Monday, 9 July 2012

Psychology stuff from the week 2-8/7/12

'The advantages of being first'
I think there have been other studies, on this topic, that have found that people prefer the first option, then the last options, and least prefer the others, in the middle.
In this study, however, they were only selecting between two options, so that was not possible!
"The study found that especially in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation, preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first."

Mothers with 'intensive parenting beliefs', defined as: mothers are more important than fathers; parental happiness is derived from the happiness of the children; parents should always provide stimulating activity; parenting is more difficult than working; a parent should always sacrifice for the child; suffer worse mental health than mothers with wiser beliefs.
Mothers who believed they should be the primary source of support were less satisfied with their lives, when accepting support from their family. Those who believed parenting should be challenging, were more stressed and depressed.
"If intensive mothering is related to so many negative mental health outcomes, why do women do it? They may think that it makes them better mothers, so they are willing to sacrifice their own mental health to enhance their children's cognitive, social and emotional outcomes. In reality, intensive parenting may have the opposite effect on children from what parents intend."
IMO, this whole problem boils down to poorly-constructed expectations, determined by culture. Women who think that parenting means wearing themselves down to the bone, excluding men from any caregiving role, and rejecting peer assistance, will get more stressed, and develop more mental health problems. It would be interesting to see if prior disposition to mental illness associates with these self-condemning beliefs.

Chimps cognise the premise behind the expression "better the devil you know".
When offered a trade for a tool that they already know to work, they are much less likely to go for it, despite having preferred the option, previously.

Good article. Multiple annoying flaws, though.
1 - the title - what's it mean??
2 - clearly written with their 'Law' hat on - it's really difficult to understand!
3 - at the end, fails to recognise the distinction between efficiency and effectiveness, and so substitutes the latter for "stability"
What this sociology study found is that people prefer to have institutionalised justice-enacters (law courts, police) when the people responsible for making the laws are punishable, themselves.
Because legal systems are expensive, they disfavour the establishments when unemployed; but favour them if assured the establishments will be employed.
First-order free-riders, as referred to in this study, are people like tax evaders (presumably where the title came from), that take from society, and do not give back.
{This is, of course, the very notion of profit, enshrined in capitalism}
Second-order free-riders are the people who could punish the first-order free-riders but don't. (The bought officials [cough: Dave Hartnett] who overlook soaring tax bills [cough: Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, etc])
Lastly, they mention that "institutionalised punishment reduces the number of crimes so greatly that the cost-benefit ratio shifts to their detriment: high police taxes to punish a small number of criminals"
This, of course, invokes the last flaw -- criminals -- there is no such classification as 'a criminal' who's going to do crimes whatever happens. All you have to do is catch them and incarcerate them or kill them.
No! This is wrong. All kinds of people commit all kinds of immoral deeds; and many of them count as crimes.
A system of institutionalised punshment that, as they say, reduces the number of crimes committed, does so by preventing future crimes from happening.
More expense means fewer crimes. This should not be classed as a bad thing, which is done by invoking 'efficiency'.
Effectiveness is what matters -- and this is what causes "stability"

Why do women watch the Olympics, but not other sports programmes?
Women prefer watching the Olympics because it is in a condensed format; it doesn't run on for months; there's plenty of talking about what's going on; and it exhibits pursuits that conform to feminine sex roles, in contrast to most broadcast sports.
So, basically -- women watch the Olympics because it's more familiar to them, and is therefore culturally conducive to being watched. It has little to do with actually being interested in sport!

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