Monday, March 23, 2020

Individual Differences in Accepting Personal Restrictions to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from a Danish Adult Sample

Zettler, Ingo, Christoph Schild, Lau Lilleholt, and Robert Böhm. 2020. “Individual Differences in Accepting Personal Restrictions to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from a Danish Adult Sample.” PsyArXiv. March 23. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Political authorities are working hard on fighting the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Corresponding interventions often address cooperative behavior, because they pose restrictions on the individual level (e.g., limiting one’s physical contacts) with the aim to serve the greater good (e.g., not overtaxing the health systems). In a sample of Danish adults (N = 799) randomly drawn from a representative sample, we link different personality characteristics to people’s willingness in accepting personal restrictions for fighting COVID-19. When simultaneously considering all characteristics including the basic traits from the HEXACO personality model, we find that, next to people’s age, Emotionality as well as the Dark Factor of Personality (D) explain who is more willing to accept restrictions. D further explains acceptance based on whether restrictions aim to protect oneself rather than others. The results show the importance of individual differences for following large-scale interventions that should serve the greater good.

We devote disproportionate attention to already-known positive information about the performance of individual stocks within our portfolios

Attention Utility: Evidence from Individual Investors. Edika Quispe-Torreblanca, John Gathergood, George Loewenstein, Neil Stewart. CESifo Working Paper No. 8091, Feb 2020.

Abstract: Attention utility is the hedonic pleasure or pain derived purely from paying attention to information. Using data on brokerage account logins by individual investors, we show that individuals devote disproportionate attention to already-known positive information about the performance of individual stocks within their portfolios. This aversion to paying attention to unfavorable information, through its effect on logins, has consequences for trading activity; it reduces trading after recent losses and increases trading after recent gains. Attention utility is distinct from models of belief-based utility and information aversion (in which information not sought is not fully known), and implies that the pleasure and pain of attending to known information may be important for individual behavior.

JEL-Codes: G400, G410, D140.
Keywords: information utility, attention, login, investor behavior.

Psychological Correlates of News Monitoring, Social Distancing, Disinfecting, and Hoarding Behaviors Among US Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Oosterhoff, Benjamin, and Cara palmer. 2020. “Psychological Correlates of News Monitoring, Social Distancing, Disinfecting, and Hoarding Behaviors Among US Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” PsyArXiv. March 23. doi:10.31234/

Importance: As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, it is critical to understand the psychological factors that influence pandemic-related behaviors (i.e., news monitoring, social distancing, hygiene/disinfecting, hoarding). This may be especially important to study among youth, who are less likely to experience severe symptoms but contribute to the spread of the virus.

Objective: To examine psychological correlates of adolescents’ behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design: Self-report survey conducted between March 20th and March 22nd, 2020.

Setting: This is an online survey study of youth from the United States.
Participants: A population-based sample of adolescents were recruited via social media to complete an anonymous survey. Youth were eligible if they had internet access, lived in the United States, and were between the ages of 13 and 18.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes included COVID-19 news monitoring, social distancing, disinfecting, and hoarding behaviors over the 7 days after the US declared a national emergency. The correlates measured were attitudes about COVID-19 severity, values related to social responsibility, social trust, and self-interest. The a priori hypotheses were that attitudes about the severity of COVID-19, along with greater social responsibility and social trust, would be associated with greater news monitoring, social distancing, and disinfecting, whereas greater self-interest would be associated with more hoarding.

Results: The final analytic sample included 770 adolescents (Mage = 16.34, 72% female). The majority of teens reported not engaging in pure social distancing (70%), but were monitoring the news (75%) and engaging in at least one disinfecting behavior multiple times per day (88%). Some teens reported engaging in hoarding behavior (19%). Greater attitudes about the severity of COVID-19 were associated with more social distancing, disinfecting, and news monitoring, but also more hoarding. Greater social responsibility was associated with more disinfecting and news monitoring, and less hoarding. Participants who reported valuing their own self-interest over others reported less social distancing and more hoarding. Greater social trust was associated with less hoarding.

Conclusions and Relevance: Emphasizing the severity of COVID-19 and the social implications of pandemic-related behaviors may be important for teens, particularly for those who are not following recommended preventative health behaviors or who are engaging in hoarding.

In 2012, two independent groups demonstrated that intuitive mindset enhances belief in God; replication failed to provide support for the intuitive belief hypothesis in our non-WEIRD sample

Does intuitive mindset influence belief in God? A registered replication of Shenhav, Rand and Greene (2012). S. Adil Saribay, Onurcan Yilmaz, Gülay Gözde Körpe. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 15, No. 2, March 2020, pp. 193–202.

Abstract: In 2012, two independent groups simultaneously demonstrated that intuitive mindset enhances belief in God. However, there is now some mixed evidence on both the effectiveness of manipulations used in these studies and the effect of mindset manipulation on belief in God. Thus, this proposal attempted to replicate one of those experiments (Shenhav, Rand & Greene, 2012) for the first time in a high-powered experiment using an under-represented population (Turkey). In line with the intuitive belief hypothesis, a negative correlation between reflectiveness and religious belief emerged, at least in one of the experimental conditions. In contrast to that hypothesis, however, the results revealed no effect of the cognitive style manipulation on religious belief. Although a self-report measure (Faith in Intuition) provided evidence that the manipulation worked as intended, it did not influence actual performance (Cognitive Reflection Test), suggesting a demand effect problem. Overall, the results failed to provide support for the intuitive belief hypothesis in our non-WEIRD sample, despite generally following the predicted patterns, and suggest that using stronger manipulation techniques are warranted in future studies.

Keywords: intuitive thinking, belief in God, replication, analytic cognitive style, reflection, intuition

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Macroeconomics of Epidemics: there is an inevitable trade-off between the severity of the short-run recession caused by the epidemic and the health consequences of that epidemic

The Macroeconomics of Epidemics. Martin S. Eichenbaum, Sergio Rebeloy, Mathias Trabandtz. March 20, 2020.

Abstract: We extend the canonical epidemiology model to study the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics. Our model implies that people ís decision to cut back on consumption and work reduces the severity of the epidemic, as measured by total deaths. These decisions exacerbate the size of the recession caused by the epidemic. The competitive equilibrium is not socially optimal because infected people do not fully internalize the effect of their economic decisions on the spread of the virus. In our benchmark scenario, the optimal containment policy increases the severity of the recession but saves roughly 0.6 million lives in the U.S.

JEL Classiffication: E1, I1, H0
Keywords: Epidemic, COVID-19, recessions, containment policies

6 Conclusion

We extend the canonical epidemiology model to study the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics. In our model, the epidemic generates both supply and demand effects on economic activity. These effects work in tandem to generate a large, persistent recession.

We abstract from many important real-world complications to highlight the basic economic forces at work during an epidemic. The central message of our analysis should be robust to allowing for those complications: there is an inevitable trade-off between the severity of the short-run recession caused by the epidemic and the health consequences of that epidemic. Dealing with this trade-off is a key challenge confronting policy makers.

Finally, we note that our model abstracts from various forces that might affect the long-run performance of the economy. These forces include bankruptcy costs, hysteresis effects from unemployment, and the destruction of supply-side chains. It is important to embody these forces in macroeconomic models of epidemics and study their positive and normative implications.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The spatial concentration of cutting-edge technologies has increased since 1850, suggesting a reinforcing cycle between the increase in the complexity of activities and urbanization

Complex economic activities concentrate in large cities. Pierre-Alexandre Balland, Cristian Jara-Figueroa, Sergio G. Petralia, Mathieu P. A. Steijn, David L. Rigby & César A. Hidalgo. Nature Human Behaviour volume 4, pages 248–254. January 13 2020.

