violence (5 - 15 %). Party identity strength and trait aggression consistently increase each kind of extreme party view. Finally, experimental evidence shows inducing expectations of electoral victory give strong partisans more confidence to endorse violence against their partisan opponents. We conclude with reflections on the risks of lethal partisanship in democratic politics, even as parties continue to serve as essential bedrocks of democracy.


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The remaining moral disengagement items in Figure 1 indicate support ranging from about 10 perc ent of the sample (MD10 .  .Breaking a few rules to help [own party] win does no lasting harm.) to 50 percent (MD8 among Democrats .  .[Own party] are not just better for politics .  they are morally right.). The most disturbing items may be those comparing o utgroup partisans to animals (MD5 and MD9). About 20 percent of respondents agree with these items in the CCES data,. Furthermore, MD7, which rates the degree to which respondents believe opposing partisans have their hearts in the right place, is only end orsed by about 30 percent of partisans , meaning that more than 60 percent of respondents do not hold this more generous belief.  Taken as a whole, even the lower bounds of partisan moral disengagement provide some cause for concern. Extrapolated to the elec torate at large, this figure represents many millions of partisans.

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Table 1. Partisan Hostility Items
Moral Disengagement
MD1
Would you say [Opposing party] are a serious threat to the United States and its people, or wouldn’t you go that far?
MD2
Only [Own party] want to improve our country.
MD3
[Opposing party] are not just worse for politics—they are downright evil.
MD4
If [Own party] break a few rules to oppose [Opposing party], it’s because they needto do it for the sake of the country.
MD5
If [Opposing party] are going to behave badly, they should be treated like animals.
MD6
[Opposing party] deserve any mistreatment they get from [Own party].
MD7
[Opposing party] have their heart in the right place but just come to different conclusions about what is best.
[reverse-coded]
MD8
[Own party] are not just better for politics—they are morally right.
MD9
Many [Opposing party] lack the traits to be considered fully human—they behave like animals.
MD10
Breaking a few rules to help [Own party] win does no lasting harm.
Partisan Schadenfreude
PS1
If you heard a politician had died of cancer, would your feelings about that depend on whether they were a Republican or a Democrat?
PS2
If you heard a politician had been murdered, would your feelings about that depend on whether they were a Republican or a  Democrat?
PS3
Have you ever wished that someone would physically injure one or more politicians?[Yes, outparty]
PS4
When a [Own party] politician votes against the party on a key issue, have you ever wished they would get sick and die?
PS5
Who would you rather see bad things happen to: [Opposing party] politicians, or[Own party] politicians who vote against the party on a key issue? [Answer: outparty]
PS6
Do you ever think: we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of [Opposingparty] in the public today just died?
Political Violence
PV1
When, if ever, is it OK for [Own party] to send threatening and intimidating messagesto [Opposing party] leaders?
PV2
When, if ever, is it OK for an ordinary [Own party] in the public to harass an ordinary [Opposing party] on the Internet, in a way that makes the target feel unsafe?
PV3
How much do you feel it is justified for [Own party] to use violence in advancing their political goals these days?
PV4
What if [Opposing party] win the 2020 presidential election? How much do you feel violence would be justified then?

“Unsafe” was replaced with “frightened” in the Nielsen survey.

Church of Sweden, 2014: Complaints about female priests are increasing & are now occurring at the same rate as for male priests, but no female priests have been prohibited yet (in 2014)

Complaints about Priests in the Church of Sweden from 2001–2013. Per Hansson. Scandinavian Journal for Leadership & Theology, ISSN 0281-0573, E-ISSN 1891-473X, Vol. 4. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1169754&dswid=-4865

Abstract: Media coverage of complaints about priests has generally focused on sexual misbehavior. This case study of complaints about priests in the Church of Sweden from 2001–2013 gives a much more varied picture. Documentation of all the complaints received during 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013 was collected. In all, there are 199 complaints, which correspond to approximately 1.2% of priests every year. The rate of complaints rose and doubled, peaking in 2010. The complaints are categorized in three categories: general complaints, complaints that can lead to prohibition and other complaints. The most common complainant was the private individual (42%), although bishops and colleagues were also responsible for some of the complaints. During the years studied, private complaints increased. This finding is interpreted to reflect an increasing tendency in Swedish society to complain. Complaints about female priests are increasing and are now occurring at the same rate as for male priests. However, no female priests have been prohibited yet; only males have been. Sexual issues account for 15% of the complaints, which are outnumbered by other complaints. Decisions made by the Church chapters have changed during the studied years; earlier, the most common decision was to take no ac- tion, but later, the chapters generally decided on some type of action (for example, commissioning someone to talk to the priest or to give a statement).

Keywords: priests, misbehavior, professional misconduct, Church of Sweden

Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media: Interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter

Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media. Hunt Allcott, Matthew Gentzkow, Chuan Yu. NBER Working Paper No. 25500, January 2019. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25500

Abstract: In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9,540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60 percent. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.

Mature counterfactual reasoning in 4- and 5-year-olds: Given a clear and novel causal structure, preschoolers display adult-like counterfactual reasoning. Not so 3-year-olds.

Mature counterfactual reasoning in 4- and 5-year-olds. Angela Nyhout, Patricia A. Ganea. Cognition, Volume 183, February 2019, Pages 57-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.10.027

Abstract: Counterfactual reasoning is a hallmark of the human imagination. Recently, researchers have argued that children do not display genuine counterfactual reasoning until they can reason about events that are overdetermined and consider the removal of one of multiple causes that lead to the same outcome. This ability has been shown to emerge between 6 and 12 years of age. In 3 experiments, we used an overdetermined physical causation task to investigate preschoolers’ ability to reason counterfactually. In Experiment 1a, preschoolers (N = 96) were presented with a “blicket-detector” machine. Children saw both overdetermined (2 causal blocks on a box) and single-cause trials (1 causal and 1 non-causal block) and were asked what would have happened if one of the two blocks had not been placed on the box. Four-year-olds' performance was above chance on both trial types, and 5-year-olds' performance was at ceiling, whereas 3-year-olds did not perform above chance on any trial types. These findings were replicated in Experiment 1b with 4- and 5-year-olds (N = 40) using more complex question wording. In Experiment 2 (N = 40, 4- and 5-year-olds), we introduced a temporal delay between the placement of the first and second block to test the robustness of children's counterfactual reasoning. Even on this more difficult version of the task, performance was significantly above chance. Given a clear and novel causal structure, preschoolers display adult-like counterfactual reasoning.

