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Abstract

Planning for the future may encourage apparently ‘impulsive’ behaviour when the future is anticipated to be bleak. Thus, a seeming failure of self-control in reactive violence could be caused not by a disinclination to plan ahead, but by virtue of this ability. Furthermore, we point to empirical and theoretical shortcomings in the authors’ case, such as a failure to distinguish proximate and ultimate explanations.

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Secondary analyses of Revised NEO Personality Inventory data from 26 cultures (N = 23,031) suggest that gender differences are small relative to individual variation within genders; differences are replicated across cultures for both college-age and adult samples, and differences are broadly consistent with gender stereotypes: Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas. Contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures. Contrary to predictions from the social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European and American cultures in which traditional sex roles are minimized. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are discussed, including the attribution of masculine and feminine behaviors to roles rather than traits in traditional cultures.
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Gender equality has varied across time, with dramatic shifts in countries such as the United States in the past several decades. Although differences across societies and changes within societies in gender equality have been well documented, the causes of these changes remain poorly understood. Scholars have posited that such shifts have been driven by specific events (such as Title IX and Roe versus Wade), broader social movements (such as feminism and women’s liberation) or general levels of social development (for example, modernization theory1). Although these factors are likely to have been partly responsible for temporal variations in gender equality, they provide fairly intermediate explanations void of a comprehensive framework. Here, we use an ecological framework to explore the role of key ecological dimensions on change in gender equality over time. We focus on four key types of ecological threats/affordances that have previously been linked to cultural variations in human behaviour as potential explanations for cultural change in gender equality: infectious disease, resource scarcity, warfare and climatic stress. We show that decreases in pathogen prevalence in the United States over six decades (1951–2013) are linked to reductions in gender inequality and that such shifts in rates of infectious disease precede shifts in gender inequality. Results were robust, holding when we controlled for other ecological dimensions and for collectivism and conservative ideological identification (indicators of more broadly traditional cultural norms and attitudes). Furthermore, the effects were partially mediated by reduced teenage birth rates (a sign that people are adopting slower life history strategies), suggesting that life history strategies statistically account for the relationship between pathogen prevalence and gender inequality over time. Finally, we replicated our key effects in a different society, using comparable data from the United Kingdom over a period of seven decades (1945–2014).
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Social and political tensions keep on fueling armed conflicts around the world. Although each conflict is the result of an individual context-specific mixture of interconnected factors, ethnicity appears to play a prominent and almost ubiquitous role in many of them. This overall state of affairs is likely to be exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change and in particular climate-related natural disasters. Ethnic divides might serve as predetermined conflict lines in case of rapidly emerging societal tensions arising from disruptive events like natural disasters. Here, we hypothesize that climate-related disaster occurrence enhances armed-conflict outbreak risk in ethnically fractionalized countries. Using event coincidence analysis, we test this hypothesis based on data on armed-conflict outbreaks and climate-related natural disasters for the period 1980-2010. Globally, we find a coincidence rate of 9% regarding armed-conflict outbreak and disaster occurrence such as heat waves or droughts. Our analysis also reveals that, during the period in question, about 23% of conflict outbreaks in ethnically highly fractionalized countries robustly coincide with climatic calamities. Although we do not report evidence that climate-related disasters act as direct triggers of armed conflicts, the disruptive nature of these events seems to play out in ethnically fractionalized societies in a particularly tragic way. This observation has important implications for future security policies as several of the world's most conflict-prone regions, including North and Central Africa as well as Central Asia, are both exceptionally vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change and characterized by deep ethnic divides.
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Corruption represents 1 of the main societal challenges of our time. At present, there is no theoretical framework distinguishing the prospective decision-making processes involved in different acts of corruption. We differentiate between 2 broad categories of corrupt acts that have different implications for prospective cognition: individual corrupt acts, which refer to a power holder individually abusing entrusted power; and interpersonal corrupt acts, which refer to a power holder abusing entrusted power in collaboration with other corrupt agents. We model the decision structure as 2 inherently different social dilemmas: individual corruption requires a power holder to prospect own and collective consequences, whereas interpersonal corruption requires a prospection of self-interest, the interest of corrupt partner(s) conflict and collective interests (nested social dilemma). Individual and interpersonal corruption rest on different prospective decision-making processes, which we illustrate along intrapersonal factors (prospection of costs and benefits, self-control, guilt) and interpersonal factors (social norms, trust). We explore the advantages of this novel distinction for theory development, experimental corruption research, as well as anticorruption efforts.
