98 posts tagged culture
Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage
University of Rochester -> Original Study
Hostile behavior on the part of video gamers may be due to feelings of failure and frustration during play, rather than a game’s violent content. A new study is the first to look at the player’s psychological experience with video games instead of focusing solely on the game’s content. Failure to master a game and its controls can lead to frustration and aggression, regardless of whether the game is violent or not, researchers say. “Any player who has thrown down a remote control after losing an electronic game can relate to the intense feelings or anger failure can cause,” says lead author Andrew Przybylski, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. That frustration is commonly known among gamers as “rage-quitting.” The experience is not unique to gaming, says coauthor Richard Ryan, a motivational psychologist at the University of Rochester. For example, in sports, players may lose a game as a result of a bad call. “When people feel they have no control over the outcome of a game, that leads to aggression,” he says. “We saw that in our experiments. If you press someone’s competencies, they’ll become more aggressive, and our effects held up whether the games were violent or not.” To tease out which aspects of the gaming experience lead to aggressive feelings, the researchers manipulated the interface, controls, and degree of difficulty in custom-designed video games across six lab experiments. Nearly 600 college-aged participants were tasked with playing the games—many of which included violent and nonviolent variations—and then were tested for aggressive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. (via Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage | Futurity)
Is culture just a side effect of the struggle to avoid disease?
One morning last fall, the evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill was standing with me in front of the gorilla enclosure at the Albuquerque zoo. He was explaining a new theory about the origins of human culture when Mashudu, a 10-year-old western lowland gorilla, decided to help illustrate a point. In a very deliberate way, Mashudu sauntered over to the deep cement ravine at the front of his enclosure, perched his rear end over the edge, and did his morning business. Mashudu, I suspected, had just displayed what evolutionary theorists call a “behavioral immune response”—a concept central to Thornhill’s big theory. So I asked him whether I was right about Mashudu. “Pooping downhill is pretty smart,” Thornhill said after some consideration. “He got his waste as far away from him as possible. I think that would probably count as a disease avoidance behavior.” It might seem strange to fixate on how a gorilla goes about answering the call of nature. But according to Thornhill’s hypothesis, much of what we humans like to think of as politics, morality, and culture is motivated by the same kind of subconscious instinct that likely drove Mashudu to that ledge. (via The Germ Theory of Democracy, Dictatorship, and Your Cherished Beliefs - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society)
“Like” often functions to acknowledge objection while underlining one’s own point. To say, “This is, like, the only way to make it work,” is to implicitly recognize that this news may be unwelcome to the hearer, and to soften the blow by offering one’s suggestion discreetly swathed in a garb of hypothetical-ness. “Like, the only way to do it” operates on the same principle as other expressions, such as making a request with the phrasing, “If you could open the door …” — hypothetical, when what you intend is quite concrete. “Like” can seem somehow sloppier, but only because youth and novelty always have a way of seeming sloppy. What’s actually happening is that casual American speech is, in its “like” fetish, more polite than it was before. Sooner than we know it, the people using “like” this way will be on walkers, and all will be right with the world.
Sitting at my desk today is a benefit made possible by my mother-in-law. She is taking care of my son, leaving me free to do other work and ideally, in biological terms, have more babies. That, in short, is the leading explanation for why she and other women of her age have evolved to stop having babies of their own and live long post-menopausal lives. It’s known as the grandmother hypothesis. However, this idea, and its comforting portrait of family cooperation, is being challenged. It has been half a century since scientists began to explore why human females were one of only a couple of species to became infertile so early in their lives. The American evolutionary biologist George Williams wrote in 1957 that the menopause may have emerged to protect older women from the risks linked to childbirth, keeping them alive long enough to make sure their children grew up to have grandchildren. Since then, the scientific debate has heated up. As the study of menopause has grown, with more female researchers joining the ranks, it has become tinged with gender politics. Indeed, some scientists have even been the target of abusive mail from the public. The reason behind the menopause is no longer just a biological conundrum; it’s a question of female identity.
Being Gay Is Natural: Just Ask Bonobos (Op-Ed)
There are hundreds of examples of non-reproductive sex among animals, from albatrosses to koalas. But none of these examples can make people quite so uncomfortable as bonobos do. Two bonobo females having sex looks very different than two female albatrosses sitting placidly on their nest. Bonobo sex looks human. (via Being Gay Is Natural: Just Ask Bonobos | LiveScience)
Writer; Futurist; Author, Passionate Minds
Free birth control doesn’t cause riskier sex
Washington University in St. Louis -> Original Study
New research shows that providing women with free contraception does not increase the likelihood that they will have sex with multiple partners, as critics of the practice have suggested. “The notion that women will have sex with more partners if you give them free birth control didn’t pan out in this study,” says Jeffrey Peipert, the study’s senior author and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Providing no-cost contraception did not result in riskier sexual behavior.” The researchers analyzed data from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a study of 9,256 women in St. Louis who were at high risk for unintended pregnancy. The women were told of the superior effectiveness of long-term contraceptives such as intrauterine devices and implants over birth control pills, patches, and rings and allowed to choose among the contraceptive methods, which were provided at no cost. Earlier studies of women in the CHOICE project showed that providing women with no-cost birth control substantially reduces unintended pregnancies and abortions. In the new analysis, the researchers looked at whether providing no-cost contraception to CHOICE participants increased their number of sexual partners and frequency of intercourse in the year after they received no-cost contraception. Both are measures of sexual risk behaviors linked to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. “Having multiple partners is a known risk behavior,” says Gina Secura, the study’s first author and project director of the CHOICE project. “If sexual behavior were going to change after women received free contraception, you would expect to see that change soon after they got the birth control.”
Women in the current study ranged in age from 14 to 45. Thirty-two percent had a high school education or less, 35 percent received public assistance, and 39 percent had trouble paying for basic expenses. Forty-nine percent had never had a child, and 62 percent had a prior unintended pregnancy. (via Free birth control doesn’t cause riskier sex | Futurity)