New Research in Psychological Science

What We Owe to Family: The Impact of Special Obligations on Moral Judgment
Ryan M. McManus, Max Kleiman-Weiner, and Liane Young

Family obligations seem to shape how we judge whether acting impartially is morally good. In four studies, subjects judged individuals who neglected a family member or helped a stranger instead of a family member as less morally good and trustworthy than those who neglected a stranger or helped the family member instead of the stranger. Accompanying these moral judgments was the perception that failing to help family was a violation of one’s obligation. However, in a fifth study, subjects judged individuals in roles that required impartiality as more trustworthy when they helped a stranger instead of family. 

Conflict Changes How People View God
Nava Caluori, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Kurt Gray, and Michele Gelfand

Among people who believe in God, those who feel more threatened by conflict have a greater likelihood of believing in a more punitive God, according to a survey of believers from several nations. An experimental manipulation that made conflict more salient increased the need for rules and the perceived importance of a more punitive God. In addition, an analysis of English books published during the past 200 years showed that Bible quotes that mentioned a punishing God were more common in books published during times of conflict.

Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women
Anthony J. Lee, Morgan J. Sidari, Sean C. Murphy, James M. Sherlock, and Brendan P. Zietsch

In a speed-dating task, men overestimated their partners’ sexual interest, whereas women underestimated it. However, this sex difference became negligible when researchers examined the subjects’ willingness to engage in uncommitted sex and tendency to project their own level of interest onto their partners. Subjects with a greater orientation to uncommitted relationships and greater sexual interest in the partner perceived higher sexual interest from partners. These findings challenge the idea that misperceptions of sexual interest evolved differently for men and women.

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