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Abstract

This is the first empirical investigation of blood donations in evolutionary perspective. We examine blood donor and non-donor attitudes about health and injury risks, donor characteristics, and the social value of donor participation. We propose that blood donations may communicate qualities about donors to third parties. Observers may benefit from information about the donor's health, value as a reciprocal partner, and/or ability to endure what is perceived as an anxiety-provoking and risky experience. Donors may benefit from an enhanced reputation, which can lead to greater access to cooperative networks and high-quality partners. We found that participants recognized the need for blood and perceived blood donors as generous and healthy. Study results indicated that anxiety and the perceived risk of a negative health consequence dramatically affected the willingness of donors and non-donors to donate blood in the future. These findings support our hypothesis that the act of blood donation may signal adaptive information about donor quality to third parties.

Restricted access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Tyler B. Kruger
,
Mike J. Dixon
,
Candice Graydon
,
Madison Stange
,
Chanel J. Larche
,
Stephen D. Smith
, and
Daniel Smilek

Abstract

Background and aims: Slot machines are a pervasive form of gambling in North America. Some gamblers describe entering “the slot machine zone”—a complete immersion into slots play to the exclusion of all else. Methods: We assessed 111 gamblers for mindfulness (using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)), gambling problems (using the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)), depressive symptoms (using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale), and boredom proneness (using the Boredom Proneness Scale). In a counterbalanced order, participants played a slot machine simulator and completed an auditory vigilance task. During each task, participants were interrupted with thought probes to assess whether they were: on-task, spontaneously mind-wandering, or deliberately mind-wandering. After completing each task, we retrospectively assessed flow and affect. Compared to the more exciting slots play, we propose that gamblers may use deliberate mind-wandering as a maladaptive means to regulate affect during a repetitive vigilance task. Results: Our key results were that gamblers reported greater negative affect following the vigilance task (when compared to slots) and greater positive affect following slots play (when compared to the vigilance task). We also found that those who scored higher in problem gambling were more likely to use deliberate mind-wandering as a means to cope with negative affect during the vigilance task. Using hierarchical multiple regression, we found that the number of “deliberately mind-wandering” responses accounted for unique variance when predicting problem gambling severity (over and above depression, mindfulness, and boredom proneness). Conclusions: These assessments highlight a potential coping mechanism used by problem gamblers in order to deal with negative affect.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Mike J. Dixon
,
Jeffrey Gutierrez
,
Chanel J. Larche
,
Madison Stange
,
Candice Graydon
,
Tyler B. Kruger
, and
Stephen D. Smith

Background and aims

Slot machines are a very popular form of gambling. In this study, we look at two different routes to enjoying slots play. One route involves the degree to which players react to rewards. The other route involves what we call dark flow – a pleasurable, but maladaptive state where players become completely engrossed in slots play, providing an escape from the depressing thoughts that characterize their everyday lives.

Methods

One hundred and twenty-nine high-frequency slots players were tested on slot-machine simulators set up in the lobby of a casino. We measured reward reactivity using post-reinforcement pauses (PRPs) and the force with which players pressed the spin button following different slot-machine outcomes. For each player, we calculated the slopes of PRPs and force as a function of credit gains. We also assessed players’ slots game enjoyment and their experience of dark flow, depression, and problem gambling.

Results

Both the PRP and the force measures of reward reactivity were significantly correlated with players’ enjoyment of the slots session, but neither measure was correlated with either problem gambling or depression. Ratings of dark flow were strongly correlated with slots enjoyment (which accounted for far more positive affect variance than the reward reactivity measures) and were correlated with both problem gambling scores and depression.

Discussion and conclusions

Our results suggest that of these two routes to enjoying slot-machine play, the dark flow route is especially problematic. We contend that the dark flow state may be enjoyable because it provides escape from the negative thoughts linked to depression.

Open access

Abstract

Women demonstrate stronger preferences for femininity when assessing men's attractiveness for long-term rather than short-term relationships. One explanation of this effect is that the pro-social traits associated with femininity are particularly important for long-term relationships. This explanation has recently been challenged, however, following null findings for effects of pro-social attributions on women's preferences for feminine long-term partners. A limitation of these latter analyses is that they did not consider hormonal contraceptive use, which is a factor that previous studies suggest affects mate preferences. In our study, we found that women not using hormonal contraceptives demonstrated stronger preferences for femininity in men's faces when assessing men as long-term partners than when assessing men as short-term partners. Moreover, this effect was most pronounced among women who perceived feminine men as particularly trustworthy. No equivalent effects were observed among women using hormonal contraceptives. These findings support the proposal that the effect of relationship context on women's face preferences occurs, at least in part, because women value pro-social traits more in long-term than short-term partners. Additionally, our findings suggest that both hormonal contraceptive use and individual differences in perceptions of pro-social traits modulate the effect of relationship context on women's face preferences.

Restricted access
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
Authors:
Paul J. Fraccaro
,
Benedict C. Jones
,
Jovana Vukovic
,
Finlay G. Smith
,
Christopher D. Watkins
,
David R. Feinberg
,
Anthony C. Little
, and
Lisa M. Debruine

Abstract

Although humans can raise and lower their voice pitch, it is not known whether such alterations can function to increase the likelihood of attracting preferred mates. Because men find higher-pitched women's voices more attractive, the voice pitch with which women speak to men may depend on the strength of their attraction to those men. Here, we measured voice pitch when women left voicemail messages for masculinized and feminized versions of a prototypical male face. We found that the difference in women's voice pitch between these two conditions positively correlated with the strength of their preference for masculinized versus feminized male faces, whereby women tended to speak with a higher voice pitch to the type of face they found more attractive (masculine or feminine). Speaking with a higher voice pitch when talking to the type of man they find most attractive may function to reduce the amount of mating effort that women expend in order to attract and retain preferred mates.

Restricted access