Free on Bond

Kevin Lewis

July 03, 2022

The role of relational mobility in relationship quality and well-being
BoKyung Park, Minjae Kim & Liane Young
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

This paper examined the associations among: (1) the perceived freedom to initiate and end interpersonal relationships (relational mobility), (2) relationship quality, and (3) well-being. Across 38 nations, people in nations with higher relational mobility reported greater well-being, which was explained by higher-quality relationships with close others (Study 1A). This effect was replicated at the individual level, after controlling for extraversion and socio-economic status (Study 1B). Finally, first-year college students with higher relational mobility reported receiving more social support from new friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, which explained those students’ higher well-being during the pandemic (Study 2). Together, this work demonstrates that relational mobility can explain enhanced well-being across nations, individuals, and life circumstances, and indicates potential avenues for interventions that increase the well-being of individuals and societies. 

Marijuana Legalization and Fertility
Sarah Papich
University of California Working Paper, June 2022

State-level marijuana legalization has unintended consequences, including its effect on fertility. Marijuana use is associated with behaviors that increase fertility as well as physical changes that lower fertility. In this paper, I use a difference-in-differences design that exploits variation in medical and recreational marijuana legalization across states and over time to study the effects of marijuana legalization on fertility. This paper is the first to study the effects of recreational marijuana legalization on fertility. I find that legalizing recreational marijuana decreases a state's birth rate by an average of 2.78% while increasing the probability that an individual is sexually active by 3.6 percentage points. Together, my findings show that the physical effects of marijuana use have the dominant effect on fertility. By contrast with the existing literature, I find that medical marijuana legalization does not affect the birth rate, although it increases the frequency of sexual activity by 1.6 sexual encounters per month. Neither type of marijuana legalization affects male gonorrhea cases or the probability of having sex with a stranger. 

Associations among financial well-being, daily relationship tension, and daily affect in two adult cohorts separated by the great recession
August Jenkins et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming 

Financial well-being may be an important context for daily emotional reactivity to relationship tension (e.g., arguments) whose salience varies across historical time or as a function of exposure to economic downturns. This study investigated how emotional reactivity, operationalized as daily fluctuations in negative and positive affect associated with the occurrence of daily relationship tension, varied by financial well-being among those who were and were not exposed to the Great Recession of 2008. Two matched, independent subsamples of partnered individuals from the National Study of Daily Experiences completed identical 8-day diary protocols, one before the Great Recession (n = 587) and one after (n = 351). Individuals reported higher negative affect and lower positive affect on days when relationship tension occurred. Further, results indicated that negative affect reactivity, but not positive affect reactivity, was moderated by both financial well-being and cohort status. For the pre-recession cohort, negative affect reactivity was stronger among those with lower financial well-being. However, among the post-recession cohort, financial well-being did not moderate negative affect reactivity to relationship tension. Findings highlight the utility of considering major societal events, such as economic downturns, to understand variability in emotional reactivity to day-to-day relationship tension in the context of financial well-being, as the salience of financial well-being in the ways relationship tension and negative affect are related on a daily basis appears to vary by historical context. 

The role of gender and safety concerns in romantic rejection decisions
Gili Freedman et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Considerable research has examined how people feel when interpersonally rejected. Less attention has been paid to the rejectors, especially on how they reject. Rejection methods can range from direct (i.e., informing the target) to indirect (i.e., ghosting), and the method and motives regarding rejection strategies are important because rejected targets often react negatively to rejection, sometimes even violently. It is imperative, therefore, to understand why people reject the way they do, especially when their rejections may yield unexpected negative consequences. A key factor that may influence rejection method decisions, particularly in the context of romantic rejections, is the gender of the target. Drawing on prior research indicating that men are perceived as more dangerous, in this registered report we hypothesized that bisexual individuals may be more likely to endorse ghosting if the target is a man, especially when safety concerns are made salient. A pilot study supported this hypothesis in a sample of mostly heterosexual individuals. The main study tested this hypothesis in a sample of bisexual individuals in order to manipulate target gender as a within-subjects variable and to better understand romantic rejection processes in an understudied sample. Overall, we found that safety concerns may make individuals more likely to engage in ghosting, but how that decision interacts with target gender was less clear. 

Sex, and other important things: Tracking ratios of ecologically significant categories
Gary Brase & Jordann Brandner
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

The ratio of males and females in a population (the sex ratio) has been documented as an important factor in calibrating mating behaviors. This implies mental processes of attention, perception, categorization, and memory to obtain these environmental sex ratios. Although recent work has indicated that sex ratio information can be processed quickly, accurately, and with little effort, there are still open questions about whether sex ratio information is cognitively privileged or prioritized, relative to other environmental information. The present experiments used an ensemble coding paradigm with larger, more complex matrices of stimuli and with a more feasible range of ratios (between 7:13 to 13:7) than many prior studies on sex ratio perception. Experiment 1 found that sex ratio estimates are sensitive to actual seen ratios (of a 4 × 5 matrix of faces, shown for about 500 ms), and that those judgments are more accurate than similarly presented ensemble coding judgments for vehicles (ratios of cars and truck) or for animals (ratios of cats and dogs). Experiment 2 found that sex ratio estimates and hair color ratio estimates are about equal in accuracy. These results together suggest that faces are a privileged content for frequency tracking, relative to other aspects of the environment. Further research can extend this work by disambiguating factors such as complexity and discriminability of various facial cues and the stage of processing at which those cues are being used. 

Who goes where in couples and pairs? Effects of sex and handedness on side preferences in human dyads
Paul Rodway & Astrid Schepman
Laterality: Asymmetries of Brain, Behaviour, and Cognition, forthcoming

There is increasing evidence that inter-individual interaction among conspecifics can cause population-level lateralization. Male–female and mother–infant dyads of several non-human species show lateralised position preferences, but such preferences have rarely been examined in humans. We observed 430 male–female human pairs and found a significant bias for males to walk on the right side of the pair. A survey measured side preferences in 93 left-handed and 92 right-handed women, and 96 left-handed and 99 right-handed men. When walking, and when sitting on a bench, males showed a significant side preference determined by their handedness, with left-handed men preferring to be on their partner’s left side and right-handed men preferring to be on their partner’s right side. Women did not show significant side preferences. When men are with their partner they show a preference for the side that facilitates the use of their dominant hand. We discuss possible reasons for the side preference, including males prefering to occupy the optimal “fight ready” side, and the influence of sex and handedness on the strength and direction of emotion lateralization.


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