Monday, August 22, 2016

Beginning pornography use associated with increase in probability of divorce


Beginning pornography use is associated with a substantial increase in the probability of divorce for married Americans, and this increase is especially large for women, finds a new study that will be presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
"Beginning pornography use between survey waves nearly doubled one's likelihood of being divorced by the next survey period, from 6 percent to 11 percent, and nearly tripled it for women, from 6 percent to 16 percent," said Samuel Perry, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma. "Our results suggest that viewing pornography, under certain social conditions, may have negative effects on marital stability."

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Science and the Self


Advances in genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience, psychology, and computer science are giving us a better understanding of who we are and why we function as we do.
Science now enables us to associate specific characteristics in the brain or genetic traits with inclinations for particular kinds of behavior, such as violence. These findings may revolutionize how we see ourselves, or prompt us to oversimplify complex relationships among our genes, environment, and behavior. This information also presents challenges. Does this mean our behavior is predetermined? Should this change our notions of personal responsibility and our free will?
Additionally, various means of self-alteration have been used throughout history to change how we appear to others and to ourselves. Over the last few decades as our pressure for success has increased, so too have our arsenal of tools for self-enhancement. Each of these enhancers—including drugs to improve concentration and sexual function, cochlear implants, and robotic limbs — directly affects how we interact with each other in every facet of our lives. These alterations also beg us to question whether it is fair to enhance ourselves for a competitive edge. What about those who do not have access to enhancements? Are these enhancements more acceptable if they are used to promote societal good versus self-improvement?

Recent research suggests that new drugs such as oxytocin may enhance moral behaviors and that we may be less likely to harm others if we take a drug that modulates the neurotransmitter serotonin. While we have always aspired to make ourselves better, scientific and technological advances complicate our thinking on how we affect change—in ourselves and in others. The Hasting Center will continue to examine whether the ways that we achieve these goals matters and whether these actions diminish or enhance our humanity.

http://www.thehastingscenter.org/our-issues/science-and-the-self/

Monday, August 01, 2016

Genes linked to leadership/social dominance, predicted greater speed-dating success for men.

Guided by social role theory and prior genetic studies, this study confirmed that mate selection could be influenced by people’s abilities to detect “good genes” in a speed-dating setting, in which participants’ behaviors had real-life consequences. Consistent with social role theory, individuals with genotypes that were consistent with prevailing gender norms (for females, submissiveness/social sensitivity, a communal attribute; and for males, leadership/social dominance, an agentic attribute) had greater dating success and were perceived more positively by their partners. 

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12110-016-9257-8?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals