Monday, October 8, 2018

Evolution of property and possession: Some non-human primates show respect for property

Rethinking the evolution of property and possession: A review and methodological proposition. Lucy Tibble, Susana Carvalho. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews,

Abstract: Property is a key feature of modern human society; however, identifying the origin of this multifaceted behavior poses a formidable challenge. Here, we explore the methodologies for researching the origin of property. We discuss how an interdisciplinary approach can shed light on how our human ancestors shifted behaviorally from possessing an object to having exclusive property control over it. Possession occurs when social group members only respect an individual's claim to have exclusive access to an object when the individual has physical control over the object. Property occurs when an individual can claim exclusive access to an object, without challenge, regardless of whether the object is in their physical control or not. Researchers across different disciplines have asked what, if anything, distinguishes human property behavior from the behavior of other animals? Further, when and how did this behavior evolve in our lineage? Due to the considerable methodological challenges posed by researching this topic, few studies have been able to directly address these questions. In this review, we explore the challenges involved in defining property and possession and suggest a two‐step approach to interdisciplinary definitions. Next, we evaluate four core approaches to the study of property behavior: evolutionary game theory, ethology, comparative cognition, and developmental psychology. Finally, we propose an empirical study, using an ethological approach to test the presence of property and possessive behavior in a natural setting, using our closest living relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Overall, we argue that this field of research is at a turning point, where the novel integration of various methods may provide an explanation to the origin of property.

Already known, but not discussed: Wind power reduces emissions while causing climatic impacts such as warmer temperatures, effect strongest at night when temperatures increase with height; wind's warming can exceed avoided warming from reduced emissions for a century

Climatic Impacts of Wind Power. Lee M. Miller, David W. Keith. Joule, October 04, 2018, DOI:

    •    Wind power reduces emissions while causing climatic impacts such as warmer temperatures
    •    Warming effect strongest at night when temperatures increase with height
    •    Nighttime warming effect observed at 28 operational US wind farms
    •    Wind's warming can exceed avoided warming from reduced emissions for a century

Summary: We find that generating today's US electricity demand (0.5 TW e) with wind power would warm Continental US surface temperatures by 0.24°C. Warming arises, in part, from turbines redistributing heat by mixing the boundary layer. Modeled diurnal and seasonal temperature differences are roughly consistent with recent observations of warming at wind farms, reflecting a coherent mechanistic understanding for how wind turbines alter climate. The warming effect is: small compared with projections of 21st century warming, approximately equivalent to the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing global electricity generation, and large compared with the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing US electricity with wind. For the same generation rate, the climatic impacts from solar photovoltaic systems are about ten times smaller than wind systems. Wind's overall environmental impacts are surely less than fossil energy. Yet, as the energy system is decarbonized, decisions between wind and solar should be informed by estimates of their climate impacts.

Child Care Tax Credits: substantial pass-thru, over half of every dollar is passed through to care providers in the form of higher prices and wages

Give Credit Where?: The Incidence of Child Care Tax Credits. Luke P. Rodgers. Journal of Urban Economics,

Abstract: The cost of child care can affect a family’s employment, location, and commuting decisions. Child care tax credits are intended to relieve the financial burden of child care for working families, yet the benefit incidence may fall on child care providers if they increase prices in response to credit generosity. Using policy-induced variation in the Child and Dependent Care Credit, this paper presents evidence of substantial pass-through: over half of every dollar is passed through to providers in the form of higher prices and wages. Increased non-refundable credit generosity may have the unintended effect of making child care less affordable for low-income families, a result with distributional and spatial implications due to income sorting of families within an urban area.

The One Percent in New Zealand more strongly legitimize the political & economic systems in society, express lower support for redistributive taxation; & report higher life satisfaction, self-esteem & belongingness compared to everyone else

The Political Attitudes and Subjective Wellbeing of the One Percent. Nikhil K. Sengupta, Chris G. Sibley. Journal of Happiness Studies,

Abstract: In capitalist societies, individuals who occupy the highest positions in the economic hierarchy feature prominently in the political discourse under the moniker of the One Percent. However, little is known about how the psychology of One Percent might differ from that of the average person. Using a large, nationally representative sample in New Zealand (N = 14,650), we aimed to fill this gap examining the political attitudes and subjective wellbeing of the top one percent of the income distribution. We found that, compared to general public, the One Percent in New Zealand more strongly legitimize the political and economic systems in society, and express lower support for redistributive taxation. They also report higher life satisfaction, self-esteem and belongingness compared to everyone else. Thus, the One Percent benefit not only economically and politically from the current system, but also psychologically. Moreover, their political beliefs serve to bolster the inequality from which they benefit.

Keywords: Inequality One Percent Political attitudes Subjective wellbeing

“We are the 99%”—the rallying cry of the Occupy Wall Street movement—was a call for society to unite against the disproportionate power of a small group of economic elites: The One Percent (Occupy Wall Street 2011). This moniker of the One Percent has now entered the lexicon and become a prominent feature of the political discourse on inequality in Western democracies (e.g., The Equality Trust 2017; Carroll and Kertscher 2016). The people to whom this label is applied are argued to be using their influence to bend policy to their own ends, subverting the democratic process (e.g., Stilgitz 2011).

However, these arguments are currently being made in the absence of data about the how the political psychology of individuals that constitute this group might differ from that of the average person. We know very little about how the One Percent view the political and economic systems under which they live, or how they feel about redistributive policies designed to reduce inequality. These are important gaps because claims about how the One Percent exercise their power depend upon claims about their political attitudes as a group (see Gilens 2005). We aim to fill these gaps by comparing the political attitudes of the One Percent in New Zealand to the general population, using a large, representative sample (N = 14,650; see Table 1 for a comparison between New Zealand’s One Percent and the One Percent in other major economies).

