Friday, June 4, 2021

Based on a panel between 1980 & 2016, I find that one more Sunday with precipitation at the time of church increases yearly drug-related, alcohol-related & white-collar crimes, but not for violent or property crimes

Sinning in the Rain: Weather Shocks, Church Attendance and Crime. Jonathan Moreno-Medina. The Review of Economics and Statistics 1–46. Mar 17 2021.

Abstract: This paper provides evidence of the causal effect of church attendance on petty crime by using quasi-random variation in the number of Sundays when it precipitated at the specific time of most religious services. Using a novel strategy, I find a narrow time window when most individuals attend church. Based on a panel between 1980 and 2016, I find that one more Sunday with precipitation at the time of church increases yearly drug-related, alcohol-related and white-collar crimes. I do not find an effect for violent or property crimes. These effects are driven by more religious counties. Previous evidence showing negative effects of church attendance on the demand for alcohol and drugs is consistent with a demand-driven interpretation of the results presented.

Keywords: economics of religion, religious attendance, crime, social norms

JEL: Z12, D74, K14, J24, O17, H80

7 Conclusions

A large body of literature has discussed the relationship between church attendance, religion, and crime. While some individuals have stated that religion represents the moral bedrock of society, with church attendance being an important part in the communication of these moral values, others have argued for the divisive nature of religion and the possibility that it creates out-group conflict. Although this debate has permeated the criminology and sociology liter^Bature, to my knowledge no document has established a credible causal link between church attendance and crime. This paper attempts to fill in this gap by exploiting the precipitation level at the time of church.

The results suggest that church attendance reduces the prevalence of substance-related crimes and white-collar crimes. At the same time, there is a lack of evidence supporting the notion that church attendance alleviates serious crimes, such as murder, robbery or rape. Burkett & White (1974) hypothesized that studies evaluating the impact of religion on crime would find a higher effect for victimless and ascetic crimes (drug and alcohol use) than for violent and property crimes (theft and murder). This is because, for the latter category of crimes, a series of secular institutions work in parallel to decrease them, while for victimless crimes, religious institutions act in relative isolation. Although it is debatable if drug and alcohol-related crimes are victimless or not, the results of this document provide some support to the aforementioned hypothesis.

More research is needed to disentangle the mechanisms driving these results. Some of the most plausible mechanisms include beliefs, social capital and saliency. Lastly, the welfare implications of these changes in church attendance are not clear. Even more so, considering the zero-estimated effects of this paper as well.

Emotions and temperature are closely related through embodied processes, and people seem to associate temperature concepts with emotions

Barbosa Escobar F, Velasco C, Motoki K, Byrne DV, Wang QJ (2021) The temperature of emotions. PLoS ONE 16(6): e0252408, Jun 3 2021.

valance >>> valence

Abstract: Emotions and temperature are closely related through embodied processes, and people seem to associate temperature concepts with emotions. While this relationship is often evidenced by everyday language (e.g., cold and warm feelings), what remains missing to date is a systematic study that holistically analyzes how and why people associate specific temperatures with emotions. The present research aimed to investigate the associations between temperature concepts and emotion adjectives on both explicit and implicit levels. In Experiment 1, we evaluated explicit associations between twelve pairs of emotion adjectives derived from the circumplex model of affect, and five different temperature concepts ranging from 0°C to 40°C, based on responses from 403 native speakers of four different languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese). The results of Experiment 1 revealed that, across languages, the temperatures were associated with different regions of the circumplex model. The 0°C and 10°C were associated with negative-valanced, low-arousal emotions, while 20°C was associated with positive-valanced, low-to-medium-arousal emotions. Moreover, 30°C was associated with positive-valanced, high-arousal emotions; and 40°C was associated with high-arousal and either positive- or negative-valanced emotions. In Experiment 2 (N = 102), we explored whether these temperature-emotion associations were also present at the implicit level, by conducting Implicit Association Tests (IATs) with temperature words (cold and hot) and opposing pairs of emotional adjectives for each dimension of valence (Unhappy/Dissatisfied vs. Happy/Satisfied) and arousal (Passive/Quiet vs. Active/Alert) on native English speakers. The results of Experiment 2 revealed that participants held implicit associations between the word hot and positive-valanced and high-arousal emotions. Additionally, the word cold was associated with negative-valanced and low-arousal emotions. These findings provide evidence for the existence of temperature-emotion associations at both explicit and implicit levels across languages.

