Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Many animal species demonstrate a capacity for basic prospection of immediate outcomes; humans can deliberately shape their environment & future capacities; prospection is resource intensive, error prone & entails costs to wellbeing

Prospection and natural selection. T Suddendorf, A Bulley, B Miloyan. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, Volume 24, December 2018, Pages 26-31.

•    Prospection, or thinking about the future, has strong adaptive significance.
•    Many animal species demonstrate a capacity for basic prospection of immediate outcomes.
•    Complex prospection in humans can involve comparison of multiple and remote future possibilities.
•    Humans can deliberately shape their environment and their own future capacities.
•    Yet, prospection is resource intensive, error prone and entails costs to wellbeing.

Abstract: Prospection refers to thinking about the future, a capacity that has become the subject of increasing research in recent years. Here we first distinguish basic prospection, such as associative learning, from more complex prospection commonly observed in humans, such as episodic foresight, the ability to imagine diverse future situations and organize current actions accordingly. We review recent studies on complex prospection in various contexts, such as decision-making, planning, deliberate practice, information gathering, and social coordination. Prospection appears to play many important roles in human survival and reproduction. Foreseeing threats and opportunities before they arise, for instance, drives attempts at avoiding future harm and obtaining future benefits, and recognizing the future utility of a solution turns it into an innovation, motivating refinement and dissemination. Although we do not know about the original contexts in which complex prospection evolved, it is increasingly clear through research on the emergence of these capacities in childhood and on related disorders in various clinical conditions, that limitations in prospection can have profound functional consequences.

Social & Reproductive Success in the US: Results show that education & intelligence had negative relationships with number of children across birth cohorts during most or all of the 20th century; family income has only minor effects

Social and Reproductive Success in the United States: The Roles of Income, Education and Cognition. Gerhard Meisenberg. Mankind Quarterly, Volume 59, No. 3, Mar 2019.

Abstract: Although the relationship between social dominance status and reproductive success is universally positive in those species in which the relationship has been studied, in human societies today the relationship is more often negative. The present study uses detailed information from the General Social Survey in the United States to address this apparent paradox. Results show that education and intelligence had negative relationships with number of children across birth cohorts during most or all of the 20th century. Family income has only minor effects, especially when marital fertility rather than total cohort fertility is considered. The results do not support sociobiological predictions that modern humans turn material resources into reproductive success. Religion, ideology and income are identified as factors that influence the relationship between intelligence and fertility. Results are discussed in the broader context of emerging knowledge in demographics and molecular genetics, especially with respect to the direction of biological and cultural evolution in the modern United States and in modern societies more generally.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Same-sex competitors’ attractiveness influenced women’s, but not men’s, attitudes concerning benevolent sexism & traditional family values; competitors’ income affected men’s attitudes towards wealth redistribution

Can mating market competition shift socio-political attitudes? An experimental test. Francesca Romana Luberti, Khandis R. Blake, Robert C. Brooks. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: Socio-political attitudes, such as preferring progressive or conservative social norms, markedly vary among individuals. Here we investigated whether these attitudes are influenced by the characteristics of the mating market one is engaged in. In two studies, we manipulated the attractiveness or income of same-sex competitors in an individual’s local mating market. In Study 1, a between-subjects design randomly allocated single participants (N = 151 women and 229 men) to experimental conditions where the same-sex peers in their local county were attractive, average-looking, or unattractive, or to a control group. In Study 2, a between-subjects design randomly allocated single participants (N = 173 women and 234 men) to experimental conditions where the same-sex peers in their local county had high incomes, average incomes, or low incomes, or again to a control group. Results showed that same-sex competitors’ attractiveness influenced women’s, but not men’s, attitudes concerning benevolent sexism and traditional family values. Same-sex competitors’ income affected both men’s attitudes towards wealth redistribution, and women’s attitudes towards traditional family values. We interpret these results in light of the costs and benefits of holding specific socio-political attitudes given the degree of romantic competition in the local mating market.

The evolution of innovation and economic complexity: Four-factor model of intelligence, adolescent fertility, population density, and atmospheric cold

The evolution of innovation and economic complexity. Severi Luoto. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: Evolution causes biological diversity through adaptation to environmental conditions. With a dataset comprising 122 nations, I explored ecological and demographic predictors of global variation in innovation and economic complexity. The results show that economic complexity is higher in countries with colder winters (r = .58, p < .00001), an effect mediated almost completely by intelligence. Economic complexity is constrained by population-level adolescent fertility rates (r = −.75, p < .00001), showing a tradeoff between early reproduction and investment into economic development and innovation. Population density is another demographic variable that significantly predicts global variation in economic complexity (r = .27, p < .003). A four-factor model of intelligence, adolescent fertility, population density, and atmospheric cold demands predicts 64% of global variation in economic complexity in 1995 and 72% of the variation in 2016. With the exception of adolescent fertility rate, these results remain robust even after controlling for per capita GDP, population size, and trade distance from Europe. This research sheds light on the ways in which evolutionary processes shape human adaptation to local environments. The results indicate that these adaptive processes occur both at the level of psychological traits (intelligence, innovative capacity) and realised behaviours, indexed by global variation in reproductive timing, innovation, and economic complexity.

Check also Response to Commentaries: Life History Genetics, Fluid Intelligence, and Extended Phenotypes. S Luoto. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, March 2019, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 112–115.

and An Updated Theoretical Framework for Human Sexual Selection: from Ecology, Genetics, and Life History to Extended Phenotypes. Severi Luoto. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology,

Do humans reason about cultural group identities as if they were fixed? Participants must decide the group identity of a hypothetical child who is born to parents from one group, but raised by parents from a different group

Do humans reason about cultural group identities as if they were fixed? Cristina Moya, Richard McElreath, Joseph Henrich. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: In some societies people expect children will inherit social group identities from their birth parents, even in their absence. This belief in intergenerationally inherited and fixed identities is puzzling given the importance of socialization for membership in most cultural groups. We meta-analyse results from over 3000 decisions made by children and adults from different societies in switched-at-birth vignette studies. In these, participants must decide the group identity of a hypothetical child who is born to parents from one group, but raised by parents from a different group. We compare these to studies where people were asked about the species identities of animals in a similar scenario. We find that across development beliefs about species identity beliefs homogenize towards notions of identity being stable, whereas social identity beliefs diversify and tend to move towards beliefs that identities are not fixed at birth. This diversity of beliefs is patterned, with groups marked by status differences being associated with more fixed notions about identity. Importantly, phenotypic differences are not particularly likely to trigger essentialist inferences in children or adults. These patterns suggest that the cognitive mechanisms used for reasoning about human cultural groups are qualitatively different than those used for reasoning about species.

Scary and nasty beasts: Self‐reported fear and disgust of common phobic animals

Scary and nasty beasts: Self‐reported fear and disgust of common phobic animals. Jakub Polák et al. British Journal of Psychology, June 11 2019.

Abstract: Animal phobias are one of the most prevalent mental disorders. We analysed how fear and disgust, two emotions involved in their onset and maintenance, are elicited by common phobic animals. In an online survey, the subjects rated 25 animal images according to elicited fear and disgust. Additionally, they completed four psychometrics, the Fear Survey Schedule II (FSS), Disgust Scale – Revised (DS‐R), Snake Questionnaire (SNAQ), and Spider Questionnaire (SPQ). Based on a redundancy analysis, fear and disgust image ratings could be described by two axes, one reflecting a general negative perception of animals associated with higher FSS and DS‐R scores and the second one describing a specific aversion to snakes and spiders associated with higher SNAQ and SPQ scores. The animals can be separated into five distinct clusters: (1) non‐slimy invertebrates; (2) snakes; (3) mice, rats, and bats; (4) human endo‐ and exoparasites (intestinal helminths and louse); and (5) farm/pet animals. However, only snakes, spiders, and parasites evoke intense fear and disgust in the non‐clinical population. In conclusion, rating animal images according to fear and disgust can be an alternative and reliable method to standard scales. Moreover, tendencies to overgeneralize irrational fears onto other harmless species from the same category can be used for quick animal phobia detection.

Rolf Degen summarizing: Belief in the paranormal was not linked to any reasoning deficits and showed little relationship with personality

Personality, cognition, and morbidity in the understanding of paranormal belief. José M. Pérez Navarro, Xana Martínez Guerra. PsyCh Journal, June 11 2019.

Abstract: A large number of theories about the development and maintenance of paranormal beliefs have been raised in the literature. There is, however, a lack of studies designed to integrate the different perspectives. We reviewed the literature and explored a series of factors in a sample of 180 individuals. Seven variables showed significant correlation indices at α = .01. A regression analysis revealed subjective paranormal experience as the variable that contributed the most to the explanation of paranormal belief, z = .43, 95% confidence interval (CI) [.24, .56]. Need for achievement (z = .31, 95% CI [.11, to .46]), conditional reasoning (z = .10, 95% CI [.09, .28]), and schizotypy (z = .29, 95% CI [.09, .45]) also contributed significantly in the equation. The associations found between the subscales of the Needs Questionnaire and belief in the paranormal support the hipothesis that paranormal belief may serve basic psychological needs. Similarly, the association found in the case of schizotypy suggests that paranormal belief might be held within the context of psychopathology. There was no evidence, however, supporting the hypothesis of a reasoning deficit in believers. It was concluded that, once paranormal beliefs develop, there is an interaction between belief and experience that strongly contributes towards its maintenance.

Wild chimpanzees deprived a leopard of its kill: Implications for the origin of hominin confrontational scavenging

Wild chimpanzees deprived a leopard of its kill: Implications for the origin of hominin confrontational scavenging. Michio Nakamura et al. Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 131, June 2019, Pages 129-138.

