Freitag, 25. Dezember 2015

It's getting bigger all the time: Estimating the Flynn effect from secular brain mass increases in Britain and Germany

It's getting bigger all the time: Estimating the Flynn effect from secular brain mass increases in Britain and Germany
Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Mateo A. Peñaherrera, Heitor B.F. Fernandes, David Becker, James R. Flynn (2016)
Learning and Individual Differences


Highlights

Secular increases in brain mass are quantified in two countries (UK and Germany).
In the UK, brain mass increased by 52 g for males and 23 g for females over 80 years.
In Germany the increase was 73.16 g for males and 52.27 g for females over 99 years.
In terms of IQ, the UK gain = 0.19 and 0.08 points per decade for males and females.
In Germany, the IQ gain = 0.2 and 0.15 points per decade for males and females.

Abstract


Secular increases in brain mass over nearly a century have been noted for both males and females in the UK and Germany. It has been argued that such trends may be associated with the Flynn effect. The IQ gain predicted on the basis of these trends is 0.19 and 0.08 points per decade for UK, and 0.2 and 0.15 points per decade for German males and females respectively, indicating a small contribution to the Fullscale IQ trends in these countries (2.95% of the German decadal gain and 12.73% of the UK gain). There is also a sex difference in the rates of brain mass gain in both countries, favoring males. Temporal correlations between the secular trend in UK brain mass and European Flynn effects on Fullscale IQ, Crystallized, Fluid and Spatial abilities reveal correlations ranging from 0.751 in the case of Fluid ability to 0.761 in the case of Crystallized ability. The brain mass increase may be an imperfect proxy for changes in specific neuroanatomical structures important for IQ gains. Its small contribution to these gains is also consistent with the influence of other contributing factors. Increasing brain mass is predicted by the life history model of the Flynn effect as it suggests increased somatic effort allocation into bioenergetically expensive cortical real estate facilitating the development of specialized cognitive abilities.

Mittwoch, 23. Dezember 2015

Fröhliche Weihnachten! Merry Christmas!



Viggo Johansen

Wissenschaft: Epistemische Rationalität

Heiner Rindermann: Zunächst einmal ist es die Aufgabe der Wissenschaft, wahre Aussagen zu formulieren, wahre und neue, also Erkenntnis zu schaffen und diese weiterzugeben. Wer was warum dazu assoziiert, ist aus der Perspektive epistemischer Rationalität irrelevant. Auch ist unwichtig, ob eine angenommene Übereinstimmung oder Nichtübereinstimmung mit Weltanschauungen vorliegt. Wenn man nach der Farbe fragt, ist die Größe irrelevant. Aussagen sind auf ihren empirischen Gehalt, auf ihre Übereinstimmung mit der Wirklichkeit, auf ihre Logik und Kohärenz mit anderen bestätigten Aussagen hin zu überprüfen. Gerade bei „heißen“, „politischen“, „umstrittenen“ und „historisch belasteten“ Themen ist es notwendig, sich im Denken zu orientieren. 2010 habe ich versucht, dies so zu beschreiben: 
„Unter epistemischer Rationalität ist eine explizit normative Dimension richtigen Denkens zu verstehen, eine Fähigkeit und Bereitschaft, das eigene und fremde Denken auf Wahrheit zu orientieren. Probleme werden als kognitiv lösbare Fragestellungen und nicht als durch Intuition oder Übernahme traditioneller Antworten abkürzbare Fragen, als durch Gewalt, autoritative Entscheidung oder durch Zwangsmaßnahmen zu bewältigende Hindernisse verstanden. Rationalität fordert den Einsatz von Denken, Intelligenz und Wissen zur Lösung von Problemen. Das eigene Denken wird unter den Vorbehalt notwendiger Richtigkeit, Begründung und Argumentation gestellt und ist prinzipiell durch Hinweis auf diese und überzeugendere Alternativen einer Änderung möglich. In Interaktion mit anderen oder sich selbst wird im rationalen Denken eine argumentative Haltung eingenommen, die gute Gründe, logische Kriterien wie Widerspruchsfreiheit und empirische Belege gelten lässt, nur diese und nichts anderes, nicht Überreden, Macht oder Ansehen der Person oder andere außerargumentative Kriterien. In epistemischer Interaktion, sei sie persönlich oder nicht persönlich, wird eine angemessen präzise, verständliche und inhaltsangemessene Sprache bis zur Sprache der Mathematik verwendet.“
Gerade bei heiklen Themen ist an den Kriterien der Vernünftigkeit und der Argumentativität festzuhalten. Hierfür ist auch eine aufmerksame, wenn notwendig kritische Leserschaft hilfreich, die Anregungen, Alternativen und Kritik formuliert, sich dabei aber auch selbst an Kriterien der Vernünftigkeit und der Argumentativität orientiert.

Dienstag, 22. Dezember 2015

Effect of smoking on physical and cognitive capability in later life: a multicohort study using observational and genetic approaches


Teri-Louise North, Tom M Palmer, Sarah J Lewis, Rachel Cooper, Chris Power, Alison Pattie, John M Starr, Ian J Deary, Richard M Martin, Avan Aihie Sayer, Meena Kumari, Cyrus Cooper, Mika Kivimaki, Diana Kuh, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Ian N M Day (2015)


Objectives The observed associations between smoking and functional measures at older ages are vulnerable to bias and confounding. Mendelian randomisation (MR) uses genotype as an instrumental variable to estimate unconfounded causal associations. We conducted a meta-analysis of the observational associations and implemented an MR approach using the smoking-related single nucleotide polymorphism rs16969968 to explore their causal nature.

Setting 9 British cohorts belonging to the HALCyon collaboration.

Participants Individual participant data on N=26 692 individuals of European ancestry (N from earliest phase analysed per study) of mean ages 50–79 years were available for inclusion in observational meta-analyses of the primary outcomes.