General discussion

In the present study, we aimed to uncover how people associate a range of adjectives spanning the emotional circumplex model with different temperature concepts. To this end, we conducted two experiments. In Experiment 1, we evaluated the explicit associations between twelve different emotion adjectives, varying in valence and arousal, and five different temperature concepts on native speakers of four different languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese). In Experiment 2, we evaluated native English speakers in terms of their implicit associations between temperature words (hot and cold) and emotion adjectives at the opposite ends of both the valence (Unhappy/Dissatisfied and Happy/Satisfied) and the arousal (Passive/Quiet and Active/Alert) dimensions.

Altogether, the results provided evidence for the existence of explicit and implicit associations between emotions adjectives and temperature concepts. The results of Experiment 1 showed that, regardless of language, the peak of the association ratings moved counterclockwise in the canonical circumplex model of core affect from the lower left side (third quadrant) to the upper left side (second quadrant) as temperature increased from 0°C to 40°C. The results of the IATs in Experiment 2 revealed that participants had faster response times when the word hot was independently matched with the positive-valence and the high-arousal emotion words, than when these emotion words were matched with the word cold. Furthermore, as evidenced by the magnitude of the D values, the associations in the arousal dimension were stronger than in the valence dimension, potentially due to a more linear relationship between temperature and arousal, compared to valance. Therefore, consistent with Experiment 1, the results of Experiment 2 revealed that participants implicitly associated the word cold with the low arousal emotion and the word hot with the high arousal emotion. While some studies have hinted at the existence of temperature-emotion associations, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to uncover associations between them explicitly and implicitly and explore their similarity across languages.

Our results may be interpreted from the theory of grounded cognition [5153]. It is possible that the associations uncovered here arise from the multimodal representations encoded in the brain incorporating the temperature (body or ambient) experienced during specific emotional states repeated. For instance, the robust associations of 20°C with positive valence, low arousal emotions can be a product of the physical comfort this temperature generates for most people. It is also possible that the associations between emotions and temperature arose because there is causal relationship between them, whether it is in the case where emotions trigger physiological responses that affect bodily temperature [92], or in the case where ambient temperatures trigger affective states [17].

The results of Experiment 1 showed that there was a positive relationship between temperature concepts and the arousal dimension of the emotions. In line with our hypotheses, the results also revealed an inverted U-shaped relationship between temperature concepts and valence since the extreme temperature concepts, both cold and hot, were associated with negatively valanced emotions, whereas the milder ambient temperature was associated with positive valanced emotions. A possibility is that valence is related to embodied process of comfort as warmer temperatures are comfortable but extreme temperatures at both ends can generate discomfort [47]. These results are consistent with Wilkowski et al. [93] as the authors suggested people from different cultures use metaphorical expressions of hot and negative emotions (e.g., anger). These results also are also in line with Baylis et al. [62], who found that expressions of positive emotions in social media were the highest at 20°C and decreased beyond 30°C, at which point negative emotions also increased. It is worth noting that the present study did not control for whether participants interpreted the temperature concepts presented as coming from the environment or from a specific object, despite the visual representations used. Hence the temperature range considered comfortable might differ. The results of Experiment 2 were partially consistent with studies that have implied that warmer temperatures are positively valanced [175960]. It is important to note that only two temperature words were used. Experiment 2 also revealed that the association between temperature and arousal was more robust than that between temperature and valence, potentially because associations with valence at higher temperatures is less clear as hotter temperatures can be evaluated positively or negatively, as Experiment 1 showed.

Furthermore, people may associate high arousal emotions, whether they are positively or negatively valanced, with higher temperatures because body temperature increases when they experience those emotions. Some studies that have shown that the temperature of peripheral body regions decreases during negative-valanced, high-arousal emotional states [31679495]. Nevertheless, other studies have indicated that body temperature changes which are triggered by emotions generally accompany arousal, but are independent of the valence of the emotions [9296], which seems to be consistent with the associations of the higher temperature concepts in Experiment 1 and the smaller difference across dimensions of Experiment 2. Examining the inverse relationship between temperature and emotions, in which certain temperatures trigger specific emotional states, the associations can come from high ambient temperatures or activities that increase body temperature and hence arousal. For example, physical exercise increases body temperature and at the same time may increase excitement and energy levels. Similarly, it is possible that the associations between positive emotions with low levels of arousal and ambient temperatures arise because at this temperature, people are at their homeostatic optimum [11230] and therefore feel calm, secure, or happy.