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Human life history theory describes how resources are allocated among conflicting life tasks, including tradeoffs concerning reproduction. The current research investigates the unique importance of environmental unpredictability in childhood in association with romantic attachment, and explores whether objective or subjective measures of environmental risk are more informative for testing life history hypotheses. We hypothesize that (1) unpredictability in childhood will be associated with greater anxious attachment, (2) anxious attachment will be associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, and (3) anxious attachment will mediate the relationship between unpredictability in childhood and IPV perpetration. In two studies (total n = 391), participants in a heterosexual, romantic relationship completed self-report measures of childhood experiences, romantic attachment, and IPV perpetration. Study 1 provides support for Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 1 is replicated only for men, but not women, in Study 2. Results of Study 2 provide support for Hypothesis 2 for men and women, whereas Hypothesis 3 was supported for men but not women. The findings contribute to the literature addressing the association of environmental risk in childhood on adult relationship outcomes.
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An individual is typically considered an adult at age 18, although the age of adulthood varies for different legal and social policies. A key question is how cognitive capacities relevant to these policies change with development. The current study used an emotional go/no-go paradigm and functional neuroimaging to assess cognitive control under sustained states of negative and positive arousal in a community sample of one hundred ten 13- to 25-year-olds from New York City and Los Angeles. The results showed diminished cognitive performance under brief and prolonged negative emotional arousal in 18- to 21-year-olds relative to adults over 21. This reduction in performance was paralleled by decreased activity in fronto-parietal circuitry, implicated in cognitive control, and increased sustained activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, involved in emotional processes. The findings suggest a developmental shift in cognitive capacity in emotional situations that coincides with dynamic changes in prefrontal circuitry. These findings may inform age-related social policies.
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Objectives To examine whether differential exposure to pre- and perinatal risk factors explained differences in levels of self-regulation between children of different races (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Other). Methods Multiple regression models based on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (n ≈ 9,850) were used to analyze the impact of pre- and perinatal risk factors on the development of self-regulation at age 2 years. Results Racial differences in levels of self-regulation were observed. Racial differences were also observed for 9 of the 12 pre-/perinatal risk factors. Multiple regression analyses revealed that a portion of the racial differences in self-regulation was explained by differential exposure to several of the pre-/perinatal risk factors. Specifically, maternal age at childbirth, gestational timing, and the family’s socioeconomic status were significantly related to the child’s level of self-regulation. These factors accounted for a statistically significant portion of the racial differences observed in self-regulation. Conclusions The findings indicate racial differences in self-regulation may be, at least partially, explained by racial differences in exposure to pre- and perinatal risk factors.
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We propose a hierarchical model of multilevel selection to explain the various direct and indirect causal pathways through which life history (LH) selection influences social evolution and development. This multilevel selection model describes a hierarchical cascade of consequences wherein natural selective pressures generate both individual and social sequelae, which in turn produce social selective pressures that generate sexual sequelae, which in turn produce sexual selective pressures that generate further sexual sequelae. Thus, the generative natural selective pressures constrain (but do not determine) the social selective pressures, which then constrain the sexual selective pressures that drive both LH evolution and development. Further, as in Bronfenbrenner’s (The ecology of human development: experiments by nature and design. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1979) ecological systems theory, the directionalities of these probabilistic transactions among levels may also operate in the opposite direction, from the lower to the higher levels of the hierarchy.
