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Climate as a moderator of the effect of disease threat on interpersonal behavior

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Infectious diseases have been a major threat to survival throughout human history. Humans have developed a behavioral immune system to prevent infection by causing individuals to avoid people, food, and objects that could be contaminated. This current project investigates how

Infectious diseases have been a major threat to survival throughout human history. Humans have developed a behavioral immune system to prevent infection by causing individuals to avoid people, food, and objects that could be contaminated. This current project investigates how ambient temperature affects the activation of this system. Because temperature is positively correlated with the prevalence of many deadly diseases, I predict that temperature moderates the behavioral immune system, such that a disease prime will have a stronger effect in a hot environment compared to a neutral environment and one's avoidant behaviors will be more extreme. Participants were placed in a hot room (M = 85F) or a neutral room (M = 77F) and shown a disease prime slide show or a neutral slide show. Disgust sensitivity and perceived vulnerability surveys were used to measure an increased perceived risk to disease. A taste test between a disgusting food item (gummy bugs) and a neutral food item (gummy animals) measured food avoidance. There was no significant avoidance of the gummy and no significant difference in ratings of disgust sensitivity or perceived vulnerability as a function of temperature conditions. There were no significant interactions between temperature and disease. The conclusion is that this study did not provide evidence that temperature moderates the effect of disease cues on behavior.

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Date Created
2012

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Religious Women’s Modest Dress as a Signal to Other Women

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The present study tested the hypothesis that women dress modestly to signal to other women that they pose no mate poaching threat and are sexually restricted, and that this is especially true for religious women. Participants were 392 Muslim women

The present study tested the hypothesis that women dress modestly to signal to other women that they pose no mate poaching threat and are sexually restricted, and that this is especially true for religious women. Participants were 392 Muslim women living in the United States. They read two passages describing fictional situations in which they met with a potential female friend and then indicated what kind of outfit they would wear in both situations. In one situation, the participant obtained a reputation for promiscuity; in the other situation, reputation was not mentioned. I predicted that participants would choose more modest outfits for the promiscuous reputation passage, because if women dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness, then they should dress more modestly around women with whom they have a reputation for promiscuity—to counteract such a reputation, women may wish to send a strong signal that they are not promiscuous. The hypothesis was partially supported: Less religious women chose more modest outfits for the promiscuous reputation situation than they did for the no reputation situation. This suggests that some women dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness to other women, but that this is especially true for women who are less religious, not more. More religious women dress more modestly than less religious women, but they may not dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness. Two important goals for this area of research are to determine the proximate reasons that more religious women dress modestly and to investigate modest dress among non-Muslim religious women.

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Date Created
2020

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Evolutionary Genetics of CORL Proteins

Description

Transgenic experiments in Drosophila have proven to be a useful tool aiding in the

determination of mammalian protein function. A CNS specific protein, dCORL is a

member of the Sno/Ski family. Sno acts as a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling.

dCORL is involved in

Transgenic experiments in Drosophila have proven to be a useful tool aiding in the

determination of mammalian protein function. A CNS specific protein, dCORL is a

member of the Sno/Ski family. Sno acts as a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling.

dCORL is involved in Dpp and dActivin signaling, but the two homologous mCORL

protein functions are unknown. Conducting transgenic experiments in the adult wings,

and third instar larval brains using mCORL1, mCORL2 and dCORL are used to provide

insight into the function of these proteins. These experiments show mCORL1 has a

different function from mCORL2 and dCORL when expressed in Drosophila. mCORL2

and dCORL have functional similarities that are likely conserved. Six amino acid

substitutions between mCORL1 and mCORL2/dCORL may be the reason for the

functional difference. The evolutionary implications of this research suggest the

conservation of a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling that predates the divergence of

arthropods and vertebrates.

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Date Created
2019