Norman P Li

Norman P Li
Singapore Management University | smu · School of Social Sciences

PhD

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158
Publications
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Publications

Publications (158)
Article
Objective: Evolved mate preferences have taken center stage in evolutionary psychology research, yet this literature has been fairly muted on mate preferences for extrapair partners. Here, we examined the mate preferences for mistress relationships (the traits that men prioritize in a mistress and mistresses prioritize in their male partners) and...
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Previous work has reported a relation between pathogen-avoidance motivations and prejudice toward various social groups, including gay men and lesbian women. It is currently unknown whether this association is present across cultures, or specific to North America. Analyses of survey data from adult heterosexuals ( N = 11,200) from 31 countries show...
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Nielsen et al. (1) argue that Van Doesum et al. (2) need to consider three points for their interpretation of a positive association between individual-level social mindfulness (SoMi) and environmental performance (EPI) at the country level (3). The association is weaker when 1) it is controlled for GDP and 2) when the data of three countries are r...
Article
The savanna theory of happiness proposes that, due to evolutionary constraints on the human brain, situations and circumstances that would have increased our ancestors' happiness may still increase our happiness today, and those that would have decreased their happiness then may still decrease ours today. It further proposes that, because general i...
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Why do some people have children earlier compared to others who delay reproduction? Drawing from an evolutionary, life history theory perspective, we posited that reproductive timing could be influenced by economic uncertainty and childhood socioeconomic status (SES). For individuals lower in childhood SES, economic uncertainty influenced the desir...
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Introduction: The savanna theory of happiness posits that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation that affect happiness but also its ancestral consequences, and that the effect of ancestral consequences on happiness is stronger among less intelligent individuals. But what about situations that did not exist in the ancestral en...
Article
Principally a result of unhealthy food choices, almost half of adults worldwide are overweight or obese. Current food retail practices bear some responsibility for such public health issues. We argue that numerous attempts to promote healthy eating have been unsuccessful for failing to account for our outdated evolved food selection mechanisms. Bui...
Article
Objective Although the mate preference priority model (MPPM; Li et al., 2002) has advanced our understanding of mate preferences, tests of the MPPM have relied on methods using text labels and thus lack ecological validity. We address this gap by testing the MPPM using Townsend and colleagues’ (1990a; 1990b; 1993) profile-based experimental paradig...
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To date, the study of cultural tightness has been largely limited to exploring the strictness of social norms and the severity of punishments at the level of nations or regions. However, cultural psychologists concur that humans gather cultural information from more than just their nationality. Gender is a cultural identity that confers its own soc...
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Existing meta-analyses have shown that the relationship between social media use and self-esteem is negative, but at very small effect sizes, suggesting the presence of moderators that change the relationship between social media use and self-esteem. Employing principles from social comparison and evolutionary mismatch theories, we propose that the...
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Humans are social animals, but not everyone will be mindful of others to the same extent. Individual differences have been found, but would social mindfulness also be shaped by one’s location in the world? Expecting cross-national differences to exist, we examined if and how social mindfulness differs across countries. At little to no material cost...
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Extant findings are mixed on whether social exclusion impacts prosociality. We propose one factor that may underlie the mixed results: Cynicism. Specifically, cynicism may moderate the exclusion-prosociality link by influencing interpersonal empathy. Compared to less cynical individuals, we expected highly cynical individuals who were excluded to e...
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Mass media extensively inform societies about events threatening the global food supply (e.g., pandemics or Brexit). Consumers exposed to such communication may perceive food resources as becoming scarcer. In line with an evolutionary account, these perceptions can shift decision-making in domains such as food preferences or prosociality. However,...
Preprint
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Principally due to unhealthy food choices that people make in grocery stores, almost half of adults worldwide are overweight and obese. Current food retail practices bear some responsibility for such public health issues. This paper argues that numerous attempts to promote healthy eating fail due to neglecting evolutionarily outdated food acquisiti...
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Full-text available
Norm enforcement may be important for resolving conflicts and promoting cooperation. However, little is known about how preferred responses to norm violations vary across cultures and across domains. In a preregistered study of 57 countries (using convenience samples of 22,863 students and non-students), we measured perceptions of the appropriatene...
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Full-text available
Norm enforcement may be important for resolving conflicts and promoting cooperation. However, little is known about how preferred responses to norm violations vary across cultures and across domains. In a preregistered study of 57 countries (using convenience samples of 22,863 students and non-students), we measured perceptions of the appropriatene...
Article
Whereas large-scale consumption of energy-dense foods contributes to climate change, we investigated whether exposure to climate change-induced food scarcity affects food preferences toward these foods. Humans' current psychological mechanisms have developed in their ancestral evolutionary past to respond to immediate threats and opportunities. Con...
Preprint
Principally a result of unhealthy food choices, almost half of adults worldwide are overweight or obese. Current food retail practices bear some responsibility for such public health issues. We argue that numerous attempts to promote healthy eating have been unsuccessful for failing to account for our outdated evolved food selection mechanisms. Bui...