Abstract: This study reports the first observed case of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) obtaining animal prey freshly killed by a sympatric leopard (Panthera pardus) and scavenging it with the leopard still nearby. This observation has important implications for the emergence of confrontational scavenging, which may have played a significant role in human evolution. Many scholars agree that eating meat became important during human evolution, and hominins first obtained meat by scavenging. However, it is debatable whether scavenging behavior was “passive” or “confrontational (power).” The latter is more dangerous, as it requires facing the original predator, and it is thus considered to have been important for the evolution of several human traits, including cooperation and language. Chimpanzees do scavenge meat, although rarely, but no previous evidence of confrontational scavenging has hitherto emerged. Thus, it was assumed that they are averse to confrontation with even leopard-sized predators. However, in the observed case the chimpanzees frequently emitted waa barks, which indicated that they were aware of the leopard's presence but they nevertheless continued to eat the scavenged meat. In addition, we compiled and reviewed 49 cases of chimpanzee encounters with animal carcasses in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania in 1980–2017. Chimpanzees scavenged meat in 36.7% of these cases, and tended to eat the meat when it was fresh or if the animal species was usually hunted by chimpanzees. However, no evidence indicated that carcasses were avoided when leopard involvement was likely. These results suggest that chimpanzee-sized hominins could potentially confront and deprive leopard-size carnivores of meat.

Infidelity and Its Associated Factors: A Systematic Review

Haseli A, Shariati M, Nazari AM, et al. Infidelity and Its Associated Factors: A Systematic Review. J Sex Med 2019, June 10 2019.

Background: Infidelity can be facilitated and/or inhibited as a result of interrelations among multilevel contexts. Despite the existence of numerous studies about infidelity, there is no developmental model that considers multilevel contexts of factors associated with infidelity.

Aim: To review published articles addressing factors associated with infidelity and to apply the ecological model to these factors.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and PsychoInfo. Literature search was restricted to articles published in English up to June 2018. All quantitative and full-text studies that addressed associated factors with infidelity were included. This study was conducted following PRISMA guidelines.

Main Outcome Measures: This article reports a review of the literature on the factors associated with infidelity based on the ecological model.

Results: We retrieved 5,159 titles, of which 82 were qualified after the qualitative synthesis. The Ecological Couples Systems Diagram (ECSD) is proposed as a developmental model similar to Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Model. There was an inconsistency between variables of microsystem and infidelity engagement. However, the results of some studies indicated the impact of demographic factors, personality traits, and sexual information on infidelity, considering partner characteristics. Variables belonging to a mesosystem had a more stable association with infidelity than those from other systems. In addition, the review reveals the complexity of infidelity, associated with following factors: 68.3% (n = 56) of the studies were based on microsystem variables, 48.8% (n = 40) used mesosystem variables, 19.5% (n = 16) used exosystem variables, 26.8% (n = 22) used macrosystem variables, 6.1% (n = 5) used chronosystem variables, and 50% (n = 41) included variables from 2 or more levels.

Clinical Implications: The ECSD can be used not only for assessing couple compatibility in premarital counseling, but also for consulting couples who want to have a long-term romantic relationship. As a potential clinical application, therapists can use the ECSD to assess unfaithful clients and their partners, improving the quality of counseling.

Strengths & Limitations: This study reveals different environmental layers of various variables related to infidelity. Determining the effect size of variables associated with infidelity was not possible due to the heterogeneity of infidelity assessment tools and test analysis.

Conclusion: Apparently, incompatibility of interpersonal characteristics is more likely associated with infidelity than incompatibility of intrapersonal characteristics. It is important to consider couple compatibility before starting an exclusive relationship, such as marriage, for individuals who intend to maintain a long-term exclusive romantic relationship.

To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles would take near 2 times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the world's neodymium, 3/4 the world’s lithium & at least 1/2 the world’s copper in 2018

Leading scientists set out resource challenge of meeting net zero emissions in the UK by 2050. National History Museum, Jun 5 2019.

The metal resource needed to make all cars and vans electric by 2050 and all sales to be purely battery electric by 2035. To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles (not including the LGV and HGV fleets), assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation NMC 811 batteries, would take 207,900 tonnes cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate (LCE), at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium, in addition to 2,362,500 tonnes copper. This represents, just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production during 2018. Even ensuring the annual supply of electric vehicles only, from 2035 as pledged, will require the UK to annually import the equivalent of the entire annual cobalt needs of European industry.

The worldwide impact: If this analysis is extrapolated to the currently projected estimate of two billion cars worldwide, based on 2018 figures, annual production would have to increase for neodymium and dysprosium by 70%, copper output would need to more than double and cobalt output would need to increase at least three and a half times for the entire period from now until 2050 to satisfy the demand.

Energy cost of metal production: This choice of vehicle comes with an energy cost too.  Energy costs for cobalt production are estimated at 7000-8000 kWh for every tonne of metal produced and for copper 9000 kWh/t.  The rare-earth energy costs are at least 3350 kWh/t, so for the target of all 31.5 million cars that requires 22.5 TWh of power to produce the new metals for the UK fleet, amounting to 6% of the UK’s current annual electrical usage.  Extrapolated to 2 billion cars worldwide, the energy demand for extracting and processing the metals is almost 4 times the total annual UK electrical output

Energy cost of charging electric cars: There are serious implications for the electrical power generation in the UK needed to recharge these vehicles. Using figures published for current EVs (Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe), driving 252.5 billion miles uses at least 63 TWh of power. This will demand a 20% increase in UK generated electricity.

Challenges of using ‘green energy’ to power electric cars: If wind farms are chosen to generate the power for the projected two billion cars at UK average usage, this requires the equivalent of a further years’ worth of total global copper supply and 10 years’ worth of global neodymium and dysprosium production to build the windfarms.

Solar power is also problematic – it is also resource hungry; all the photovoltaic systems currently on the market are reliant on one or more raw materials classed as “critical” or “near critical” by the EU and/ or US Department of Energy (high purity silicon, indium, tellurium, gallium) because of their natural scarcity or their recovery as minor-by-products of other commodities. With a capacity factor of only ~10%, the UK would require ~72GW of photovoltaic input to fuel the EV fleet; over five times the current installed capacity. If CdTe-type photovoltaic power is used, that would consume over thirty years of current annual tellurium supply.

Both these wind turbine and solar generation options for the added electrical power generation capacity have substantial demands for steel, aluminium, cement and glass.

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility and possible solutions, like opening things up: Consensual non-monogamy works for many people by allowing them to maintain wonderful, close relationships

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility. Posted by Stylist Team for People. Stylist, Jun 10 2019.


But often, incompatibility comes down to a contrast in sexual tastes and appetites – most notably, a mismatch in libidos. Data from Natsal, the British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (one of the broadest and most detailed scientific studies of its kind worldwide) indicates one in four UK couples are imbalanced in their desire for sex.

“It’s common, but it can be devastatingly destructive,” observes psychosexual therapist Aoife Drury. “If the higher-libido individual pushes for sex, the partner with the lower drive can feel anxious or angry, thus losing desire further. The higher-libido individual may then stop initiating sex for fear of rejection or being seen to nag. Intimacy grinds to a halt, creating feelings of resentment or disconnect.”

A survey by dating site eHarmony found that 20% of Brits feel they’re somehow sexually incompatible with their partners. Problems cited include one person being more focused on the physical rather than emotional side of sex and differences in degrees of erotic adventurousness or allure towards a fetish. Yet there are two commonalities running through virtually all incidences.

“Firstly, people expect sex to be unrealistically harmonised in a way nothing else in relationships, or life, is,” says Kate Moyle, resident therapist on BBC Three’s new counselling series Sex On The Couch. “And secondly, perhaps because Brits find sex excruciating to talk about, they may write issues off as inherent, unfixable incompatibility and move on, rather than attempt to address them in any real, practical manner.”

Graham believes this second factor is key. “Natsal’s report showed the strongest predictor of sexual problems, short and long-term, to be a lack of effective communication,” she adds. Learning to communicate and collaborate is the best thing anyone can do for their love life.

But what does that actually look like? If you and your lover decide that trying to increase your sexual rapport is worth a shot, the following advice – while not comprehensive – is better than taking a clueless shot in the dark. Consider it a jumping-off point. It might give you hope that you don’t need to jump ship. Start by viewing sex as something most people work on, rather than something that should just work. “If we see incompatibility as inevitable, we can remove some of the shame and start to think creatively and constructively about it,” suggests Meg-John Barker, co-author of Enjoy Sex: How, When And If You Want To.

Acknowledge the awkward

Therapeutic exercises can feel excruciatingly contrived when you first attempt them. Many have a tree-huggy vibe that makes you cringe. “Recognising how silly and vulnerable you feel out loud helps break the tension, and laughing about it together is bonding,” says psychosexual therapist Sarah Berry. Studiously pretending that embarrassment doesn’t exist is a form of performance, when your real goal should be to share authentic, honest experiences.

Darrell, 31, was suffering from erectile dysfunction (along with 11.7 million other men in the UK, according to online medical service Zava), in his case caused by anxiety, so he and his partner Sheena, also 31, tried rebooting their strained sex life using the ‘sensate focus’ method.

“You start by touching each other while still fully clothed, avoiding erogenous zones, then gradually build up intensity over a series of weeks, to help you tune into sensations and emotions,” he explains. “We both felt like dicks, but by week four, my dick worked. Removing expectations I had to get it up helped, but so too did giggling at the ridiculousness. For months our bedroom had been the site of tearful rows.”

Make peace with the situation

Certain couples do find that they never erotically align, so some decide to draw a line under their relationship. “I grafted at sex for eight years with a man I loved but whose natural drive was far lower and plainer than mine,” says Kathryn, 32. “We both tried so hard, but I hit a stage where whatever I was learning by trying to meet him in the middle was outweighed by what I lost by leaving my satisfaction on the sidelines.”