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Conducted 3 cross-national experiments to investigate the hypothesis that differences between Americans (A's) and Brazilians (B's) in punctuality may be explained by divergent standard errors in their perception of time. Results of Exp I show that public clocks were less accurate in Brazil (B) than in the US. Results of Exp II with 205 A's and 202 B's show that watches were less accurate in B, watchless B's were less accurate than watchless A's in estimating the time of day, and B's were less exact than A's in reporting the time on their watches. Exp III, a questionnaire study of 107 A's and 91 B's, found that B's were more often late for appointments and social gatherings, were more flexible in their definitions of "early" and "late," and expressed less regret over being late than A's. However, A's had more negative overall impressions of a person who is frequently late and rated punctuality as a more important trait in a businessperson and friend than did B's. Thus, standards of timeliness may be broader and less salient for B's than for A's. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Chapter
Given the dire nature of many researchers' predictions about the effects of global climate change (e.g., rising sea levels, droughts, more extreme weather), it comes as little surprise that less attention has been paid to the subtler, less direct outcomes of rapid climate change: psychological, sociological, political, and economic effects. In this chapter we explore one such outcome in particular: the effects of rapid climate change on aggression. We begin by exploring the potential for climate change to directly affect aggression in individuals, focusing on research showing the relationship between uncomfortably hot ambient temperature and aggression. Next, we review several lines of research illustrating ways that climate change can indirectly increase aggression in individuals. We then shift our focus from individuals to the effects of climate change on group-level aggression. We finish by addressing points of contention, including the challenge that the effects of climate change on aggression are too remote and too small to be considered relevant.
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For female mammals, the rewards of aggression (such as increased rank) rarely outweigh the costs (injury or death). These costs exert a stronger effect on natural selection in females than males because offspring survival depends more strongly on maternal than paternal survival. To support the proposal that greater avoidance of aggression (and other risky activities) by women is mediated by a more reactive fear system, experimental, psychometric, hormonal, and neuroimaging studies are reviewed. Evidence suggests that monogamy, characteristic of the Homo line for over a million years, has resulted from sexual conflict (reproductive advantage accruing to women more than men) rather than sexual selection (within-sex advantage to men who remained with a single mate). However, monogamy means that women as well as men must compete for the best mates. This competition is usually expressed through intersexual strategies in which women advertise those traits favored by men or through low-risk indirect forms of within-sex aggression (e.g., stigmatizing, ostracizing). Ecological factors including age, early menarche, operational sex ratio, extreme variance in male resources, and local cultural norms can decrease the threshold for women's use of direct physical aggression.
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Dealing with time is a fundamental feature of the human experience, both objective, or so-called clock time, and subjective, personal constructions of time. The focus of this chapter is the construct of time perspective (TP), which is viewed as an integral part of the subjective or personal experience of "lived time". Time perspective is considered to have cognitive, emotional, and social components. The Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) is the latest modification of the STPI, which has addressed the shortcomings of the previous scales. Zimbardo and Boyd demonstrate that both Past-Negative and Present-Fatalistic perspectives are associated with strong feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and aggression. Despite being conceived primarily at a theoretical level, the constructs of TP and a balanced TP offer considerable potential for practical interventions in clinical and occupational psychology. The construct of TP has a potential to provide a theoretical underpinning for time management interventions.
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Violence against women causes suffering and misery to victims and their families and places a heavy burden on societies worldwide. It mostly happens within intimate relationships or between people known to each other. Violence against women is a social construction based on a societal consensus about the roles and rights of men and women. Two prevalent forms of violence against women are physical and sexual victimization by an intimate partner, and sexual victimization outside intimate relationships. Explanations of why men engage in aggressive behavior towards women address different levels, including the macro-level of society, the micro-level of dyadic interactions, and the individual level of perpetrator characteristics. Prevention efforts are needed that address each of these levels.
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Human psychology is characterized by a motivational system (the ?behavioral immune system?) that appears to have evolved as a means of providing prophylactic protection against pathogen infection. This chapter provides an overview of research on the behavioral immune system, describing why it evolved, how it operates, and its many implications?some obvious and some not?for human cognition and human behavior. This overview is presented in the form of 12 ?things you need to know? that, collectively, summarize the scope of contemporary research on the behavioral immune system, and provide a foundation for thinking critically about it.