A Survey on BDSM-related Activities: BDSM Experience Correlates with Age of First Exposure, Interest Profile, and Role Identity

A Survey on BDSM-related Activities: BDSM Experience Correlates with Age of First Exposure, Interest Profile, and Role Identity. V. Coppens, S. Ten Brink, W. Huys, E. Fransen & M. Morrens. The Journal of Sex Research, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2018.1558437

Abstract: BDSM is an omnibus term covering a spectrum of activities within bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism relationships. To date, BDSM practitioners experience stigma due to a general unfamiliarity with the practice and marginalization of this type of sexual behavior. Destigmatization occurs partly through knowledge expansion and identification with the stigmatized group. In this study within the Belgian population, we aimed to characterize certain aspects of socioeconomic status and specific BDSM preferences of individuals with differing BDSM experience levels. We show that individuals who perform BDSM in a community setting (BDSM clubs, events. BDSM-CP) are generally higher educated, are significantly younger when first becoming aware of their inclination toward kink-oriented sex, and have a more strict BDSM role identity (Dom vs. Sub) than individuals who engage in BDSM-related activities in a private setting (BDSM-PP). This latter group in turn display a more pronounced Dom/Sub identification than individuals who only fantasize about the practice (BDSM-F). Our data indicate BDSM interest is a sexual preference already manifesting at early age, with role identification profiles becoming gradually more pronounced based on the practitioner’s contextual experience.

We are all racist rats. From 2011 – Peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups

From 2011 – Good Fences:The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence. Alex Rutherford, Dion Harmon, Justin Werfel,Shlomiya Bar-Yam, Alexander Gard-Murray, Andreas Gros, and Yaneer Bar-Yam. New England Complex Systems Institute, October 6, 2011. http://necsi.edu/research/social/scienceofpeace.pdf

Abstract: We consider the conditions of peace and violence among ethnic groups, testing a theory designedto predict the locations of violence and interventions that can promote peace. Characterizingthe model’s success in predicting peace requires examples where peace prevails despite diversity. Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This is surprising because of its linguistic and religious diversity that in other parts of the world lead to conflict and violence.Here we analyze how peaceful stability is maintained. Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. Where such boundaries do not appear to be sufficient, we find that specific aspects of the population distribution either guarantee sufficient separation or sufficient mixing to inhibit intergroup violence according to the quantitative theory of conflict. In exactly one region, a porous mountain range does not adequately separate linguistic groups and violent conflict has led to the recent creation of the canton of Jura. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that violence between groups can be inhibited by physical and political boundaries. A similar analysis of the area of the former Yugoslavia shows that during widespread ethnic violence existing political boundaries did not coincide with the boundaries of distinct groups, but peace prevailed in specific areas wherethey did coincide. The success of peace in Switzerland may serve as a model to resolve conflict in other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.

Do Tax Cuts Produce More Einsteins? The Impacts of Financial Incentives vs. Exposure to Innovation on the Supply of Inventors

Do Tax Cuts Produce More Einsteins? The Impacts of Financial Incentives vs. Exposure to Innovation on the Supply of Inventors. Alexander M. Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova, John Van Reenen. NBER Working Paper No. 25493, January 2019. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25493

Many countries provide financial incentives to spur innovation, ranging from tax incentives to research and development grants. In this paper, we study how such financial incentives affect individuals' decisions to pursue careers in innovation. We first present empirical evidence on inventors' career trajectories and income distributions using de-identified data on 1.2 million inventors from patent records linked to tax records in the U.S. We find that the private returns to innovation are extremely skewed – with the top 1% of inventors collecting more than 22% of total inventors' income – and are highly correlated with their social impact, as measured by citations. Inventors tend to have their most impactful innovations around age 40 and their incomes rise rapidly just before they have high-impact patents. We then build a stylized model of inventor career choice that matches these facts as well as recent evidence that childhood exposure to innovation plays a critical role in determining whether individuals become inventors. The model predicts that financial incentives, such as top income tax reductions, have limited potential to increase aggregate innovation because they only affect individuals who are exposed to innovation and have no impact on the decisions of star inventors, who matter most for aggregate innovation. Importantly, these results hold regardless of whether the private returns to innovation are known at the time of career choice. In contrast, increasing exposure to innovation (e.g., through mentorship programs) could have substantial impacts on innovation by drawing individuals who produce high-impact inventions into the innovation pipeline. Although we do not present direct evidence supporting these model-based predictions, our results call for a more careful assessment of the impacts of financial incentives and a greater focus on alternative policies to increase the supply of inventors.

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Why Tyler Cowen is not convinced: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2019/02/do-tax-cuts-produce-more-einsteins.html

Something that most Libertarians already said: "In all, capital markets are more efficient than previously recognized." In some way, we are predictable, likely due to our mental rigidities

Something that most Libertarians already said: "In all, capital markets are more efficient than previously recognized." In some way, we are predictable, likely due to our mental rigidities.