Abstract: Human activities, such as research, innovation and industry, concentrate disproportionately in large cities. The ten most innovative cities in the United States account for 23% of the national population, but for 48% of its patents and 33% of its gross domestic product. But why has human activity become increasingly concentrated? Here we use data on scientific papers, patents, employment and gross domestic product, for 353 metropolitan areas in the United States, to show that the spatial concentration of productive activities increases with their complexity. Complex economic activities, such as biotechnology, neurobiology and semiconductors, concentrate disproportionately in a few large cities compared to less--complex activities, such as apparel or paper manufacturing. We use multiple proxies to measure the complexity of activities, finding that complexity explains from 40% to 80% of the variance in urban concentration of occupations, industries, scientific fields and technologies. Using historical patent data, we show that the spatial concentration of cutting-edge technologies has increased since 1850, suggesting a reinforcing cycle between the increase in the complexity of activities and urbanization. These findings suggest that the growth of spatial inequality may be connected to the increasing complexity of the economy.

Universal Sex Differences in Mate Preferences Are Robust: Men, more than women, prefer attractive, young mates, and women, more than men, prefer older mates with financial prospects

Sex Differences in Mate Preferences Across 45 Countries: A Large-Scale Replication. Kathryn V. Walter et al. Psychological Science, March 20, 2020.

Abstract: Considerable research has examined human mate preferences across cultures, finding universal sex differences in preferences for attractiveness and resources as well as sources of systematic cultural variation. Two competing perspectives—an evolutionary psychological perspective and a biosocial role perspective—offer alternative explanations for these findings. However, the original data on which each perspective relies are decades old, and the literature is fraught with conflicting methods, analyses, results, and conclusions. Using a new 45-country sample (N = 14,399), we attempted to replicate classic studies and test both the evolutionary and biosocial role perspectives. Support for universal sex differences in preferences remains robust: Men, more than women, prefer attractive, young mates, and women, more than men, prefer older mates with financial prospects. Cross-culturally, both sexes have mates closer to their own ages as gender equality increases. Beyond age of partner, neither pathogen prevalence nor gender equality robustly predicted sex differences or preferences across countries.

Keywords: mate preferences, sex differences, cross-cultural studies, evolutionary psychology, biosocial role theory, open data, preregistered

At all ages, women have longer happy and unhappy lives than men, but the proportion of life spent in a happy state is greater among ment than among women

Subjective Well-being: Long and Happy Lives. Aïda Solé-Auró. In: Jagger C., Crimmins E., Saito Y., De Carvalho Yokota R., Van Oyen H., Robine JM. (eds) International Handbook of Health Expectancies. International Handbooks of Population, vol 9,  Springer Mar 19 2020.

Abstract: While longevity is important, most people want to live lives that are healthy and happy as well as long. This chapter concentrates on links between the length of life and quality of life including subjective well-being, life satisfaction and happiness. The chapter reviews the determinants of happiness across places, particularly among high-income countries, and across time with the aim of elucidating how individual, social and contextual characteristics are linked to the length of life with well-being and happiness.

Keywords: Quality of life Subjective well-being Happiness Longevity

At all ages, women have longer happy and unhappy lives than men, but the proportion of life spent in a happy state is greater among ment than among women

Friday, March 20, 2020

Motivated misremembering (to see oneself more generous than really is) occurs chiefly for individuals whose choices violate their own fairness standards, irrespective of how high or low those standards are

Carlson, Ryan W., Michel Marechal, Bastiaan Oud, Ernst Fehr, and Molly Crockett. 2018. “Motivated Misremembering of Selfish Decisions.” PsyArXiv. July 23. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: People often prioritize their own interests, but also like to see themselves as moral. How do individuals resolve this tension? One way to both pursue personal gain and preserve a moral self-image is to misremember the extent of one’s selfishness. Here, we test this possibility. Across five experiments (N=3190), we find that people tend to recall being more generous in the past than they actually were, even when they are incentivized to recall their decisions accurately. Crucially, this motivated misremembering effect occurs chiefly for individuals whose choices violate their own fairness standards, irrespective of how high or low those standards are. Moreover, this effect disappears under conditions where people no longer perceive themselves as responsible for their fairness violations. Together, these findings suggest that when people’s actions fall short of their personal standards, they may misremember the extent of their selfishness, thereby potentially warding off threats to their moral self-image

Children can employ genetic explanations in principled ways as early as 7 years of age but such explanations are used to account for a wider range of features by adults

Meyer, M., Roberts, S. O., Jayaratne, T. E., & Gelman, S. A. (2020). Children’s beliefs about causes of human characteristics: Genes, environment, or choice? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Mar 2020.

Abstract: To what extent do our genes make us nice, smart, or athletic? The explanatory frameworks we employ have broad consequences for how we evaluate and interact with others. Yet to date, little is known regarding when and how young children appeal to genetic explanations to understand human difference. The current study examined children’s (aged 7–13 years) and adults’ explanations for a set of human characteristics, contrasting genetic attributions with environmental and choice-based attributions. Whereas most adults and older children offered an unprompted genetic explanation at least once on an open-ended task, such explanations were not seen from younger children. However, even younger children, once trained on the mechanism of genes, endorsed genetic explanations for a range of characteristics—often in combination with environment and choice. Moreover, only adults favored genetic explanations for intelligence and athleticism; children, in contrast, favored environment and choice explanations for these characteristics. These findings suggest that children can employ genetic explanations in principled ways as early as 7 years of age but also that such explanations are used to account for a wider range of features by adults. Our study provides some of the first evidence regarding the ways in which genetic attributions emerge and change starting in early childhood.

Female Orgasm and Overall Sexual Function and Habits: A little less than half of the women reported that penis size is important, whereas more than a third reported that it is not

Shaeer O, Skakke D, Giraldi A, et al. Female Orgasm and Overall Sexual Function and Habits: A Descriptive Study of a Cohort of U.S. Women. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.

Introduction: Few studies have investigated women's experiences with orgasm and the factors that they cite as important for their orgasmic function and sexual behavior related to foreplay and sexual stimulation.

Aim: To investigate and describe overall sexual function in a cohort of North American women, with a special focus on orgasmic function, satisfaction, triggers, risk factors, and sexual behavior.

Methods: A total of 303 women aged 18–75 years completed a 100-questionnaire survey, which included the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire and questions on orgasmic function, duration of sexual activity, sexual behaviors and relationship, and the partner’s sexual function. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS to illuminate factors affecting sexual function.

Outcomes: The main outcome measures are FSFI score, satisfaction with sexual life, ability to reach orgasm, orgasm frequency, preferred sexual stimulation, and sexual habits.

Results: FSFI scores, which were calculated for the 230 women who reported having had a steady male sex partner in the preceding 6 months, showed that 41% of the 230 women were at risk for female sexual dysfunction (a cutoff less than 26.55) and 21% were dissatisfied with their overall sexual life. Almost 90% of the overall cohort reported good emotional contact with their partner, that their partner was willing to have sex, satisfaction with the partner’s penis size (wherever applicable), and good erectile function and ejaculatory control of their partner (wherever applicable). 81% of the overall cohort claimed to be sexually active. Around 70% (70–72) did reach orgasm frequently, but around 10% never did so. Vaginal intercourse was reported by 62% of the overall cohort as the best trigger of orgasm, followed by external stimulation from the partner (48%) or themselves (37%). External stimulation was reported to be the fastest trigger to orgasm.

Clinical Implications: The knowledge on how women reach orgasm and how it is related to the partners' willingness to have sex and other factors can be incorporated in the clinical work.

Strengths & Limitations: The use of a validated questionnaire and the relative large number of participants are strengths of the study. Limitations are the cross-sectional design, the lack of a sexual distress measure, and a possible selection bias.

Conclusion: Most women in the overall cohort were satisfied overall with their sexual life and partner-related factors, even though 41% (of those who cited a steady sex male partner) were at risk for female sexual dysfunction. Most women did reach orgasm through different kinds of stimulation. Correlation was good between preferred and performed sexual activities and positions.

Key Words: Female Sexual FunctionFemale Sexual DysfunctionFemale OrgasmFemale Sexual Function Index (FSFI)Orgasm Risk FactorSexual Stimulation

Being fun: An overlooked indicator of childhood social status

Being fun: An overlooked indicator of childhood social status. Brett Laursen  Robert L. Altman  William M. Bukowski  Li Wei. Journal of Personality, March 7 2020.