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An experimental science relies on solid and replicable results. The last few years have seen a rich discussion on the reliability and validity of psychological science and whether our experimental findings can falsify our existing theoretical models. But concerns have also arisen that this movement may put a halt to theoretical developments. In this article, we re-analyze the data from an article published in this journal that concluded that lab site did not matter as predictor for Stroop performance, and, therefore, that context was likely to matter little in predicting the outcome of the Stroop task. The authors challenge this conclusion via a new analytical method -- supervised machine learning -- that “lets the data speak”. The authors apply this approach to the Stroop task from Many Labs 3 to illustrate the utility of machine learning, and find surprising results. The authors discuss differences with some conclusions of the original article, which variables need to be controlled for in future inhibitory control tasks, and why psychologists can use machine learning to find surprising, yet solid, results in their own data.
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Historically, anthropology has occupied a central place in the construction and reconstruction of race as both an intellectual device and a social reality. Critiques of the biological concept of race have led many anthropologists to adopt a “no-race” posture and an approach to intergroup difference highlighting ethnicity-based principles of classification and organization. Often, however, the singular focus on ethnicity has left unaddressed the persistence of racism and its invidious impact on local communities, nation-states, and the global system. Within the past decade, anthropologists have revitalized their interest in the complex and often covert structures and dynamics of racial inequality. Recent studies shed light on race’s heightened volatility on contemporary sociocultural landscapes, the racialization of ethno-nationalist conflicts, anthropology’s multiple traditions of antiracism, and intranational as well as international variations in racial constructions, including the conventionally neglected configurations of whiteness.
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Engagement, motivation, and persistence are usually associated with positive outcomes. However, too much of it can overtax our psychophysiological system and put it at risk. On the basis of a neuro-dynamic personality and self-regulation model, we explain the neurobehavioral mechanisms presumably underlying engagement and how engagement, when overtaxing the individual, becomes automatically inhibited for reasons of protection. We explain how different intensities and patterns of engagement may relate to personality traits such as Self-directedness, Conscientiousness, Drive for Reward, and Absorption, which we conceive of as functions or strategies of adaptive neurobehavioral systems. We describe how protective inhibitions and personality traits contribute to phenomena such as disengagement and increased effort-sense in chronic fatigue conditions, which often affect professions involving high socio-emotional interactions. By doing so we adduce evidence on hemispheric asymmetry of motivation, neuromodulation by dopamine, self-determination, task engagement, and physiological disengagement. Not least, we discuss educational implications of our model.
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This chapter provides an overview of life history theory (LHT). LHT conceptualizes specific allocation tradeoffs in terms of three broad, fundamental trade-offs: the present-future reproduction trade-off, the quantity-quality of offspring trade-off, and the tradeoff between mating effort and parenting effort. The chapter then considers specific applications of LHT to an understanding of the human life course. The topics concerning human life histories are the evolution of large brains, development and childhood, and aging. The chapter argues for ways in which LHT can and should be infused into evolutionary psychology. Over the past 40 years, evolutionary biology has witnessed a tremendous explosion in understanding of adaptations, particularly as they relate to behavior. A key foundation of these developments is economic cost-benefit analysis of selection pressures. LHT is not a particular domain of cost-benefit analysis; rather, it is a broad, overarching perspective within which understanding of adaptation must ultimately be situated.
Article
For centuries, thinkers have considered whether and how climatic conditions—such as temperature, rainfall, and violent storms—influence the nature of societies and the performance of economies. A multidisciplinary renaissance of quantitative empirical research is illuminating important linkages in the coupled climate-human system. We highlight key methodological innovations and results describing effects of climate on health, economics, conflict, migration, and demographics. Because of persistent “adaptation gaps,” current climate conditions continue to play a substantial role in shaping modern society, and future climate changes will likely have additional impact. For example, we compute that temperature depresses current U.S. maize yields by ~48%, warming since 1980 elevated conflict risk in Africa by ~11%, and future warming may slow global economic growth rates by ~0.28 percentage points per year. In general, we estimate that the economic and social burden of current climates tends to be comparable in magnitude to the additional projected impact caused by future anthropogenic climate changes. Overall, findings from this literature point to climate as an important influence on the historical evolution of the global economy, they should inform how we respond to modern climatic conditions, and they can guide how we predict the consequences of future climate changes.