Replicating Anomalies. Kewei Hou Chen Xue Lu Zhang. The Review of Financial Studies, hhy131, https://doi.org/10.1093/rfs/hhy131

Abstract: Most anomalies fail to hold up to currently acceptable standards for empirical finance. With microcaps mitigated via NYSE breakpoints and value-weighted returns, 65% of the 452 anomalies in our extensive data library, including 96% of the trading frictions category, cannot clear the single test hurdle of the absolute t-value of 1.96. Imposing the higher multiple test hurdle of 2.78 at the 5% significance level raises the failure rate to 82%. Even for replicated anomalies, their economic magnitudes are much smaller than originally reported. In all, capital markets are more efficient than previously recognized.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Dynamic Associations Between Cortical Thickness and General Intelligence are Genetically Mediated

The Dynamic Associations Between Cortical Thickness and General Intelligence are Genetically Mediated. J Eric Schmitt  et al. Cerebral Cortex, bhz007, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz007

Abstract: The neural substrates of intelligence represent a fundamental but largely uncharted topic in human developmental neuroscience. Prior neuroimaging studies have identified modest but highly dynamic associations between intelligence and cortical thickness (CT) in childhood and adolescence. In a separate thread of research, quantitative genetic studies have repeatedly demonstrated that most measures of intelligence are highly heritable, as are many brain regions associated with intelligence. In the current study, we integrate these 2 streams of prior work by examining the genetic contributions to CT–intelligence relationships using a genetically informative longitudinal sample of 813 typically developing youth, imaged with high-resolution MRI and assessed with Wechsler Intelligence Scales (IQ). In addition to replicating the phenotypic association between multimodal association cortex and language centers with IQ, we find that CT–IQ covariance is nearly entirely genetically mediated. Moreover, shared genetic factors drive the rapidly evolving landscape of CT–IQ relationships in the developing brain.

Keywords: cortical thickness, genetics, intelligence, MRI, neurodevelopment

Why Do Men Report More Opposite-Sex Sexual Partners Than Women? Analysis of the Gender Discrepancy in a British National Probability Survey. Hint: Need for candid reporting

Why Do Men Report More Opposite-Sex Sexual Partners Than Women? Analysis of the Gender Discrepancy in a British National Probability Survey. Kirstin R. Mitchell et al. The Journal of Sex Research, Volume 56, 2019 - Issue 1. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2018.1481193

Abstract: In a closed population and defined time period, the mean number of opposite-sex partners reported by men and women should be equal. However, in all surveys, men report more partners. This inconsistency is pivotal to debate about the reliability of self-reported sexual behavior. We used data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3), a probability sample survey of the British population, to investigate the extent to which survey sampling, accounting strategies (e.g., estimating versus counting), and (mis)reporting due to social norms might explain the inconsistency. Men reported a mean of 14.14 lifetime partners; women reported 7.12. The gender gap of 7.02 reduced to 5.47 after capping the lifetime partner number at the 99th percentile. In addition, adjusting for counting versus estimation reduced the gender gap to 3.24, and further adjusting for sexual attitudes narrowed it to 2.63. Together, these may account for almost two-thirds of the gender disparity. Sampling explanations (e.g., non-U.K.-resident partners included in counts; sex workers underrepresented) had modest effects. The findings underscore the need for survey methods that facilitate candid reporting and suggest that approaches to encourage counting rather than estimating may be helpful. This study is novel in interrogating a range of potential explanations within the same nationally representative data set.

Weighing outcome vs. intent across societies: How cultural models of mind shape moral reasoning

Weighing outcome vs. intent across societies: How cultural models of mind shape moral reasoning. Rita Anne McNamara et al. Cognition, Volume 182, January 2019, Pages 95-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.09.008

Abstract: Mental state reasoning has been theorized as a core feature of how we navigate our social worlds, and as especially vital to moral reasoning. Judgments of moral wrong-doing and punish-worthiness often hinge upon evaluations of the perpetrator’s mental states. In two studies, we examine how differences in cultural conceptions about how one should think about others’ minds influence the relative importance of intent vs. outcome in moral judgments. We recruit participation from three societies, differing in emphasis on mental state reasoning: Indigenous iTaukei Fijians from Yasawa Island (Yasawans) who normatively avoid mental state inference in favor of focus on relationships and consequences of actions; Indo-Fijians who normatively emphasize relationships but do not avoid mental state inference; and North Americans who emphasize individual autonomy and interpreting others’ behaviors as the direct result of mental states. In study 1, Yasawan participants placed more emphasis on outcome than Indo-Fijians or North Americans by judging accidents more harshly than failed attempts. Study 2 tested whether underlying differences in the salience of mental states drives study 1 effects by inducing Yasawan and North American participants to think about thoughts vs. actions before making moral judgments. When induced to think about thoughts, Yasawan participants shifted to judge failed attempts more harshly than accidents. Results suggest that culturally-transmitted concepts about how to interpret the social world shape patterns of moral judgments, possibly via mental state inference.

Check also The Minds of God(s) and Humans: Differences in Mind Perception in Fiji and North America. Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara. Cognitive Science, https://www.bipartisanalliance.com/2019/01/the-minds-of-gods-and-humans.html

When humans behave like monkeys: Feedback delays and extensive practice increase the efficiency of speeded decisions

When humans behave like monkeys: Feedback delays and extensive practice increase the efficiency of speeded decisions. Nathan J.Evans, Guy E.Hawkins. Cognition, Volume 184, March 2019, Pages 11-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.11.014

Abstract: The study of non-human primates has been foundational in understanding the neural origins of human decision processes, yet the approach rests on the assumption that one can validly extrapolate from the animal to the human. In the context of decision making, this requires constancy across species in physiological and cognitive processes. The former cannot be experimentally validated and therefore remains assumed, and recent findings have called into question the latter: non-human primates become increasingly urgent as the time spent making a decision increases, but humans do not; from a normative perspective, monkeys are making closer-to-optimal decisions than humans. Rather than presuming species differences, here we test an alternative hypothesis: previously overlooked differences in methodological procedures from the two research traditions implicitly reinforced fundamentally different decision strategies across the two species. We show that when humans experience decision contexts matched to those experienced by non-human primates – extensive task practice, or time-based penalties – they display increasing levels of urgency as decision time grows longer, in precisely the same manner as non-human primates. Our findings indicate that previously observed differences in decision strategy between humans and non-human primates are eliminated when the decision environment is more closely matched across species, placing a constraint on the interpretation and mapping of neurophysiological results in non-human primates to humans when there are fundamental differences in the task design.

