Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

A closer look at the Blonsky Device in Dublin

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The Science Gallery in Dublin produced this short video closeup of their full-scale model of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning Blonsky centrifugal birthing device:

For background on this see our February 21, 2014 report “The Blonsky centrifugal birthing device in Dublin“.

“Being drunk and high during sex is not associated with condom use”

Monday, March 10th, 2014

When one speaks of sex, drunkenness, and condoms, one can phrase one’s words in a manner that is indirect and genteel. Want an example of that? See the title of this study:

Being drunk and high during sex is not associated with condom use behaviours: a study of high-risk young Black males,” Richard A. Crosby [pictured here], Robin R. Milhausen, Stephanie Sanders, Cynthia A Graham and William L. Yarber, Sexual Health, epub March 4, 2014. The authors, at the University of Kentucky, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction [Indiana], the University of Guelph, the University of Southampton, and Indiana University, explain:

richard_crosby“Objective: to assess the relationship between the frequency of being drunk and high during sex, and condom use errors and problems (CUEP) among a sample of high-risk young Black males recruited from the United States…. [We found] positive associations between the frequency of being drunk and the frequency of unprotected vaginal sex, as well as the frequency of the 18-item measure of CUEP. A significant correlation was also found between the frequency of being high during sex and the frequency of unprotected vaginal sex. Adjustments for age did not change the findings.

Conclusions: interventions designed to promote safer sex behaviours among young Black males attending sexually transmissible infection clinics are no more likely to benefit patients through the inclusion of messages and training attempting to dissuade the use of alcohol and drugs before or during sex.”

(Thanks to investigator Johanna Hjalmarsson for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: From the same team [pictured here]: “‘Homework’ leads to improved comfort and consistency with condom use“, which says:

“The Kinsey Institute Homework Intervention Strategy gives men a ‘ditty bag’ full of condoms and lubricants, makes sure the men understand how to apply condoms correctly, and then assigns homework. The men are expected to try out at least six condoms solo, paying particular attention to their own pleasure and which condoms they like best. ‘It’s such a simple idea, but nobody has every structured an approach like this,’ said William L. Yarber, professor in the Indiana University School of Public-Health-Bloomington.”


Another twist on swearing in two languages

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

There’s a new twist (the old twist was pretty twisty, it was) in understanding the power of a multilingual person who swears in one language versus another:

martaSecond Language as an Exemptor from Sociocultural Norms. Emotion-Related Language Choice Revisited,” Marta Gawinkowska [pictured here], Michał B. Paradowski, Michał Bilewicz, PLoS ONE, 8(12), 2013, e81225. (Thanks to Michał Paradowski for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Warsaw, Poland, explain:

“Bilinguals often switch languages depending on what they are saying. According to the Emotion-Related Language Choice theory, they find their second language an easier medium of conveying content which evokes strong emotions. The first language carries too much emotional power, which can be threatening for the speaker. In a covert experiment, bilingual Polish students translated texts brimming with expletives from Polish into English and vice versa. In the Polish translations, the swear word equivalents used were weaker than in the source text; in the English translations, they were stronger than in the original. These results corroborate the ERLC theory. However, the effect was only observed for ethnophaulisms, i.e. expletives directed at social groups. It turns out that the main factor triggering the language choice in bilinguals is not necessarily the different emotional power of both languages, but social and cultural norms.”

Detail from the study:


BONUS: “Swearing As a Response to Pain” (the study that won the 2010 Ig Nobel Peace Prize). Chief author Richard Stephens will appear in the U Portsmouth show on April 2, 2014 as part of this year’s Ig Nobel Tour of the UK.

Macroscopic Inspection of Ape Feces: Quantification How?

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

A look at how to take a gross look at the output of apes:

Macroscopic inspection of ape feces: What’s in a quantification method?Caroline A. Phillips and William C. McGrew, American Journal of Primatology, epub 2014 Jan 30. (Thanks to investigator Gwinyai Masukume for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and University of Cambridge, UK, report:

“Macroscopic inspection of feces has been used to investigate primate diet. The limitations of this method to identify food-items to species level have long been recognized, but ascertaining aspects of diet (e.g., folivory) are achievable by quantifying food-items in feces…. We analyzed feces collected from ten adult chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of the Kanyawara community in Kibale National Park, Uganda. We compare dietary composition totals obtained from using different quantification methods and ascertain if sieve mesh size influences totals calculated. Finally, this study validates findings from direct observation of feeding by the same individuals from whom the fecal samples had been collected. Contrasting diet composition totals obtained by using different quantification methods and sieve mesh sizes can influence folivory and frugivory estimates. However, our findings were based on the assumption that fibrous matter contained pith and leaf fragments only, which remains to be verified. We advocate macroscopic inspection of feces can be a valuable tool to provide a generalized overview of dietary composition for primate populations.”

BONUS: Video, from elsewhere, of Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii:

Machiavellian romance shrouded in the Veil of Darkness

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

You suspect you’re in for a jolly read —a jolly ride, really, through the realm of romantic evil! — when a scholarly report begins with the words:

When are women drawn to shady, self-centered, sly, cunning, and manipulative men? … In this work, we postulate in our novel Veil of Darkness hypothesis that men with “dark” personality traits fare particularly well in contexts of less illumination. We test this hypothesis in the mating/courtship domain with the example of dark/cloudy vs. bright/sunny weather. Specifically, we examine whether weather conditions may function as a moderator of beneficial courtship outcomes of male dark personalities.

There is now a published paper that begins with those very words. The paper is:

Shrouded in the Veil of Darkness: Machiavellians but not narcissists and psychopaths profit from darker weather in courtship,” John F. Rauthmann [pictured here], Marlit Kappes, Johannes Lanzinger, Personality and Individual Differences, epub February 7, 2014.


[NOTE: The authors, at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany and Leopold-Franzens Universität Innsbruck, Austria, are seeking single persons to be "participants" in a study of "online attraction".]

Here’s detail from the newly published study. The caption says “Fig. 4. Process model of men’s Machiavellianism leading to beneficial courtship outcomes under dark weather conditions. Note: Only significant paths are included. The dotted lines represent the direct effect of Machiavellianism on smiling (p > .05). ⁄⁄⁄p < .001 ⁄⁄p < .01, ⁄p < .05.:


(Thanks to investigator Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.)