Primary outcomes Physical capability, cognitive capability and cognitive decline. The smoking exposures were cigarettes per day, current versus ex-smoker, current versus never smoker and ever versus never smoker.

Results In observational analyses current and ever smoking were generally associated with poorer physical and cognitive capability. For example, current smokers had a general fluid cognition score which was 0.17 z-score units (95% CI −0.221 to −0.124) lower than ex-smokers in cross-sectional analyses. Current smokers had a walk speed which was 0.25 z-score units lower than never smokers (95% CI −0.338 to −0.170). An MR instrumental variable approach for current versus ex-smoker and number of cigarettes smoked per day produced CIs which neither confirmed nor refuted the observational estimates. The number of genetic associations stratified by smoking status were consistent with type I error.

Conclusions Our observational analysis supports the hypothesis that smoking is detrimental to physical and cognitive capability. Further studies are needed for a suitably powered MR approach.

Donnerstag, 3. Dezember 2015

Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality

Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality
Gerhard Meisenberg & Michael A. Woodley (2015)


Abstract

Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective well-being than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history. Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States.

Are gifted adolescents more satisfied with their lives than their non-gifted peers?

Are gifted adolescents more satisfied with their lives than their non-gifted peers?
Sebastian Bergold, Linda Wirthwein, Detlef H. Rost, and Ricarda Steinmayr (2015)


Abstract

Studies investigating the life satisfaction of intellectually gifted and non-gifted students are scarce and often suffer from methodological shortcomings. We examined the life satisfaction of gifted and non-gifted adolescents using a rather unselected sample of N = 655 German high-school students (n = 75 gifted), adequate comparison groups of non-gifted students, and a clear definition of giftedness (general intelligence g > 2 SD above the mean). There was no difference in life satisfaction between gifted and non-gifted adolescents (d < |0.1|). Girls reported somewhat lower life satisfaction scores than boys (d = 0.24). However, this result was not specific to giftedness but was instead found across the entire sample. Thus, gifted girls were not found to be especially unsatisfied with their lives. Our findings support previous research showing that giftedness is not a risk factor for impaired psycho-social well-being of boys or girls.

Samstag, 14. November 2015

Hormonal contraceptive use during relationship formation and sexual desire during pregnancy

Hormonal contraceptive use during relationship formation and sexual desire during pregnancy
Kelly D. Cobey, Jan Havlíček, Katerina Klapilová and S. Craig Roberts (2015)


Abstract

Women who are regularly cycling exhibit different partner preferences than those who use hormonal contraception. Preliminary evidence appears to suggest that during pregnancy women’s partner preferences also diverge from those prevalent while regularly cycling. This is consistent with the general assertion that women’s mate preferences are impacted by hormonal variation. During pregnancy women’s preferences are thought to closely resemble those displayed by women who are using hormonal contraception. Here, based on this literature, we compare levels of sexual desire among pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception and pregnant women who met their partner while regularly cycling. We predicted that women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception would experience higher levels of in-pair sexual desire during pregnancy since these women will have partner preferences that more closely match those prevalent at the time of their partner choice. Our results provide support for the idea that previous contraceptive use/non-use may impact subsequent sexual desire for the partner during pregnancy. Pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception were shown to have higher levels of in-pair sexual desire than those who met while regularly cycling. In contrast, levels of extra-pair desire were not related to previous use/non-use of hormonal contraception. These findings were robust when controlling for a number of relevant individual difference variables known to impact sexual desire. Our results thus provide a more fine grained understanding of factors affecting relationship functioning during pregnancy. 

Dienstag, 3. November 2015

The path and performance of a company leader: A historical examination of the education and cognitive ability of Fortune 500 CEOs

The path and performance of a company leader: A historical examination of the education and cognitive ability of Fortune 500 CEOs
Jonathan Wai & Heiner Rindermann (2015)


Highlights

(o) Becoming and performing as CEO can be considered a difficult mental test battery.

(o) To test this idea, Fortune 500 CEO education/ability was assessed from 1996 to 2014

(o) Across the last two decades ≈ 40% of CEOs were on the top 1% of cognitive ability.

(o) Even within CEOs, education/ability was associated with company gross revenue.

(o) The CEO filtering structure has remained similar across the last two decades.


Abstract

The path to becoming a CEO (and performance on the job) can be viewed as a difficult cognitive challenge. One way to examine this idea is to see how highly selected CEOs are in terms of education and cognitive ability. The extent to which Fortune 500 CEOs were selected on education and cognitive ability at an earlier age was retrospectively assessed at four time points that spanned 1996 to 2014 (Total N = 1991). Across the last 19 years, between 37.5% and 41.0% of these CEOs were found to attend an elite school which likely placed them in the top 1% of cognitive ability. People in the top 1% of ability, therefore, were likely overrepresented among these CEOs, at about 37 to 41 times the base rate. Even within each of the four samples, higher CEO education and cognitive ability was associated with higher gross revenue of the CEO's company. Although Fortune 500 CEOs were highly selected on education and cognitive ability, when placed in the context of a broader array of occupations in the extreme right tail of achievement (e.g., politicians, judges, billionaires, journalists, academics, powerful people, and other business elites), CEOs were not at the top. This showed the wide cognitive ability range (and mental test difficulty) across various occupations that compose the U.S. elite. That Fortune 500 CEOs had similar education and cognitive ability selectivity over time shows that the CEO (and perhaps business) occupational and filtering structure has remained relatively unchanged across the last two decades.