Models about others are formed through psychological adaptations designed to acquire information from the environment; pornography provides information about mating strategies/perception of promiscuity

How pornography calibrates our perception of women's sexuality. Hilary R Keil. California State Univ. at Fullerton, Master's Thesis, Fall 2018. https://search.proquest.com/openview/36902c3e23bc3779e1c8054316d6dcc4/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Abstract: Models about others are formed through psychological adaptations designed to acquire information from the environment. These adaptations may begin with prior probabilities. Pornography provides information about mating strategies and men’s and women’s sexual behaviors. Information updating allows the individual to adjust according to cues gathered from their environment combined with their previous cue-based beliefs. Given that cue-updating is occurring continuously, in the present study, cognitive and evolutionary psychology approaches were used to understand how pornography consumption affects perceptions of women’s promiscuity and engagement in atypical sexual practices. Participants (N = 617) were asked to complete an online questionnaire assessing their weekly pornography consumption, perceptions of women’s sexuality, and social desirability. Results suggest that pornography consumption influences perceptions of women’s promiscuity and engagement in atypical sexual practices in both men and women. Additionally, men are using more pornography overall than women. Taken together, these results suggest that cue updating from pornography is occurring in both men and women, and perceptions of women’s sexuality is calibrated based on experiencing in the local environment. 

Keywords: Pornography, Women’s Sexuality, Bayesian Development, Cue-Updating

The individual functional connectome is unique and stable over months to years; we don't know if even from utero

The individual functional connectome is unique and stable over months to years. Corey Horien et al. NeuroImage, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.002

Highlights
•    Used 4 longitudinal datasets to generate functional connectivity matrices.
•    Whole-brain matrices are unique and stable across months to years.
•    Medial frontal and frontoparietal networks tended to be both unique and stable.
•    Edges in the frontal and parietal cortices tended to be most discriminative.

Abstract: Functional connectomes computed from fMRI provide a means to characterize individual differences in the patterns of BOLD synchronization across regions of the entire brain. Using four resting-state fMRI datasets with a wide range of ages, we show that individual differences of the functional connectome are stable across 3 months to 1–2 years (and even detectable at above-chance levels across 3 years). Medial frontal and frontoparietal networks appear to be both unique and stable, resulting in high ID rates, as did a combination of these two networks. We conduct analyses demonstrating that these results are not driven by head motion. We also show that edges contributing the most to a successful ID tend to connect nodes in the frontal and parietal cortices, while edges contributing the least tend to connect cross-hemispheric homologs. Our results demonstrate that the functional connectome is stable across years and that high ID rates are not an idiosyncratic aspect of a specific dataset, but rather reflect stable individual differences in the functional connectivity of the brain.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Gossipers who express concern for their targets can preserve their own social desirability while simultaneously transmitting information that harms their target’s reputation

Bless Her Heart! Does apparent concern help women in reputational competition? Tania A. Reynolds. PhD Thesis, Florida State Univ, 2018. https://search.proquest.com/openview/acdd3a0d9a0c54cab0932e2121b09c4a/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Abstract: Research on women’s competition, indirect aggression, and gossip has uncovered a perplexing pattern: women deny their own competitiveness and gossip, but openly acknowledge that of other women. The current investigation proposed one solution to this paradox: women’s unawareness of their competitive and malicious motivations grants a competitive advantage in female intrasexual reputation competition. Gossipers who express concern for their targets can preserve their own social desirability while simultaneously transmitting information that harms their target’s reputation. Two online studies tested this theory by examining the prevalence and efficacy of concern motivations within gossip. Study 1 tested the prediction that women would assert greater concern relative to malicious motivations for gossiping by comparing male and female participants’ perceptions of their own and others’ social conversation motivations. Indeed, compared to men, women endorsed stronger concern motivations and lower reputation-harming motivations when gossiping. Moreover, women were especially likely to assert benevolent intentions when discussing same-sex peers compared to men, suggesting these motivations characterize women’s gossip about same-sex rivals. Study 2 tested the competitive efficacy of ostensible concern motivations. Male and female participants evaluated female gossipers and their targets across three hypothetical gossip scenarios. The framing of the gossiper’s statement was experimentally manipulated such that she delivered her information with concern, with malice, or neutrally. Consistent with predictions, gossip delivered with concern enhanced perceptions of the gossiper’s trustworthiness, interpersonal desirability, and romantic desirability compared to gossip delivered neutrally or maliciously. Taken together, these findings suggest women’s belief in their prosocial motivations for gossiping is a socially advantageous strategy for female intrasexual reputation competition.

Sexual Harassment in the Field of Sexuality Research: Our field has a problem with sexual harassment, and we need to talk about it

Sexual Harassment in the Field of Sexuality Research. Debby Herbenick, Sari M. van Anders et al. Archives of Sexual Behavior, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-1405-x

Introduction

Our field has a problem with sexual harassment, and we need to talk about it. Though sexual harassment is currently at the forefront of discussions taking place within major social movements, professional societies, and disciplines (see, for example, Clancy, Nelson, Rutherford, & Hinde, 2014; Dzau & Johnson, 2018; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018), the discipline of sexuality research has—to this point—been largely absent from these discussions. There are some exceptions, however, with a few sexuality researchers in sociology, psychology, and gender studies among those who have faced or made public accusations or formal reports alleging sexual misconduct or harassment (e.g., Flaherty, 2018; Grollman, 2018; Mondon, 2018). With this Guest Editorial, we aim to begin that discussion, articulating that #TimesUp too in sexuality research, and present a collective united front against sexual harassment in our field and workplaces.