Objective: The present study concerns an overlooked trait indicator of childhood peer status: Being fun. The study is designed to identify the degree to which being fun is uniquely associated with the peer status variables of likeability and popularity.

Method: Two studies of children in grades 4 to 6 (ages 9 to 12) are reported. The first involved 306 girls and 305 boys attending school in northern Colombia. The second involved 363 girls and 299 boys attending school in southern Florida. Students completed similar peer nomination inventories, once in the first study and twice (8 weeks apart) in the second.

Results: In both studies, being fun was positively correlated with likeability and popularity. In the second study, being fun predicted subsequent changes in likeability and popularity, after controlling for factors known to be related to each. Initial likeability and popularity also predicted subsequent changes in perceptions of being fun.

Conclusions: Anecdotal evidence suggests that children are intensely focused on having fun. The findings indicate that this focus extends beyond the immediate rewards that fun experiences provide; some portion of peer status is uniquely derived from the perception that one is fun to be around.

From 2018... Musically induced chills: Variously described as thrills, frisson, or skin orgasms

From 2018... A survey into the experience of musically induced chills: Emotions, situations and music. Scott Bannisterv. Psychology of Music, September 24, 2018.

Abstract: Musically induced chills, an emotional response accompanied by gooseflesh, shivers and tingling sensations, are an intriguing aesthetic phenomenon. Although chills have been linked to musical features, personality traits and listening contexts, there exists no comprehensive study that surveys the general characteristics of chills, such as emotional qualities. Thus, the present research aimed to develop a broad understanding of the musical chills response, in terms of emotional characteristics, types of music and chill-inducing features, and listening contexts. Participants (N = 375) completed a survey collecting qualitative responses regarding a specific experience of musical chills, with accompanying quantitative ratings of music qualia and underlying mechanisms. Participants could also describe two more “chills pieces”. Results indicate that chills are often experienced as a mixed and moving emotional state, and commonly occur in isolated listening contexts. Recurring musical features linked to chills include crescendos, the human voice, lyrics, and concepts such as unity and communion in the music. Findings are discussed in terms of theories regarding musical chills, and implications for future empirical testing of the response.

Keywords: chills, emotion, listening, meaning, peak experiences, qualitative

Dunning-Kruger & How to Know You Are Not One of Them

How to Tell If You’re a Dunning Cougar - We’re all at risk. Jessica Wildfire. Medium, Feb 5 2020.

There was this one guy at work, who I wanted to like. He was friendly and outgoing, when he was in a good mood. He had potential. But he couldn’t quit giving himself compliments. He paused mid-sentence to pay tribute to himself. He talked down to his students.

Sometimes he stopped class to talk about how great he was. He always used himself as an example of what to do.

It was painful to watch.

I was scared to give him advice. It always made him angry. His face turned lipstick pink. He clammed up. He got defensive. You had to back way down. One time he told me I didn’t know what I was doing.

This was a problem, given that technically I was his boss. The good news? I figured out how to get rid of my dunning cougar without firing him. I convinced him he was too good to work for me.

What’s a dunning cougar?

It’s something I made up. I got tired of describing arrogant idiots as “someone who suffers from the Dunning-Kruger Effect.”

That’s a chalky mouthful.

The Dunning-Kruger effect was developed by a Cornell psychologist and an NYU professor in the 1990s. They studied a phenomenon that’s plagued human history, and drug it out into the daylight.

Simply put:

             The less you know, the more you over-estimate your abilities.

But there’s a problem. The more confidence you show, the more risk you run of turning into what you despise.

So how do you know for sure you’re not one of them?

1. You don’t have to tell anyone how amazing you are

If you’re good at something, people will tell you. They’ll tell other people on your behalf. They’ll come to you for advice. They’ll ask for favors. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do well.

That’s not arrogance. It’s human.

2. You’re grateful for compliments

An honest compliment from someone you respect sustains you for a long time. It makes you want to do even better.

If you feel grateful for compliments you receive on your hard work, then you’re probably not a dunning cougar.

But if you are a dunning cougar, compliments have the opposite effect. They make you complacent and lazy.

They also whet your appetite for more compliments.

3. You feel true shame when you mess up

Shame is a powerful teacher. You feel it when you know you could’ve done better, and chose not to.

A truly good person doesn’t hide from their shame. They face it, and make a plan to change their behavior.

Dunning cougars run from accountability.

If you face the music, you’re not one of them. It actually feels pretty good to admit when you did something wrong, and face the consequences — without making a big production out of it.

4. You ask for advice from the right people

Dunning cougars hate advice. They want to pretend like they know everything already, which keeps them trapped where they are. They’ll pretend to ask for help, when they secretly want validation.

Asking for real advice means you’ve got the guts to listen to it, including some things you don’t want to hear.

So if you actually want to get better at what you do, it means you know you’re not brilliant. That’s a good sign.

5. You consider other things more important than yourself

We all have our selfish moments. But dunning cougars can’t see past them. They think they can run the show. Everything’s about them.
They should be in charge, but they can’t explain why.

Someone with only the minimum training and skills suffer from an inflated sense of self. If they could stop broadcasting their own prowess for a second, they’d see a much bigger universe.

A healthy mind puts themselves second or third sometimes. They put their entitlement and pride in the backseat.

6. You look up to someone else

Dunning cougars might pay lip service to the idea of role models and influence. But they just talk the talk, because they know it makes them look good. They draw their heroes from a hat.

Why not? They’re already the best.

They might look up to someone who’s dead, because they think they already are that person.

They think they’re a reincarnation of someone great.

They find someone famous who exhibits some of the traits they claim to have, and then compare themselves to that person.

That’s not how role models work….

Anyone who doesn’t suffer from this effect actually knows they aren’t the best at what they do. They always consider someone else slightly better, even if it’s only at a few things.

7. You never tell yourself “That looks easy…”

Maybe that’s ambitious. It’s better to say you catch yourself when you start looking at someone else’s job and think it must not be that hard or complicated. It’s always harder than it looks.

Someone who’s great at their job makes it look easy. Failing to grasp that is the signature move of dunning cougars.

Hopefully, you see something that looks super easy and think, “There has to be something I’m not catching…”

8. You double-check yourself

There’s a difference between second-guessing yourself and double-checking yourself. Second-guessing implies a lack of confidence.

Double-checking means you know what you need to do, and you’re just making sure you didn’t make a dumb mistake.

You know those happen to everyone.

You’re confirming your original perceptions. You think you did something the right way, but you want to make extra sure.

Dunning cougars lack this trait entirely. They assume they did everything right the first time, because they’re amazing.

It’s a real pain to deal with…

9. You hesitate to throw around superlatives

Dunning cougars love phrases like “the absolute best,” and “the best you’ve ever seen,” and “top of my field.”

They always compare their skills to someone else.

Someone with an accurate sense of their abilities never describes themselves that way, even if others do.

They prefer phrases like, “very good,” and “sufficient.” They want to be known for consistent quality and dependability. They know that being “the best” usually involves a level of personal taste and preference.

10. You’re curious about things

Dunning cougars never get better at their jobs because they think they don’t need do. The opposite of that is someone who realizes they can always get better at what they do.

If they run out of challenges, they start doing something else. They rarely sit back on their throne and preen. If you’re excited about learning and improving, then you’re not a dunning cougar.

We all have our moments

Just about everyone has their Dunning-Kruger moments. We underestimate the difficulty of a new skill. We overrate our intelligence.

It’s fine. Effective people quickly learn the limits of their skill and start working, leveling up as they go. Every notch in your confidence should carve another one in humility.

Dunning cougars remain trapped.

They can’t break out of the prison of their egos. Their brash overconfidence might get them far in life, but never as far as they could’ve gone if they’d just listened to someone for a second.

Missed connections & embarrassing confessions: Using big data to examine sex differences in sexual omission (men regretted more lost opportunities) & commission regret (women regretted more commission)

Webster, G. D., Smith, C. V., Orozco, T., Jonason, P. K., Gesselman, A. N., & Greenspan, R. L. (2020). Missed connections and embarrassing confessions: Using big data to examine sex differences in sexual omission and commission regret. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Mar 2020.

