Dienstag, 28. Juni 2016

Children’s and Apes’ Preparatory Responses to Two Mutually Exclusive Possibilities

Children’s and Apes’ Preparatory Responses to Two Mutually Exclusive Possibilities
Jonathan Redshaw, Thomas Suddendorf (2016)
Current Biology


Highlights

Representing alternative future events is an important facet of effective foresight
Children and apes had the chance to catch a target falling from one of two locations
2-year-olds and apes prepared for the target’s emergence from only one location
Many 3- to 4-year-olds simultaneously and consistently prepared for both possibilities


Summary


Animal brains have evolved to predict outcomes of events in the immediate environment [1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]. Adult humans are particularly adept at dealing with environmental uncertainty, being able to mentally represent multiple, even mutually exclusive versions of the future and prepare accordingly. This capacity is fundamental to many complex future-oriented behaviors [6 and 7], yet little is known about when it develops in children [8] and whether it is shared with non-human animals [9]. Here we show that children become able to insightfully prepare for two mutually exclusive versions of an undetermined future event during the middle preschool years, whereas we find no evidence for such a capacity in a sample of chimpanzees and orangutans. We gave 90 preschool children and 8 great apes the opportunity to catch an item dropped into a forked tube with two bottom openings. Children’s performance improved linearly across age groups (2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4 years), with none of the youngest group but most of the oldest group spontaneously covering both openings the first time they prepared to catch the item. The apes performed like 2-year-olds on the first trial, with none of them covering both openings. Some apes and 2-year-olds eventually passed the task, but only in a manner consistent with trial-and-error learning. Our results reveal the developmental trajectory of a critical cognitive ability that allows humans to prepare for future uncertainty, and they also raise the possibility that this ability is not shared with other hominids.

Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2016

"While, on the whole, there isn’t a major difference in the sexes’ attitudes toward abortion, there is one when we separate men and women by ideology. If we look at the data since 2000 (to get a more contemporary perspective), on the liberal end of the ideological spectrum men are consistently less supportive of abortion on demand than women. On the conservative end of the spectrum, it’s women who like abortion on demand less than men do. 
In other words, conservative women are the most anti-abortion segment of the population, and liberal women are the most in favor of abortion rights. You might say that the more significant difference here is not between men and women, but among women."

Razib Khan

Mittwoch, 22. Juni 2016

Phantasie:

"Palagyi hat ... in guter Einsicht die Einbildungskraft umschrieben als eine vitale Fähigkeit, mit der das Lebendige sich aus dem Orts- und Zeitpunkt, den es gerade innehat, weg- und außer sich versetzt, ohne tatsächlich von der Stelle zu weichen. Es ist ein Wunder ohnegleichen, sagt er, dass das Leben, ohne von der Stelle zu rücken, wo es sich befindet, sich trotzdem so verhalten kann, als ob es an eine andere Stelle des Raumes oder an eine andere Stelle der Zeit entwichen wäre."

Arnold Gehlen

Dienstag, 21. Juni 2016

Genetics affects choice of academic subjects as well as achievement

Genetics affects choice of academic subjects as well as achievement
Kaili Rimfeld, Ziada Ayorech, Philip S. Dale, Yulia Kovas & Robert Plomin (2016)


Abstract

We have previously shown that individual differences in educational achievement are highly heritable throughout compulsory education. After completing compulsory education at age 16, students in England can choose to continue to study for two years (A-levels) in preparation for applying to university and they can freely choose which subjects to study. Here, for the first time, we show that choosing to do A-levels and the choice of subjects show substantial genetic influence, as does performance after two years studying the chosen subjects. Using a UK-representative sample of 6584 twin pairs, heritability estimates were 44% for choosing to do A-levels and 52–80% for choice of subject. Achievement after two years was also highly heritable (35–76%). The findings that DNA differences substantially affect differences in appetites as well as aptitudes suggest a genetic way of thinking about education in which individuals actively create their own educational experiences in part based on their genetic propensities.

Sonntag, 19. Juni 2016

Childhood Intelligence Predicts Adult Trait Openness - Psychological and Demographic Indicators

Childhood Intelligence Predicts Adult Trait Openness - Psychological and Demographic Indicators
Adrian Furnham and Helen Cheng (2016)
Journal of Individual Differences


Abstract

This study used a longitudinal data set of 5,672 adults followed for 50 years to determine the factors that influence adult trait Openness-to-Experience. In a large, nationally representative sample in the UK (the National Child Development Study), data were collected at birth, in childhood (age 11), adolescence (age 16), and adulthood (ages 33, 42, and 50) to examine the effects of family social background, childhood intelligence, school motivation during adolescence, education, and occupation on the personality trait Openness assessed at age 50 years. Structural equation modeling showed that parental social status, childhood intelligence, school motivation, education, and occupation all had modest, but direct, effects on trait Openness, among which childhood intelligence was the strongest predictor. Gender was not significantly associated with trait Openness. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.

Self- and External-Rated Emotional Competence More Than Personality?

Self- and External-Rated Emotional Competence More Than Personality?
Sophia Nizielski  and Heiner Rindermann (2016)
Journal of Individual Differences


Abstract

There is a persistent discussion on the overlap between emotional intelligence and personality. This article focuses on relations between the Big Five and emotional competence (EC; comprising the perceived abilities to recognize own and others’ emotions, regulate own emotions, and express emotions). In a sample of 92 apprentices and working persons, EC was assessed by self- and external-ratings, using the Emotionale-Kompetenz-Fragebogen (EKF; Rindermann, 2009). The Big Five were measured with a German version of the NEO-FFI (Borkenau & Ostendorf, 1993) by self- and other-reports. Using different measurement approaches to both constructs, we found that the Big Five only predicted some of the EC facets. We argue that EC is related to, but more than personality.

Samstag, 11. Juni 2016

CAN WAR FOSTER COOPERATION?

CAN WAR FOSTER COOPERATION? 
Michal Bauer, Christopher Blattman. Julie Chytilová, Joseph Henrich, Edward Miguel, Tamar Mitts (2016)


Abstract

In the past decade, nearly 20 studies have found a strong, persistent pattern in surveys and behavioral experiments from over 40 countries: individual exposure to war violence tends to increase social cooperation at the local level, including community participation and prosocial behavior. Thus while war has many negative legacies for individuals and societies, it appears to leave a positive legacy in terms of local cooperation and civic engagement. We discuss, synthesize and reanalyze the emerging body of evidence, and weigh alternative explanations. There is some indication that war violence especially enhances in-group or "parochial" norms and preferences, a finding that, if true, suggests that the rising social cohesion we document need not promote broader peace.