Yet even if sexual incompatibility remains, ‘sadly stay’ or ‘go, gutted’ are not the only options. “I challenge that binary,” says Barker. “You might consider opening things up. Consensual non-monogamy works for many people by allowing them to maintain wonderful, close relationships while having their sexual needs met elsewhere.

But there are also many folks who simply decide sex isn’t important to them after all, especially over time. I undertook a study into ‘enduring love’ with Jacqui Gabb, professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University, which found that many, if not most, long-term couples had sincerely happy relationships that didn’t feature much sex together.”

For some ‘incompatible’ pairings, concluding that sex isn’t the be-all and end-all is the key to a happy ending. But for others, taking sex seriously enough to wholeheartedly commit to discovering and nurturing the parts where their individual Venn diagrams of sexuality overlap – that’s what prevents it being over.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Evolutionary mismatch: A physical characteristic once tied to antisocial tendencies in ancestral environments is—in modern environments—not predictive of such behaviors

A Case of Evolutionary Mismatch? Why Facial Width-to-Height Ratio May Not Predict Behavioral Tendencies. Dawei Wang et al. Psychological Science, June 10, 2019.

Abstract: This study contributes to the growing literature linking physical characteristics and behavioral tendencies by advancing the current debate on whether a person’s facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) predicts a variety of antisocial tendencies. Specifically, our large-scale study avoided the social-desirability bias found in self-reports of behavioral tendencies by capturing survey data not only from more than 1,000 business executives but also from evaluators who reported knowing the focal individuals well. With this improved research design, and after conducting a variety of analyses, we found very little evidence of fWHR predicting antisocial tendencies. In light of prior research linking fWHR to social perceptions of evaluators, our results are suggestive of an evolutionary mismatch, whereby a physical characteristic once tied to antisocial tendencies in ancestral environments is—in modern environments—not predictive of such behaviors but instead predictive of biased perceptions.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, facial features, physical appearance, social behavior

Pathogen sensitivity shapes preference for romantic and sexual partner health

Pathogen sensitivity shapes preference for romantic and sexual partner health. Marjorie L. Prokosch, James B. Moran, Damian R. Murray. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: Ecological contexts have long influenced romantic and sexual partner choice, such that specific partner traits may be especially valued in contexts where they help to mitigate or solve a salient adaptive problem. The current research examined how the adaptive problem posed by pathogens shapes people’s preference for health when selecting mates. We hypothesized that people who report high vulnerability (infectability, sickness history) and sensitivity to pathogens (germ aversion, disgust, current pathogen threat) would emphasize health when selecting potential romantic and sexual partners. Participants (N = 365) reported their standards and desire for 9 different partner traits (including health) when choosing a mate, followed by self-report measures of pathogen vulnerability and sensitivity. While results did not support the notion that vulnerability to infection is related to increased desire for healthy partners, they did reveal a positive relationship between pathogen sensitivity and partner health. Further, there was a main effect of pathogen sensitivity, such that highly sensitive people were exacting in their preferences for a variety of partner traits beyond health. Implications of these results will be discussed.

2016 Election: Continued positive associations between conservatism, negatively-biased credulity, and conspiracism despite changes to the power structure in conservatives’ favor

Samore, Theodore, Daniel M Fessler, Adam M Sparks, and Colin Holbrook. 2019. “Electoral Fortunes Reverse, Mindsets Do Not: Political Orientation, Credulity, and Conspiracy Mentality in the Trump Era.” Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019. Version May 30,

Conservatives and liberals have previously been shown to differ in the propensity to view socially-transmitted information about hazards as more plausible than that concerning benefits. Given differences between conservatives and liberals in threat sensitivity and dangerous-world beliefs, correlations between political orientation and negatively-biased credulity may thus reflect endogenous mindsets. Alternatively, such results may owe to the political hierarchy at the time of previous research, as the tendency to see dark forces at work is thought to be greater among those who are out of political power. Adjudicating between these accounts can inform how societies respond to the challenge of alarmist disinformation campaigns. We exploit the consequences of the 2016 U.S. elections to test these competing explanations of differences in negatively-biased credulity and conspiracism as a function of political orientation. Two studies of Americans reveal continued positive associations between conservatism, negatively-biased credulity, and conspiracism despite changes to the power structure in conservatives’ favor.

We present chimpanzees with a realistic injury: a familiar human experimenter with a prosthetic wound & artificial running blood; they inspect others’ injuries & become aroused by seeing injuries even without observing behavioral cues

Spontaneous attention and psycho-physiological responses to others’ injury in chimpanzees. Yutaro Sato, Satoshi Hirata, Fumihiro Kano. Animal Cognition, June 10 2019.

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that humans experience negative emotions when seeing contextual cues of others’ pain, such as injury (i.e., empathic pain), even without observing behavioral expressions of distress. However, this phenomenon has not been examined in nonhuman primates. We tested six chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) to experimentally examine their reactions to others’ injury. First, we measured viewing responses using eye-tracking. Chimpanzees spontaneously attended to injured conspecifics more than non-injured conspecifics, but did not do so in a control condition in which images of injuries were scrambled while maintaining color information. Chimpanzees did not avoid viewing injuries at any point during stimulus presentation. Second, we used thermal imaging to investigate chimpanzees’ physiological responses to others’ injury. Previous studies reported that reduced nasal temperature is a characteristic of arousal, particularly arousal associated with negative valence. We presented chimpanzees with a realistic injury: a familiar human experimenter with a prosthetic wound and artificial running blood. Chimpanzees exhibited a greater nasal temperature reduction in response to injury compared with the control stimulus. Finally, chimpanzees were presented with a familiar experimenter who stabbed their (fake) thumb with a needle, with no running blood, a situation that may be more challenging in terms of understanding the cause of distress. Chimpanzees did not physiologically distinguish this condition from the control condition. These results suggest that chimpanzees inspect others’ injuries and become aroused by seeing injuries even without observing behavioral cues, but have difficulty doing so without explicit (or familiar) cues (i.e., open wound and blood).

Keywords: Pan troglodytes Injury Pain Attention Skin temperature Emotion

These results do not corroborate the assumption of a strong link between video gaming and body mass as respective associations are small and primarily observed among adults

Exploring the myth of the chubby gamer: A meta-analysis of studies on sedentary video gaming and body mass. Caroline Marker, Timo Gnambs, Markus Appel. Social Science & Medicine, June 9 2019.

•    Higher video gaming was positively associated with higher body mass.
•    The association was small in size, rho = .09, 95% CI [0.03, 0.14].
•    A significant link was found for adults but not for children or for adolescents.
•    We identified a small indirect effect for physical activity as a mediator.

Rationale: High body mass and obesity are frequently linked to the use of sedentary media, like television (TV) or non-active video games. Empirical evidence regarding video gaming, however, has been mixed, and theoretical considerations explaining a relationship between general screen time and body mass may not generalize to non-active video gaming.

Objective: The current meta-analysis had two main goals. First, we wanted to provide an estimate of the average effect size of the relationship between sedentary video gaming and body mass. In doing so we acknowledged several context variables to gauge the stability of the average effect. Second, to provide additional evidence on processes, we tested the displacement effect of physical activity by video gaming time with the help of a meta-analytic structural equation model (MASEM).

Method: Published and unpublished studies were identified through keyword searches in different databases and references in relevant reports were inspected for further studies. We present a random-effects, three-level meta-analysis based on 20 studies (total N = 38,097) with 32 effect sizes.

Results: The analyses revealed a small positive relationship between non-active video game use and body mass,..., 95% CI [0.03, 0.14], indicating that they shared less than 1% in variance. The studies showed significant heterogeneity, Q (31) = 593.03, p < .001, I2 = 95.13. Moderator analyses revealed that the relationship was more pronounced for adults, , 95% CI [0.04, 0.40], as compared to adolescents, , 95% CI [-0.21, 0.23], or children, ..., 95% CI [-0.07, 0.25]. MASEM found little evidence for a displacement of physical activity through time spent on video gaming.

Conclusion: These results do not corroborate the assumption of a strong link between video gaming and body mass as respective associations are small and primarily observed among adults.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

University research has required additional integration & transformation to become economically useful; no denying of contributions, but large corporate labs may have distinct capabilities which have proved to be difficult to replace

The changing structure of American innovation: Some cautionary remarks for economic growth. Ashish Arora, Sharon Belenzon, Andrea Patacconi, Jungkyu Suh. NBER Working Paper No. 25893, May 22, 2019.

Abstract: A defining feature of modern economic growth is the systematic application of science to advancetechnology. However, despite sustained progress in scientific knowledge, recent productivity growth in the U.S. has been disappointing. We review major changes in the American innovation ecosystem over the past century. The past three decades have been marked by a growing division of labor between universities focusing on research and large corporations focusing ondevelopment. Knowledge produced by universities is not often in a form that can be readily digested and turned into new goods and services. Small firms and university technology transfer offices cannot fully substitute for corporate research, which had integrated multiple disciplinesat the scale required to solve significant technical problems. Therefore, whereas the division ofinnovative labor may have raised the volume of science by universities, it has also slowed, at leastfor a period of time, the transformation of that knowledge into novel products and processes.