Abstract: Error management theory (EMT; Haselton & Buss, 2000) draws on parental investment theory (Trivers, 1972) and signal detection to make novel predictions about human cognitive biases and their adaptive implications. EMT predicts that heterosexual men overperceive sexual interest from women, whereas women underperceive honest signals of relationship commitment from men. In turn, sexual strategies theory (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) predicts that men may experience more regret over romantic or sexual omission (missed opportunities), whereas women may experience more regret over romantic or sexual commission (regretting past decisions). We tested these predictions using craigslist’s missed connections (personal ads posted by people on seeking to contact someone they saw briefly in public) and’s (FML) love and intimacy sections (embarrassing incidents that people experience and choose to share online anonymously). We recorded missed connections for men seeking women and women seeking men in all 50 U.S. states at 3 time points (N > 61,000). We also recorded FMLs posted by men and women over a 3-year span (N > 3,500). Consistent with EMT, parental investment theory, and sexual strategies theory, men were more likely to post missed connections (sexual or romantic omission regret), whereas women were more likely to post in FML’s love and intimacy sections (sexual or romantic commission regret). We discuss EMT’s broad theoretical implications for psychology.

Engagement in social distancing/handwashing was most strongly predicted by the perceived likelihood of personally being infected, rather than likelihood of infection transmission or its severity

Wise, Toby, Tomislav D. Zbozinek, Giorgia Michelini, Cindy C. Hagan, and Dean Mobbs. 2020. “Changes in Risk Perception and Protective Behavior During the First Week of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.” PsyArXiv. March 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: By mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread to over 100 countries and all 50 states in the US. Government efforts to minimize the spread of disease emphasized behavioral interventions, including raising awareness of the disease and encouraging protective behaviors such as social distancing and hand washing, and seeking medical attention if experiencing symptoms. However, it is unclear to what extent individuals are aware of the risks associated with the disease, how they are altering their behavior, factors which could influence the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations. We characterized risk perception and engagement in preventative measures in 1591 United States based individuals over the first week of the pandemic (March 11th-16th 2020) and examined the extent to which protective behaviors are predicted by individuals’ perception of risk. Over 5 days, subjects demonstrated growing awareness of the risk posed by the virus, and largely reported engaging in protective behaviors with increasing frequency. However, they underestimated their personal risk of infection relative to the average person in the country. We found that engagement in social distancing and handwashing was most strongly predicted by the perceived likelihood of personally being infected, rather than likelihood of transmission or severity of potential transmitted infections. However, substantial variability emerged among individuals, and using data-driven methods we found a subgroup of subjects who are largely disengaged, unaware, and not practicing protective behaviors. Our results have implications for our understanding of how risk perception and protective behaviors can facilitate early interventions during large-scale pandemics.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Possibility that individual groups of dopamine cells make a unique contribution to the processing of reward and aversion: Non-canonical dopamine pathways are excited in response to aversive stimuli

Aversion hot spots in the dopamine system. Jeroen P H Verharen, Yichen Zhu, Stephan Lammel. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Volume 64, October 2020, Pages 46-52.

• DA neurons show high levels of anatomical and functional heterogeneity.
• Role for projection-defined DA neurons in processing aversive stimuli.
• Identification of aversive hot spots in vNAcMed, TS, mPFC, BLA.

Abstract: Through the development of optogenetics and other viral vector-based technologies, our view of the dopamine system has substantially advanced over the last decade. In particular, progress has been made in the reclassification of dopamine neurons based on subtypes displaying specific projections, which are associated with different features at the anatomical, molecular and behavioral level. Together, these discoveries have raised the possibility that individual groups of dopamine cells make a unique contribution to the processing of reward and aversion. Here, we review recent studies that have identified non-canonical dopamine pathways that are excited in response to aversive stimuli, including dopamine projections to the ventromedial shell of the nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex, tail of the striatum, and amygdala.

Decision-making competence may tap not only into fluid intelligence but also into motivation, emotion regulation, and experience (or crystallized intelligence)

Decision-Making Competence: More Than Intelligence? Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Andrew M. Parker, Baruch Fischhoff. Current Directions in Psychological Science, March 18, 2020

Abstract: Decision-making competence refers to the ability to make better decisions, as defined by decision-making principles posited by models of rational choice. Historically, psychological research on decision-making has examined how well people follow these principles under carefully manipulated experimental conditions. When individual differences received attention, researchers often assumed that individuals with higher fluid intelligence would perform better. Here, we describe the development and validation of individual-differences measures of decision-making competence. Emerging findings suggest that decision-making competence may tap not only into fluid intelligence but also into motivation, emotion regulation, and experience (or crystallized intelligence). Although fluid intelligence tends to decline with age, older adults may be able to maintain decision-making competence by leveraging age-related improvements in these other skills. We discuss implications for interventions and future research.

Keywords: decision-making competence, individual differences, cognitive ability

Cuijpers and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to answer the question whether psychotherapies (primarily CBT) for depression have comparable outcomes in all age groups across the life span

The Age of Depression and Its Treatments. Stefan G. Hofmann. JAMA Psychiatry, March 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0158

Full text, references, etc., at the DOI above.

Depression is a serious and common mental health problem. Although a number of psychological and pharmacological treatments are available for this serious psychiatric condition, there is still a lot of room for improvement. As is true for virtually all mental disorders, the most common and comparatively most effective form of psychological treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).1

To advance and understand the treatments for this disorder, it is important to know when, how, and for whom a treatment works. In line with such a personalized approach to therapy, in this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Cuijpers and colleagues2 conducted a meta-analysis to answer the question whether psychotherapies (primarily CBT) for depression have comparable outcomes in all age groups across the life span. Based on a meta-analytic review of 366 randomized clinical trials, this study found that treatments were less effective in children and adolescents compared with adults. The authors called for better psychological treatments in children and adolescents.

What might account for the observed results? What factors might have accounted for these findings aside from age? If age was in fact the primary reason for the results, why is psychotherapy in children and adolescents less effective? Is it possible that depression in children and adolescents is more severe and treatment resistant than the other age groups? These are the questions I will address in this commentary.

As is true for all meta-analyses, decisions have to be made that might have influenced the results. The study2 allowed different treatment formats, including individual sessions, group therapy, telephone consultations, and guided self-help treatments through the internet. It is quite reasonable to assume that the treatment formats are not used to the same extent by all age groups. Children are unlikely to use self-help guides, and very young children and older adults might be less likely to use the internet for their treatments than young adults, for example. We also know that some of these treatment formats are not as effective as others. Self-help guides, for example, may not be as effective as face-to-face treatments. This difference in treatment use might be an alternative explanation for the pattern of results.

There is also a well-known age-by-sex difference in the prevalence of depression.3 Until age 13 years, depression is equally common among boys and girls. After that age, depression becomes a lot more common in women and girls than men and boys. Therefore, any differences in the treatments between different age groups could also be attributable to differences in sex proportions between these groups. Similar arguments could be made for differences in socioeconomic status, social support, and even culture.

Finally, the number of studies included in the various age-group categories differ dramatically, with 242 studies examining middle-aged adults and only 13 studies examining children and 10 studies examining older adults.2 Not surprisingly, the 95% CI was a lot smaller for the treatment effect size for studies of the middle-aged adults compared with the treatment effect sizes of studies of the children and older adults. This may have also contributed to the pattern of results. Meta-analyses are powerful tools that need to be handled with great care.

Assuming that the findings2 are not explained by an artifact of some other variable, such as treatment use or sex, what could the results mean? Is it possible that depression is not the same disorder for all age groups? The DSM-5 distinguishes major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition, other specified depressive disorder, and unspecified depressive disorder. For all of these categories, age is a factor, and children with mood disorders have posed a number of diagnostic challenges. Perhaps one of the most controversial issues during the development of the DSM-5 was the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. To attempt to avoid the overdiagnosis of and treatment for bipolar disorder in children, the DSM-5 created a new diagnosis: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. This diagnosis typically describes children 12 years or younger who show persistent irritability and frequent episodes of extreme behavioral dyscontrol.

