Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sexual people overperceive flirtatiousness in others

New from Personality and Individual Differences:
As reproductive rates have the potential to be higher in men than women, it is more costly (from an evolutionary perspective) for men to miss a mating opportunity than women. This asymmetry in costs has been proposed to result in men being more sensitive to cues to sexual opportunity than women, and thus men are more likely than women to misperceive sexual interest from opposite sex others. To investigate this sexual misperception bias, smiling male and female faces were presented to participants who were asked to judge whether the face appeared friendly or flirtatious. Participants also completed a sociosexual orientation questionnaire in order to assess their current attitudes towards sexual relationships. In general, we found that males perceive female faces as flirtatious significantly more often than females. However, our results also suggested that people with high scores on the sociosexuality inventory (who rated themselves as more likely to engage in short-term, casual relationships), regardless of sex, had a tendency
to perceive the faces of potential mates as more flirtatious, and that this variable explained more variance than sex alone. Our findings demonstrate that sociosexuality may mediate biases in perceiving the sexual intent of others.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The South and sexual perversity

Here's an interesting topic. I've been reminded recently how the cultural elite thinks that Southerners are sexual perverts. Just a couple days ago I watched an episode of Louis C.K. where a redneck pulled a gun on Louis to get him to have sex with his sister. Just last week I watched Midnight Cowboy again which suggested that the Southern protagonist was sexually abused by his grandmother. That reminded me of the "purdy mouth" scene in Deliverance. More recently, Texan Killer Joe, played by Matthew McConaughey, obsesses on a young girl. And so on and so on.

I looked for data on the question. I had a difficult time finding anything, but the GSS has asked participants if their religious leader has ever made sexual advances, and this is certainly sexually deviant (sample = 1,758). The percent for Americans in the non-South is 2.3 percent, while it's 2.6 percent in the South; they are not significantly different. Plus, the rate in the South might actually be lower if you take into account the fact that the non-South is less religious and thus has a smaller share of its people that are at risk of clergy abuse.

UPDATE: I equalized the situation by only looking at people who attend at least nearly every week. The non-South percentage rises to 4.2%, while the South's rises to 3.7% (N = 531). Still no significant difference.

UPDATE UPDATE: These low numbers contradict the picture presented in Grapes of Wrath of ministers having sex with members every time they get to feelin' the Spirit. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

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I see that Razib Khan and Audacious Epigone are listed in the index of this book. You should buy it and see what it says.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...