In this chapter, we suggest that this division of innovative labor has not, perhaps, lived up to its promise. The translation of scientific knowledge generated in universities to productivity enhancing technical progress has proved to be more difficult to accomplish in practice than expected. Spinoffs, startups, and university licensing offices have not fully filled the gap left by the decline of the corporate lab. Corporate research has a number of characteristics that make it very valuable for science-based innovation and growth. Large corporations have access to significant resources, can more easily integrate multiple knowledge streams, and direct their research toward solving specific practical problems, which makes it more likely for them to produce commercial applications. University research has tended to be curiosity-driven rather than mission-focused. It has favored insight rather than solutions to specific problems, and partly as a consequence, university research has required additional integration and transformation to become economically useful. This is not to deny the important contributions that universities and small firms make to American innovation. Rather, our point is that large corporate labs may have distinct capabilities which have proved to be difficult to replace.

‘I see you sharing, thus I share with you’: indirect reciprocity in toddlers (18-24 mos.) but not infants (6 mos.)

‘I see you sharing, thus I share with you’: indirect reciprocity in toddlers but not infants. Elena Nava, Emanuela Croci & Chiara Turati. Palgrave Communications 5, Article number: 4 (2019).

Abstract: Human societies are organised around cooperative interactions, the origins and development of which have become a timely topic. In this study, we investigated the development of indirect reciprocity in 18–24-month-old toddlers, and infants aged 6 months, on a two-phase sharing task with non-familiar individuals. In the first phase, we observed whether infants and toddlers differentiated and manifested a preference toward an individual altruistically sharing or acting selfishly. In the second phase, infants and toddlers interacted with the same prosocial and antisocial individuals seen in the first phase, and we observed whether they were willing to share with one of the two. Indirect reciprocity was assessed as the match between the preferences for the prosocial individual in phase one, and the first-person sharing in the second phase. Evidence showed that toddlers, but not infants, indirectly reciprocated the prosocial individual, suggesting that understanding of such a complex behaviour as indirect reciprocity may require prolonged experience in order to emerge.

Human societies are organised around cooperative interactions, the origins and development of which have become a timely topic. In this study, we investigated the development of indirect reciprocity in 18–24-month-old toddlers, and infants aged 6 months, on a two-phase sharing task with non-familiar individuals. In the first phase, we observed whether infants and toddlers differentiated and manifested a preference toward an individual altruistically sharing or acting selfishly. In the second phase, infants and toddlers interacted with the same prosocial and antisocial individuals seen in the first phase, and we observed whether they were willing to share with one of the two. Indirect reciprocity was assessed as the match between the preferences for the prosocial individual in phase one, and the first-person sharing in the second phase. Evidence showed that toddlers, but not infants, indirectly reciprocated the prosocial individual, suggesting that understanding of such a complex behaviour as indirect reciprocity may require prolonged experience in order to emerge.

Can events be accurately described as historic at the time they are happening?

Predicting history. Joseph Risi, Amit Sharma, Rohan Shah, Matthew Connelly & Duncan J. Watts. Nature Human Behaviour (2019). June 3 2019.

Abstract: Can events be accurately described as historic at the time they are happening? Claims of this sort are in effect predictions about the evaluations of future historians; that is, that they will regard the events in question as significant. Here we provide empirical evidence in support of earlier philosophical arguments1 that such claims are likely to be spurious and that, conversely, many events that will one day be viewed as historic attract little attention at the time. We introduce a conceptual and methodological framework for applying machine learning prediction models to large corpora of digitized historical archives. We find that although such models can correctly identify some historically important documents, they tend to overpredict historical significance while also failing to identify many documents that will later be deemed important, where both types of error increase monotonically with the number of documents under consideration. On balance, we conclude that historical significance is extremely difficult to predict, consistent with other recent work on intrinsic limits to predictability in complex social systems2,3. However, the results also indicate the feasibility of developing ‘artificial archivists’ to identify potentially historic documents in very large digital corpora.

Individuals in committed relationahips with a high position engaged in all types of online sexual activity more frequently; perceived position and sense of power significantly predicted OSAs

The influence of power on online sexual activities among Chinese men and women in committed relationships. Guangju Wen, Lijun Zheng. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, 15 October 2019, Pages 88-93.

•    Individuals with a high position engaged in all types of OSA more frequently.
•    Perceived position and sense of power significantly predicted OSA.
•    Attitude toward infidelity mediated the relationship between power and OSA.

Abstract: Power has been empirically demonstrated to influence infidelity. This study investigated the influence of power on online sexual activity (OSA), as a form of online infidelity, among Chinese men and women in committed relationships. We also explored the potential mediating effect of attitude toward infidelity on the relationship between power and OSA. We hypothesized that powerful individuals would engage in OSA more frequently than would less powerful individuals. Participants (N = 425) completed questionnaires assessing their OSA experience within the past 12 months, as well as their own sense of power and their attitude toward infidelity. The OSAs were categorized as viewing sexually explicit material, sexual partner seeking, cybersex, and flirting. Three aspects of power were measured: position, perceived power, and sense of power. The results showed that individuals with higher positions engaged in all types of OSA more frequently than did individuals with lower positions. Power, a latent variable comprising perceived power and sense of power, also significantly predicted OSA, while attitude toward infidelity played a mediating role in this relationship. The findings demonstrate a common mechanism underlying the effect of power on both offline and online infidelity.

Compared to the participants lower in dark traits, those with higher narcissism & boldness reported higher sexual motivation, sexual self-esteem & sexual assertiveness & lower negative emotions in sex

The Dark Triad and the quality of sexual life. Irena Pilch, Klaudia Smolorz. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, 15 October 2019, Pages 78-82.

Abstract: This study investigated sexual functioning with respect to differences in the Dark Triad traits in a large community sample (N = 1116). The participants completed an online survey examining dark traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy domains: boldness, meanness and disinhibition) and measures of sexual functioning. The Dark Triad traits were positively associated with sexual preoccupation in both sexes. Compared to the participants lower in dark traits, those with higher narcissism and boldness reported higher sexual motivation, sexual self-esteem and sexual assertiveness and lower negative emotions in the sexual context, which can be interpreted as higher quality of their sexual experience. In turn, those higher in Machiavellianism and disinhibition reported higher sexual fear and anxiety; women additionally showed lower sexual self-esteem and/or sexual assertiveness. Boldness was the only dark trait positively related to sexual satisfaction, especially in men.

Women who faked orgasm in order to elevate their own sexual arousal had greater orgasm consistency; opposite for women who faked orgasm out of fear or insecurity

Motivations for faking orgasm and orgasm consistency among young adult women. Michael D. Barnett et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 149, 15 October 2019, Pages 83-87.

Abstract: Women fake orgasm for partner-focused reasons and self-focused reasons, the latter of which include elevating their own sexual arousal. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between motivations for faking orgasm and orgasm consistency within the sexual activities of receiving oral sex and sexual intercourse among young adult women (N = 998). For both receiving oral sex and sexual intercourse, women who faked orgasm in order to elevate their own sexual arousal had greater orgasm consistency, whereas women who faked orgasm out of fear or insecurity had lower orgasm consistency. Overall, the results suggest that self-focused motivations for faking orgasm – particularly elevating arousal – are more closely associated with orgasm consistency than partner-focused motivations for faking orgasm.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Boys with violent attitudes & behaviours are mostly preferred for hooking up, & boys with non-violent traits are mostly preferred for stable relationships

Girls’ perceptions of boys with violent attitudes and behaviours, and of sexual attraction. Lidia Puigvert, Loraine Gelsthorpe, Marta Soler-Gallart & Ramon Flecha. Palgrave Communications 5, Article number: 56 (2019). May 28 2019.

Abstract: Violence against women is a reality that is still present in Europe and a serious public health threat worldwide. Fortunately, investment is being made to raise awarness at the national and EU levels and among diverse publics. However, more research is needed in order to better explain its underlying factors, and thus identify effective actions that could contribute to preventing young girls and women from becoming victims. Drawing on a theoretical approach to the preventive socialization of gender violence, in this study we report data from the quasi-experimental research project ‘Free Teen Desire’ (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant, 2015–2016, No 659299). Through a survey conducted on 100 female adolescents (aged 13–16) in different European secondary schools (in England, Spain, Cyprus and Finland), we analysed their pattern of attraction for both ‘hooking up’ and stable relationships towards boys with either violent attitudes and behaviour or boys with non-violent behaviour, what would be linked to gender violence victimization at a later stage in their lives. Our findings suggest that in the different European secondary schools studied, a similar pattern of attraction is recognized by female participants: although non-violent boys are highly preferred to those with a violent profile, we observed that boys with violent attitudes and behaviours are mostly preferred for hooking up, and boys with non-violent traits are mostly preferred for stable relationships. In addition to the novelty of providing quantitative data on these links (non-violent/stable relationships; violent/hook-ups) in the case of adolescents, the findings regarding the pattern of attraction towards boys with violent traits for sporadic relationships are in line with previous extensive qualitative research. This body of research marks the existence of a coercive dominant discourse that associates attraction with violence and influences the socialization processes of many girls during their sexual-affective relationships’ awakening, which has been shown to constitute a risk factor for gender violence victimization.


In 2013, the World Health Organization, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council published a report on ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’. The report constituted the first global systematic review and synthesis of scientific data on two forms of violence against women: violence by an intimate partner (intimate partner violence) and sexual violence by someone other than a partner. It reveals that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives; almost a third of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence committed by their intimate partner. Beyond this, at the global level, 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners, and women who have suffered physical or sexual abuse by their partners suffer from serious health problems at a later stage (WHO, 2014).

Although resources have been invested in programmes and campaigns by European institutions, and legislation has been passed in the EU in order to pressure member states to act upon the issue of gender violence, figures reveal that there has been little change in practice. In this regard, in 2014, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a report called the ‘Violence against women: an EU-wide survey’ (FRA, 2014). This report gathered data from the 28 European member states on experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including intimate partner violence (domestic violence) and sexual harassment. The FRA declared that violence and abuse are affecting the lives of European women but that this situation is being systematically under-reported to the authorities. Data collected in the survey indicates that an estimated 13 million women in the EU had experienced physical violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews, and an estimated 3.7 million women in the EU had experienced sexual violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interview. Regarding minors, FRA figures revealed that one in three girls and young women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by the age of 15 years old and that out of all women who had a (current or previous) partner, 22% had experienced physical and/or sexual violence committed by a partner since the age of 15. Regarding non-partner violence, one in five women had experienced physical violence committed by someone other than their partner since the age of 15.

