Poster Session

A showcase of student and faculty research.

Going live on Saturday morning, check back for Zoom Links!



Click on image previews for full poster, and look out for video presentations!

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It Happened to a Friend of a Friend: Inaccurate Source Reporting in Rumor Diffusion

Sacha Altay, Jean Nicod Institute, Nicolas Claidière, Aix Marseille Univ, & Hugo Mercier, Jean Nicod Institute

Culturally successful rumors are commonly attributed to a credible friend of a friend, but little is known about how this sourcing can boost rumors’ propagation. In four online experiments (N = 2024) we found that attribution to a credible friend of a friend increased a rumor’s perceived plausibility, and participants’ willingness to share it. Moreover, the credible friend of a friend attribution remained stable across multiple transmissions, instead of the number of friends mentioned increasing with each transmission. The main alternative was to only mention a friend (without credibility attribution). Even though this latter alternative dominated linear transmission chains, introducing a degree of redundancy allows the credible friend of a friend to persist or dominate. We suggest that the preference for attributing rumors to a credible friend of a friend reflects reputation management considerations.

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Anger Closely Tracks Apparent Undervaluation: Testing the Recalibrational Theory Of Anger Using An Act-Nomination Procedure.

Sonali Bargotra, CSUF, Brianna Diamond, CSUF, Heidi Duarte, CSUF, Patrick Durkee, UT Austin, Aaron Lukaszewski, CSUF

Video Presentation

The recalibrational theory of anger (RTA) suggests that anger is an evolved output of a complex computational system that functions to bargain for better treatment. This system operates through welfare tradeoff ratios (WTRs) that serve as the internal regulatory variable used to determine levels of investment allocated to another individual. Theoretically, anger functions to recalibrate, or raise, the WTR of an offending individual in an attempt to stipulate better treatment from them. To test the RTA, we hypothesized that there would be a significant positive relationship between reported anger and undervaluation. To evaluate this, undergraduate students (N=92) were asked to think of instances in which they felt slightly, moderately, or significantly undervalued. Responses to these prompts were compiled to create a list of 55 items. Participants were presented with the 55 randomised scenarios and asked how angry and undervalued it would make them feel. A simple linear regression was conducted on anger and undervaluation responses to see if reported undervaluation would predict reported anger. The regression analyses demonstrated that anger closely tracked undervaluation within the overall sample and specific individuals. Moreover, the slope of the individual subjects’ anger on undervaluation explained variance in overall anger proneness, beyond subjects’ average anger. These findings support our hypothesis and further supports that anger is regulated by feelings of undervaluation as a means of assessing another individual's WTR. Additional future analyses will examine the moderating effects of physical attractiveness and formidability in predicting the contingency of subjects anger on undervaluation.

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Associations Between Self-Perceived Social Rank and Facets of Machiavellianism

Lucas Bowen, University of Texas at Austin, & Patrick Durkee, University of Texas at Austin

Machiavellianism describes a person’s tendency to pursue social rank through cynical, self-serving, and potentially amoral tactics. Previous research has found inconsistent relationships between machiavellian tendencies and perceived social rank. In this study (N = 582 college students; 385 women), we investigated whether and how facets of machiavellian traits are differentially related to self-perceptions of two dimensions of social rank: dominance and prestige. Our results reveal interesting divergent and convergent associations between specific machiavellian facets and both dimensions of social rank across men and women. Discussion focuses on how future research could investigate why the use of machiavellian tactics to attain social rank may differentially relate to perceptions of dominance and prestige.

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Are Perceptions of Behavioral Phenotypes and Social Value Influenced by Perceptual Cues to Mortality Risk?