Mittwoch, 28. Oktober 2015

A social science without sacred values

A social science without sacred values
Bo Winegard & Benjamin Mark Winegard (2015)


Abstract

In this essay, we follow up on the work of other scholars who have recently cautioned about the dangers of ideological uniformity in the social sciences. We forward the paranoid egalitarian meliorist (PEM) model to help account for bias in the social sciences. Paranoid is not a pejorative term, but describes a sensitivity to perceived threats to egalitarian meliorism. We argue (1) that many social scientists are paranoid egalitarian meliorists; (2) that they are therefore very sensitive to threats to a sacred egalitarian narrative; (3) that this sensitivity may be excessive (at least in the domain of science) and may cause researchers to unfairly reject research that challenges egalitarianism; (4) that this may then lead to the marginalization of individuals who forward controversial theories and/or data; and (5) that these tendencies lead to bias in the social sciences.

Learning from Mother Nature about Teaching Our Children - Ten Simple Truths About Childhood Education from an Evolutionary Perspective

David Sloan Wilson, Jerry Lieberman, Daniel B. Berch, Anthony Biglan, David F. Bjorklund, Bruce J. Ellis, Dennis D. Embry, David C. Geary, and Peter Gray (2015)

THE GREEK-ROMAN INVENTION OF CIVIC IDENTITY VERSUS THE CURRENT DEMOTION OF EUROPEAN ETHNICITY

THE GREEK-ROMAN INVENTION OF CIVIC IDENTITY VERSUS THE CURRENT DEMOTION OF EUROPEAN ETHNICITY
Richardo Duchesne (2015)

Cognitive function and lifetime features of depression and bipolar disorder in a large population sample: Cross-sectional study of 143,828 UK Biobank participants

Cognitive function and lifetime features of depression and bipolar disorder in a large population sample: Cross-sectional study of 143,828 UK Biobank participants
B. Cullen, B.I. Nicholl, D.F. Mackay, D. Martin, Z. Ul-Haq, A. McIntosh, J. Gallacher, I.J. Deary, J.P. Pell, J.J. Evans, D.J. Smith (2015)


Background

This study investigated differences in cognitive performance between middle-aged adults with and without a lifetime history of mood disorder features, adjusting for a range of potential confounders.

Methods

Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the UK Biobank cohort. Adults aged 40–69 (n = 143,828) were assessed using measures of reasoning, reaction time and memory. Self-reported data on lifetime features of major depression and bipolar disorder were used to construct groups for comparison against controls. Regression models examined the association between mood disorder classification and cognitive performance, adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical confounders.

Results

Inverse associations between lifetime history of bipolar or severe recurrent depression features and cognitive performance were attenuated or reversed after adjusting for confounders, including psychotropic medication use and current depressive symptoms. Participants with a lifetime history of single episode or moderate recurrent depression features outperformed controls to a small (but statistically significant) degree, independent of adjustment for confounders. There was a significant interaction between use of psychotropic medication and lifetime mood disorder features, with reduced cognitive performance observed in participants taking psychotropic medication.

Conclusions

In this general population sample of adults in middle age, lifetime features of recurrent depression or bipolar disorder were only associated with cognitive impairment within unadjusted analyses. These findings underscore the importance of adjusting for potential confounders when investigating mood disorder-related cognitive function.

Does gender inequality moderate sex differences in sport across countries?

Does gender inequality moderate sex differences in sport across countries?
Shea M Balish, Robert Deaner, Daniel R Rainham, Chris M Blanchard (2015)


Abstract

Although sex differences in preferences for sport are well established, there are competing hypotheses regarding their origins. The Spectator Lek Hypothesis maintains that sex differences in preferences for sport are partly evolved and thus should be universal or near universal, whereas socio-constructivist hypotheses argue that such sex differences are entirely socially constructed and thus should vary as a function of a society's gender inequality. To test these competing hypotheses, cross-national nested data were acquired from the International Social Survey Program (ss = 49,729, ncountries = 34). Non-linear hierarchal Bernoulli modelling was employed to examine if sex differences in sport participation, fandom, and reasons for participating in sport are universal or near universal, and if there is a moderating effect of countries' gender inequality. Our findings indicate that gender inequality is associated with increased sex differences in sport, albeit marginally and only for some sport behaviours. However, even when accounting for the moderating effect of gender inequality, males are more likely to report general sport participation (OR = 4.09, 95% CI = 3.13-5.34), team sport participation (OR = 4.19, 95% CI = 3.13-5.34), watching sport on television (OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.69-3.17), to agree that they play sport to compete (OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.79-2.31), but not to attend sporting events (OR = 1.47, 95% CI = .94-2.31). These results highlight the possible role of countries' gender inequality while supporting the spectator lek hypothesis.

Donnerstag, 22. Oktober 2015

Group music performance causes elevated pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers

Group music performance causes elevated pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers
Daniel Weinstein, Jacques Launay, Eiluned Pearce, Robin I.M. Dunbar, Lauren Stewart (2015)
Evolution & Human Behavior


Abstract

Over our evolutionary history, humans have faced the problem of how to create and maintain social bonds in progressively larger groups compared to those of our primate ancestors. Evidence from historical and anthropological records suggests that group music-making might act as a mechanism by which this large-scale social bonding could occur. While previous research has shown effects of music making on social bonds in small group contexts, the question of whether this effect ‘scales up’ to larger groups is particularly important when considering the potential role of music for large-scale social bonding. The current study recruited individuals from a community choir that met in both small (n = 20 – 80) and large (a ‘megachoir’ combining individuals from the smaller subchoirs n = 232) group contexts. Participants gave self-report measures (via a survey) of social bonding and had pain threshold measurements taken (as a proxy for endorphin release) before and after 90 minutes of singing. Results showed that feelings of inclusion, connectivity, positive affect, and measures of endorphin release all increased across singing rehearsals and that the influence of group singing was comparable for pain thresholds in the large versus small group context. Levels of social closeness were found to be greater at pre- and post-levels for the small choir condition. However, the large choir condition experienced a greater change in social closeness as compared to the small condition. The finding that singing together fosters social closeness – even in large contexts where individuals are not known to each other – is consistent with evolutionary accounts that emphasize the role of music in social bonding, particularly in the context of creating larger cohesive groups than other primates are able to manage.