There are other obvious age-associated differences in mood disorders. Children are much less likely to use substances of abuse than adults. Yet, we know that a large number of substances of abuse, such as some prescribed medications, as well as several medical conditions, can be associated with depressionlike phenomena. This fact is recognized in the diagnoses of substance/medication-induced depressive disorder and depressive disorder due to another medical condition. These patients will obviously require an intervention that also addresses the substance or medication to effectively target the depression. It is unclear how many patients in the meta-analysis met criteria for a substance-associated depression. Those patients were unlikely to be children.

The DSM-5 recognizes that in children and adolescents, the mood may be irritable and cranky rather than sad.4 A more chronic form of depression is diagnosed when the mood disturbance continues for at least 2 years in adults but only 1 year in children. Age further defines different subtypes of dysthymia, based on whether the onset is early (before age 21 years) or late (after age 21 years). These differences in age at onset and time course are fairly arbitrary, but they emphasize the importance of age when making a diagnosis.

Of particular relevance in the context of the study is the onset specifier. This specifier was in large part the result of studies conducted by Akiskal,5 who proposed that early-onset dysthymia is a low-grade characterological form of depression that develops gradually, whereas late-life dysthymia is an acute and more severe form of the disorder.

Although the early-onset vs late-onset specifier was not included for major depressive disorder, it has been suggested that a similar distinction should also be made for this disorder.6 Accordingly, early-onset chronic major depression might be a more severe form and associated with greater comorbidities than the late-onset subtype. This would explain why treatments are less effective in early-onset subtype of the disorder and therefore also in children and adolescents.

It is unclear why age appears to distinguish different forms of depressive states. It is quite possible that hormonal changes, and especially the influence of estrogen and testosterone on brain function and development among girls around puberty, might explain some of the results.7 Other possible explanations might be associated with the physical changes that occur during sexual maturity and the associated social conflicts and stress around gender roles.3 Whatever the reason, age (and sex) is a critical factor that needs to be considered for the diagnosis and treatment of depression. It is quite possible that we are dealing with different disorders, depending on the age and sex of the patient.8 Therefore, the same treatment might not be equally effective for all individuals at all ages. This questions the idea that depression is a monolithic entity and supports the call for a paradigm shift toward precision medicine in psychiatry.

Women rate sin stocks as less morally appropriate investment propositions and feel considerably less comfortable investing in controversial (but not conventional) stocks; sex differences are substantial

Niszczota, Paweł, and Michal Bialek. 2020. “Women Oppose Sin Stocks More Than Men Do.” PsyArXiv. March 18. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: We experimentally test whether men and women differ in their propensity to hold morally controversial (“sin”) stocks. Participants (N = 335) were recruited via Mechanical Turk and rated the moral appropriateness and level of comfort resulting from holding controversial and conventional stocks. Results show that women rate sin stocks as less morally appropriate investment propositions and feel considerably less comfortable investing in controversial (but not conventional) stocks. Sex differences in sin stock tolerance were substantial (d = .60) and remained significant after accounting for differences in investment knowledge and risk tolerance. We propose differences in deontological inclinations in men and women as a likely explanation for the observed effect, and discuss two important outcomes of these differences.

Does having children increase environmental concern? Testing parenthood effects with longitudinal data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study

Does having children increase environmental concern? Testing parenthood effects with longitudinal data from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. Taciano L. Milfont ,Wouter Poortinga,Chris G. Sibley. PLOS , March 18, 2020

Abstract: Having children is a transformative experience and may change the way people think about the future. Parents invest time, energy and resources to ensure the survival and reproductive success of offspring. Having children may also induce environmental concerns and investments in actions aimed at guaranteeing the quality of natural resources available to offspring. However, there is limited empirical support for this parenthood effect, and little is known about how environmental attitudes and behaviour change over time following the birth of a child. This pre-registered study uses data from the first seven waves (2009–2015) of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study—a longitudinal national probability study of social attitudes, personality, and health outcomes—with multilevel interrupted time series analysis. Respondents’ belief in the reality and causes of climate change, sacrifices to standard of living to protect the environment, and changes in daily routine to protect the environment did not change significantly following the birth of a child; and nor were there changes in the underlying trends of attitudes or pre-birth anticipation effects. The study further found no gender differences in the attitudinal effects of childbirth. Additional exploratory analyses suggest that becoming a parent for the first time may increase beliefs in the reality of climate change but does not appear to change other environmental attitudes. Overall, our findings provide little empirical evidence for parenthood effects on environmentalism.