As observed, violence against women is a reality that is still present in Europe and a serious public health threat worldwide, which fortunately is being addressed more and more with the aim of tackling its multiple manifestations, from the domestic sphere to the trafficking of human beings, considering its gendered dimension (Limoncelli, 2017). However, more research is needed in order to inform two central socio-legal debates related to the prevention and tackling of gender violence: on the one hand, how to unveil effective actions that prevent girls and young women from falling in the coercive dominant discourse that fosters attraction towards violence (Puigvert, 2014; Racionero-Plaza et al., 2018), and on the other hand, to contribute to sensitizing the penal systems in the EU to gender differences (Burman and Gelsthorpe, 2017; Gelsthorpe, 2017) while providing insights on how to advance legislation of consent and, specifically, on the affirmative ‘yes’ (Vidu and Tomás-Martínez, 2019). In this sense, an in-depth analysis of this complex problem should help us to better recognize which of the risk factors already identified in the literature are the ones which are more prominent in perpetuating the cycle of the violent victimization of youth.

A coercive dominant discourse: attraction to violence

Research on risk factors related to gender violence conducted from a preventive socialization approach has identified that there is a coercive dominant discourse in which people with violent attitudes and behaviours are socially portrayed as attractive and exciting. On the other hand, people and relationships with non-violent attitudes and behaviours are portrayed as less exciting (Gómez, 2015; Soler-Gallart, 2017). Accordingly, due to imbalanced power relationships between men and women, this coercive dominant discourse (e.g., through TV, teen magazines, social networks, popular media, among other things) influences many girls’ and women’s socialization into linking attractiveness to people with violent attitudes and behaviours.

Different qualitative investigations have analysed the impact of this coercive dominant discourse. In this regard, research on the ‘Impact of communicative acts and new masculinities’ (Soler-Gallart, 2008–2011) conducted with adolescents showed how some communicative acts (those acts that include not only speech acts but also other types of communication) reinforced hegemonic masculinities, which are the ones linked to dominant and violent attitudes and behaviours. However, other communicative acts, based on dialogic interactions, contribute to better recognizing new masculinities, which are represented by boys who reject violence while maintaining desirability. Oliver (2010–2012) directed a research project in order to deepen our understanding of what has been defined by Flecha and Puigvert as the ‘mirage of upward mobility’, the mistaken perception of some girls and young women who believe that having a sexual-affective relationship with boys/men who respond to the hegemonic model of masculinity (Connell, 2012) will lead to an increase in their status and attractiveness. Nonetheless, research has revealed that in these cases, instead of increasing the girls’ or young women’s status or attractiveness, it decreases those qualities (Tellado et al., 2014). In turn, girls who fall for the mirage of upward mobility more easily identify when other girls go through this mirage than when it affects themselves (Puigvert, 2015–2016).

The Free_Teens_Desire project (2015–2016), in which the present study is framed, also investigated to what extent dialogue situations based on a ‘language of desire’ instead of on a ‘language of ethics’ can question adolescent girls’ desires that link attractiveness to violent behaviours, gathering for the first time quantitative data on this link (Puigvert, 2015–2016). The language of ethics is often used to educate children in a non-sexist way, in both home and school contexts (Rios-González et al., 2018). Parents and teachers thus talk about what ‘is good’ or what ‘should be done’, using cognitive schemata to assess sexual-affective lives that are grounded in ethics. In the case that is under examination here, the employment of a ‘language of ethics’ when talking about men with violent behaviour and attitudes would imply that adults are saying something such as ‘that boy is not convenient for you’, ‘he is a bad boy’ or ‘he has inappropriate behaviour’. Dialogues using the language of ethics are sometimes seen by adolescents as boring, unattractive or ‘moralistic’. In contrast, a ‘language of desire’ predominates among adolescents’ dialogues; this language is also used by media, in social networks and in those contexts which adolescents consider attractive. The language of desire is not exerted within the realm of ethics, but within the realm of aesthetics, taking into account adolescents’ desires and likes; as a result, this triggers emotions and actions. The disassociation between both types of languages and the ‘language of desire’ missing from many gender violence campaigns prevents them from being effective. In not using the language which adolescents and the media tend to use, the campaigns do not challenge the dominant model of socialization and the association between violence and attraction that this imposes (Flecha and Puigvert, 2010).

Building upon the findings of research studies on the preventive socialization approach, three different masculinity models have been recognized and accordingly theorized (Flecha et al., 2013). These are considered as ideal types in a Weberian way, identified in order for us to be able to develop social theory. First, the Dominant Traditional Masculinities (DTM) is the model represented by those men who embrace the values of the patriarchal society and consider themselves to be the ones who ‘know about sex’, and they are sometimes linked with violent attitudes. Second, the Oppressed Traditional Masculinities (OTM), the model which, drawing from a perspective merely limited to the language of ethics, is represented by those men who hold egalitarian values but are considered ‘not sexy’. In this second model, the capacity to increase attraction and be desired has not yet been transformed, so they are not an alternative to gender violence, as they do not challenge the values embodied by the DTM. Radically opposed to OTM and DTM are the New Alternative Masculinities, a model situated within the realm of language of desire, represented by men who oppose violent attitudes and behaviours while also being considered sexy.

When is the risk taken? Hook-ups vs. stable relationships with men with violent attitudes and behaviours

Research in the field of psychology has also studied how, under certain conditions, aggressive men and those men considered more masculine are preferred to other men. Giebel and colleagues (2013) conducted a study in which they analysed whether appetitive aggression in men serves as an additional signal for a favoured partner choice. The authors defined appetitive aggression as ‘the intrinsic motivation to act violently even when not being threatened’ (p. 248). Testing participating women’s responses in relation to different descriptions regarding a soldier’s experience after returning from war, they observed that the preference for the ‘warrior’ was higher for women in their fertile window of the menstrual cycle and for short-term relationships. Accordingly, their findings reveal that women preferred a soldier higher in appetitive aggression as a short-term mate but not as a partner in a long-term relationship.

In another research study, Giebel et al. (2015) investigated personality traits and to what extent these traits predict the desire to choose a dominant partner. The authors observed that those individuals who declared wanting to avoid boredom and looked for exciting social activities have a stronger desire for a dominant partner. According to this study, those perceived as dominant are considered more interesting, attractive and appealing for people with higher boredom susceptibility. Additionally, people who like new and exciting social activities such as parties, social drinking and casual sex also prefer a dominant partner. In a similar vein to this investigation, Houser et al. (2015) observed that dating preferences were positively correlated with popularity, social preference and overt and relational aggression. Popular and overtly aggressive girls were seen as desirable dating partners by their male peers, and relational aggression was linked with dating popularity for both boys and girls.
On dating violence in adolescence and young adulthood

Participants in current debates on increasing rates of violence among young people agree that some specific types of experience, such as adolescents’ experience of violence during intimate partner relationships, including former or present long-term partners and dating violence (violence occurred in sporadic relationships or hook-ups), are a growing problem and an increasing concern (Erickson et al., 2010; Bramsen et al., 2012; Leen et al., 2013). Dating violence perpetration and victimization is of major relevance, especially considering the influence that it may have on future intimate partner violence and, as highlighted by Theobald and colleagues (2016), the burden of coping with violence from one generation to the next (p. 225).

Within the field of criminology, many researchers are advancing knowledge about the risk factors that may lead to dating violence. In this regard, Rebellon and Manasse (2004) investigated the association between delinquency and other risk-taking behaviours with dating behaviour among adolescents, showing that delinquency serves to increase romantic involvement. According to their results, risk-taking adolescents attract the romantic interest of others, and such attention may provide indirect reinforcement for delinquency among both male and female adolescents. In a different study about risk factors for first time sexual assault, Bramsen et al. revealed that the 6-month period following the 15th birthday is characterized by a high risk for initial sexual victimization by peers (Bramsen et al., 2012, p. 524). Authors identified two elements that predicted initial adolescent peer-on-peer sexual victimization (APSV): first, the number of sexual partners, and second, sexual risk behaviours that place girls in close association or proximity to potential offenders.

At the core of identifying these violent situations lies the idea suggested by some authors, that victimization and revictimization are either caused by an impaired ability to recognize potentially threatening situations (Bramsen et al., 2011; Messman-Moore and Brown, 2006) or are a function of how youths perceive common dating risk situations that may place them at risk not only of suffering dating violence but also a variety of other problematic behaviours (Helm et al., 2015). In this line, it has also been suggested that among those adolescents with high acceptance of dating aggression, peer aggression and delinquency significantly predicted recurrent aggression in a new relationship (Williams et al., 2008).

Research has also found that some adolescents tend to maintain violent dating relationships that become chronic, and some teens engage in multiple violent relationships in which the severity of violence increases from the first to subsequent relationships (Burke Draucker et al., 2012). There is evidence that intimate partner violence and violence in hook-ups is widespread among adolescents and young adults and leads to a life trajectory that includes violence, either as victims or perpetrators (Bramsen et al., 2011; Burke Draucker et al., 2012; Exner-Cortens et al. 2013; Lundgren and Amin, 2015). As mentioned above, peer influences and attitudes towards violence (e.g., acceptance of rape myths, tolerance of violence, and justification of using violence) appear to be the most extensively evidenced risk factors for dating violence perpetration (Bramsen et al., 2011; Tapp and Moore, 2016).