Article
Full-text available
The evidence for biased perceptions and judgments in humans coupled with evidence for ecological rationality in nonhuman animals suggest that the claim that humans are the rational animal may be overstated. We instead propose that discussions of human psychology may benefit from viewing ourselves not so much as rational animals but rather as the ra...
Preprint
While overconsumption of energy-dense foods contributes to climate change, we investigated whether exposure to climate change-induced food insecurity affects preferences toward such products. Humans’ current psychological mechanisms have developed in their ancestral evolutionary past to respond to immediate threats and opportunities. Consequently,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Events such as trade wars or pandemics pose a threat to the global food supply chain. As a result, people may perceive food resources as less secure. These perceptions, in turn, can shift decision-making in various domains such as food preferences, financial risk-taking, or prosocial behaviors. The food insecurity literature to date has extensively...
Article
Objective We investigated whether men's social confidence in an initial, opposite‐sex chatting context can be improved through a video tutorial and the extent to which being perceived as socially confident results in being seen as more romantically desirable and worthy of future contact. Method Women chatted with men who had received or not receiv...
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Objective: Mate choice involves trading-off several preferences. Research on this process tends to examine mate preference prioritization in homogenous samples using a small number of traits and thus provide little insight into whether prioritization patterns reflect a universal human nature. This study examined whether prioritization patterns, an...
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People seek warm and trustworthy individuals as long-term mates for numerous reasons. Indeed, such individuals are prone to cooperation, have strong parenting skills, have the ability to fulfill our need to belong, and may provide a relationship that is characterized by greater closeness, protection, acceptance, and safety. Although prior work has...
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Although much work on mating psychology has focused on mate preferences and responses to desirable sexual and romantic offers, less is known about what happens when individuals face a lack of mating options. We present 2 studies on (hypothetical) compensatory mating tactics. In Study 1 (N = 299), participants were asked to imagine they were struggl...
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Although economic development is broadly associated with low fertility, countries with a predominantly East Asian cultural population exhibit the lowest fertility rates in the developed world. This study (N = 243) examined social status affordance (SSA) as a novel factor underlying cultural variations in marriage and childbearing attitudes. Drawing...
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The strength of sexual selection on secondary sexual traits varies depending on prevailing economic and ecological conditions. In humans, cross-cultural evidence suggests women’s preferences for men’s testosterone dependent masculine facial traits are stronger under conditions where health is compromised, male mortality rates are higher and economi...
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Consistent with an evolutionary perspective, memory may be enhanced when people are in precarious situations. Particularly, a survival processing effect (SPE) has been found whereby people have better memory for a list of items when the items are rated for their relevance in a grassland context that contains survival threats including predators, an...
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Laughter is a nonverbal vocalization occurring in every known culture, ubiquitous across all forms of human social interaction. Here, we examined whether listeners around the world, irrespective of their own native language and culture, can distinguish between spontaneous laughter and volitional laughter—laugh types likely generated by different vo...
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Does close distance increase liking for a social object? In a preliminary sociogram task, an association between proximity and intimacy was found in drawings of self and others. In three experimental studies, male participants consistently preferred female targets who were (actually or appeared to be) close than far from them. Distance was manipula...
Chapter
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Throughout evolutionary history, offspring survival has posed a main adaptive challenge. In some species, this selection pressure has resulted in sex-differentiated forms of parental investment. This chapter describes obligatory parental investment, explores asymmetries in obligatory parental investment between males and females, describes examples...
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Males and females produce gametes that are differentially specialized to facilitate the sexes in reproduction.
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Jealousy is a troublesome emotional experience for those afflicted by its onset. The grip of the “green-eyed monster” has been known to cause misery and produce some drastic coping behaviors ranging from paranoid stalking to violent aggression. But rather than a product of civilized culture gone wrong or a mental disorder as some thinkers have clai...
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Why do men and women come into conflict over mating and sex? This chapter examines the adaptive reasons, which trace back to key differences in minimum obligatory parental investment (Trivers 1972). Reflecting these differences, men tend to be relatively eager for casual sex, whereas women are relatively more cautious, requiring their sexual partne...
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Human psychological mechanisms are adaptations that evolved to process environmental inputs, turning them into behavioral outputs that, on average, increase survival or reproductive prospects. Modern contexts, however, differ vastly from the environments that existed as human psychological mechanisms evolved. Many inputs now differ in quantity and...
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We integrate life history (LH) theory with “hot/cool” systems theory of self-regulation to predict sexually and socially coercive behaviors, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and interpersonal aggression (IPA). LH theory predicts that a variety of traits form LH strategies: adaptively coordinated behavioral clusters arrayed on a continuum f...
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Intrasexual competition is a key component of sexual selection. Evolutionarily, women compete for access to and retention of mates on key dimensions that men have evolved to value and prioritize in their long-and short-term mates, in particular physical attractiveness. Such competition evolved to be adaptive in ancestral environments as the perceiv...