Our goal in this Guest Editorial is to articulate: (1) the scope of the problem of sexual harassment within our fields, especially sexuality research, including its consequences; (2) the gendered basis of sexual harassment; (3) the exacerbation of these experiences for people of color and those in lower positions of power, including students and/or other minoritized social locations; and (4) suggestions toward stopping sexual harassment within sexuality professions, including sexuality research. While sexual harassment can occur between professionals and their clients, patients, and research participants, we will focus here on sexual harassment within research, academic, and professional spaces. In doing so, we draw on our own experiences and those of colleagues who have shared their experiences with us as well (either anonymized/grouped or with their permission). As we all live and (mostly) work in North America, we note the cultural limitations of our perspectives.

Why does decreased likeability not deter adolescent bullying perpetrators? They prefer power and they believe they hardly have any likeability to lose

Why does decreased likeability not deter adolescent bullying perpetrators? Claire F. Garandeau, Tessa A. M. Lansu. Aggresive Behavior, Feb 01 2019, https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21824

Abstract: This study examines why the lower likeability of bullying perpetrators does not deter them from engaging in bullying behavior, by testing three hypotheses: (a) bullying perpetrators are unaware that they are disliked, (b) they value popularity more than they value likeability, (c) they think that they have nothing to lose in terms of likeability, as they believe that their targets and other classmates would dislike them anyway, regardless of their behavior. The first two hypotheses were examined in Study 1 (1,035 Dutch adolescents, M age = 14.15) and the third hypothesis was examined in Study 2 (601 Dutch adolescents, M age = 12.92). Results from regression analyses showed that those higher in bullying were not more likely to overestimate their likeability. However, they were more likely than others to find being popular more important than being liked. Moreover, those higher in bullying were more likely to endorse the belief that the victimized student or the other classmates would have disliked a bullying protagonist (in vignettes of hypothetical bullying incidents) before any bullying started. These findings suggest that adolescent bullying perpetrators may not be deterred by the costs of bullying in terms of likeability, possibly because they do not value likeability that much (Hypothesis 2), and because they believe they hardly have any likeability to lose (Hypothesis 3).

Are highly automated vehicles as useful as dishwashers? Highly automated vehicles have an impact on drivers’ cognitive processes & these should be considered carefully before introducing automation

Jordan Navarro | Marco Hubert (Reviewing editor:) (2019) Are highly automated vehicles as useful as dishwashers?, Cogent Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2019.1575655

Abstract: Due to technological improvements, the vehicle of the future is expected to be autonomous. However, vehicle automation is a matter not only of technology but also of the human behind the wheel. Highly automated vehicles have an impact on drivers’ cognitive processes and these should be considered carefully before introducing automation. It is argued here that automation should not be implemented based solely on what is technologically possible. Instead, human-machine cooperation should be considered and automation adapted accordingly.

Keywords: vehicle automation, human-machine cooperation, autonomous vehicle, function delegation, human supervision, driving assistances

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3.2. Specific insights regarding vehicle automation

The growing interest shown in highly automated vehicles has given rise to a number of experiments conducted to examine human and ergonomic factors, in particular after 2010. A special issue of Human Factors devoted to “Human Factors and Automation in Vehicles” was published in 2012. This contained ten articles intended to contribute to the design of “Highly Automated Vehicles With the Driver in Mind”. The specific findings were consistent with the general psychological insights presented above. Highly automated vehicles tend to slow down drivers' responses and cause difficulties when they are required to take over control from automation (Merat & Lee, 2012). This led to the conduct of several other experiments focusing on the transition between highly automated and manual driving. The difficulties faced by drivers when required to take over control from automation have been confirmed and explained in terms of changes in drivers’ visual exploration of the driving environment (e.g. Merat, Jamson, Lai, Daly, & Carsten, 2014; Navarro, François, & Mars, 2016). These difficulties can be related to vigilance, complacency, automation bias and out-of-the-loop phenomena as described above.

In sum, from the human perspective, monitoring a highly-automated vehicle is a different task from driving manually. The experimental data collected in the specific context of vehicle automation are consistent with the general psychological insights. While an increase in the level of automation translates into improved performances, it does not directly result in a simplification of drivers' tasks. Thus, from a human perspective, it can be said that using a highly automated vehicle is a more complicated task than using a dishwasher. Of course, driving is in itself a more complicated task than washing dishes. However, in its current state, and unlike the case of a dishwasher, vehicle automation requires drivers to undertake an automation supervision task they are not always ideally equipped to perform.

4. Heading toward new research directions

Extensive literature exists on a range of psychological difficulties faced by humans when they have to monitor and/or take over from automation (see Lu, Happee, Cabrall, Kyriakidis, & de Winter, 2016; Navarro, 2018 for a recent reviews of vehicle automation experiments). Given these psychological observations, the whole concept of delegating functions to automation under human supervision is an awkward one. After all, would you be enthusiastic if you had to monitor your dishwasher and/or take over cleaning duties in the case of a malfunction? Would you even think of designing an automation solution of this type? We believe that this imperfect approach to the way functions are delegated to automation is related to a common misunderstanding of all the tools with which we interact (Osiurak, 2014). Even sophisticated tools, such as vehicle automation, tend to be considered for what there are. This approach is flawed because all tool use is dependent on user-specific, limited and temporary needs. Consequently, any automation solution can be diverted from its intended use to better match the user's needs. It is not r, that the imperfect delegation of functions to automation puts humans in difficult situations that give rise to significant problems and safety issues.

Consequently, research into human-machine cooperation should be oriented toward other, lower levels of automation (e.g. warnings, haptic shared control) or higher levels of automation that do not require any human supervision. More generally, vehicle automation should be conceived of and designed with its possible consequences for the driver in mind. In other words, technology (associated with the machine) and psychology (associated with the driver) should be accorded equal importance during the entire automation design process. This type of systemic (human-machine) approach could prevent some of the ironies of automation (Bainbridge, 1983).