Vanessa Bruno, CSUF, Nina Rodriguez, CSUF, Kristine Chua, UCLA, Joe Manson, UCLA & Aaron Lukaszewski, CSUF

Formal theoretical models predict that variation in behavioral strategy is calibrated in response to an individual's mortality risk. For instance, individuals with greater mortality risk are expected to be more present-oriented (e.g., high impulsivity, high short-term mating orientation) than individuals with lower mortality risk. Pilot data lend support for these theoretical models regarding variation in behavioral strategies via individual mortality risk. Participants with reported life insurance policies from Amazon MTurk (N = 272) completed the Life History Rating Form (LHRF; = 0.88), to assess various indicators of present- vs. future-orientation, and items from the Socio-sexual Orientation Inventory (SOI; = 0.77), to assess mating strategy. Mortality risk rating was correlated with expected age of death (r = -.13, p = .038), SOI (r = .16, p = 0.001), and the LHRF (r = -.18, p = .004). These results suggest that people with higher mortality risk are expected to die younger, are more likely to pursue uncommitted mating strategies, and exhibit a range of present-oriented behavioral indicators. The current study's primary goal is to test whether mortality risk estimates taken from individual life insurance policies predict behavioral indicators of present- vs. future-orientation and whether observers can detect other individuals' mortality risk based on visual cues (i.e., standardized photos and videos). If predictions are supported, this would not only help develop a new method for the empirical assessment of mortality risk, but it would also suggest that cues to mortality risk are essential factors in how we perceive others.

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Sex Differences in Sexual Disgust: A Cross-cultural Analysis

Courtney Crosby, David Buss, Carlota Batres, Harrison Kitema, Illia Yahiiaiev, Karine Malysheva, Andrii Trofimov, Adil Samekin, Tatyana Rezvushkina, Telman Seisembekov, Artyom Dontsov, Symbat Abdramanova, Egor Burtsev, Sergei Vykhodtcev, Kseniya Mikhalchenko, Cezar Giosan, Adrian Gorbanescu, Cornel Mincu, Violeta Rotarescu, Zeno Cretu

Video Presentation

Feedback welcome at:

Sexual disgust is an emotion hypothesized to aid in mate selection, deterring individuals from selecting suboptimal mates or from engaging in risky sexual activities. Sexual disgust thresholds tend to be higher for men than women, and these differences are large and robust. Varying types of context-specific input might result in cross-cultural differences in sexual disgust activation, which may have important implications for understanding these sex differences. In this study, we examined the universality and cultural specificity of six factors of sexual disgust, as well as sex differences among these factors in seven different nations (N = 4,771). Results reveal significant sex differences and moderate effect sizes for levels of disgust towards Same-sex sexual activities between men and Promiscuity in five of the seven cultures examined. Discussion focuses on interesting variation between and within cultures in levels of sexual disgust and how these results can inform future research testing sex differences in this emotion.

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Have Gender Differences in Desires for Casual Sex Disappeared? Methods and Moderators Matter.

David Frederick, Chapman University

Have gender differences in desire for casual sex disappeared? Recent studies suggest men and women are largely similar in their desire for short-term mating, especially after controlling for social stigma and other proximate factors (Conley et al., 2011, 2013). Across five national and college student samples (total N = 59180), we examined how methodological approach and personal characteristics of potential sex partners strongly moderate the size of gender differences in interest in casual sex. Looking at partner characteristics, sex differences were partially attenuated when potential partners had high athleticism, social status, and resources. Looking at methodological approach, gender differences varied substantially across the “ideal,” “minimum,” and “maximum” number of partners desired. The findings also highlight, however, substantial variability within each sex and also constraints on men’s openness to having many sex partners. These findings have implications for gender researchers who emphasize a “minimizer” versus “maximizer” approach to framing the size and nature of sex differences, as well as to evolutionary and sociocultural perspectives on sexuality.

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Attitudes Toward Third Party Casual Sex Predict Rape Myth Acceptance: A Test of The Reproductive Morality Model

Rebecka Hahnel-Peeters, CSUF & Aaron Goetz, CSUF

Humans are a highly moralizing species. Traditional models of morality propose that moral attitudes are an output of political orientation and religiosity; however, research is beginning to suggest that political orientation and religiosity are better understood as outputs of a self-interested model of morality. The Reproductive Morality Model understands moral judgments toward social issues, religiosity, and political ideology through individual differences in mating strategies. We proposed that individual differences in rape myth acceptance (RMA) are driven by attitudes toward others’ casual sex—associating rape victims with promiscuity to keep the “price of sex high”. We examined the relationship between political ideology, attitudes toward others having casual sex, and RMA. We hypothesized that individuals who condemned others engaging in casual sex would accept more rape myths compared to individuals who did not condemn others’ casual sex. Our hypothesis was supported for men, (b = - 0.26, t(159) = -2.73, p = .007, F(3,159) = 18.36, p = 2.8E-10) but not women, (b = .11, t(129) = 1.13, p = .26 , F(3, 129) = 23.66, p = 2.9E-12). Men who condemned others’ casual sex were statistically more likely to accept rape myths; however, the model did not predict the same for women. We call for considering morality from the perspective of a self-serving strategy to create an environment in which an individual’s goals are upheld.