The results of Experiment 1 showed that the associations across the four languages exhibited a high degree of similarity and followed the same overall direction towards the two dimensions of the emotions. These findings are consistent with other studies that have found large similarities in associations between emotions and colors [49829798] and emotions and brightness [99] across languages. The large similarity in temperature-emotion associations can be the result of highly comparable concepts linked to emotions across languages, which can potentially be captured by broad categories. As Ogarkova [37] suggested, emotional categories in most languages have similar hierarchical structures and the variance of emotion lexicons can be explained by a few relevant dimensions. Another potential explanation of these results is that the subjective experience of emotions did not differ significantly across speakers of the various languages. It is possible that the emotion-temperature associations are fundamentally driven by core affect, which according to the constructionist theory of emotion, is parsed into specific emotion categories [24100]. As Sievers et al. [101] suggested, there is a high degree of similarity in how people understand expressions of emotional arousal since they are signaled with a multisensory code based on variations in magnitude. Our findings agree with Jackson et al. [27] in that they seem to reflect the existence of a common semantic framework of emotions across language based on valence and arousal, which are linked to neurophysiological systems that keep homeostasis, although there exists cultural differences.

Despite the high degree of similarity in the emotion-temperature associations across languages, small differences were present. These differences may arise because of linguistic discrepancies and what the various emotions mean in across languages, as well as countries [27]. As Lindquist [36] suggested, languages encode emotions differently, and emotional perception is culturally relative. Additionally, these differences may be caused by environmental factors and the degree of exposure native speakers of a given language that predominantly live-in specific countries have with different temperature ranges. For example, Jonauskaite et al. [49] found that the association between yellow and the concept of joy varied depending on overall exposure to sunshine. Temperature may affect the expression of affect, as well as the subjective experience of similarly intense affective stimuli [12].

Regarding the lower temperature associations for high-arousal emotions in Chinese-speaking participants, it is possible that these differences are the result of a restrained view of the experience and reporting of intense emotions [102]. Intriguingly, there was a slightly higher correlation in the associations between Chinese- and Spanish-speaking participants compared to that between Chinese- and Japanese-speaking participants, as based on geographical and linguistic distance, the latter should be higher [103]. It is possible that this was caused by a greater international cultural exposure from both language groups. However, further research is needed to strip out the effect behind these differences.

Limitations and future directions

One of the main limitations of the present work relates to the set of emotions used. While we focused on emotions that derived from the valence and arousal dimensions, the pool of emotions that can be studied is virtually endless, and other emotions that could have associations with temperature were not included. For instance, romantic or sensual emotions were not analyzed. Future studies may focus on associations with a much more precise set of emotions that have greater relevance for specific fields or applications. That said, the emotion adjectives [70] have been validated across cultures in 23 consumer studies (each with 104–270 participants) involving New Zealand and Chinese consumers. The adjectives were also validated with different types of stimuli (i.e., text, images, aromas, and taste). The emotion circumplex covers a wide range of relevant emotions while remaining parsimonious and is applicable to extensive classes of stimuli. Another aspect to consider when applying these temperature-emotion associations in real world scenarios, is that both temperature and emotions can be product- or context-specific. For instance, while companies may want to generate associations between refreshing beverages and positive emotions, using warm temperatures associations would not be ideal.

Another limitation comes from the method in which the temperatures were presented (visual representations in Experiment 1 and temperature words in Experiment 2). Since no actual temperatures were used, it is not possible to rule out potential semantic effects. People could have also interpreted emotion or temperature words differently, thus introducing some variability. In Experiment 1, people from different countries may not be equally used to certain temperatures. in Experiment 2, people could have had considered diverse temperature ranges for the words hot and cold. Nevertheless, the results provide considerable confidence since the experiment captured relative differences given its within-subjects design. The five temperatures and their visual representations (along with the specific values in°C and°F) in Experiment 1 were chosen as way to cover a broad range of the ambient temperature spectrum, reduce potential language biases, and increase familiarity with temperature measurements. However, it is not certain that participants thought about ambient temperature with these representations. Future studies could expand the range of temperatures and represent them in different ways so that the meaning of temperature is less ambiguous. Moreover, exploring potential differences in the associations between emotions and environmental and object-based temperatures could generate interesting insights. For instance, similar versions of IATs could be designed using pictures of objects or scenes evoking different temperatures combined with facial expressions, such as emojis. Another limitation, especially in the IATs, comes from the possibility that, when evaluating the emotion-temperature associations explicitly or pressing a key in the IAT, participants may not have read the entirety of the pairs of emotion words but instead relied only on the first word. That being said, the use of these emotion adjectives has been extensively validated in multiple studies [7072].