Mittwoch, 21. Oktober 2015

Genetic and socioeconomic study of mate choice in Latinos reveals novel assortment patterns

James Y. Zou, Danny S. Park, Esteban G. Burchard, Dara G. Torgerson, Maria Pino-Yanes, Yun S. Song, Sriram Sankararaman, Eran Halperin, and Noah Zaitlen; (2015)


Abstract

Nonrandom mating in human populations has important implications for genetics and medicine as well as for economics and sociology. In this study, we performed an integrative analysis of a large cohort of Mexican and Puerto Rican couples using detailed socioeconomic attributes and genotypes. We found that in ethnically homogeneous Latino communities, partners are significantly more similar in their genomic ancestries than expected by chance. Consistent with this, we also found that partners are more closely related—equivalent to between third and fourth cousins in Mexicans and Puerto Ricans—than matched random male–female pairs. Our analysis showed that this genomic ancestry similarity cannot be explained by the standard socioeconomic measurables alone. Strikingly, the assortment of genomic ancestry in couples was consistently stronger than even the assortment of education. We found enriched correlation of partners’ genotypes at genes known to be involved in facial development. We replicated our results across multiple geographic locations. We discuss the implications of assortment and assortment-specific loci on disease dynamics and disease mapping methods in Latinos.

Dienstag, 20. Oktober 2015

Self-comparisons as motivators for healthy behavior

Self-comparisons as motivators for healthy behavior
Holly B. Shakya, Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler (2015)


Abstract

Objective

We explored whether individuals' comparison of themselves to their social contacts, specifically feeling fitter or thinner than friends, is a significant predictor of three weight-loss behaviors (dieting, reducing alcohol, exercising).

Methods

We used a longitudinal survey of a national sample of Americans (N = 20,373) to measure respondents' personal social networks and their self-comparisons to their social contacts at two annual waves.

Results

Participants who felt thinner than friends in Wave 1 had 1.16 lower odds of dieting in Wave 2. Those who felt fitter than friends in Wave 1 had 1.10 times higher odds of reducing alcohol and 1.18 times higher odds of exercising in Wave 2. We found that 20% of the relationship between feeling thin at baseline and subsequent dieting may be because feeling heavier than friends makes one want to lose weight. This same dynamic accounts for 25% of the relationship between feeling fit and dieting and 12% of the relationship between feeling thin and reducing alcohol.

Conclusions

These results suggest that normative self-comparison with important others is a potentially salient determinant of obesity-related health behavior and appears to work differently depending upon the behavior. Interventions may benefit from exploiting social comparisons in targeted ways.

Dienstag, 13. Oktober 2015

New Book: "Muscle Up" by P. D. Mangan



Over the past few decades, mainstream health experts have universally recommended aerobic exercise as a uniquely health-promoting activity. 

Yet now, Americans are fatter than ever. Aerobic exercise not only has a very poor record at fat loss, it might even cause weight gain. 

Strength training - also known as weightlifting or resistance training - has much greater power to cause fat loss. What's more, since it builds muscle mass, strength training has huge advantages over aerobic exercise when it comes to improving health. 

Greater muscle strength means less cancer and heart disease, besides smaller waist size and less body fat. 

Aerobic exercise, while it can increase cardiovascular fitness, does next to nothing to combat two of the central maladies of aging: sarcopenia (loss of muscle) and osteoporosis. 

Strength training robustly fights sarcopenia and osteoporosis, and can stop older adults from becoming frail and can keep them out of nursing homes. 

Whether you're a young and healthy man, a middle-aged woman looking to lose fat, or an elderly person who wants to stay strong and independent, strength training has the most to offer of any exercise. 

Everyone who exercises should add a strength training component to it. There's simply no other better way to fight obesity, diabetes, cancer, and frailty, and to instill self-confidence and get an attractive body. 

Muscle Up shows why everyone should train for strength and why aerobic exercise is not optimal. 

The book surveys the beneficial health effects of strength training, all of it supported by scientific research, with studies cited. You'll also learn how to start a strength training program. 

There's also a chapter on strength training's cousin, high-intensity interval training (HIT), which can get you in superb physical condition in literally just minutes a week. 

If you're not getting the results you want from your aerobic exercise, read Muscle Up and see why you should take up strength training. Or you could keep jogging or using the stair-stepper for a few more years and see how that works.

Mittwoch, 7. Oktober 2015

Big Decisions:

"children's development is the end of a much longer process that involves many complex decisions by parents, one of which is how many children they should have and how much love and care they should lavish on each. But even before they get to this stage, the parents must agree to choose each other as mates. It's probably fair to say that these are the two biggest decisions that we make in our lives".

Evolutionary Psychology (2005)
R. Dunbar, L. Barret & J. Lycett

Samstag, 3. Oktober 2015

Genetic specificity of face recognition

Genetic specificity of face recognition
Nicholas G. Shakeshaft and Robert Plomin (2015)


Significance

Diverse cognitive abilities have typically been found to intercorrelate highly and to be strongly influenced by genetics. Recent twin studies have suggested that the ability to recognize human faces is an exception: it is similarly highly heritable, but largely uncorrelated with other abilities. However, assessing genetic relationships—the degree to which traits are influenced by the same genes—requires very large samples, which have not previously been available. This study, using data from more than 2,000 twins, shows for the first time, to our knowledge, that the genetic influences on face recognition are almost entirely unique. This finding provides strong support for the view that face recognition is “special” and may ultimately illuminate the nature of cognitive abilities in general.



