Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, PLoS, Social Issues / 12.09.2019 Interview with: Christopher W. Tyler D.Sc., PhD Division of Optometry and Vision Sciences School of Health Sciences City University of London London, United Kingdom What is the background for this study? Response: The idea came from my previous  investigation of compositional regulates in paintings, which showed that there is a sense of balance  between symmetry and asymmetry in a composition, such that the asymmetry composition tends to appear more dynamic and interesting, but it needs to be anchored around a symmetric point for a comfortable sense of stability. That point in adult portraits tends to be the dominant eye, placed close to the centre line, but above the centre of the painting as a whole. Selfies are a fascinating art form and the lead author has published several papers on this topic from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. One fascinating feature of selfies is that they represent pseudo-artistic productions by individuals that do not generally have academic artistic training, making it interesting to compare them to self-portraits by real artists. If you then see the same phenomena, it is likely that these are rooted in our deep nature rather than on training and cultural conventions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Opiods, Social Issues / 28.08.2019 Interview with: Isaac Sasson, PhD Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Herczeg Institute on Aging Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Israel What is the background for this study? Response: Life expectancy at birth in the United States has been declining steadily since 2014, which is very unusual for a high-income country in times of peace. In fact, the last time that life expectancy declined in the US was in the early 1990s, and only briefly. Studies from the past few years have shown that the rise in mortality is concentrated among middle-aged Americans and particularly the lower socioeconomic classes. Our study analyzed over 4.6 million death records in 2010 and 2017 to understand which causes of death account for the rise in mortality among white and black non-Hispanic US adults. In addition, given the substantial socioeconomic inequality in health in the US, we broke down our results by level of education, which is a good proxy for socioeconomic status. Essentially, our goal was to measure how many years of life were lost, on average, to each cause of death across different social groups.  (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Social Issues / 29.10.2018 Interview with: "Elderly woman speaks about Water Supply and Sanitation program in Nepal" by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Dr Sharon Leitch | MBChB, DCH, PGDipGP, FRNZCGP General Practitioner, Clinical Research Training Fellow Department of General Practice and Rural Health University of Otago New Zealand What is the background for this study? Response: Loneliness is associated with poor health, reduced quality of life, and increased mortality. Loneliness typically worsens with age. We were curious to learn what the prevalence of loneliness was among older New Zealanders, if there were age-specific associations with loneliness, whether there were any associations between demographic and psychosocial variables and loneliness, and we also wanted to compare centenarians (100 years or older) with elderly people (aged 65-99 years). Centenarians are a particularly interesting group to study because they are a model of successful ageing. The international Resident Assessment Instrument-Home Care (interRAI-HC) assessment has been mandatory in New Zealand for anyone undergoing assessment for publically funded support services or residential care since 2012, providing us with a comprehensive data set. We conducted a retrospective, observational, cross-sectional review of the interRAI-HC data from over 70,000 people living in the community who had their first assessment during the study period (January 2013-November 2017). We analysed eight items from the interRAI-HC data set to describe the population and evaluate the core psychosocial components of aging; age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, living arrangements, family support, depression and loneliness. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 19.08.2018 Interview with: “3-men-laughing” by desthal is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0Menelaos Apostolou  PhD University of Nicosia Cyprus What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In this study I analyzed 6794 responses from a recent Reddit thread on why men were single, and I classified them in 43 reason categories. Among the most frequent reasons that men indicated for being single included poor flirting skills, low self-confidence, poor looks, shyness, low effort, and bad experience from previous relationships. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 05.07.2018 Interview with: Jessica Wood, MSc PhD Candidate, Applied Social Psychology Department of Psychology University of Guelph What is the background for this study? Response: We are at time in history where we expect more from our romantic partners than at any point in our recent past (e.g., love, emotional and financial support, sexual excitement/fulfillment, friendship etc.). This can place pressure on relationships and make it difficult for each person to have their needs fulfilled. Some choose to opt out of of relationships altogether to avoid disappointment, and some even purchase a real sex doll for fulfilment. Another option is consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships, where sexual and emotional needs are dispersed among multiple partners, potentially decreasing pressures placed on a primary relationship. However, CNM relationships are stigmatized and often viewed as less stable or satisfying. In our study, we assessed the legitimacy of this perception by comparing relational outcomes among CNM and monogamous individuals. We also examined whether the motives a person reports for engaging in sex was important to how fulfilled a person was in the relationship, and how this was linked to relational outcomes (such as relationship and sexual satisfaction). That is, having sex for more intrinsic/autonomous motives (e.g., pleasure, intimacy, valuing sex) has been associated with higher relationship quality. In contrast, having sex for more extrinsic reasons (e.g., feeling pressured, wanting to manage feelings of guilt or shame), has been linked to lower relational quality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 21.05.2018 Interview with: “Droid Apps Cell Phone” by Carissa Rogers is licensed under CC BY 2.0Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair  PhD Professor, Department of Psychology Norwegian University of Science and Technology What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The background is all earlier research on sexual behavior, showing both robust individual differences predictors as well as sex differences. We wished to investigate to what degree picture (PBMDA) based mobile dating apps differ from other arenas of sexual behavior.