In recent years, the interest in crossmodal correspondences has seen a rapid growth from academics and practitioners. Research on these correspondences has found a myriad of associations between different modalities (see [104]), and temperature-based correspondences has recently regained the interest of researchers relates to temperature [105106]. Spence [107] has recently reviewed the literature on temperature-related crossmodal correspondences. The present study provides valuable insights to advance the study of crossmodal correspondences since the explicit and implicit associations found here may help deepen the understanding of temperature-based crossmodal correspondences mediated by emotions and the role language might play in them. More specifically, these results can guide future studies on the mechanisms behind temperature-based crossmodal correspondences.

To conclude, our findings provide evidence of the existence of consistent associations between emotions and temperature concepts at the explicit level across languages. The findings also provide evidence that some explicit associations also translate to the implicit level. The present study also adds to the literature on emotions and their associations with abstract concepts, and to research on the bidirectionally causal embodied processes between emotions and temperature. Furthermore, the present article contributes to the discussion of how conceptual metaphors can help people understand abstract concepts by interpreting them in terms of concrete experiences, and how using these metaphors can change both how people view the world and their subsequent behavior.

Similar to humans, Eurasian jays are susceptible to magic effects that utilize fast movements, but unlike us, they do not appear to be misled by magic effects that rely on the observer’s intrinsic expectations in human object manipulation

Exploring the perceptual inabilities of Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) using magic effects. Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, Alexandra K. Schnell, Clive Wilkins, and Nicola S. Clayton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 15, 2021 118 (24) e2026106118;

Significance: While we know that humans are often deceived by magic effects, little is known concerning how nonhuman animals perceive these intricate techniques of deception. Here, we tested the susceptibility to be misled by three different magic effects on a sample of six Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius). We demonstrate that, similar to humans, Eurasian jays are susceptible to magic effects that utilize fast movements. However, unlike humans, Eurasian jays do not appear to be misled by magic effects that rely on the observer’s intrinsic expectations in human object manipulation. Magic effects can provide an insightful methodology to investigate perception and attentional shortcomings in human and nonhuman animals and offer unique opportunities to highlight cognitive constraints in diverse animal minds.

Abstract: In recent years, scientists have begun to use magic effects to investigate the blind spots in our attention and perception [G. Kuhn, Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic (2019); S. Macknik, S. Martinez-Conde, S. Blakeslee, Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions (2010)]. Recently, we suggested that similar techniques could be transferred to nonhuman animal observers and that such an endeavor would provide insight into the inherent commonalities and discrepancies in attention and perception in human and nonhuman animals [E. Garcia-Pelegrin, A. K. Schnell, C. Wilkins, N. S. Clayton, Science 369, 1424–1426 (2020)]. Here, we performed three different magic effects (palming, French drop, and fast pass) to a sample of six Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius). These magic effects were specifically chosen as they utilize different cues and expectations that mislead the spectator into thinking one object has or has not been transferred from one hand to the other. Results from palming and French drop experiments suggest that Eurasian jays have different expectations from humans when observing some of these effects. Specifically, Eurasian jays were not deceived by effects that required them to expect an object to move between hands when observing human hand manipulations. However, similar to humans, Eurasian jays were misled by magic effects that utilize fast movements as a deceptive action. This study investigates how another taxon perceives the magician’s techniques of deception that commonly deceive humans.

Keywords: magicperceptionattentioncomparative cognitioncorvids

Popular version: Magic Tricks May Fool You, but These Birds Can See Through Them - The New York Times

Observed significant increases in frequencies of alleles of more body fat in females contradicts hypotheses that sex differences have adaptively decreased following subsistence transitions from hunting & gather'g to agric

Arner AM, Grogan KE, Grabowski M, Reyes-Centeno H, Perry GH (2021) Patterns of recent natural selection on genetic loci associated with sexually differentiated human body size and shape phenotypes. PLoS Genet 17(6): e1009562, Jun 3 2021.