How cohabitation, marriage, separation, and divorce influence BMI: The benefits of marriage or cohabitation do not necessarily include a healthier BMI

Mata, J., Richter, D., Schneider, T., & Hertwig, R. (2018). How cohabitation, marriage, separation, and divorce influence BMI: A prospective panel study. Health Psychology, 37(10), 948-958.

Objective: This study examines how changes in cohabitation or marital status affect Body Mass Index (BMI) over time in a large representative sample.

Method: Participants were 20,950 individuals (50% female; 19 to 100 years), representative of the German population, who provided 81,926 observations over 16 years. Face-to-face interviews were used to obtain demographic data, including cohabitation and marital status, height, body weight, and weight-relevant behaviors (exercise, healthy eating, and smoking). Control variables included age, notable changes in status (life events such as having children or change in employment status), perceived stress, and subjective health.

Results: Cohabitation led to significant weight gain in men and women—after four years or longer, about twice the gain associated with marriage (controlling for weight-related behaviors, age, children, employment, stress, and health). BMI after separation was largely comparable to BMI before starting cohabitation; women lost some weight in the first year, men gained some weight after four or more years of separation. Divorce generally predicted weight gain. Changes in exercise, healthy eating, and smoking did not attenuate the effect of changes in relationship status on BMI.

Conclusions: This is among the first longitudinal studies to directly compare the effects of key changes in relationship status on BMI. The findings extend and qualify previous results by showing that the benefits of marriage or cohabitation do not necessarily include a healthier BMI. They also suggest that relationship transitions—particularly moving in with a partner and divorce—may be important time windows for weight gain prevention.

A Reanalysis of Creativity & Religiosity: Creativity & religiosity have a negative relationship in terms of people's attitudes & values toward creativity as well as their perceptions of environment for creativity

Creativity and Religiosity: A Reanalysis with Regional Predictors. Selcuk Acar, Mark A. Runco & Uzeyir Ogurlu. Creativity Research Journal, Volume 30, 2018 - Issue 3, Pages 316-321,

Abstract: Building on previous research showing a negative relationship between conservatism and creativity, the present investigation focused specifically on religiosity in the context of the United States. Because of the association between conservatism and religiosity, creativity might have a negative association with religiosity, too. To this end, individuallevel and regional data were matched by linking responses to psychometric measures such as Attitudes and Values toward Creativity to regional data such as church attendance. These analyses controlled other regional variables including education, diversity, and socio-economic status. Two-level analyses with individual data at Level 1 and county data at Level 2 indicated that people from more religious locations held less positive attitudes and values toward creativity and rated their environment as less creative. On the other hand, creative personality, ideational behavior and creative achievement were not significantly related to religiosity. Those analyses provided evidence that creativity and religiosity have a negative relationship in terms of people's attitudes and values toward creativity as well as their perceptions of environment for creativity. Findings were discussed in terms of types of religiosity and other socio-cultural variables.

Does Religion Hinder Creativity? A National Level Study on the Roles of Religiosity and Different Denominations

Does Religion Hinder Creativity? A National Level Study on the Roles of Religiosity and Different Denominations. Zhen Liu et al. Front. Psychol., Oct 8 2018,

Creativity plays an irreplaceable role in economic and technological development. It seems that religion has a negative association with creativity. If it is true, how can we interpret the rapid development of human society with religious believers comprising 81% of global population? Based on the datasets of the World Values Survey and the Global Creativity Index, this study examined the effects of different religions/denominations on national creativity, and the moderation effect of gross domestic product per capita (GDPpc) in 87 countries. The results showed that: (1) religiosity was negatively associated with creativity at national level; (2) Proportions of Protestant and Catholic adherents in a country were both positively associated with national creativity, while proportion of Islam adherents was negatively associated with national creativity; (3) GDPpc moderated the relationships of creativity with overall religiosity, proportion of Protestant adherents, and proportion of Catholic adherents. In countries with high GDPpc, national religiosity and proportion of Islam could negatively predict national creativity, and proportion of Protestants could positively predict national creativity; in countries with low GDPpc, these relationships became insignificant. These findings suggest that national religiosity hinders creativity to a certain extent. However, some denominations (i.e., Protestant and Catholic) may exert positive influences on creativity due to their religious traditions and values. The religion–creativity relationship at national level only emerges in affluent countries.

On the Necessity of Consciousness for Sophisticated Human Action

On the Necessity of Consciousness for Sophisticated Human Action. Roy F. Baumeister et al. Front. Psychol., October 8 2018,

Abstract: In this essay, we aim to counter and qualify the epiphenomenalist challenge proposed in this special issue on the grounds of empirical and theoretical arguments. The current body of scientific knowledge strongly indicates that conscious thought is a necessary condition for many human behaviors, and therefore, consciousness qualifies as a cause of those behaviors. We review illustrative experimental evidence for the causal power of conscious thought while also acknowledging its natural limitations. We argue that it is implausible that the metabolic costs inherent to conscious processes would have evolved in humans without any adaptive benefits. Moreover, we discuss the relevance of conscious thought to the issue of freedom. Many accounts hold conscious thought as necessary and conducive to naturalistic conceptions of personal freedom. Apart from these theories, we show that the conscious perception of freedom and the belief in free will provide sources of interesting findings, beneficial behavioral effects, and new avenues for research. We close by proposing our own challenge via outlining the gaps that have yet to be filled to establish hard evidence of an epiphenomenal model of consciousness. To be sure, we appreciate the epiphenomenalist challenge as it promotes critical thinking and inspires rigorous research. However, we see no merit in downplaying the causal significance of consciousness a priori. Instead, we believe it more worthwhile to focus on the complex interplay between conscious and other causal processes.