Monday, April 18, 2022

Adverse mental health effects of spanking (delinquency, depression, and alcohol use) can be attributed to a considerable extent to hereditary similarities between parents and children

The effects of spanking on psychosocial outcomes: revisiting genetic and environmental covariation. Nicole Barbaro, Eric J. Connolly, Madi Sogge, Todd K. Shackelford & Brian B. Boutwell. Journal of Experimental Criminology, April 18 2022.


Background: There is a vast literature on the negative associations between spanking in childhood and various psychosocial developmental outcomes; yet, control for potential genetic confounds is rare.

Objectives: The current research aimed to provide probable ranges of estimates of the degree to which genetic and nonshared environmental covariation could explain the reported phenotypic effects in the Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor (Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor, Family Relations 65:490–501, 2016a, Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor, Journal of Family Psychology 30:453, 2016b) meta-analysis of spanking.

Participants and setting: The analytic sample for Study 1 was secured from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (CNLSY) and consisted of 2868 respondents (siblings and half-siblings). The data for Study 2 were secured from the published literature.

Methods: Study 1 analyzed the data from the CNLSY using univariate ACE models and bivariate Cholesky decomposition models. Study 2 used simulation modeling to provide a summative evaluation of the psychosocial effects of spanking with regard to genetic and nonshared environmental covariation.

Results: Study 1 replicated previous work showing that associations between spanking and outcomes of delinquency, depression, and alcohol use were explained by moderate-to-large degrees of genetic covariation and small-to-moderate degrees of nonshared environmental covariation. Simulation estimates from Study 2 suggest that genetic covariation accounts for a substantial amount of the phenotypic effect between spanking and psychosocial outcomes (≈60–80%), with the remainder attributable to nonshared environmental covariation (≈0–40%).

Conclusions: Results of the current research indicate that continued work on the effects of spanking is best served by behavior genetic research on a broader range of outcomes than what is currently available.

Many atheists think of themselves as intellectually gifted individuals, guiding humanity on the path of reason. Scientific data shows otherwise.

Atheism is not as rare or as rational as you think. Will Gervais. Big Think, Apr 15 2022.

You are a member of a very peculiar species. Of all our quirks, the human religious impulse may be our most distinctive one. We build skyscrapers? Big deal, bowerbirds construct ornate decorative nests and they have brains the size of almonds. We live in really big societies? Great, so do ants, whose brains are even tinier. We can do math problems? Wonderful, but so can slime molds, and they don’t even have brains!

Religion: distinctively human 

Where humans often appear unique in some regard, a closer look usually shows us to be a mere outlier, rather than a genuine exception. This does not seem to be the case for religion. Most people who have ever lived believe in some sort of god; they are as certain of their gods as of their breath. But not a single organism outside our immediate evolutionary lineage has ever contemplated the existence of a god. Think about that for a moment: as far as we know, every single sentient being in the universe that has ever believed in a god is a member of our odd little species, and almost every member of our species has believed in a god. To scientists interested in evolution and human nature, religion is a puzzle that screams to be solved.

The record percentage of workers who are quitting their jobs, known as the “Great Resignation,” is not a shift in worker attitudes due to the pandemic: Waves of job quits have occurred during all fast recoveries in the postwar period

“Great Resignations” Are Common During Fast Recoveries. Bart Hobijn. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Economic Letters 2022-08, Apr 2022.

The record percentage of workers who are quitting their jobs, known as the “Great Resignation,” is not a shift in worker attitudes in the wake of the pandemic. Evidence on which workers are quitting suggests that it reflects the strong rebound of the demand for younger and less-educated workers. Historical data on quits in manufacturing suggest that the current wave is not unusual. Waves of job quits have occurred during all fast recoveries in the postwar period.

Cannot confirm that always interactions between testosterone and cortisol are negative; sometimes there is a a positive feedback loop whereby elevated testosterone prompts increases in sexual desire and behavior, and cortisol helps in this

Associations Between Sexual Desire and Within-Individual Testosterone and Cortisol in Men and Women. Kevin A Rosenfield, Heather Self, Talia Shirazi, Rodrigo Cardenes, Justin Carré, Triana Ortiz, Khytam Dawood & David A. Puts. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, Apr 18 2022.


Objective: The dual-hormone hypothesis (DHH) posits that some effects of testosterone on human behavior and psychology related to status-seeking are moderated by cortisol, such that they are stronger when cortisol levels are low. In support of the DHH, studies have found that cortisol negatively moderated the relationship between testosterone and such traits as status-seeking and interest in uncommitted sex. Others indicate a positive moderating influence of cortisol in some cases. Here, we test whether two psychosexual indices—sexual desire and sociosexuality—meet the expectations of the DHH in a large sample of men and women.

Method: 646 women and 185 men attended lab sessions during which they provided saliva samples for hormonal analysis and responded to the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory-Revised and the Sexual Desire Inventory (180 women and 43 men returned for a second session approximately two months later). We quantified salivary hormone concentrations using ELISA and assessed within- and between-participant effects of hormones on psychosexual measures with mixed-effects models.

Results: We observed a positive interaction between within-subjects cortisol and testosterone in models of sexual desire in both men and women. For women, these effects emerged in models of general sexual desire and in models of the dyadic desire subscale and were robust to many analytical configurations. For men, the effects were limited to models of solitary desire, but were also robust to alternative analyses. We present data to quantify our risks of both type I and type II error.

Conclusions: Some of our results contrast with usual dual-hormone hypothesis predictions of negative interactions between testosterone and cortisol. We suggest several potential explanations for these results, including a positive feedback loop whereby elevated testosterone prompts increases in sexual desire and behavior, necessitating cortisol-induced mobilization of energy stores.