Abstract: Levels of sex differences for human body size and shape phenotypes are hypothesized to have adaptively reduced following the agricultural transition as part of an evolutionary response to relatively more equal divisions of labor and new technology adoption. In this study, we tested this hypothesis by studying genetic variants associated with five sexually differentiated human phenotypes: height, body mass, hip circumference, body fat percentage, and waist circumference. We first analyzed genome-wide association (GWAS) results for UK Biobank individuals (~194,000 females and ~167,000 males) to identify a total of 114,199 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with at least one of the studied phenotypes in females, males, or both sexes (P<5x10-8). From these loci we then identified 3,016 SNPs (2.6%) with significant differences in the strength of association between the female- and male-specific GWAS results at a low false-discovery rate (FDR<0.001). Genes with known roles in sexual differentiation are significantly enriched for co-localization with one or more of these SNPs versus SNPs associated with the phenotypes generally but not with sex differences (2.73-fold enrichment; permutation test; P = 0.0041). We also confirmed that the identified variants are disproportionately associated with greater phenotype effect sizes in the sex with the stronger association value. We then used the singleton density score statistic, which quantifies recent (within the last ~3,000 years; post-agriculture adoption in Britain) changes in the frequencies of alleles underlying polygenic traits, to identify a signature of recent positive selection on alleles associated with greater body fat percentage in females (permutation test; P = 0.0038; FDR = 0.0380), directionally opposite to that predicted by the sex differences reduction hypothesis. Otherwise, we found no evidence of positive selection for sex difference-associated alleles for any other trait. Overall, our results challenge the longstanding hypothesis that sex differences adaptively decreased following subsistence transitions from hunting and gathering to agriculture.

Author summary: There is uncertainty regarding the evolutionary history of human sex differences for quantitative body size and shape phenotypes. In this study we identified thousands of genetic loci that differentially impact body size and shape trait variation between females and males using a large sample of UK Biobank individuals. After confirming the biological plausibility of these loci, we used a population genomics approach to study the recent (over the past ~3,000 years) evolutionary histories of these loci in this population. We observed significant increases in the frequencies of alleles associated with greater body fat percentage in females. This result is contradictory to longstanding hypotheses that sex differences have adaptively decreased following subsistence transitions from hunting and gathering to agriculture.


Using a sex-stratified GWAS framework for five sexually differentiated anthropometric phenotypes, we identified 3,016 SNPs that were disproportionately associated with either female or male trait variation at a low false discovery rate (FDR<0.001). We confirmed the biological plausibility of these results by showing that genes with known roles in sexual differentiation are significantly enriched for SexDiff-associated SNPs. Together, these results confirm the importance of considering sex differences when investigating the genetic structure of human polygenic traits [43]. We then used a statistic that quantifies changes in the frequencies of alleles underlying polygenic traits over the past ~3,000 years to identify a signature of recent positive selection on SNPs associated with increased female body fat percentage in the British study population.

We must emphasize that inferring selection signals from GWAS data should be approached with great care, as even subtle uncorrected population structure can impact GWAS and downstream results [44]. For example, data from the GIANT consortium were previously used to identify strong signatures of polygenic selection for height across the genome [20]. However, subtle population structure in the GIANT sample led to effect-size estimate biases, in turn resulting in false signals of polygenic selection for SNPs not crossing the genome-wide significance threshold and impacting results for significant SNPs as well [44]. In contrast, these issues were much less prevalent using GWAS summary statistics from the UK Biobank, in which population structure is minimized [4446]. In light of these considerations, in our study we have i) used UK Biobank GWAS summary statistics only, ii) focused solely on phenotype-associated SNPs below the genome-wide significance threshold, and iii) restricted our evolutionary analyses to direct comparisons between SNPs significantly associated with individual phenotypes and a sub-phenotype (i.e., sex differences).

Our study further demonstrates the value of GWAS-based approaches for testing anthropological hypotheses [47]. Concerning the evolution of human body size and shape phenotypes, our results fail to provide support for the prevailing notion of recent (i.e., subsequent to agriculture) adaptive reductions in levels of sex differences for such traits. Specifically, using large samples of genomes from British individuals we did not observe significant differences in the recent evolutionary trajectories of SNPs disproportionately associated with female or male variation in height, body mass, hip circumference, and waist circumference relative to the trajectories of SNPs associated with these traits generally.

We note that we made a number of conservative choices (for example, with aggressive pruning to account for linkage disequilibrium) in our analytical approach, meaning that our failure to reject the null hypothesis for each of these four traits should not be interpreted as evidence that no selection on them occurred. Still, even with our conservative analytical approach we did find evidence that the average frequencies of alleles disproportionately associated with greater female body fat percentage significantly increased over the past ~3,000 years, a pattern consistent with polygenic adaptation. Given that females have higher average body fat percentages than men in historic and contemporary populations, the direction of polygenic adaptation in the population we studied would actually be opposite to expectations under hypotheses of recent adaptive reductions in anthropometric trait sex differences in agricultural societies. However, since SNPs can be pleiotropically associated with multiple phenotypes [35], we cannot definitively conclude that positive selection acted directly on female body fat percentage. Regardless, at the very least we did not find positive support for the prevailing hypothesis concerning the evolution of sex differences in recent human evolution.