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Back to Nature: Does Exploitation Of Our Evolved Landscape Preferences Influence Perceived Housing Value?

Rebecka Hahnel-Peeters, CSUF, Samuel Levine, CSUF, & Aaron Goetz, CSUF

Environments varied throughout history, and some offered more fitness benefits than others did. Evolved landscape preferences may influence how we manipulate our urban environment. In Study 1, we explored the naming conventions of apartment buildings and residential neighborhoods. A content analysis of 2,981 names of apartment buildings and neighborhoods was conducted using a program that employs Google Maps to gather names from each of the 48 contiguous states of the U.S. Each development name was coded as having nature words (e.g. valley), nature analogous words (e.g. west), or non-nature words (e.g. 1st street). Results strongly supported our hypothesis that more apartments and neighborhoods would contain nature words than not. 1,876 of 2,980 names (63%) were named after nature-inspired names. 1,104 of 2980 names (37%) were rated as not-at-all nature. These proportions were statistically different, ꭕ2(1) = 199.99, p = 2.09-45, 𝜑𝜑 = 0.26. Study 2 consisted of an experimental design using manipulated images of apartments and neighborhoods to contain either nature names or non-nature names. We hypothesized that residential spaces containing nature names would be valued higher compared to their non-nature named counterparts. Our hypotheses for Study 2 obtained mixed support. Residential spaces with nature titles (M = $305,569, SD = $77,747) were, on average, estimated as 11.6 percent more expensive than residential spaces without nature titles (M = $294,611, SD = $71,417), t(108)=1.94, p = .055. While not significant, residential spaces with nature titles (M = 5.34%, SD = 4.28%) were, on average, estimated to contain a lower vacancy rate compared to residential spaces without nature titles (M = 5.45%, SD = 4.33%), t(110)=-0.55, p = .586.

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The Effect of Cultural, Social, and Physical Closeness in Grandmaternal-Maternal Relationships on Mental Health During Pregnancy

Delaney Knorr, UCLA, Dr. Molly Fox, UCLA

We examined how a woman’s mental health during pregnancy is influenced by key individuals in her social network among a cohort of Latinas living in Southern California. This work is motivated by the theoretical importance of grandmothers on childrearing in evolutionary biology and the mental health disparity of Latinas during pregnancy. Through multiple linear regression models, we examined if social support from certain individuals and, separately, if certain relationship qualities (i.e., cultural, physical, and social proximity) are associated with psychological distress (i.e., depression, state anxiety, and pregnancy-related anxiety). In comparing the social support from the woman’s mother and mother-in-law figure (her as-yet unborn baby’s maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother) to her unborn baby’s father figure, we found that social support from her mother was statistically associated with less depression (β: -1.307, SE: 0.458, p-value: 0.005), which warrants further exploration of a "grandmaternal effect" during pregnancy. Additionally, communicating with ones’ mother during pregnancy was statistically associated with less depression (β: -0.68, SE: 0.30, p-value: 0.024), while seeing her in person was insignificant. Thus, her mother may not even need to be geographically near-by to provide benefits. We found that cultural proximity to her mother-in-law figure was statistically associated with more state-anxiety (β: 3.98, SE: 0.173, p-value: 0.025), but less depression (β: -2.72, SE: 1.26, p-value: 0.034), indicating that there may be many complicated emotions tied to being culturally distant from mother-in-law figure more than from mother figures.