Past correlational research has demonstrated that greater levels of pro-environmental engagement is associated with generativity and legacy concerns [1618], and higher levels of future thinking and endorsement of other-focused personal values [2021]. Experimental studies have also shown that priming individuals to envision their everyday life in the future [19], or to describe what they want to be remembered for by future generations [18] led to an increase in pro-environmental engagement. One logical extension of these findings showing an effect of other-focus and future-focus on environmental protection is to examine whether becoming a parent would influence one’s pro-environmental engagement. Parental investment in offspring should include considerations of the availability and quality of the natural environmental necessary for the survival and reproductive success of offspring.
Despite the theoretical and intuitive appeal of parenthood effects on environmentalism, a recent longitudinal study testing whether parenthood would increase pro-environmental engagement did not provide empirical support [22]. In the present study, we employed a distinct longitudinal dataset to test the hypothesis over up to six years. Across six dependent variables, we did not observe a single significant attitudinal effect related to the birth of a child. That is, we did not find any change in pro-environmental tendencies from before to after the birth of a child, and there were no changes in the underlying trends in pro-environmental tendencies either. In addition, the study found no gender differences in the attitudinal effects of childbirth. That is, null results in mean-level and slope-level effects were found for both mothers and fathers. Additional exploratory analyses suggest that becoming a parent for the first time may increase beliefs in the reality of climate change, but no effects were found for the other five environmental measures; and these effects for new parents must be interpreted with caution, as they were rendered non-significant when correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our findings provide little empirical evidence for parenthood effects on environmentalism, supporting the findings observed by Thomas and colleagues [22]. Together, analyses of two large, high-quality longitudinal datasets explicitly testing whether having children increase pro-environmental engagement do not seem to confirm intuitive predictions of parenthood effects. However, there are still a number of methodological and theoretical considerations to be kept in mind when interpreting the results.
Testing for parenthood effects as outlined in this paper requires a properly-sized longitudinal dataset of sufficient length. While the NZAVS is a high-quality longitudinal dataset with a large sample size (the sample contains over 23,000 unique individuals and more than 78,000 measurement occasions), there were only a limited number of childbirths, in particular of firstborns (of the 1,522 childbirths, around 400 were firstborns). That may not be sufficient to detect what are most likely modest effects. Another consideration is the age of mothers and fathers. The median age of women giving birth to a child is 30 in New Zealand and range between 13 and 53 [35]. The average age fathers is slightly higher (33 years), and around one in 100 babies has a father aged 50 years or over [36]. The average age of our sample is relatively high (i.e., 43.5 years at the time of Wave 1), meaning that many women in the sample are beyond childbearing age.
In addition, while the dataset included multiple waves of data collection and therefore was able to not only detect sudden mean-level but also more gradual slope-level changes before and after childbirth, the analyses were constricted to a six-year period. It is possible that the effect of parenthood on pro-environmental engagement is delayed over a longer period, and that (even) more measurement points are required to detect effects. Environmental attitudes and behaviour following childbirth may also have a U-shaped pattern. Initially, the impact of childbirth on environmental engagement may be negative because of pressures of looking after a young child, which then is followed by an increase in pro-environmental intentions/behaviour to ensure an environmental legacy is left for offspring. Indeed, Thomas et al. [22] observed detrimental effects of having a new-born child in the frequency of three behaviours (i.e., ‘wear more clothes instead of more heating’, ‘use public transport instead of car’ and ‘carshare with others’) that are harder to perform when parenting efforts takes precedent over other concerns. As discussed by Thomas et al. in relation to other findings [122337], the pressing concerns of new parents is to dedicate time, resources and energy for the immediate health and wellbeing of offspring, which should outweigh broader and longer-term concerns regarding environmental sustainability. It is possible that parental investment would start to include environmental considerations once the more immediate pressures of parenthood subside, and more measurement points are needed to capture longer-term patterns than were available in this study. Non-linear and delayed effects associated with having are a distinct possibility, as argued here, and should therefore be tested as part of future research using longitudinal datasets of sufficient length.
Major life events that are planned or at least can be anticipated may produce effects in preparation for the event. Indeed, childbirth has been associated with a number of anticipatory psychological and behavioural effects [24262738]. Anticipatory effects may bias the findings and can be missed with an insufficient number of pre-event measurements. In this study we modelled anticipatory effects in environmental attitudes and self-reported behavioural changes. Limited evidence was found for pre-birth changes, although there was a small but significant negative effect in reported changes in people’s daily environmental routines. This may indicate that possible negative changes in environmental habits may already be initiated in advance of the birth of a child. These anticipatory effects need to be studied in more detail because they may dampen or mask changes that new parents may make in response to the birth of a child.
Another reason for the absence of parenthood effects in this study may be that they only occur in specific groups. For example, Thomas and colleagues [22] found that parents with already high environmental concern show a small increase in the desire to act more sustainably after the birth of their first child. In the current paper we examined possible moderators, such as gender and parenthood status (i.e., whether participants already had a child or not), but there are other socio-demographic, psychological, and situational factors to consider. It is possible that, for example, socio-economic status and (pre-existing) environmental values may moderate potential parenthood effects. Economic circumstances may prevent new parents from making pro-environmental changes, and effects may be the most pronounced for those who are already concerned about the environment, and climate change in particular. Future research could study this in more detail, although other analytical techniques may be needed to study moderation effects as noted below.
In relation to the previous point, parenthood effects on environmentalism is based on the idea that the birth of a child enhances a parent’s legacy motivation. This is a yet untested assumption, mainly because legacy motivation measures have not been available in longitudinal datasets. Previous research has shown that a motivation to leave a positive legacy can be leveraged to increase engagement with climate change and other environmental problems [18], but it is still unclear whether this is also happening in response to having a child. There has been a call to understand environmentally relevant behaviour from a multilevel perspective to examine individual and contextual factors [39], and we extend this call by employing a multilevel analysis to examine changes over the life course. We believe theorising in the field will benefit from datasets that allows examination of developmental trajectories of environmental attitudes and behaviour and how they change as a result of major life events and transitions.
In this study we used a multilevel interrupted time series approach to study abrupt and more gradual changes before and after childbirth. This design is increasingly used in public health intervention [30] and life transition [24] research, as it allows the explicit modelling of the time-dependent nature of outcomes. Our study illustrates the implementation of this analytical strategy in the environmental domain, and previous studies have also used interrupted time series analysis to evaluate intervention outcomes of “natural experiments” with environmental consequences [4041]. As with any analytical technique there are limitations. Life transitions are usually associated with a number of changes, and those who experience a transition may be different from those who do not. Parenthood is usually planned in advance, and previous studies have shown that people without children and parents-to-be differ in socio-economic, social, and psychological characteristics (e.g., in personality see [4243]). While we were able to control for anticipation effects and for the socio-demographic variables of gender, age, ethnicity and socio-economic deprivation, biases may still occur due to selection effects. Not all participants may have the same propensity to have a child in a particular period, and this may produce or obscure an effect [4344].
Different techniques can be used to control for potential selection effects. A propensity score matching approach [44] can be used to match prospective parents with non-parents that have similar baseline characteristics. Balancing characteristics that determine the propensity to experience a specific event or an intervention has become widespread in life transition research to avoid biased treatment effects [524274546]. It would be necessary to explore propensity effects with further moderation analyses and to increase confidence in the evidence so far that there are no changes in environmental attitudes and behaviour following childbirth.

In conclusion, we examined whether the birth of a new chid increased climate change beliefs and pro-environmental attitudes and behavioural intentions of parents. Overall, our longitudinal analysis shows no mean-level or rate-change effects in the environmental measures examined, disconfirming predictions of parenthood effect on environmentalism. There were no changes observed in either mothers or fathers, similarly disconfirming gender or ‘parental role’ interpretations of possible parenthood effects [1]. While there was a small effect indicating that becoming a parent for the first time may increase beliefs in the reality of climate change, these effects should be considered preliminary given the exploratory nature of those analyses and the fact this becomes statistically non-significant when correcting for multiple comparison. The study contributes to theoretical and methodological advances in environmental decision-making research but should be expanded upon with further analyses to address uncertainties about the specific temporal pattern of effects and potential selection and anticipation effects in becoming a parent. We hope possible parenthood effects on environmentally relevant variables continue to be explored in future studies.

#TheDress is perceived by some people as black and blue while others perceive it as white and gold. We have previously shown that the first encounter with #TheDress strongly biases its perception

How stable is perception in #TheDress and #TheShoe? Leila Drissi-Daoudi et al. Vision Research, Volume 169, April 2020, Pages 1-5.

Abstract: #TheDress is perceived by some people as black and blue while others perceive it as white and gold. We have previously shown that the first encounter with #TheDress strongly biases its perception. This percept remained stable during the experiment, suggesting a role of one-shot learning. #TheShoe is another image that elicits similar bimodal color percepts. Here, we investigated how percepts change over time in both #TheShoe and #TheDress. First, we show that the important role of one-shot learning, which we found for #TheDress extends to #TheShoe. Similarly to our previous results with the dress, hiding large parts of the image with occluders biased the percept of the shoe. The percept did not change for the majority of observers when the occluders were removed. Second, we investigated if and how percepts switch over a time course of 14 days. We found that although some observers experienced percept switches, the percept was largely stable for most observers.

Keywords: #TheDress#TheShoeContextual processingOne-shot learningPerceptual dynamics

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Increase in health anxiety in university student samples 1985-2017; the annual percentage of Internet users was not predictive of mean health anxiety

Three decades of increase in health anxiety: Systematic review and meta-analysis of birth cohort changes in university student samples from 1985 to 2017. Amanda Kosic et al.

• It is hypothesised that health anxiety has increased over the past decades.
• We reviewed birth cohort health anxiety in university student samples 1985–2017.
• Student mean score on the Illness Attitudes Scales (IAS) increased by 4.61 points
• The annual percentage of Internet users was not predictive of mean health anxiety.
• Findings were robust, at least with regard to undergraduate samples.

Abstract: Health anxiety can be defined as a multifaceted trait that is primarily characterised by a fear of, or preoccupation with, serious illness. Whereas low levels of health anxiety can be helpful, clinically significant levels are associated with personal suffering and substantial societal costs. As general anxiety is probably on the rise, and the Internet has increased access to health-related information, it is commonly speculated that health anxiety has increased over the past decades. We tested this hypothesis based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of birth cohort mean health anxiety in Western university student samples from 1985 to 2017. Sixty-eight studies with 22 413 student participants were included. The primary analysis indicated that the mean score on the Illness Attitudes Scales had increased by 4.61 points (95 % CI: 1.02, 8.20) from 1985 to 2017. The percentage of general population Internet users in the study year of data collection was not predictive of student mean health anxiety. In conclusion, this study corroborates the hypothesis of an increase in health anxiety, at least in the student population, over the past decades. However, this increase could not be linked to the introduction of the Internet.