All in all, the present article draws, on the one hand, on classic works of feminist authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft (1972) who in the 18th century, advocated for the rights of women to receive the education needed to realize their full faculties and rights on equal footing with men. On the other hand, it draws on the large amount of current literature on associated risk factors for violence perpetration and victimization. This work adds to these bodies of literature by introducing quantitative data on the female adolescents’ pattern of attraction towards either boys with violent attitudes and behaviours or boys with non-violent traits, looking at the differences in such attraction patterns when the young women consider either hook-ups or stable relationships. Despite reporting data on both violent and non-violent boys, the analysis is mostly focused on the scenarios involving boys with violent behaviours, as these are the ones at the very centre of the coercive socialization that leads to the link between attraction and violence. Unveiling the mechanisms behind this coercive discourse and how it operates in a different way in hook-ups and in stable relationships will help to contribute to prevention strategies of gender violence as well as to untangle how violence acts as an underlying force within the current patriarchal system, perpetuating the coercive model of socialization.

Morally good content was transmitted with greater fidelity than neutral or morally bad ones; the communication of moral virtue might serve to avoid negative impression formation & promote social bonding

Social transmission favours the ‘morally good’ over the ‘merely arousing’. Joseph M. Stubbersfield, Lewis G. Dean, Sana Sheikh, Kevin N. Laland & Catharine P. Cross. Palgrave Communications 5, Article number: 3 (2019).

Abstract: Moral stories are pervasive in human culture, forming the basis of religious texts, folklore, and newspaper articles. We used a linear transmission chain procedure to test three competing hypotheses: (1) that moral content in general is preferentially transmitted between individuals compared to non-moral content; (2) that negativity bias leads specifically to morally bad content being preferentially transmitted; and (3) that a bias towards pro-social information leads specifically to morally good content being preferentially transmitted. While we found no support for a bias for moral content in general, we did find that morally good content was transmitted with greater fidelity than neutral or morally bad content, with ratings of morally good content but not morally bad content predicting transmission. Moral content, therefore, appears to be particularly culturally potent when it describes the ‘virtuous’ rather than the ‘sinful’. A second study repeated the first but also tested the influence of physiological arousal on transmission by measuring the electrodermal activity of participants. This study also found that morally good content was transmitted with greater fidelity than neutral or morally bad content and that physiological arousal had a negative effect on transmission with more arousing material being less faithfully transmitted. These results suggest that the communication of content relating to moral virtue might serve to avoid negative impression formation and promote social bonding, and that this might partially explain the ubiquity of moral content in human culture.


Information about morality—defined by Ayala (2010) as “value judgments concerning human behaviour” (p. 9016)— pervades human culture, in religious texts, folklore, fables and news stories. Moral information might be an explicit proclamation of what is moral or amoral, or a more implicit illustration of the moral norms of a social group. Morality is characterised by some authors as an adaptation, built upon emotions that are themselves adaptive, with specific moral codes emerging via gene-culture coevolution (Gintis et al., 2008; Graham et al., 2013; Norenzayan, 2014). While disagreement exists about the sequences of events and selection pressures underpinning the human capacity for morality, there is general agreement that the emergence and evolution of moral codes and norms is only possible through cultural transmission (Ayala, 2010; Haidt and Joseph, 2004, McNamara et al., 2019). The process by which moral content is embedded into culturally transmitted stories and artefacts is poorly understood, however. Here, we present two studies investigating cognitive content biases towards moral information.

A cognitive content bias is a predisposition that humans have for attending to, recalling, or re-producing, certain kinds of information. (Boyd and Richerson, 1985; Barrett and Nyhof, 2001; Henrich and McElreath, 2003). Evolutionary psychologists argue that such biases exist because they were adaptive in ancestral environments (e.g., tracking social relationships in complex groups), and that they modify the content and structure of cultural knowledge and artefacts, which makes them increasingly transmittable (Barrett and Nyhof, 2001; Laland and Brown, 2011; Mesoudi, 2016). Studies have demonstrated biases for a number of types of content: ecological information relevant to health and survival, hereafter survival content (Nairne, 2010; Stubbersfield et al., 2015); information relevant to social relationships and interaction, hereafter social content (Mesoudi et al., 2006; Stubbersfield et al., 2015), and information evoking an emotional response, hereafter emotional content (Eriksson and Coultas, 2014; Heath et al., 2001; Stubbersfield et al., 2017). A number of studies investigating biases in transmission have used the transmission chain, or serial reproduction, paradigm, in which experimental material is passed along a linear ‘chain’ of individuals. First developed by Bartlett (1932), this method allows researchers to assess which types of information are preserved with the greatest fidelity as they are passed along the chain, in turn revealing the biases in social transmission which influence the transmission and evolution of culture (Mesoudi and Whiten, 2008; Mesoudi et al., 2006). While evidence for a number of content biases in transmission has been documented (See Stubbersfield et al., 2018 for a review) a content bias for morally relevant content has yet to be experimentally examined.

Based on Haidt and Joseph’s (2004) moral foundations theory, one might expect a transmission bias for all morally relevant information, because any information relevant to the moral foundations would be salient. This hypothesis has not yet been directly tested but indirect evidence for a bias for moral content comes from the literature on impression formation. Wojciszke et al. (1998) for example, found that morality-related information played a more important role in global impression formation and was more cognitively accessible than competence-related information. Ybarra et al. (2001) found that participants were more sensitive to person-relevant information from the morality domain than the competence domain. Van Leeuwen et al. (2012) used a memory confusion paradigm and found that participants spontaneously categorised along a morality dimension but not along a competence dimension. Morality also influences the perception of specific actions: Pizarro et al. (2006) gave participants one of two vignettes—the first about a man intentionally leaving a restaurant without paying and the second about a man who forgot to pay for his meal. Participants who read the vignette with the intentional— but not the accidental—moral transgression distorted the recalled amount to be larger than it was when asked for the size of the bill. Taken together, these studies suggest that moral content is particularly salient when forming impressions of other people and their actions.

Another known bias which could influence the transmission of moral content is a general negativity bias. Research on memory, perception, decision making and impression formation has suggested that negative entities (such as events, objects or personal traits) are more salient than their positive counterparts (Baumeister et al., 2001; Rozin and Royzman, 2001). It has been suggested that this bias is adaptive, because negative entities are likely to incur greater costs on an individual than positive entities incur benefits (Rozin and Royzman, 2001). A suggestion supported by Fessler et al. (2014), who found that participants were more credulous of negatively framed than positively framed information and that negative content was over-represented in a corpus of online urban legends and supernatural beliefs. Bebbington et al. (2016) also demonstrated a transmission advantage for negatively valenced content over positively valenced content, and found that ambiguous content is more likely to become negative than positive through transmission. Similarly, Walker and Blaine (1991) used a naturalistic “field-experiment” to demonstrate that rumours forecasting unpleasant consequences have an advantage in social transmission over rumours forecasting pleasant consequences. In addition, other studies have found a negativity bias in emotional expression in the arts (see Brand et al., 2019; Morin and Acerbi, 2017). Based on these findings it is feasible that content featuring immoral behaviour will be more salient and better transmitted than content featuring virtuous behaviour, because immoral agents could be perceived as more hazardous than moral agents are beneficial.

Alternatively, a positivity bias might shape the transmission of moral content. Experimental research has found a preference for choosing to transmit positively valenced vignettes over negatively valenced equivalents (van Leeuwen et al., 2018). Studies using “real world” data have found an advantage for positive content, with positively valenced messages being more frequently and more widely shared on social media than negative content (Ferrara and Yang, 2015a; Ferrara and Yang, 2015b; Fu et al., 2016) and urban legends featuring amusing content being more common than those featuring other, negative emotions (Stubbersfield et al., 2018). In addition, research has shown that children seek out and transmit content which supports a positive, pro-social, evaluation of their in-group over other types of information, including negative information about their out-group (Over et al., 2017). Therefore, the possibility of virtuous content being advantaged in transmission should also be considered. We therefore examine the transmission of both morally good content and morally bad content. In Study 1 we test three alternative hypotheses relating to the transmission of moral information in a linear transmission chain. In Study 2 we extend on Study 1 by including a measure of physiological arousal in order to examine the role of emotion in the transmission of moral information.

Large discrepancies between self-perception & actual meat consumption: Only 18 % of the sample & 26 % of self-declared low-meat consumers met official dietary recommendations for meat intake

Meat avoidance: motives, alternative proteins and diet quality in a sample of Swiss consumers. Désirée Hagmann, Michael Siegrist and Christina Hartmann. Public Health Nutrition, June 4 2019.

Objective: Diets lower in meat are considered both highly beneficial for human health and more environmentally friendly. The present study compared consumer groups with different self-declared diet styles regarding meat (vegetarians/vegans, pescatarians, low- and regular meat consumers) in terms of their motives, protein consumption, diet quality and weight status.

Design: Cross-sectional data from the Swiss Food Panel 2.0 (survey 2017).

Setting: Switzerland, Europe.

Participants: Data of 4213 Swiss adults (47·4 % females) from a nationally representative sample living in the German- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland (mean age 55·4 years).

Results: For vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians, ethical concerns about animal welfare and environmental friendliness, as well as taste preferences are stronger reasons to avoid meat consumption. Female low-meat consumers are more likely to be motivated by weight regulation. Only 18 % of the sample and 26 % of self-declared low-meat consumers met the official dietary recommendations for meat intake. Concerns about animal welfare and taste preferences predicted lower meat intake, whereas perceived difficulty of practising a low-meat diet and weight-loss motives were associated with higher meat consumption in consumers who reported eating little or no meat.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that there can be large discrepancies between consumers’ self-perception and their actual meat consumption. This has to be taken into account when designing public health interventions. Addressing ethical concerns about animal welfare (e.g. through awareness campaigns), further improving the range of vegetarian options and increasing consumers’ knowledge about the dietary recommendations may be ways to promote diets lower in meat.