  • How many have used or are current users:
  • Nearly half of the participants reported former or current Picture-Based Mobile Dating Apps (PBMDA) use. One in five was a current user.”
Our main prediction was confirmed:
  • We found that PBMDA-users tend to report being less restricted in their sociosexuality (as measured with the SOI-R) than participants who have never used PBMDAs
Including  specifation:
  • This effect was equally strong for men and women. Sociosexuality essentially accounted for the effects of other variables such as seeking a casual sex partner, being comfortable picking up strangers, and self-reported short-term mate value.
Sex differences were also found:
  • As predicted, women and men's reasons for using PBMDAs differed. Relative to women, men emphasized desire for sex as a reason for using PBMDAs.
The most surprising finding was as often due to a discussion with reviewer who was worried whether unrestricted sociosexuality was not more likely a result of use rather than a predictor of use. This improved the detail of our analysis and the conclusion that “When controlling for sex, age and SOI Desire there was no evidence that length of use increased lifetime casual sex partners.” (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 22.12.2017 Interview with: “Lidl Shopping Trolley” by Jeff Djevdet is licensed under CC BY 2.0Alexander P. Henkel, PhD Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) Institute / Open University, The Netherlands What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As consumers, we are frequently bombarded with a myriad of marketing tactics. One tactic regularly employed by thrift-oriented brands is to highlight low prices, discounts, and sales promotions. When consumers encounter these low-price signals, they may adopt a price conscious mentality, that is, a singular focus on getting the cheapest deal. A price conscious mentality is likely beneficial for consumers, as it helps them save money. However, it is also possible that it has negative implications, particularly for how consumers perceive and interact with other human beings in the marketplace, such as customer service employees. We investigated this question in a collaboration project between the Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) Institute (founded by the Open University and Maastricht University, both Netherlands) and the University of British Columbia in Canada. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 22.12.2017 Interview with: “Marriage” by sowrirajan s is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Akanksha Marphatia and co-authors, Dr Alice Reid and Dr Gabriel Amable Cambridge, UK What is the background for this study? Response: Although the total prevalence of girls marrying below the UN prescribed minimum age of 18 years has decreased over time, this is mostly due to a decrease in child marriages, <15 years. Marriages during adolescence, between 16-17 years, have increased. Women marring just after 18 years may also experience some of the consequences of those marrying under-age. These patterns are important to recognise because the predictors and consequences of marriage in these age groups are likely to differ. The aim of our review was to summarise research evidence on why women’s marriage age, independent of early child-bearing, is a major public health issue. In the four South Asian countries of our review, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, marriage precedes reproduction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Occupational Health, Social Issues / 10.08.2017 Interview with: Professor Tarani Chandola Cathie Marsh Institute and Social Statistics University of Manchester Co-director of the National Centre for Research Methods International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society & Health What is the background for this study? Response: The study examined the common perception that “any job is better than no job” to see whether this was true in terms of chronic stress levels. It followed up a group of unemployed adults representative of adults living in the UK, and compared their health and stress levels in terms of those who remained unemployed and those who became re-employed in poor and good quality work. (more…)