Article
Recent findings from molecular genetics now make it possible to test directly for natural selection by analyzing whether genetic variants associated with various phenotypes have been under selection. I leverage these findings to construct polygenic scores that use individuals' genotypes to predict their body mass index, educational attainment (EA), glucose concentration, height, schizophrenia, total cholesterol, and (in females) age at menarche. I then examine associations between these scores and fitness to test whether natural selection has been occurring. My study sample includes individuals of European ancestry born between 1931 and 1953 who participated in the Health and Retirement Study, a representative study of the US population. My results imply that natural selection has been slowly favoring lower EA in both females and males, and are suggestive that natural selection may have favored a higher age at menarche in females. For EA, my estimates imply a rate of selection of about -1.5 mo of education per generation (which pales in comparison with the increases in EA observed in contemporary times). Although they cannot be projected over more than one generation, my results provide additional evidence that humans are still evolving-albeit slowly, especially compared with the rapid changes that have occurred over the past few generations due to cultural and environmental factors.
Article
Gervais and Fessler argue the perceived legitimacy of contempt has declined over time in the US, citing evidence of a decrease in the frequency of its use in the American English corpus. We argue that this decline in contempt, as reflected in cultural products, is linked to shifts in key socio-ecological features previously associated with other forms of cultural change.
Article
The General Factor of Personality (GFP) is a higher-order factor causing lower-order personality traits to show consistent correlations in a socially desirable direction. The literature on the GFP reveals that there are various scientific interpretations of this construct. One interpretation is that it is a substantive factor reflecting general social effectiveness and exerting a broad influence on behavior. Another interpretation is that it merely reflects methodological or statistical artifacts and has no further relevance for personality research. We review the empirical literature on the nature of the GFP, its possible links to evolutionary processes, and its relation to other constructs overlapping with social effectiveness. We conclude that the substantive interpretation of the GFP is the most plausible, whereas the notion that it is a psychologically meaningless methodological artifact would be rather difficult to uphold.
Article
Over the course of the past 6 or 7 million years, humans have evolved some unique life history characteristics. This article examines the timing of life cycle events with a focus on the optimal allocation of energy across energetically expensive physiological demands, for example, growth and reproduction. Data are drawn from nonhuman primates, hominin fossils, and cross-cultural comparisons. This article is organized around the life events of gestation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, adulthood and reproduction, and menopause and post-reproductive life.
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Occasionally, very occasionally, big books appear in the social sciences that make scholars and the lay public take notice. Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is one of those publishing events.1The Bell Curve is big both in size, more than 850 pages, and in scope. It draws on a large social science database and deals with themes of broad social significance. The authors have provoked a counterliterature of criticism, qualification, and confrontation that has advanced the enterprise of social research. Without the contest over methods, argument, and policy implications that are generated by the publication of such big books, public understanding would lag even further behind scholarship, and scholarship itself would lose its edge.
Article
Evolutionary approaches to understanding personality variation have proposed how general personality factors might be reframed in terms of adaptive tradeoffs, but many of these explanations remain speculative. The present research evaluates the relationships between the HEXACO general personality traits and evolutionarily-relevant variables tied to individual differences in mating characteristics and strategies. Participants (n = 209) completed measures of the HEXACO traits, mate value, life history strategy, and sociosexual orientation (short-term mating orientation and long-term mating orientation). There was good support for a number of hypothesized relationships between mating-relevant personality constructs and HEXACO traits. Additionally, the constructs of mate value, life history strategy, and sociosexuality were significantly intercorrelated, indicating that they are not independent. Further work is needed to clarify those relationships, and differential relationships with HEXACO traits can aid in this work.