Abstract

Specific cognitive abilities in diverse domains are typically found to be highly heritable and substantially correlated with general cognitive ability (g), both phenotypically and genetically. Recent twin studies have found the ability to memorize and recognize faces to be an exception, being similarly heritable but phenotypically substantially uncorrelated both with g and with general object recognition. However, the genetic relationships between face recognition and other abilities (the extent to which they share a common genetic etiology) cannot be determined from phenotypic associations. In this, to our knowledge, first study of the genetic associations between face recognition and other domains, 2,000 18- and 19-year-old United Kingdom twins completed tests assessing their face recognition, object recognition, and general cognitive abilities. Results confirmed the substantial heritability of face recognition (61%), and multivariate genetic analyses found that most of this genetic influence is unique and not shared with other cognitive abilities.

Montag, 28. September 2015

Two types of media for women serve as supernormal stimuli:
(1) Images and advice on becoming ideally appealing and (2) romance novels, soap operas, and other media providing vicarious relationships.

Deirdre Barrett

Zur Methodik der Psychologie:

"Die Psychologie ist eine empirische Wissenschaft. Sie baut auf beobachtbaren Ereignissen und Sachverhalten auf. Ihr Gegenstand ist das (zumeist menschliche) Erleben und Verhalten, ihr Ziel ist es, allgemeingültige Aussagen über diesen Gegenstand zu machen - ihn zu beschreiben, beobachtbare Regelmäßigkeiten und Zusammenhänge aufzudecken, diese zu erklären, und womöglich Vorhersagen zu machen."

Peter R. Hofstätter
Spearman & Jones, 1950:
"On the whole," [a] "combination of noegenesis* together with abstractness does satisfy the g-loadings almost perfectly."


*This word has been coined out of the Greek nous and genesis to designate the creation of knowledge in its two chief forms, the eduction of relations and that of correlates.

Donnerstag, 24. September 2015

Meta-analyses with industry involvement are massively published and report no caveats for antidepressants

Meta-analyses with industry involvement are massively published and report no caveats for antidepressants (2015)
Shanil Ebrahim, Sheena Bance, Abha Athale, Cindy Malachowski, John P.A. Ioannidis;



Abstract

Objective

To identify the impact of industry involvement in the publication and interpretation of meta-analyses of antidepressant trials in depression.

Study design and setting

Using MEDLINE, we identified all meta-analyses evaluating antidepressants for depression published in 1/2007-3/2014. We extracted data pertaining to author affiliations, conflicts of interest and whether the conclusion of the abstract included negative statements on whether the antidepressant(s) were effective or safe.

Results

We identified 185 eligible meta-analyses. Fifty-four (29%) meta-analyses had authors who were employees of the assessed drug manufacturer and 147 (79%) had some industry link (sponsorship or authors who were industry employees and/or had conflicts of interest). Only 58 meta-analyses (31%) had negative statements in the concluding statement of the abstract. Meta-analyses including an author who were employees of the manufacturer of the assessed drug were 22-times less likely to have negative statements about the drug than other meta-analyses (1/54 [2%] vs. 57/131 [44%], p<0.001).

Conclusion

There is a massive production of meta-analyses of antidepressants for depression authored by or linked to the industry, and they almost never report any caveats about antidepressants in their abstracts. Our findings add a note of caution for meta-analyses with ties to the manufacturers of the assessed products.

Donnerstag, 17. September 2015

Sex differences in romantic attachment: A facet-level analysis

Sex differences in romantic attachment: A facet-level analysis
Marco Del Giudice


Highlights

(o) Sex differences in romantic avoidance and anxiety are reliable but typically small.

(o) Larger differences may emerge at the level of narrower attachment facets.

(o) The Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) questionnaire contains 5 facets.

(o) In two US and Italian samples, larger sex differences emerged at the facet level.

(o) These findings open the way to the study of sex differences at the facet level.



Abstract

Evolutionary models predict systematic sex differences in romantic avoidance and anxiety; however, observed effect sizes are typically small. Here I explore the possibility that larger and more reliable differences may emerge at the level of narrower attachment facets. In two datasets from the US and Italy, five facets could be identified in the Experiences in Close Relationships questionnaire. As predicted, attachment facets showed larger sex differences (US: d = −.14 to .31, Italy: d = −.53 to .39) than avoidance and anxiety (US: d = .00 and −.03, Italy: d = .18 and −.40); moreover, different facets of the same dimension showed opposite-sign effects. These findings suggest that sex differences in attachment can be fruitfully investigated at the level of facets.

Can we reliably measure the general factor of intelligence (g) through commercial video games? Yes, we can!

Can we reliably measure the general factor of intelligence (g) through commercial video games? Yes, we can!
M. Ángeles Quiroga, Sergio Escorial, Francisco J. Román, Daniel Morillo, Andrea Jarabo, Jesús Privado, Miguel Hernández, Borja Gallego, Roberto Colom (2015)
    • Intelligence Nov-Dec 2015


      • Highlights

        (o) Participants played video games under strict supervision in the laboratory.

        (o) Participants completed a set of eleven intelligence and abilities' tests.

        (o) Several confirmatory models were tested.

        (o) Video games and intelligence tests measure the same high-order latent factor.

        (o) Commercial video games can reliably measure individual differences in g.


        Abstract

        • Here we show, for the very first time, that commercial video games can be used to reliably measure individual differences in general intelligence (g). One hundred and eighty eight university undergraduates took part in the study. They played twelve video games under strict supervision in the laboratory and completed eleven intelligence tests. Several factor models were tested for answering the question of whether or not video games and intelligence tests do measure the same underlying high-order latent factor. The final model revealed a very high relationship between the high-order latent factors representing video game and intelligence performance (r = .93). General performance scores derived from video games and intelligence tests showed a correlation value of .963 (R^2 adjusted). Therefore, performance on some video games captures a latent factor common to the variance shared by cognitive performance assessed by standard ability tests.