The advent of autonomous vehicles also raises new questions. If humans and tools are considered to interfere with one another in a bidirectional way (Gould, 1987), then it is clear that tools shape us, just as we shape them (Hancock, 2007). Consequently, the way humans are defined should also be reconsidered when we consider completely autonomous tools.

People tend to overestimate their romantic partner's intelligence even more than their own, by approx 7 IQ points

People tend to overestimate their romantic partner's intelligence even more than their own. Gilles E.Gignac, MarcinZajenkowski. Intelligence, Volume 73, March–April 2019, Pages 41-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2019.01.004

Highlights
•    Males and females overestimated the IQ of their partners by ≈ 7 IQ points more than the overestimation of their own IQ.
•    Both females (r = 0.30) and males (r = 0.19) predicted their partner's IQ with some degree of accuracy.
•    Degree of IQ compatibility failed to relate to relationship satisfaction significantly.

Abstract: People can estimate their own and their romantic partner's intelligence (IQ) with some level of accuracy, which may facilitate the observation of assortative mating for IQ. However, the degree to which people may overestimate their own (IQ), as well as overestimate their romantic partner's IQ, is less well established. In the current study, we investigated four outstanding issues in this area. First, in a sample of 218 couples, we examined the degree to which people overestimate their own and their partner's IQ, on the basis of comparisons between self-estimated intelligence (SEI) and objectively measured IQ (Advanced Progressive Matrices). Secondly, we evaluated whether assortative mating for intelligence was driven principally by women (the males-compete/females choose model of sexual selection) or both women and men (the mutual mate model of sexual selection). Thirdly, we tested the hypothesis that assortative mating for intelligence may occur for both SEI and objective IQ. Finally, the possibility that degree of intellectual compatibility may relate positively to relationship satisfaction was examined. We found that people overestimated their own IQ (women and men ≈ 30 IQ points) and their partner's IQ (women = 38 IQ points; men = 36 IQ points). Furthermore, both women and men predicted their partner's IQ with some degree of accuracy (women: r = 0.30; men: r = 0.19). However, the numerical difference in the correlations was not found to be significant statistically. Finally, the degree of intellectual compatibility (objectively and subjectively assessed) failed to correlate significantly with relationship satisfaction for both sexes. It would appear that women and men participate in the process of mate selection, with respect to evaluating IQ, consistent with the mutual mate model of sexual selection. However, the personal benefits of intellectual compatibility seem less obvious.

We identify the most likely to be vulnerable to the different but related risks of fake news, echo chambers, or filter bubbles; only a small proportion of Internet users are likely to be at risk across the 7 countries

Dutton, William H. and Fernandez, Laleah, How Susceptible Are Internet Users? (January 16, 2019). Intermedia, Vol 46 No 4 December/January 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3316768

Abstract: Major concerns have been raised over the impact of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles. But how pervasive are these problems? What proportion of Internet users are susceptible to such sources of disinformation? Based on a seven nation comparative survey of Internet users, we identify those most likely to be vulnerable to the different but related risks of fake news, echo chambers, or filter bubbles. Counter to widespread expectations, we find only a small proportion of Internet users are likely to be at risk across these countries. In seeking to identify those Internet users who are vulnerable, statistical tendencies conform with general expectations of older users with less education, and lower incomes being among those most susceptible. However, there is also evidence suggesting that some individuals in nearly all demographic groups can be among the vulnerable – figuratively falling through the cracks. Finding the vulnerable to be limited in scale, but scattered across major demographic categories, we argue against an aggressive awareness campaign targeting the most vulnerable, in favor of nudging all Internet users to be aware of these vulnerabilities and how to avoid them. This article is based on the Quello Search Project based at the Quello Center, Michigan State University, which was supported by a grant from the Google Inc., entitled “The Part Played by Search in Shaping Political Opinion”, which is described online at quello center.

A report of the project findings is available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2960697.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Towards an Archaeology of Pain? Assessing the Evidence from Later Prehistoric Bog Bodies

Towards an Archaeology of Pain? Assessing the Evidence from Later Prehistoric Bog Bodies. Henry P. Chapman, Benjamin R. Gearey. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, https://doi.org/10.1111/ojoa.12165

Summary: This paper highlights the potential for what could be termed an ‘archaeology of pain’, reflecting on the potential significance and role of the infliction, suffering, endurance and observation of pain by individuals in the past. It presents a case study of ‘bog bodies’, human remains recovered from wetland which, due to the anoxic, waterlogged conditions, preserves human flesh and associated evidence, including injuries and cause of death. The central argument is that evidence from pathological investigations of certain later prehistoric bodies provides hitherto neglected information concerning the embodied experience of pain, in particular its duration and intensity, which may be central to the interpretation of these events. This understanding can be framed not only in terms of the experience of pain by the victims, but also in the potential perception of pain and suffering by those inflicting these and potentially by any observers of the final moments of these individuals.


Is NATO Deterrence a Paper Tiger? NATO is too slow of thought, decision, & foot to fight a contemporary war; on the eve of a short war, the US would put together a high-end coalition to do the fighting

Judy Asks: Is NATO Deterrence a Paper Tiger? Judy Dempsey. Carnegie Europe, Jan 31 2019. https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/78254

The same stale judgement of every single day:
Jan Techau. Senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at the German Marshal Fund of the United States
It increasingly seems so. Let’s leave the militarily weak Europeans aside for a moment. For NATO’s deterrence to be credible, only one question really matters: Is the United States fully behind its commitments? This depends on two factors. First, how much of a military footprint does the United States have in the countries it has vowed to defend? Only troops on the ground give real-life meaning to the stipulation that “an attack on one is an attack on all.” Second, how much confidence do the allies have in the U.S. president’s strategic reliability? The commander in chief matters because only he (or she) can commit troops to combat or trigger America’s nuclear arsenal.