Keywords: Birth cohortCross-temporal meta-analysisGenerationsHealth anxietyHypochondriasisStudents

Outgroup members are not thought to experience all secondary emotions less intensely; rather, they are thought to experience prosocial emotions less intensely but antisocial emotions more intensely

Enock, Florence, Steven Tipper, and Harriet Over. 2020. “No Convincing Evidence That Outgroup Members Are Dehumanised: Revisiting Trait and Emotion Attribution in Intergroup Bias.” PsyArXiv. March 18. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: We challenge the prevalent claim that outgroup members are dehumanised. In study 1, we conducted a systematic content analysis of historical documents from Nazi Germany and showed that, even in these supposedly prototypical cases of extreme dehumanisation, victims are described in ways that only make sense when applied to humans. In studies 2a-c, we test Haslam’s influential dual model of dehumanisation. We show that outgroup members are thought to possess positive human attributes to a lesser extent but negative human attributes to a greater extent. In study 3, we test Leyens’ prominent infrahumanisation model and demonstrate that, contrary to a body of previous work, outgroup members are not thought to experience all secondary emotions less intensely. Rather, they are thought to experience prosocial emotions less intensely but antisocial emotions more intensely. In a final study, we question the hypothesised relationship between dehumanisation and modulation of prosocial behaviour. We demonstrate that describing someone in uniquely human terms can actually reduce prosociality towards them when those terms are antisocial. Taken together, these studies cast doubt on the claim that representing others as ‘less human’ holds explanatory power in the study of intergroup bias.

Possible Fiscal Policies for Rare, Unanticipated, and Severe Viral Outbreaks

Possible Fiscal Policies for Rare, Unanticipated, and Severe Viral Outbreaks. Bill Dupor. St Louis Fed, Mar 17 2020.

Consumer spending in restaurants, travel, leisure, hospitality, and some retail trade sectors is falling because of precautions taken by businesses, households, and governments to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and similar actions are reducing demand in some sectors.

The proper fiscal policy response in this situation is not necessarily to try to replace or stimulate that demand, given that the fall in demand is a natural byproduct of the caution.1 Rather, the proper policy response may look different from conventional stabilization policy. This essay asks: What should guide a fiscal authority in conducting macroeconomic policy in the event of a severe viral outbreak?

Below I describe some potential fiscal policies that may be appropriate. Two economic principles and one operational principle motivate these potential recommendations.

First, incentivize behavior to align with recognized public health objectives during the outbreak.

Second, avoid concentrating the individual financial burden of the outbreak or the policy response to the outbreak.

Third, implement these fiscal policies as quickly as possible, subject to some efficiency considerations.

At this point, experts are evaluating a wide range of scenarios for the trajectory of the virus in the United States. Some of these scenarios involve a substantial toll on Americans' health. If coordinated macroeconomic policies could help to slow the rate of transmission—by an amount that would reduce overloading U.S. hospitals and help buy time to find a vaccine—so that some of the negative health effects were reduced, this would be a major return on the federal dollars invested in such a program. The pay-off would be in addition to some of the standard business cycle mitigation that motivates standard fiscal interventions.

I describe a $197.1 billion proposal with the above issues in mind. Because some observers have advocated for tax rebates in response to COVID-19, and these could prove useful, I also add this component as an option. It increases the overall size of the fiscal intervention to nearly $350 billion.2 For comparison, the 2009 Recovery Act had a budget impact of about $815 billion.3

It is well understood that fiscal policy operates with a lag. Parts of a proposal such as the one outlined below might take several weeks to a few months to undergo CBO assessment and budget projections, the federal legislative process, and coordination between state, local, and federal officials to implement those fiscal policies. If the planning process were started now, legislators would have the option to vote for or against federal authorizations depending on whether the policies were deemed necessary up to the moment before a final vote was taken.

Younger adults were self-biased, choosing to work more at higher effort levels for themselves, exerting less force into prosocial work; older people were more willing to put in effort for others

Lockwood, Patricia, Ayat Abdurahman, Anthony Gabay, Daniel Drew, Marin Tamm, Masud Husain, and Matthew A. J. Apps. 2020. “Ageing Increases Prosocial Motivation for Effort.” PsyArXiv. March 18. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Social cohesion relies on prosociality in increasingly ageing populations. Helping others requires effort, yet how willing people are to exert effort to benefit ourselves and other people, and whether such behaviours shift across the lifespan, is poorly understood. Using computational modelling we tested the willingness to exert effort into self or other benefitting acts in younger (age 18-36) and older adults (55-84, total n=187). Participants chose whether to work and exert effort, (between 30-70% of maximum grip strength) for rewards (2-10 credits) accrued for themselves or prosocially for another. Younger adults were self-biased, choosing to work more at higher effort levels for themselves, but also superficial, exerting less force into prosocial work. Strikingly, compared to younger adults, older people were more willing to put in effort for others and exerted equal force for self and other. Increased prosociality in older people has important implications for human behaviour and societal structure.

Adults demonstrating lower personal on-line risk perceptions and higher third-person perceptions of risk than their adolescent counterparts

Asymmetrical third-person effects on the perceptions of online risk and harm among adolescents and adults. Sarah L. Buglass et al. Behaviour & Information Technology, Mar 17 2020.

ABSTRACT: Although research has identified a range of opportunities, risks, and harms related to online social networking, the public debate on online risks follows a set pattern by which members of older age groups (parents, regulators) hold a picture of members of younger age groups (teenagers, digital natives) at a uniformly high level of risk. Perceptions of online risk, however, are prone to third-person effects in which individuals perceive risks to be more apparent in others than themselves. This study investigated third-person effects across age groups to further our understanding of the set positions found in current public debate. Multivariate analysis was used to compare adolescent and adult users’ personal and third-person perceptions of common psycho-social risks associated with social networking engagement in a sample of 506 UK-based Facebook users (53% male; 13–77 years). Results indicated that rates of exposure to online vulnerabilities were similar for both age groups. However, differences in adult and adolescent perceptions of risk highlighted apparent mismatches between reported exposure to risk and an individual’s perceptions, with adults demonstrating lower personal perceptions and higher third-person perceptions of risk than their adolescent counterparts. The research considers the implications of risk perception on an individual’s online vulnerability.

KEYWORDS: Facebook, risk perception, online vulnerability, third-person effect, adolescent users, online networking

Women in same-sex couples spend more time together, both alone and in total, than individuals in different-sex arrangements and men in same-sex couples, regardless of parenthood status

Same-Sex Couples’ Shared Time in the United States. Katie R. Genadek, Sarah M. Flood & Joan Garcia Roman. Demography (2020). Mar 17,

Abstract: This study examines and compares shared time for same-sex and different-sex coresident couples using large, nationally representative data from the 2003–2016 American Time Use Survey (ATUS). We compare the total time that same-sex couples and different-sex couples spend together; for parents, the time they spend together with children; and for both parents and nonparents, the time they spend together with no one else present and the time they spend with others (excluding children). After we control for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the couples, women in same-sex couples spend more time together, both alone and in total, than individuals in different-sex arrangements and men in same-sex couples, regardless of parenthood status. Women in same-sex relationships also spend a larger percentage of their total available time together than other couples, and the difference in time is not limited to any specific activity.

In countries with high levels of gender inequality, women often walk faster than men in public places.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Rolf Degen summarizing: Although people tend to forego larger future rewards in order to gain immediate pleasure, they sometimes willingly cherish the delay

Deliberating trade-offs with the future. Adam Bulley & Daniel L. Schacter. Nature Human Behaviour volume 4, pages238–247(2020), Mar 17.

Abstract: Many fundamental choices in life are intertemporal: they involve trade-offs between sooner and later outcomes. In recent years there has been a surge of interest into how people make intertemporal decisions, given that such decisions are ubiquitous in everyday life and central in domains from substance use to climate change action. While it is clear that people make decisions according to rules, intuitions and habits, they also commonly deliberate over their options, thinking through potential outcomes and reflecting on their own preferences. In this Perspective, we bring to bear recent research into the higher-order capacities that underpin deliberation—particularly those that enable people to think about the future (prospection) and their own thinking (metacognition)—to shed light on intertemporal decision-making. We show how a greater appreciation for these mechanisms of deliberation promises to advance our understanding of intertemporal decision-making and unify a wide range of otherwise disparate choice phenomena.

How do teenagers perceive their intelligence? Narcissism, intellect, well-being and gender as correlates of self-assessed intelligence among adolescents

How do teenagers perceive their intelligence? Narcissism, intellect, well-being and gender as correlates of self-assessed intelligence among adolescents. Marcin Zajenkowski. Personality and Individual Differences, March 17 2020, 109978.