The value of the present deception literature is quite low, such that it is not possible to determine whether any given effect is real or a false positive

Lessons From Pinocchio: Cues to Deception May Be Highly Exaggerated. Timothy J. Luke. Association for Psychological Science, June 7, 2019.

Abstract: Deception researchers widely acknowledge that cues to deception—observable behaviors that may differ between truthful and deceptive messages—tend to be weak. Nevertheless, several deception cues have been reported with unusually large effect sizes, and some researchers have advocated the use of such cues as tools for detecting deceit and assessing credibility in practical contexts. By examining data from empirical deception-cue research and using a series of Monte Carlo simulations, I demonstrate that many estimated effect sizes of deception cues may be greatly inflated by publication bias, small numbers of estimates, and low power. Indeed, simulations indicate the informational value of the present deception literature is quite low, such that it is not possible to determine whether any given effect is real or a false positive. I warn against the hazards of relying on potentially illusory cues to deception and offer some recommendations for improving the state of the science of deception.

Keywords: deception, replication, meta-analysis, false positives

Strength of transmission of religiosity from parent to child is dependent on parent and child gender; overall, effect sizes were strongest for sons, mothers, and the mother-daughter dyad

Stearns, M., & McKinney, C. (2019). Connection between parent and child religiosity: A meta-analysis examining parent and child gender. Journal of Family Psychology.

Abstract: Many studies have indicated a relationship between parental and child religiosity, but the strength of the relationship has varied. Moreover, few studies have examined moderators of this relationship, and none have conducted a meta-analysis to determine a concise picture of the association between parent and child religiosity. The current study conducted a meta-analysis to clarify the relationship between parent and child religiosity as well as gender as a possible moderator. Analysis of 30 studies conducted over the past 27 years revealed that the strength of transmission of religiosity from parent to child is dependent on parent and child gender. Overall, effect sizes were strongest for sons, mothers, and the mother-daughter dyad. Thus, these results suggest that gender plays a major role in the connection between parent and child religiosity.

How people with extreme imagination are helping explain consciousness

How people with extreme imagination are helping explain consciousness. Daniel Cossins. New Scientist, Jun 5 2019.

The first studies of people with hyperphantasia – hyper-vivid mental imagery – are revealing how our imaginations shape the world we perceive and make us who we are


When you are absorbed in a novel, what does your mind’s eye see? For many of us, it is a foggy, low-contrast approximation of the scenes described, no matter how evocatively they are written. Not so for Clare Dudeney. “When people describe things, especially gory things, I visualise them so vividly it’s like I’m experiencing them first-hand,” she says. “A few years ago, I was on the train reading a passage about someone who got a nail stuck in their foot and I passed out.”

Dudeney is one of an unknown number of people with this ability, known as hyperphantasia. She only realised it a few years ago. Mental imagery is inherently private, after all. It is hard to articulate what you see in your own mind’s eye, never mind get a sense of how it compares with everyone else’s. But we now know it differs wildly between individuals. Some people find it impossible to picture their own bedroom, while others, like Dudeney, can call to mind images as sharp as they appear at the cinema.

These extremes of imagination are intriguing. A better grasp of what is going on in the brains of people who experience them could help tease out the role of mental imagery in emotion and mental health – and may be promising territory in the search for treatments for various psychological disorders. People with extraordinary imaginations might even reveal something about how we all experience the world.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Self-serving Optimism in Hedonic Prediction: People Believe in a Bright Future for Themselves and Their Friends, but Not for Their Enemies

Sjåstad, Hallgeir, Siv Skard, Helge Thorbjørnsen, and Elisabeth Norman. 2019. “Self-serving Optimism in Hedonic Prediction: People Believe in a Bright Future for Themselves and Their Friends, but Not for Their Enemies.” PsyArXiv. June 7. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: According to longitudinal research, psychological well-being is remarkably stable over time. However, people may still believe that the future will deviate from the past in a non-random, desirable direction. Across three experiments in USA and Norway (N=1,130; two pre-registered), participants were randomly assigned to report their well-being in the past (1-5 years back) or predict their future well-being (1-5 years ahead). In line with a "bright-future hypothesis", people had a strong tendency to predict higher levels of happiness and meaning in the future than the past. Rather than being the result of a cognitive illusion, the evidence favored a motivated-belief explanation. Specifically, the same time asymmetry was found both in separate judgment between-persons and joint evaluation within-persons, and the expectation of future improvement generalized to the judgment of a friend but not to a personal enemy. People may typically predict a bright future when they want to see one.

Self-Gifting in Interdependent Cultures: Lonely Mothers and Self-Compassion

Self-Gifting in Interdependent Cultures: Lonely Mothers and Self-Compassion. Satoko Suzuki, Saori Kanno. European Association for Consumer Research Conference Proceedings, Volume 11, 2018.

ABSTRACT: Self-gifting consumer behavior, due to its nature of focus on self, its compatibility with interdependent cultures had always been questioned. Still, self-gifting is now prevalent in many interdependent cultures. This paper illuminates that self-gifting plays an important role of self-compassion for Japanese mothers feeling isolated from their family members. As demonstrated in its name and characteristics, one of the predominant aspects of self-gift consumer behavior (SGCB) is the focus on self. Hence, Mick and DeMoss (1990a) suggested that SGCB may depend on an individually-centered view of self, and questioned its existence in cultures dominant with a group-centered view of self. Thus, the investigation of SGCB in non-Western cultures has become to be one of the research agendas in the self-gift research. However, only very recently, the initiatives of exploring SGCB in the Eastern cultures have begun (e.g., Joy et al. 2006; Suzuki 2011; Tynan et al. 2010). Using the data gathered from the Japanese mothers on their SGCB, we explore how self-gifts play a role in interdependent cultures.

The Use and Misuse of Income Data and Extreme Poverty: An implication of the low recent extreme poverty rate is that it cannot be substantially higher now due to welfare reform, as many commentators have claimed

The Use and Misuse of Income Data and Extreme Poverty in the United States. Bruce D. Meyer, Derek Wu, Victoria R. Mooers, Carla Medalia. NBER Working Paper No. 25907, May 2019.

Abstract: Recent research suggests that rates of extreme poverty, commonly defined as living on less than $2/person/day, are high and rising in the United States. We re-examine the rate of extreme poverty by linking 2011 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and Current Population Survey, the sources of recent extreme poverty estimates, to administrative tax and program data. Of the 3.6 million non-homeless households with survey-reported cash income below $2/person/day, we find that more than 90% are not in extreme poverty once we include in-kind transfers, replace survey reports of earnings and transfer receipt with administrative records, and account for the ownership of substantial assets. More than half of all misclassified households have incomes from the administrative data above the poverty line, and several of the largest misclassified groups appear to be at least middle class based on measures of material well-being. In contrast, the households kept from extreme poverty by in-kind transfers appear to be among the most materially deprived Americans. Nearly 80% of all misclassified households are initially categorized as extreme poor due to errors or omissions in reports of cash income. Of the households remaining in extreme poverty, 90% consist of a single individual. An implication of the low recent extreme poverty rate is that it cannot be substantially higher now due to welfare reform, as many commentators have claimed.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Taking a vacation from Facebook and Instagram on subjective well-being: Surprisingly, at post-test the SNS vacation resulted in lower positive affect for active users and had no significant effects for passive users

Taking a break: The effect of taking a vacation from Facebook and Instagram on subjective well-being. Sarah M. Hanley, Susan E. Watt, William Coventry. PLOS One, June 6, 2019.

Abstract: Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Instagram have relocated a large portion of people’s social lives online, but can be intrusive and create social disturbances. Many people therefore consider taking an “SNS vacation.” We investigated the effects of a one-week vacation from both Facebook and Instagram on subjective well-being, and whether this would vary for passive or active SNS users. Usage amount was measured objectively, using RescueTime software, to circumvent issues of self-report. Usage style was identified at pre-test, and SNS users with a more active or more passive usage style were assigned in equal numbers to the conditions of one-week SNS vacation (n = 40) or no SNS vacation (n = 38). Subjective well-being (life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect) was measured before and after the vacation period. At pre-test, more active SNS use was found to correlate positively with life satisfaction and positive affect, whereas more passive SNS use correlated positively with life satisfaction, but not positive affect. Surprisingly, at post-test the SNS vacation resulted in lower positive affect for active users and had no significant effects for passive users. This result is contrary to popular expectation, and indicates that SNS usage can be beneficial for active users. We suggest that SNS users should be educated in the benefits of an active usage style and that future research should consider the possibility of SNS addiction among more active users.

France Bans Judge Analytics, 5 Years In Prison For Rule Breakers

France Bans Judge Analytics, 5 Years In Prison For Rule Breakers. Artificial Lawyer, June 4 2019.

Excerpts without links:

In a startling intervention that seeks to limit the emerging litigation analytics and prediction sector, the French Government has banned the publication of statistical information about judges’ decisions – with a five year prison sentence set as the maximum punishment for anyone who breaks the new law.

Owners of legal tech companies focused on litigation analytics are the most likely to suffer from this new measure.

The new law, encoded in Article 33 of the Justice Reform Act, is aimed at preventing anyone – but especially legal tech companies focused on litigation prediction and analytics – from publicly revealing the pattern of judges’ behaviour in relation to court decisions.

A key passage of the new law states:

‘The identity data of magistrates and members of the judiciary cannot be reused with the purpose or effect of evaluating, analysing, comparing or predicting their actual or alleged professional practices.’ *


Insiders in France told Artificial Lawyer that the new law is a direct result of an earlier effort to make all case law easily accessible to the general public, which was seen at the time as improving access to justice and a big step forward for transparency in the justice sector.