Testosterone is associated with cooperation during intergroup competition by enhancing parochial altruism

Testosterone is associated with cooperation during intergroup competition by enhancing parochial altruism [pdf]
Luise Reimers and Esther K. Diekhof (2015)


Abstract

The steroid hormone testosterone is widely associated with negative behavioral effects, such as aggression or dominance. However, recent studies applying economic exchange tasks revealed conflicting results. While some point to a prosocial effect of testosterone by increasing altruistic behavior, others report that testosterone promotes antisocial tendencies. Taking into account additional factors such as parochial altruism (i.e., ingroup favoritism and outgroup hostility) might help to explain this contradiction. First evidence for a link between testosterone and parochial altruism comes from recently reported data of male soccer fans playing the ultimatum game. In this study high levels of endogenous testosterone predicted increased altruistic punishment during outgroup interactions and at the same time heightened ingroup generosity. Here, we report findings of another experimental task, the prisoner's dilemma, applied in the same context to examine the role of testosterone on parochial tendencies in terms of cooperation. In this task, 50 male soccer fans were asked to decide whether or not they wanted to cooperate with partners marked as either fans of the subject's own favorite team (ingroup) or fans of other teams (outgroups). Our results show that high testosterone levels were associated with increased ingroup cooperation during intergroup competition. In addition, subjects displaying a high degree of parochialism during intergroup competition had significantly higher levels of testosterone than subjects who did not differentiate much between the different groups. In sum, the present data demonstrate that the behavioral effects of testosterone are not limited to aggressive and selfish tendencies but may imply prosocial aspects depending on the context. By this means, our results support the previously reported findings on testosterone-dependent intergroup bias and indicate that this social hormone might be an important factor driving parochial altruism.

Mittwoch, 9. September 2015

Music and social bonding: “self-other” merging and neurohormonal mechanisms

Music and social bonding: “self-other” merging and neurohormonal mechanisms
Bronwyn Tarr, Jacques Launay and Robin I. M. Dunbar (2014)


Abstract

It has been suggested that a key function of music during its development and spread amongst human populations was its capacity to create and strengthen social bonds amongst interacting group members. However, the mechanisms by which this occurs have not been fully discussed. In this paper we review evidence supporting two thus far independently investigated mechanisms for this social bonding effect: self-other merging as a consequence of inter-personal synchrony, and the release of endorphins during exertive rhythmic activities including musical interaction. In general, self-other merging has been experimentally investigated using dyads, which provide limited insight into largescale musical activities. Given that music can provide an external rhythmic framework that facilitates synchrony, explanations of social bonding during group musical activities should include reference to endorphins, which are released during synchronized exertive movements. Endorphins (and the endogenous opioid system (EOS) in general) are involved in social bonding across primate species, and are associated with a number of human social behaviors (e.g., laughter, synchronized sports), as well as musical activities (e.g., singing and dancing). Furthermore, passively listening to music engages the EOS, so here we suggest that both self-other merging and the EOS are important in the social bonding effects of music. In order to investigate possible interactions between these two mechanisms, future experiments should recreate ecologically valid examples of musical activities.

Samstag, 5. September 2015

Montag, 31. August 2015

An interview with Frank Salter: "Social Costs of Diversity"

Social Costs of Diversity (2014)

Game:

Peter Frost:

Finally, there’s “game.” My attitude toward game is like my attitude toward gender reassignment. Both are attempts to push the envelope of phenotypic plasticity beyond its usual limits, and neither can fully achieve the desired result. A lot of boys aren’t wired for game, and there are good reasons why, just as there are good reasons why some people are born male. Male shyness isn’t a pathology. It’s an adaptation to a social environment that values monogamy and high paternal investment while stigmatizing sexual adventurism. Our war on male shyness reflects our perverse desire to create a society of Don Juans and single mothers.

But if game works, why not? Whatever floats your boat.

Mittwoch, 26. August 2015

Love, Trust, and Evolution: Nurturance/Love and Trust as Two Independent Attachment Systems Underlying Intimate Relationships

Kevin MacDonald, Emily Anne Patch, Aurelio Jose Figueredo (2015)


Abstract

Previous research has indicated two dimensions of attachment, Avoidance and Anxiety. The main purpose of this paper is to show that Avoidance is better conceptualized as Nurturance/Love within an evolved systems perspective on personality, and that such a reinterpretation provides a straightforward way of interpreting age changes in patterns of sex differences and heritability of attachment. The Anxiety dimension found in attachment research is conceptualized as trust in the face of threat resulting from an Internal Working Model based on experiences with the mother in situations pulling for fear and influenced by individual differences in the personality system of emotionality/neuroticism. Literature is reviewed showing that the two dimensions of Nurturance/Love and Trust have important differences, including different evolutionary functions and phylogeny, as well as different emotions, brain mechanisms, and patterns of sex differences and heritability. This model is investigated using two versions of the Experiences in Close Relationships Survey yielding measures of Anxiety and Avoidance, and the Interpersonal Adjective Scale-Revised-Big 5, the latter chosen because this personality measure is designed to measure Nurturance/Love in a manner more consistent with an evolutionary perspective on close relationships. 635 subjects participated in the study. Results supported the hypotheses of a strong negative association between Nurturance/Love and Avoidance as measured by the ECR and no association between Nurturance/Love and Anxiety as measured by the ECR. Results support the view that there are two systems underlying close relationships, Nurturance/Love as a physiological reward system designed to motivate close relationships and parental investment, and a Trust mechanism that functions to produce expectations of trust that others will help under conditions of personal threat.

Dienstag, 11. August 2015

The Evolutionary Future of Psychopathology

The Evolutionary Future of Psychopathology
Marco Del Giudice (2015)


Highlights

o Evolutionary theory helps explain the origin and development of psychopathology.

o Recent evolutionary work has implications for taxonomies of mental disorders.

o Evolutionary psychopathology offers an integrative framework for the discipline.