Article
Much of the literature on climate change adaptation claims the destabilizing consequences of environmental crises are mitigated by sociopolitical conditions that influence a state's susceptibility to scarcity-induced violence. However, few cross-national studies provide evidence of conditional scarcity-conflict relationships. This analysis of drought severity and civil conflict onset in sub-Saharan Africa (1962–2006) uncovers three sociopolitical conditions that influence the link between environmental scarcity and civil conflict: social vulnerability, state capacity, and unequal distribution of resources. Surprisingly, we find drought does not exacerbate the high risk of conflict in the vulnerable, incapable, and unequal states thought to be especially susceptible to increased scarcity. Instead, drought negates the peace-favoring attributes of stable states with less vulnerable populations. During severe drought, states with sociopolitical conditions that would otherwise favor peace are no less likely to suffer conflict than states with sociopolitical conditions that would otherwise increase the risk of violence. These findings, which are robust across several measures of these sociopolitical concepts, suggest environmental scarcity is most likely to increase the risk of conflict where populations have more to lose relative to periods with more favorable weather.
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The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology studies the burgeoning field of positive psychology, which, in recent years, has transcended academia to capture the imagination of the general public. The book provides a roadmap for the psychology needed by the majority of the population-those who don't need treatment, but want to achieve the lives to which they aspire. The articles summarize all of the relevant literature in the field, and each is essentially defining a lifetime of research. The content's breadth and depth provide a cross-disciplinary look at positive psychology from diverse fields and all branches of psychology, including social, clinical, personality, counseling, school, and developmental psychology. Topics include not only happiness-which has been perhaps misrepresented in the popular media as the entirety of the field-but also hope, strengths, positive emotions, life longings, creativity, emotional creativity, courage, and more, plus guidelines for applying what has worked for people across time and cultures.
Article
The Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, narcissism, & Machiavellianism) have become a popular topic in personality psychology and in the media and may have important evolutionary significance. To provide new insight into the Dark Triad traits, we present four studies (N = 2506) with two measures of the Dark Triad traits, in two volunteer, one mTurk, and one American undergraduate sample using three frameworks of individual differences in psychogenic motives (i.e., achievement, power, and, affiliation). Although results were not fully robust to method and sampling variance, all three traits were associated with motivations towards trying to be dominant and powerful, but only narcissism was motivated by affiliation or intimacy needs. Sex differences in the Dark Triad traits were often accounted for by individual differences in the intimacy and power motives. The Discussion highlights the utility of evolutionary models to improve our understanding of the motivational systems “under the hood” of those characterized by the Dark Triad traits.
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What motivates violence? How can good and compassionate people hurt and kill others or themselves? Why are people much more likely to kill or assault people they know well, rather than strangers? This provocative and radical book shows that people mostly commit violence because they genuinely feel that it is the morally right thing to do. In perpetrators’ minds, violence may be the morally necessary and proper way to regulate social relationships according to cultural precepts, precedents, and prototypes. These moral motivations apply equally to the violence of the heroes of the Iliad, to parents smacking their child, and to many modern murders and everyday acts of violence. Virtuous Violence presents a wide-ranging exploration of violence across different cultures and historical eras, demonstrating how people feel obligated to violently create, sustain, end, and honor social relationships in order to make them right, according to morally motivated cultural ideals.
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Crime and Everyday Life, Fourth Edition, provides an illuminating glimpse into roots of criminal behavior, explaining how crime can touch us all in both small and large ways. This innovative text shows how opportunity is a necessary condition for crime to occur, while exploring realistic ways to reduce or eliminate crime and criminal behavior by removing the opportunity to complete the act. Encouraging students to take a closer look at the true nature of crime and its effects on their lives, author Marcus Felson and new co-author Rachel L. Boba (an expert on crime prevention, crime analysis and mapping, and school safety) maintain the book's engaging, readable, and informative style, while incorporating the most current research on criminal behavior and routine activity theory. The authors emphasize that routine daily activities set the stage for illegal acts, thus challenging conventional wisdom and offering students a fresh perspective, novel solutions for reducing crime … and renewed hope. New and Proven Features Includes new coverage of gangs, bar problems, and barhopping; new discussion of the dynamic crime triangle; and expanded coverage of technology, Internet fraud, identity theft, and other Internet pitfalls; The now-famous “fallacies about crime” are reduced to nine and are organized and explained even more clearly than in past editions; Offers updated research on crime as well as new examples of practical application of theory, with the most current crime and victimization statistics throughout; Features POP (Problem-Oriented Policing) Center guidelines and citations, including Closing Streets and Alleys to Reduce Crime, Speeding in Residential Areas, Robbery of Convenience Stores, and use of the Situational Crime Prevention Evaluation Database; Updated “Projects and Challenges” at the end of each chapter Intended Audience This supplemental text adds a colorful perspective and enriches classroom discussion for courses in Criminological Theory, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and Introductory Criminology.