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Physiological Arousal Elicited by Physical Risk-Taking Predicts Subjective Time Dilation

Xianzhi Li, UC Merced, Dr. Jennifer Hahn Holbrook, UC Merced, Dr. Colin Holbrook, UC Merced

Under arousing conditions of imminent peril, organisms appear to adaptively up-regulate attention, improving information-gathering byas well as facilitating richer memory consolidation and subsequent long-term recall (Roozendaal & Hermans, 2016). At the proximate level, this shift has been associated with subjective time dilation, the phenomenon by which encoding of greater information is qualitatively experienced as time moving at a slower rate (Stetson, Fiesta & Eagleman, 2007). Here, we hypothesized that anxiously arousing physical risk-taking might slow recollections of temporal duration. We measured 90 novice skydivers’ perceptions of stimulus durations of three lengths (short: 2s, medium: 5s, and long: 6s), both before and after skydiving. The degree of risk-related physiological arousal was assessed according to average heart rate measured before and after jumping. Additionally, self-reported measures of fear, excitement, and pleasure were collected. As predicted, multi-variable growth curve models revealed that skydivers with faster heart rates experienced greater time dilation; consistent with prior work indicating that these effects are most pronounced when target stimuli are of longer duration (Fayolle, Gil & Droit-Volet, 2015), time dilation was only observed for the long stimulus duration in the present study. No time dilation effects obtained with regard to self-reported emotion. Although our design cannot distinguish whether the results reflect slower temporal perception while viewing the stimuli, subsequent recollection of the stimuli as having remained present for longer intervals, or both, the results are consistent with an adaptive capacity to encode richer information during contexts of threat-salient arousal.

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Does Masculinity Really Matter? A Meta-Analysis of the Relationships Between Sexually Dimorphic Traits in Men And Mating/Reproductive Outcomes

Linda H. Lidborg, Durham University, Catharine P. Cross, University of St Andrews, & Lynda G. Boothroyd, Durham University

Humans are sexually dimorphic: on average men significantly differ from women in body build and composition, craniofacial structure, and voice pitch, likely mediated in part by developmental testosterone exposure. Hypotheses which attempt to explain the evolution of dimorphism in humans assume that more masculine men have historically achieved greater biological fitness. This may be because: more masculine men out-compete other men for mates; women preferentially select masculine men (e.g. due to their greater competitiveness and/or heritable immunocompetence); masculine men expend more energy on mating effort; and/or masculine men father more viable offspring. Thus far, however, evidence for an association between masculinity and mating/reproductive outcomes is unclear. We conducted the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the relationship between six types of masculine traits and mating/reproductive outcomes, comprising 474 effect sizes from 96 studies (total N = 177,044). Body masculinity, i.e. strength/muscularity, was the strongest and only consistent predictor of both mating and reproduction. Voice pitch, height, digit ratios, and testosterone levels all predicted mating; height and digit ratios also predicted some reproductive measures in some samples. Facial masculinity did not significantly predict either mating or reproduction. There was insufficient evidence for any effects on offspring mortality. Our findings support arguments that strength/muscularity can be considered sexually selected in humans, but raise concerns over other forms of masculinity. We are also constrained by lack of reproductive data, particularly from naturally fertile populations. Our data thus highlight the need to increase tests of evolutionary hypotheses outside of industrialised populations.

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The Structure of the Mini-K and K-SF-42: A Psychological Network Approach

Joseph H. Manson, UCLA, Kristine J. Chua, UCLA & Aaron W. Lukaszewski, CSUF

Disagreement persists regarding the usefulness of instruments that purport to tap a unidimensional human life history (LH) factor based on a set of self-reported personality, social, and attitudinal variables. Here, we take a novel approach to analyzing the psychometrics of two variants of the Arizona Life History Battery: the Mini-K and the K-SF-42. Psychological network analysis generates models in which psychological variables (thoughts, feelings, or behaviors) comprise the nodes of a network, while partial correlation coefficients between these variables comprise its edges. Centrality indices (strength, closeness, and betweenness) operationalize each node’s importance, based on the pattern of the connections in which that node plays a role. Because childhood environments are hypothesized to influence adult LH, we tested the hypothesis that among the Mini-K items, and the K-SF-42 scales, those that tap relationships with parents are central to the networks (pairwise Markov random fields) constructed from these instruments. In an MTurk sample and a student sample that completed the Mini-K, and an MTurk sample that completed the K-SF-42, this hypothesis was falsified. Indeed, the relationships with parents items were among the most peripheral in all three networks. We propose that network analysis, as an alternative to latent variable modeling, offers considerable potential to test hypotheses about the input-output mappings of specific evolved psychological mechanisms.