Abstract

Evolutionary approaches to psychopathology have made considerable progress over the last years. In this paper, I review recent advances in the field focusing on three core themes: the role of trade-offs and conflicts in the origins mental disorders, the evolution of developmental mechanisms, and the emergence of alternative classification systems based on life history theory. I situate these advances in the context of current research in psychopathology, and highlight their connections with other innovative approaches such as developmental psychopathology and computational psychiatry. In total, I argue that evolutionary psychopathology offers an integrative framework for the study of mental disorders in which multiple approaches can connect and cross-fertilize.

Montag, 27. Juli 2015

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire in Close Relationships

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire in Close Relationships
GC Gonzaga et al. (2006)


Abstract

Drawing on recent claims in the study of relationships, attachment, and emotion, the authors hypothesized that romantic love serves a commitment-related function and sexual desire a reproduction-related function. Consistent with these claims, in Study 1, brief experiences of romantic love and sexual desire observed in a 3-min interaction between romantic partners were related to distinct feeling states, distinct nonverbal displays, and commitment- and reproductive-related relationship outcomes, respectively. In Study 2, the nonverbal display of romantic love was related to the release of oxytocin. Discussion focuses on the place of romantic love and sexual desire in the literature on emotion.

[Romantic love has something to do with behavioral synchronization; sexual desire isn't necessarily connected with the "urge for behavioral synchronization". In the case of biparental care behavioral synchronization is necessary or at least beneficial.]

Day-to-Day Changes in Intimacy Predict Heightened Relationship Passion, Sexual Occurrence, and Sexual Satisfaction : A Dyadic Diary Analysis

Day-to-Day Changes in Intimacy Predict Heightened Relationship Passion, Sexual Occurrence, and Sexual Satisfaction : A Dyadic Diary Analysis
Harris Rubin and Lorne Campbell (2012)


Abstract

The current research tested a model proposed by Baumeister and Bratslavsky (1999) suggesting that passion’s association with intimacy is best understood as being linked with changes in intimacy over time. Within this framework, when intimacy shows relatively large and rapid increases, levels of passion should be high. When intimacy remains unchanged over time, levels of passionate experience should be low. To test this hypothesis, 67 heterosexual couples involved in long-term relationships completed daily measures of intimacy, passion, and sexual satisfaction for 21 consecutive days. Analyses guided by the actor–partner interdependence model (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006) demonstrated that day-to-day changes in intimacy for both partners predicted relationship passion, sexual frequency, and sexual satisfaction in a manner conforming to Baumeister and Bratslavksy’s model. These results represent the first empirical support for this model of intimacy and passionate experience.

Samstag, 4. Juli 2015

Do We Have Valid Country-Level Measures of Personality?

Do We Have Valid Country-Level Measures of Personality?
[MQ Summer 2015 - p 70-92 / 360-382], Gerhard Meisenberg (2015)


Abstract

While country-level differences in psychometric intelligence and school achievement are used increasingly in cross-cultural research, far less is known about country-level differences in personality. This article summarizes cross-country research with measures of the Big Five personality dimensions. The conclusion is that these measures have limited reliability and validity when used at the level of country averages. Possible reasons and remedies for this situation are discussed.


Happiness in modern society: why intelligence and ethnic composition matter

Happiness in modern society: why intelligence and ethnic composition matter
Satoshi Kanazawa &, Norman P. Li (2015)
Journal of Research in Personality


Abstract

Recent developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that living among others of the same ethnicity might make individuals happier and further that such an effect of the ethnic composition on life satisfaction may be stronger among less intelligent individuals. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed that White Americans had significantly greater life satisfaction than all other ethnic groups in the US and this was largely due to the fact that they were the majority ethnic group; minority Americans who lived in counties where they were the numerical majority had just as much life satisfaction as White Americans did. Further, the association between ethnic composition and life satisfaction was significantly stronger among less intelligent individuals. The results suggest two important factors underlying life satisfaction and highlight the utility of integrating happiness research and evolutionary psychology.

Donnerstag, 18. Juni 2015

Understanding the Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women: an Evolutionary Perspective

Understanding the Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women: an Evolutionary Perspective -> pdf
Menelaos Apostolou (2015)


Abstract

Epidemiological studies indicate that almost one in two women face some kind of sexual dysfunction. Given the importance of sexual functioning for successful reproduction, such a high prevalence is enigmatic. Selection forces should have reduced to a low frequency, or have eliminated completely from the gene pool, any alleles that predispose for sexual dysfunctions. Epidemiological studies indicate that this did not happen, and the present paper attempts to examine the reasons why. Based on anthropological and historical evidence, it is argued that in ancestral societies sexual motivation was a much weaker predictor of successful mating in women, than it is today in post-industrial societies. Accordingly, balancing selection has favored a female type of sexual behavior which is characterized by low sexual motivation. This low level of sexual motivation is not optimal in post-industrial societies where mate choice is not regulated, resulting in women, who have such predispositions, to be classified as suffering from a dysfunction. Predictions are derived from the proposed model, and matched with available evidence.

Das Konstrukt der Intelligenz

Das Konstrukt der Intelligenz
Detlef H. Rost (2015)

Dienstag, 16. Juni 2015

The Illiberal Persecution of Tim Hunt

The Illiberal Persecution of Tim Hunt
Brendan O'Neill | June 13, 2015

[h/t hbd chick!]

How Sexually Dimorphic Are Human Mate Preferences?