Chapter
Mothers play an important role in helping their children achieve maximal reproductive success. We explore how mothers across species manipulate birth sex ratios favoring the sex that will be best suited to their environments and how maternal competition affects offspring reproductive success in nonhuman mammals as well as humans. The Trivers-Willar...
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We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural basis of human female mate copying. Consistent with previous mate copying effects, women's attractiveness ratings for target males increased significantly greater after the males were observed paired with romantic partners versus ordinary friends, and this was mainly acc...
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Pride occurs in every known culture, appears early in development, is reliably triggered by achievements and formidability, and causes a characteristic display that is recognized everywhere. Here, we evaluate the theory that pride evolved to guide decisions relevant to pursuing actions that enhance valuation and respect for a person in the minds of...
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The purpose of the present article is to propose an alternative short form for the 199-item Arizona Life History Battery (ALHB), which we are calling the K-SF-42, as it contains 42 items as compared with the 20 items of the Mini-K, the short form that has been in greatest use for the past decade. These 42 items were selected from the ALHB, unlike t...
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People who are more avoidant of pathogens are more politically conservative, as are nations with greater parasite stress. In the current research, we test two prominent hypotheses that have been proposed as explanations for these relationships. The first, which is an intragroup account, holds that these relationships between pathogens and politics...
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Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, and Hannon (2002, Study 1) demonstrated a causal link between subjective commitment to a relationship and how people responded to hypothetical betrayals of that relationship. Participants primed to think about their commitment to their partner (high commitment) reacted to the betrayals with reduced exit and neglect respo...
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Laughter is a nonverbal vocal expression that often communicates positive affect and cooperative intent in humans. Temporally coincident laughter occurring within groups is a potentially rich cue of affiliation to overhearers. We examined listeners’ judgments of affiliation based on brief, decontextualized instances of colaughter between either est...
Article
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Laughter is a nonverbal vocal expression that often communicates positive affect and cooperative intent in humans. Temporally coincident laughter occurringwithin groups is a potentially rich cue of affiliation to overhearers. We examined listeners’ judgments of affiliation based on brief, decontextualized instances of colaughter between either esta...
Article
Full-text available
We propose the savanna theory of happiness, which suggests that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation but also its ancestral consequences that affect individuals' life satisfaction and explains why such influences of ancestral consequences might interact with intelligence. We choose two varied factors that characterize basic...
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A general principle underlying mate choice is that the greater the amount of parental investment required for offspring survival, the more stringent criteria will be for potential mates (Trivers 1972). This chapter first describes necessary or obligatory parental investment, examines the origins of sex differences in obligatory parental investment,...
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Advertisements present an important source of data for evolutionary psychologists. Advertising is ubiquitous in our fast-paced, modern world, and people living in urban places are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements daily. Yet, little research exists that describes how advertisements can be prudently utilized. This chapter disc...
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Social psychology holds a central place in human evolution. Much of human behavior is organized around a relatively small set of fundamental motives, each linked to a major adaptive challenge posed by ancestral environments. This chapter organizes research and theory in evolutionary social psychology around seven key motivational domains of social...
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Mate preference research has focused on traits people desire in partners (i.e., dealmakers) rather than what traits they avoid (i.e., dealbreakers), but mate preferences calibrate to both maximize benefits and minimize costs. Across six studies (N > 6,500), we identified and examined relationship dealbreakers, and how they function across relations...
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Social psychological findings and methods can provide valuable tools for evolutionary theorists. Social psychologists have developed useful methods for understanding ongoing motivational and cognitive processes, as well as useful ways of thinking about and studying organism environment interactions. Social and cognitive psychologists have focused p...
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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 Ameri...
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We developed new materials to induce a luxury mindset and activate materialistic values, and examined materialism's relationship to attitudes toward marriage and having children in Singapore. Path analyses indicated that materialistic values led to more negative attitudes toward marriage, which led to more negative attitudes toward children, which...
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Across decades and cultures, researchers have found that men prefer physical attractiveness in their romantic partners more than women do, whereas women prefer social status and resources in their partners more than men do. From an evolutionary perspective, these sex differences are important as they reflect hypothesized psychological mechanisms th...
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Evolutionary reasoning (kin selection theory) predicts less favorable behaviors directed by parents toward their unrelated children, relative to their biologically related children. By extension, it may be argued that parents should also have less favorable perceptions of the intellectual, personality and other behavioral traits of unrelated childr...
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Organizational researchers increasingly recognize the need to consider the Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) when explaining undesirable work outcomes (e.g., counterproductive behaviors). However, little research has focused on the motivations of those who actually hold the traits. In this study (N = 361) we ex...
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Our research focused on the vocational interests correlated with the Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism). By understanding how these traits facilitate the structuring of one’s environment, we hypothesized that psychopaths will be more interested in realistic and practical careers, narcissists will be more interes...
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Both attractiveness judgements and mate preferences vary considerably cross-culturally. We investigated whether men's preference for femininity in women's faces varies between 28 countries with diverse health conditions by analysing responses of 1972 heterosexual participants. Although men in all countries preferred feminized over masculinized fema...