Abstract: Self-assessed intelligence (SAI) and its correlates have been extensively studied in adults. However, our understanding of how younger people perceive intelligence is limited. The current study aimed to fill this gap by investigating how SAI is associated with objective intelligence, gender, personality traits, and well-being in a sample (N = 428) of high-school students. The results revealed that SAI was not correlated with objectively measured intelligence (Raven's test); however, it was associated with other constructs. First, there were gender differences, i.e. boys' self-estimates of their intelligence were higher than that of girls. Furthermore, SAI was strongly related to grandiose narcissism and moderately related to the personality trait intellect. Additionally, high SAI was associated with high levels of well-being. Finally, SAI accounted for the link between narcissism and well-being as well as that between intellect and well-being. The lack of correlation between SAI and IQ score is consistent with previous findings suggesting that the conception of intelligence in adolescence differs from academic definitions of cognitive ability. On the other hand, the strong association between SAI and narcissism suggests that the concept of intelligence might primarily be a manifestation of boldness and a narcissistic attitude in adolescence.

4. Discussion

The current study examined how self-assessed intelligence is associated with objective intelligence, gender, personality traits, and well-being in a group of high-school students. The results indicated that most of the SAI-related effects observed previously in adults can also be found in adolescents. However, the most important difference was a lack of correlation between self-assessed and objectively assessed intelligence, given that prior meta-analytic investigation has shown these two constructs to moderately overlap in adult populations (Freund & Kasten, 2012). Moreover, previous studies have also found a positive relation between objective cognitive abilities and self-assessed abilities in children and adolescents (Chamorro-Premuzic et al., 2010; Gold & Kuhn, 2017; Spinath et al., 2006). However, as mentioned above, in these latter studies the participants were asked to self-rate more narrow abilities rather than general intelligence. Additionally, the study by Gold and Kuhn (2017) included a slightly older sample than the one tested here. It should also be acknowledged that in the present research a non-verbal IQ test measuring fluid intelligence was used. According to the aforementioned findings, a mature conception of intelligence as abstract thinking and problem solving with both verbal and non-verbal material is formed later, e.g. around college time (Chen et al., 1988; Nicholls et al., 1986). It is possible then, that our participants' understanding of intelligence differed from adult conceptions of intelligence. Consequently, they may not have considered the skills required to succeed in Raven's test to be key characteristics of intelligence.
Despite the null correlation with objective intelligence, SAI displayed a pattern of associations with other variables. Specifically, boys self-rated their intelligence higher than girls self-rated theirs, whereas there was no gender difference in objective intelligence. Adult males similarly self-rate their intelligence higher than females self-rate theirs, despite negligible gender differences in objective general intelligence (Szymanowicz & Furnham, 2011). This effect has been described as the “male hubris, female humility” effect (Furnham, 2001). Specifically, it has been proposed that people view intelligence as male-normative and that gender differences in perceived intelligence may stem from the differential socialization of males (encouraged to be bold) and females (encouraged to be submissive) (Furnham, 2001). Studies investigating estimations by individuals' family members support this view. Typically, male family members (grandfathers, fathers, and brothers) are perceived to have higher general intelligence than that of their female counterparts (e.g. Furnham & Rawles, 1995). Moreover, parents tend to rate their sons' IQ as being higher than that of their daughters (Furnham & Gasson, 1998; Furnham, Reeves, & Budhani, 2002). The current results suggest that this effect occurs relatively early and might already be observed among 16-year olds. However, further research is required to establish the exact developmental stage at which gender differences in perceived intelligence are formed. For instance, in a study by Furnham and Budhani (2002) involving only a slightly younger sample (mean age 15.40 years, SD = 0.95) than the one used here, there were no gender differences in self-assessed general intelligence even though male self-estimations were higher than females' on more narrow abilities, i.e. spatial and mathematical ones.
In the present sample, SAI was associated with two personality traits: narcissism and intellect. Furthermore, narcissism explained the highest amount of variance in SAI. This result is in line with recent findings showing narcissism to be the strongest correlate of SAI among personality traits (Howard & Cogswell, 2018; Zajenkowski et al., 2019). The finding is interesting given that narcissism is essentially unrelated to objective IQ (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). Grandiose narcissism is a trait primarily defined by egocentrism, pronounced feelings of importance and entitlement (Campbell & Foster, 2007). People with high grandiose narcissism desire agentic attributes, such as dominance, sense of control, and social status (Campbell & Foster, 2007). Because intelligence is a key asset for the attainment of such attributes, narcissistic individuals are highly concerned with their intelligence (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). It has been shown that positive self-views in the domain of intelligence help them to maintain positive feelings (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). Additionally, narcissistic individuals view intelligence as a crucial factor that influences mainly interpersonal success, i.e. popularity among peers, social status, and relationship satisfaction (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). Thus, intelligence appears to be an important resource in gaining other people's admiration. The current results extend previous findings by showing that the concept of intelligence is an important building block of the narcissistic self-concept in young people. Even though the concept of intelligence is not fully formed in adolescence, it is already linked with a narcissistic attitude. This finding suggests that in people's minds the two phenomena, i.e. thinking positively about one's intelligence and narcissistic grandiosity, go together and that their coexistence occurs at a relatively early developmental stage.
In the present study, SAI was also positively associated with the trait intellect, which is consistent with other research on adults (e.g. Zajenkowski & Matthews, 2019). However, in contrast with previous studies (DeYoung, Quilty, Peterson, & Gray, 2014; Zajenkowski et al., 2019), intellect was unrelated to objective intelligence. According to DeYoung and colleagues (2014), intellect is part of a broader trait of openness/intellect and reflects intellectual engagement with semantic and abstract information, enjoyment of cognitive activity, and one's perceived cognitive abilities. Thus, to some extent intellect overlaps with self-assessed abilities. However, it also contains a more specific element related to intellectual curiosity. Zajenkowski et al. (2019) suggested that this element might differentiate narcissism from intellect in their relations with SAI. This view was supported by the finding that individuals with high intellect report high motivation and concentration on IQ tests, whereas highly narcissistic people do not genuinely engage with demanding cognitive tests (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). Thus, intellect seems to partially reflect a non-narcissistic attitude towards SAI that might be linked with cognitive engagement.
Another important finding of the current study concerns the positive link between SAI and well-being. The authors of a recent meta-analysis of SAI correlates have suggested that SAI could be regarded as a specific form of self-efficacy (Howard & Cogswell, 2018). Because modern jobs and work success rely on cognitive competence, intelligence has become a highly valued characteristic in society and one's self-worth is becoming increasingly dependent on one's intellectual abilities. This line of reasoning may also be relevant to the school environment, where the evaluation of cognitive performance is an essential part of the education system. Thus, SAI appears to play a central role in modern society and because of that may have an influence on self-esteem and well-being. Certainly, the present study indicates that the concept of intelligence is an important source of life satisfaction among high-school students. Additionally, SAI also accounted for the associations between narcissism and well-being and between intellect and well-being. The mechanisms underlying both findings might be different. Specifically, intellect, high intelligence might facilitate cognitive engagement and because of that be a source of pleasant feelings. In case of narcissism, it has been shown that grandiose narcissists pursue agentic goals such as high social status and believe that intelligence is a key attribute in attaining such goals (Zajenkowski et al., 2019). Therefore, intelligence inflated self-views enable grandiose narcissists to experience positive feelings. It is possible that high cognitive ability is linked to the sense of agency and social position already among adolescent narcissists and because of that, it increases their well-being. This hypothesis could be further examine by investigating how narcissistic students are perceived by their peers. Specifically, it would be interesting to explore whether one's popularity depends on how other students evaluate his/her intelligence.
The present study is not free of limitations. First, it used only one measure of objective intelligence. Future research should therefore include a wider range of IQ tests capturing other aspects of cognitive ability (e.g. verbal) to deepen our knowledge of adolescents' insight into their intelligence. In a similar vein, the measurement of SAI could be extended to include more narrow abilities. Previous studies on SAI using a multiple intelligence measures approach have produced interesting and more nuanced findings on adolescents (Furnham & Budhani, 2002). Finally, the current study had more female than male participants; future samples should be more balanced in terms of gender.