How Sexually Dimorphic Are Human Mate Preferences?
Daniel Conroy-Bea, David M. Buss, Michael N. Pham, Todd K. Shackelford (2015)


Abstract

Previous studies on sex-differentiated mate preferences have focused on univariate analyses. However, because mate selection is inherently multidimensional, a multivariate analysis more appropriately measures sex differences in mate preferences. We used the Mahalanobis distance (D) and logistic regression to investigate sex differences in mate preferences with data secured from participants residing in 37 cultures (n = 10,153). Sex differences are large in multivariate terms, yielding an overallD = 2.41, corresponding to overlap between the sexes of just 22.8%. Moreover, knowledge of mate preferences alone affords correct classification of sex with 92.2% accuracy. Finally, pattern-wise sex differences are negatively correlated with gender equality across cultures but are nonetheless cross-culturally robust. Discussion focuses on implications in evaluating the importance and magnitude of sex differences in mate preferences.

[See also: The Distance Between Mars and Venus: Measuring Global Sex Differences in Personality (2012)]

Sonntag, 14. Juni 2015

Unhealthy Apologies:

How many more Nobel prize winners or space engineers need to be publicly shunned until they realize: "Never apologize, the mob simply doesn't care!"
To draw a picture where the holy spirit fu**s Jesus in his *ss who fu**s god in his *ss is freedom of expression (you know everyone is Charlie Hebdo), but when a Nobel prize winner makes a relatively harmless joke 'everybody' is horrified. His career needs to be destroyed and he needs to be excluded from the "club of the virtuous".

The Unholy Trinity: The Dark Triad, Sexual Coercion, and BrunswikSymmetry

The Unholy Trinity: The Dark Triad, Sexual Coercion, and BrunswikSymmetry 
Figueredo, A. J., Gladden, P. R., Sisco, M. M., Patch, E. A., Jones, D. N. (2015)


Abstract

Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism (the Dark Triad) have each been hypothesized as predictors of socially deviant behavior including sexual coercion, but the three traits also covary significantly with one another. The purpose of this study was to examine several alternative Multisample Structural Equation Models (MSEMs) exploring the relations between the Dark Triad and Sexually Coercive Behavior, testing whether any or all of the three specific “Dark Personality” traits uniquely contributed to predicting sexually coercive behavior. Self-report questionnaires measuring Primary and Secondary Psychopathy, Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Sexually Coercive Behavior were administered to a sample of undergraduates. The relative fit of each of the MSEMs to the data was examined by means of hierarchically nested model comparisons. The most parsimonious yet explanatory model identified was one in which a single common factor composed of the three Dark Triad indicators explained the relationships among the Dark Triad traits and Sexually Coercive Behavior without any direct contributions from the specific Dark Triad indicators. Results indicate that the three Dark Triad traits, controlling for the common factor, do not differentially predict Sexually Coercive Behavior. These results are interpreted with respect to the principle of Brunswik-Symmetry.

Montag, 8. Juni 2015

Human Height Is Positively Related to Interpersonal Dominance in Dyadic Interactions

Human Height Is Positively Related to Interpersonal Dominance in Dyadic Interactions
Gert Stulp, Abraham P Buunk, Simon Verhulst,Thomas Pollet; (2015)


Abstract

Across cultures, taller stature is linked to increased social status, but the potential reasons why this should be are unclear. One potential explanation is that taller individuals are more likely to win a dyadic confrontation with a competitor (i.e., they are more dominant), which leads to higher social rank. Although some previous studies have shown that perceptions of status or dominance are related to height, and are therefore consistent with such an explanation, there is surprisingly little research testing whether height actually has any influence on the behavioural outcomes in real-life social interactions. Here, we present three naturalistic observational studies demonstrating that height predicts interpersonal dominance during brief dyadic interactions. Study 1 investigated the likelihood of giving way in a narrow passage (N = 92); Study 2 investigated giving way in a busy shopping street, plus the likelihood of colliding with another individual (N = 1,108); and Study 3 investigated the likelihood of maintaining a linear path while walking, and potentially entering another individual’s personal space (N = 1,056). We conclude that human height is positively related to interpersonal dominance, and may well contribute to the widely observed positive association between height and social status.

Sonntag, 7. Juni 2015

Imagining the future, imagining death

Imagining the future, imagining death
Peter Frost (June 2015)


"Imagined reality often foretells the real thing—not because the imaginers have a special knack for prediction, but because they end up playing an active role in shaping the future."

Samstag, 30. Mai 2015

Beyond a bigger brain: Multivariable structural brain imaging and intelligence

Beyond a bigger brain: Multivariable structural brain imaging and intelligence 
Stuart J. Ritchie, Tom Booth, Maria del C. Valdés Hernández, Janie Corley, Susana Muñoz Maniega, Alan J. Gow, f, Natalie A. Royle, Alison Pattie, Sherif Karama, John M. Starr, Mark E. Bastin, Joanna M. Wardlaw, Ian J. Deary;
Intelligence (Juli-August 2015)


Highlights

Brain size is known to correlate with general intelligence (g).
It is unclear which other neuroimaging variables contribute beyond total brain size.
We model multiple brain measures and g in a large sample aged around 73 years.
All brain variables together account for around 20% of variance in g.

Abstract

People with larger brains tend to score higher on tests of general intelligence (g). It is unclear, however, how much variance in intelligence other brain measurements would account for if included together with brain volume in a multivariable model. We examined a large sample of individuals in their seventies (n = 672) who were administered a comprehensive cognitive test battery. Using structural equation modelling, we related six common magnetic resonance imaging-derived brain variables that represent normal and abnormal features—brain volume, cortical thickness, white matter structure, white matter hyperintensity load, iron deposits, and microbleeds—to g and to fluid intelligence. As expected, brain volume accounted for the largest portion of variance (~ 12%, depending on modelling choices). Adding the additional variables, especially cortical thickness (+~ 5%) and white matter hyperintensity load (+~ 2%), increased the predictive value of the model. Depending on modelling choices, all neuroimaging variables together accounted for 18–21% of the variance in intelligence. These results reveal which structural brain imaging measures relate to g over and above the largest contributor, total brain volume. They raise questions regarding which other neuroimaging measures might account for even more of the variance in intelligence.