The first metric is the smaller problem. America’s footprint in Europe is much smaller than it was twenty years ago. But Washington has recently reinvested in Europe; troop numbers are slightly up. It is the second factor that causes the headache. The current U.S. president has publicly questioned NATO’s usefulness and has had to be talked out of leaving the alliance altogether. Few people are convinced that he would go to war for Europe if need be. This lack of trust in Donald Trump is hugely corrosive for NATO’s credibility. It makes the allies nervous, and it emboldens the adversaries. Should Trump’s unreliability become a full certainty, NATO’s deterrent could soon look like a paper tiger indeed.


The reality:
Julian Lindley-French. Member of the George C. Marshall Centre-Munich Security Conference U.S.-German Loisach Group, senior fellow at the Institute for Statecraft in London, director of Europa Analytica in the Netherlands, Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at the National Defense University in Washington, and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Paper tiger? No, more cardboard elephant. Thomas Schelling said that deterrence is the power to hurt as bargaining and best held in reserve. NATO has become a collective deterrent rather than a collective defender. On the eve of a short but violent war NATO would be the last place the Americans would turn to. Rather, as NATO continued to talk deterrence, Washington would put together a high-end coalition under its command to do the fighting.

NATO is too slow of thought, decision, and foot to fight a contemporary war. The conduct of war will become far faster with new technologies appearing in a battlespace that will stretch across air, sea, land, cyber, space, information, and knowledge. The Russians understand this and have built a thirty-day “wham, bam, thank you Vlad” war machine that would exploit NATO’s slowness of force generation and military mobility. NATO assumes at least thirty days of warning. Adaptation is thus buttressing deterrent value by accelerating NATO’s speed of response and extending its power to hurt.  NATO could fight a short war if it had the warning, or a long war if it was given the chance. Hmmm . . .

Old Dog, New Tricks: Age Differences in Dog Personality Traits, Associations with Human Personality Traits, and Links to Important Outcomes

Chopik, William J., and Jonathan R. Weaver. 2019. “Old Dog, New Tricks: Age Differences in Dog Personality Traits, Associations with Human Personality Traits, and Links to Important Outcomes.” PsyArXiv. February 1. doi:10.31234/osf.io/r3m4f

Abstract: Work examining dog personality is relatively new, so the degree to which dog personality differs by age, predicts important dog outcomes, and is correlated with human personality is unclear. In a sample of 1,681 dogs (Mage = 6.44 years, SD = 3.82; 46.2% Female; 50% purebred) and their owners, older dogs were less active/excitable compared to younger dogs. Aggression toward people, responsiveness to training, and aggression toward other animals was highest among 6 to 8 year old dogs. Dog personality was associated with important dog outcomes—chronic health conditions, biting history, and human-dog relationships. We build on previous research by examining demographic differences in dog personality and associations between dog personality and outcomes for both dogs and humans.

From 2012: Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila

Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila. G. Shohat-Ophir et al. Science Mar 16 2012: Vol. 335, Issue 6074, pp. 1351-1355. DOI: 10.1126/science.1215932

Abstract: The brain’s reward systems reinforce behaviors required for species survival, including sex, food consumption, and social interaction. Drugs of abuse co-opt these neural pathways, which can lead to addiction. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the relationship between natural and drug rewards. In males, mating increased, whereas sexual deprivation reduced, neuropeptide F (NPF) levels. Activation or inhibition of the NPF system in turn reduced or enhanced ethanol preference. These results thus link sexual experience, NPF system activity, and ethanol consumption. Artificial activation of NPF neurons was in itself rewarding and precluded the ability of ethanol to act as a reward. We propose that activity of the NPF–NPF receptor axis represents the state of the fly reward system and modifies behavior accordingly.



Children, especially girls, of gay fathers received significantly lower scores on internalizing (anxiety, depression) & externalizing (aggression, rule-breaking) than children in the comparison sample

Green, R.-J., Rubio, R. J., Rothblum, E. D., Bergman, K., & Katuzny, K. E. (2019). Gay fathers by surrogacy: Prejudice, parenting, and well-being of female and male children. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000325

Abstract: This research focused on behavioral functioning of children conceived via gestational surrogacy and raised by gay fathers. Gay fathers from 68 families with children aged 3–10 years completed the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. Their scores were compared to those from a normative sample of parents matched for parent’s occupation and children’s gender, age, and race/ethnicity. Children of gay fathers received significantly lower scores on internalizing (anxiety, depression) and externalizing (aggression, rule-breaking) than children in the comparison sample. Most notably, daughters of gay fathers had significantly lower internalizing scores than did daughters in the national database. Gay fathers also completed measures of parenting styles, social support, and perceived prejudice. Fathers who reported less authoritarian or permissive parenting, more positive coparenting, and more social support from friends had children with fewer behavior problems. Gay fathers’ reports of family members receiving higher levels of antigay microaggressions were associated with parents’ greater stigma consciousness, more anger/aggression from spouse/partner, and less positive parenting and coparenting. Results are discussed in terms of gay and heterosexual parents’ gender-related socialization of daughters’ internalizing problems and the impact of minority stress on same-sex couples’ parenting.