However, judges in France had not reckoned on NLP and machine learning companies taking the public data and using it to model how certain judges behave in relation to particular types of legal matter or argument, or how they compare to other judges.

In short, they didn’t like how the pattern of their decisions – now relatively easy to model – were potentially open for all to see.

Unlike in the US and the UK, where judges appear to have accepted the fait accompli of legal AI companies analysing their decisions in extreme detail and then creating models as to how they may behave in the future, French judges have decided to stamp it out.

Various reasons for this move have been shared on the Paris legal tech grapevine, ranging from the general need for anonymity, to the fear among judges that their decisions may reveal too great a variance from expected Civil Law norms.

One legal tech expert in France, who wished to remain anonymous, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘In the past few years there has been a growing debate in France about whether the names of judges should be removed from the decisions when those decisions are published online. The proponents of this view obtained this [new law] as a compromise from the Government, i.e. that judges’ names shouldn’t be redacted (with some exceptions to be determined) but that they cannot be used for statistical purposes.’

Whatever the reason, the law is now in effect and legal tech experts in Paris have told Artificial Lawyer that, as far as they interpret the regulations, anyone breaking the new rule can face up to five years in prison – which has to be the harshest example of legal tech regulation on the planet right now.
Forbidden knowledge…….

That said, French case law publishers, and AI litigation prediction companies, such as Prédictice, appear to be ‘doing OK’ without this specific information being made available. This is perhaps because even if you take out the judges from the equation there is still enough information remaining from the rest of the case law material to be of use.

Moreover, it’s unclear if a law firm, if asked to by a client, could not manually, or using an NLP system, collect data on a judge’s behaviour over many previous cases and create a statistical model for use by that client, as long as they didn’t then publish this to any third party. That said, it’s not clear this would be OK either. And with five years in prison hanging over your head, would anyone want to take the risk?

But, the point remains: a government and its justice system have decided to make it a crime for information about how its judges think about certain legal issues to be revealed in terms of statistical and comparative analysis.

Some of the French legal experts Artificial Lawyer talked to this week asked what this site’s perspective was. Well, if you really want to know, it’s this:


Part of the French text covering the new law is below:

‘Les données d’identité des magistrats et des membres du greffe ne peuvent faire l’objet d’une réutilisation ayant pour objet ou pour effet d’évaluer, d’analyser, de comparer ou de prédire leurs pratiques professionnelles réelles ou supposées.

La violation de cette interdiction est punie des peines prévues aux articles 226-18, 226-24 et 226-31 du code pénal, sans préjudice des mesures et sanctions prévues par la loi n° 78-17 du 6 janvier 1978 relative à l’informatique, aux fichiers et aux libertés.’

(* Translated version above, via Google.)

Minimum Wage and Productivity: A real increase of about 22% in the minimum wage during the period 1998–2000 reduced TFP by 5.8% in low unskilled-intensive industries and 9.7% in high unskilled-intensive industries in Chile

Minimum Wage and Productivity: Evidence from Chilean Manufacturing Plants. Roberto Álvarez, Rodrigo Fuentes. Economic Development and Cultural Change, Volume 67, Number 1 | October 2018, pp. 193–224.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of the minimum wage on a firm’s productivity. The main hypothesis is that an increase in the minimum wage has a negative effect on total factor productivity (TFP) due to the existence of labor adjustment costs. Using data from Chilean manufacturing plants for the period 1992–2005 and a difference-in-differences methodology, we find that an increase in minimum wage had a negative effect on TFP. Our estimates indicate that a real increase of about 22% in the minimum wage during the period 1998–2000 reduced TFP by 5.8% in low unskilled-intensive industries and 9.7% in high unskilled-intensive industries. These results are robust to alternative measures of productivity and to the inclusion of several covariates to avoid confounding effects of other policy changes or firms’ exposure to minimum wage changes.

A man with an unattractive wife is perceived to be more moral because the couple shares a stronger & more communal relationship

Forming Judgments Based on Spouse’s Attractiveness. Nivriti Chowdhry, Ajay Kalra. European Association for Consumer Research Conference Proceedings, Volume 11, 2018.

Excerpts of the extended abstract:

This research investigates the effect of spouse attractiveness on the perceived morality of a focal person and the credibility of their firm. Five studies demonstrate that a man with an unattractive wife is perceived to be more moral because the couple shares a stronger and more communal relationship.The spouses and romantic partners of CEOs, politicians, and celebrities are often in the public eye themselves. For example, Melinda Gates, Priscilla Chan, and Miranda Kerr are as well-known as their spouses. Additionally, several service providers and retailers (e.g., financial advisors, contractors, automobile dealers) routinely feature their spouses in their professional profiles and commercial messages. How does the beauty of the spouse impact perceptions of the focal person?The person perception literature concludes that, in general, beautiful people reap more benefits from society than unattractive people (Dion, Berscheid, and Walster 1972, Langlois et al. 2000, Mobius and Rosenblat 2006). This research focuses on the effects of a person’s own beauty, not the beauty of people associated with a target person. In contrast, we demonstrate that judgments about a fo-cal person’s traits can be based on the attractiveness of their spouse, and explicate why an associated person’s physical attractiveness can be detrimental to perceptions of a focal person. In particular, using entitativity theory and social exchange theory, we explain how the physical appearance of an associated person can signal information about a target person’s morality, one of the more important dimension in marketing and consumer behavior.

Entitativity is defined as the cohesiveness and unity of a social group, such as a sports team, work group, or family (Campbell 1958; McConnell et al. 1997). When gauging the entitativity of a group, judges may consider fixed characteristics or dynamic processes un-derlying the relationship (Wai-man Ip, Chiu, and Wan 2006). Fixed characteristics are immediately observable physical features and signal psychological similarity. Dynamic processes underlying the relationship include the behavior and movement patterns of a group and signal common goals and attitudes of the group members (Wai-man Ip et al. 2006).

Social exchange theory (Blau 1964) posits that married couples exchange physical attractiveness, social status, and wealth. Of these, physical attractiveness is the only immediately observable fixed characteristic that entitativity judgments about a married couple can be based on. There are three different combinations of a married cou-ple’s relative attractiveness: (a) a physically similar couple, in which both people are equally attractive, (b) when the wife is more attrac-tive than the husband, and (c) when the husband is more attractive than the wife. The first combination - two equally attractive people - is consistent with extant entitativity theory. When both individu-als in a relationship are similarly attractive, they indicate entitativity through fixed characteristics, and are likely perceived to be psycho-logically similar. The second pairing has been studied and concludes that men married to attractive women are perceived to exchange wealth or social status for physical attractiveness (Baumeister and Vohs 2004).

Girls perform better than boys on performance-based ICT literacy assessments; differences are larger in primary schools than in secondary schools; overall, the gender differences in ICT literacy are significant but small

Is there a gender gap? A meta-analysis of the gender differences in students' ICT literacy. Fazilat Siddiq, Ronny Scherer. Educational Research Review, Volume 27, June 2019, Pages 205-217.

•    Girls perform better than boys on performance-based ICT literacy assessments.
•    Gender differences are larger in primary schools than in secondary schools.
•    The overall effect size is robust across several analysis conditions.
•    No evidence of publication bias could be found.
•    Overall, the gender differences in ICT literacy are significant but small.

Abstract: The study of gender differences in academic achievement has been one of the core topics in education, especially because it may uncover possible gaps and inequalities in certain domains. Whereas these differences have largely been examined in traditional domains, such as mathematics, reading, and science, the existing body of empirical studies in the domain of ICT literacy is considerably smaller, yet abounds in diverse findings. One of the persistent findings however is that boys consider their ICT literacy to be higher than that of girls. This meta-analysis tests whether the same pattern holds for students’ actual performance on ICT literacy tasks, as measured by performance-based assessments. In total, 46 effect sizes were extracted from 23 empirical studies using a random-effects model. Overall, the gender differences in ICT literacy were significant, positive, and favored girls (g = + 0.12, 95 % CI = [0.08, 0.16]). This effect varied between studies, and moderation analyses indicated that the grade level students were taught at moderated its magnitude—effect sizes were larger in primary school as compared to secondary school. In conclusion, our findings contrast those obtained from previous meta-analyses that were based on self-reported ICT literacy and suggest that the ICT gender gap may not be as severe as it had been claimed to be.

The Puzzle of Open Defecation in Rural India: Evidence from a Novel Measure of Caste Attitudes in a Nationally Representative Survey

The Puzzle of Open Defecation in Rural India: Evidence from a Novel Measure of Caste Attitudes in a Nationally Representative Survey. Dean Spears. Economic Development and Cultural Change, May 30, 2019.

Abstract: Uniquely widespread and persistent open defecation in rural India has emerged as an important policy challenge and puzzle about behavioral choice in economic development. One candidate explanation is the culture of purity and pollution that reinforces and has its origins in the caste system. Although such a cultural account is inherently difficult to quantitatively test, we provide support for this explanation by comparing open defecation rates across places in India where untouchability is more and less intensely practiced. In particular, we exploit a novel question in the 2012 India Human Development Survey that asked households whether they practice untouchability, meaning whether they enforce norms of purity and pollution in their interactions with lower castes. We find an association between local practice of untouchability and open defecation that is robust; is not explained by economic, educational, or other observable differences; and is specific to open defecation rather than other health behavior or human capital investments more generally. We verify that practicing untouchability is not associated with general disadvantage in health knowledge or access to medical professionals. We interpret this as evidence that the culture of purity, pollution, untouchability, and caste contributes to the exceptional prevalence of open defecation in rural India.