Article
In the present, the past is more knowable than the future-but people think far more about the future than the past. Both facts derive from the principle that the future can be changed whereas the past cannot. Our theory of pragmatic prospection holds that people think about the future so as to guide actions to bring about desirable outcomes. It proposes that thoughts about the future begin by imagining what one wants to happen, which is thus initially optimistic. A second stage of such prospective thinking maps out how to bring that about, and this stage is marked by consideration of obstacles, requisite steps, and other potential problems, and so it tends toward cautious realism and even pessimism. Pragmatic prospection presents a form of teleology, in which brains can anticipate possible future events and use those cognitions to guide behavior. Toward that end, it invokes meaning, consistent with evidence that thinking about the future is highly meaningful. Prospection often has narrative structure, involving a series of events in a temporal sequence linked together by meaning. Emotion is useful for evaluating different simulations of possible future events and plans. Prospection is socially learned and rests on socially constructed scaffolding for the future (e.g., future dates). Planning is perhaps the most common form of prospection, and it exemplifies all aspects of our theory (including pragmatic utility, meaning, teleological and narrative structure, and sociality). Bracing for bad news and defensive pessimism are strategies that inspire adaptive responses to feared outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Humans are capable of imagining future rewards and the contexts in which they may be obtained. Functionally, intertemporal choices between smaller but immediate and larger but delayed rewards may be made without such episodic foresight. However, we propose that explicit simulations of this sort enable more flexible and adaptive intertemporal decision-making. Emotions triggered through the simulation of future situations can motivate people to forego immediate pleasures in the pursuit of long-term rewards. However, we stress that the most adaptive option need not always be a larger later reward. When the future is anticipated to be uncertain, for instance, it may make sense for preferences to shift toward more immediate rewards, instead. Imagining potential future scenarios and assessment of their likelihood and affective consequences allows humans to determine when it is more adaptive to delay gratification in pursuit of a larger later reward, and when the better strategy is to indulge in a present temptation. We discuss clinical studies that highlight when and how the effect of episodic foresight on intertemporal decision-making can be altered, and consider the relevance of this perspective to under- standing the nature of self-control. Keywords: episodic foresight, prospection, intertemporal choice, delay discounting, evolution
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The main part of this chapter had to be written in the middle of an ongoing study, in which I attempt to analyze vital statistics on conception rates, mortality, and suicides from all over the world. The data sources were in part easily accessible in specific publications, such as those of the World Health Organization, but often they were available only from serials not easy to find. In presenting a general view at the present stage of my investigation, I am confronted with the difficulty that information from several geographical areas is still missing, and that the data collected so far are not satisfactorily homogeneous with regard to the time spans they cover. Hence, more data and more analytical procedures are needed until reliable answers can be given to some of the questions developed so far. However, even the preliminary findings seem to me to be of sufficient interest to risk publication (and the criticism of jumping to conclusions).
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The US South, and western regions of the US initially settled by Southerners, are more violent than the rest of the country. Homicide rates for White Southern males are substantially higher than those for White Northern males, especially in rural areas. But only for argument-related homicides are Southern rates higher. Southerners do not endorse violence more than do Northerners when survey questions are expressed in general terms, but they are more inclined to endorse violence for protection and in response to insults. Southern Ss responded with more apparent anger to insults than did Northerners and were more likely to propose violent solutions to conflicts presented in scenarios after being insulted. The social matrix that produced this pattern may be the culture of honor characteristic of particular economic circumstances, including the herding society of the early South. Consistent with this possibility, the herding regions of the South are still the most violent. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)