Facial disfigurement: Viewed significantly negatively in terms of personality (emotional stability, conscientiousness), internal attributes (happiness, intelligence), & social attributes (trustworthiness, popularity)

Jamrozik, A., Oraa Ali, M., Sarwer, D. B., & Chatterjee, A. (2019). More than skin deep: Judgments of individuals with facial disfigurement. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 13(1), 117-129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aca0000147

Abstract: People’s physical appearance can have a profound impact on their social interactions. Faces are often the first thing we notice about people and the basis on which we form our first impressions of them. People with facial disfigurement are discriminated against throughout their lives. Currently, we do not know why this discrimination occurs. In order to develop viable interventions, we must first understand the nature of people’s reactions to disfigurement. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that a “disfigured is bad” stereotype exists, wherein people attribute negative characteristics to individuals with facial disfigurement. People made judgments of individuals before and after they received corrective treatment for their disfigurement. Observers reported lower emotional valence (i.e., more negative emotion), higher arousal, and lower dominance when viewing pretreatment (vs. posttreatment) photographs. Moreover, pictured pretreatment individuals were viewed significantly more negatively in terms of personality (e.g., emotional stability, conscientiousness), internal attributes (e.g., happiness, intelligence), and social attributes (e.g., trustworthiness, popularity). These subjective judgments further reduced to people with disfigurement being regarded as less sociable and happy, less dominant, less emotionally stable, and more as objects of curiosity compared with those with corrected facial disfigurement. Our findings suggest that negative stereotype of people with facial disfigurement may drive discrimination in social, academic, and professional contexts. Knowing what inferences people draw on the basis of disfigurement will make it possible to design interventions to improve the way people with disfigurement are viewed and ultimately treated by others.

Father absence, sociosexual orientation, and same‐sex sexuality in women and men

Father absence, sociosexual orientation, and same‐sex sexuality in women and men. Satoshi Kanazawa. International Journal of Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12569

Abstract: A recent evolutionary theory of female sexual fluidity suggests that women may not have sexual orientations in the same sense that men do, and that women's apparent sexual orientation may instead be a byproduct of their sociosexual orientation. One developmental factor that has consistently been shown to influence sociosexual orientation is father absence in childhood. Consistent with the prediction of the theory, the analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) data show that father absence significantly increases women's, but not men's, same‐sex sexuality in adulthood, whether it is measured by self identity, sexual behaviour, or romantic attraction. Further consistent with the theory, the association between father absence and same‐sex sexuality in women is entirely mediated by their sociosexual orientation.


Challenging anxious cognitions or accepting them? Efficacy of the cognitive elements of cognitive behaviour therapy & acceptance & commitment therapy in the reduction of children’s fear of the dark

Challenging anxious cognitions or accepting them? Exploring the efficacy of the cognitive elements ofcognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy in the reduction of children’s fear of the dark. Ellin Simon et al. International Journal of Psychology, 2019. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12540

Abstract: Anxiety is highly prevalent in pre-adolescent children. Distorted cognitions are characteristic for dysfunctional levelsof anxiety. However, applying cognitive elements in pre-adolescent children cannot be fully ascertained, as it is notuntil adolescence before children can apply logical and abstract reasoning in a sophisticated manner. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) both target distorted cognitions. Whereas CBT encourages children to change the content of negative cognitions by applying cognitive restructuring, ACT stimulates youth to have amore accepting attitude towards these thoughts by applying cognitive defusion. The current study examined the efficacy of applying cognitive elements and compared the cognitive elements of CBT and ACT in pre-adolescent children. Weincluded no behavioural elements to specifically study the developmental appropriateness of the cognitive elementsin this age group. Highly anxious children, aged 8–12 years were randomised to a 30-minute cognitive restructuring(n=21) or cognitive defusion intervention (n=22). Subjective fear of the dark levels, behavioural darkness toleration,and comprehension and fun associated with the interventions were assessed. Both interventions had a significantly positiveimpact on children’s fear of the dark. Cognitive restructuring led to more favourable results on subjective fear than cognitive defusion, no differences were found for darkness toleration.

Keywords: Child anxiety; Cognitive restructuring; Cognitive defusion; Fear of the dark; Pre-adolescence.

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from California's Hospital Sector: A substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from California's Hospital Sector. Mark Duggan, Atul Gupta, Emilie Jackson. NBER Working Paper No. 25488, January 2019, https://www.nber.org/papers/w25488

Abstract: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized the largest expansion of public health insurance in the U.S. since the mid-1960s. We exploit ACA-induced changes in the discontinuity in coverage at age 65 using a regression discontinuity based design to examine effects of the expansion on health insurance coverage, hospital use, and patient health. We then link these changes to effects on hospital finances. We show that a substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs. Despite this offset, the expansion produced a substantial increase in hospital revenue and profitability, with larger gains for government hospitals. On the benefits side, we do not detect significant improvements in patient health, although the expansion led to substantially greater hospital and emergency room use, and a reallocation of care from public to private and better-quality hospitals.

There is no advantage of second language on deliberate reasoning in the absence of time pressure; deliberation was not increased by providing items in a second language

Deliberate reasoning is not affected by language. Martin Jensen Mækelæ, Gerit Pfuhl. PLOS January 31, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0211428

Abstract
Background: Millions of people use a second language every day. Does this have an effect on their decision-making? Are decisions in a second language more deliberate? Two mechanisms have been proposed: reduced emotionality or increased deliberation. Most studies so far used problems where both mechanisms could contribute to a foreign language effect. Here, we aimed to identify whether deliberate reasoning increases for problems that are devoid of any emotional connotation when using a second language or having to switch between native and second language.

Method: We measured deliberate reasoning with items from the cognitive reflection test, ratio bias, a probability matching task, and base rate neglect items. We recruited over 500 participants from Norway and the Netherlands that had English as their second language. Participants were randomly assigned to either the native, switching or second language condition. We measured: number of correctly answered items–deliberate reasoning score, perceived effort, perceived accuracy or confidence, and language proficiency.

Results: Deliberate reasoning was not increased when using a second language or when having to switch between native and second language. All three groups performed equally well. Significant predictors of deliberate reasoning were age, gender, education, perceived effort, and confidence but not the language context. Participants with low English proficiency spent more time reading compared to more fluent speakers.

Conclusion: There is no advantage of second language on deliberate reasoning in the absence of time pressure. Deliberation was not increased by providing items in a second language, but through the willingness to spend cognitive effort and time to read carefully.