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Twin Study of Tacit Coordination: A Semi-Naturalistic Context

Francisca J. Niculae, CSUF, Nancy L. Segal, CSUF, & William D. Marelich, CSUF

Schelling (1960) defined Tacit Coordination (TC), as circumstances in which “two parties have identical interests and face the problem not of reconciling interests but only of coordinating their actions for their mutual benefit when communication is impossible.” The distinction between cooperation and coordination is that coordination involves behavior by both interactants, while cooperation involves behavior by an actor leading to benefits for both partners. Hamilton’s inclusive fitness theory suggests that coordinated actions should occur more frequently between individuals sharing relatively higher proportion of genes than those sharing fewer (1964). Support for this hypothesis comes from twin studies showing greater cooperation between monozygotic (MZ) twins than dizygotic (DZ) twins. The current report is the third in an ongoing twin study of TC, at California State University, Fullerton. The sample included 67 MZ twin pairs and 45 DZ twin pairs, between 12-72 years of age. Zygosity was assessed by a physical resemblance questionnaire or DNA analysis. Following Tacit Coordination research by Mehta (1994), twins independently answered a series of questions (e.g., name a book, name a color), then repeated this task with the instruction to produce the same answer as their co-twin. Previous analyses from 2008 and 2014 found significant effects from zygosity (twin type) and condition (self vs. pair) effects. That is, MZ twins outperformed DZ twins, and greater coordination was expressed in the coordination than individual condition. The present findings will be compared with the earlier ones, thereby refining theories concerning genetic contributions to coordination and partner success.

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Cultural Evolution of Human Communication Technologies (300,000 B.C. to 2020 A.D.): Exploring Innovation Patterns

Mateo Peñaherrera-Aguirre, University of Arizona, and Eric Schniter, California State University Fullerton

We explore the cultural evolution of human communication technologies, studying patterns of innovation. We construct a timeline of 92 communication technology innovations sampled over a span of 300,000 years ago until present. We coded attributes describing functional features of these technologies along with the time and place(s) of their innovation. We use multiple approaches to explore and measure the patterns of attribute covariation within our dataset and across space and time. We discuss the results of our findings and how they contribute to a broader research program exploring cultural evolution of communication technologies.

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Are You in Control?

Rucas, S. L., Green, M. W., Klitgaard, S. E., Papile, F. and da Costa Pinto, S.

Locus of control (LOC) is a psychological trait measuring the degree to which someone believes that the causes of events or outcomes are self-controlled (internal), or instead under the influence of external forces. Evolutionary ecological theory predicts that environments marked by instability, resource poverty, social, physical and productive stress including high morbidity & mortality will cause individuals to become more external in their Locus of Control personality trait, since predicting outcomes in such ecologies would prove uncertain and therefore costly. We randomly surveyed 96 college students in 28 states via email to assess whether their LOC using two different metrics (Nowicki & Duke vs. Levenson) was impacted by ecological factors of current and past home stress. We also primed them with photos of either a serene landscape vs. pandemic news to assess for a potential effect on LOC. We found that household stress, adverse childhood experiences (ACES), and gender significantly impact Nowicki LOC measures. But only gender significantly impacted all three portions of the Levenson LOC; those being internality/externality, Powerful Others, and Chance with ACES marginally impacting the later two constructs. In this data, men were more external and felt more outcomes were under the control of powerful others and chance events. While priming participants with photos only marginally affected their Levenson LOC, we found that individuals primed with serene photos were more certain about the future and were more likely to purchase half-off tickets to a favorite performer/festival occurring 8 months from now than those primed with Covid-19 news images. Qualitative data highlighted a significant degree of personal uncertainty and sense of lack of control during the current pandemic. Overall, these data indicate that, first there may be different psychological constructs to Locus of Control captured by different metrics, and second, ecological stress, both in the past and now, may shift individuals toward a more external locus of control, and cause them to discount the future in a world of unpredictability or resource poverty.




©2020 by California Workshop on Evolutionary Social Science