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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Moody

 

Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Andrew Oswald
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 4 December 2012, Pages 19953-19958

Abstract:
The question of whether there is a connection between income and psychological well-being is a long-studied issue across the social, psychological, and behavioral sciences. Much research has found that richer people tend to be happier. However, relatively little attention has been paid to whether happier individuals perform better financially in the first place. This possibility of reverse causality is arguably understudied. Using data from a large US representative panel, we show that adolescents and young adults who report higher life satisfaction or positive affect grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life. We focus on earnings approximately one decade after the person's well-being is measured; we exploit the availability of sibling clusters to introduce family fixed effects; we account for the human capacity to imagine later socioeconomic outcomes and to anticipate the resulting feelings in current well-being. The study's results are robust to the inclusion of controls such as education, intelligence quotient, physical health, height, self-esteem, and later happiness. We consider how psychological well-being may influence income. Sobel-Goodman mediation tests reveal direct and indirect effects that carry the influence from happiness to income. Significant mediating pathways include a higher probability of obtaining a college degree, getting hired and promoted, having higher degrees of optimism and extraversion, and less neuroticism.

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Depression as an evolutionary strategy for defense against infection

Sherry Anders, Midori Tanaka & Dennis Kinney
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent discoveries relating depression to inflammation and immune function may help to solve an important evolutionary puzzle: If depression carries with it so many negative consequences, including notable costs to survival and reproduction, then why is it common and heritable? What countervailing force or compensatory advantage has allowed susceptibility genes for depression to persist in the population at such high rates? A priori, compensatory advantages in combating infection are a promising candidate, given that infection has been the major cause of mortality throughout human history. Emerging evidence on deeply rooted bidirectional pathways of communication between the nervous and immune systems further supports this notion. Here we present an updated review of the infection-defense hypothesis of depression, which proposes that moods - with their ability to orchestrate a wide array of physical and behavioral responses - have played an adaptive role throughout human history by helping individuals fight existing infections, as well as helping both individuals and their kin avoid new ones. We discuss new evidence that supports several key predictions derived from the hypothesis, and compare it with other major evolutionary theories of depression. Specifically, we discuss how the infection-defense hypothesis helps to explain emerging data on psychoimmunological features of depression, as well as depression's associations with a diverse array of conditions and illnesses - including nutritional deficiencies, seasonal changes, hormonal fluctuations, and chronic disease - that previous evolutionary theories of depression have not accounted for. Finally, we note the potential implications of the hypothesis for the treatment and prevention of depression.

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The Financial Costs of Sadness

Jennifer Lerner, Ye Li & Elke Weber
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We hypothesized a phenomenon that we term myopic misery. According to our hypothesis, sadness increases impatience and creates a myopic focus on obtaining money immediately instead of later. This focus, in turn, increases intertemporal discount rates and thereby produces substantial financial costs. In three experiments, we randomly assigned participants to sad- and neutral-state conditions, and then offered intertemporal choices. Disgust served as a comparison condition in Experiments 1 and 2. Sadness significantly increased impatience: Relative to median neutral-state participants, median sad-state participants accepted 13% to 34% less money immediately to avoid waiting 3 months for payment. In Experiment 2, impatient thoughts mediated the effects. Experiment 3 revealed that sadness made people more present biased (i.e., wanting something immediately), but not globally more impatient. Disgusted participants were not more impatient than neutral participants, and that lack of difference implies that the same financial effects do not arise from all negative emotions. These results show that myopic misery is a robust and potentially harmful phenomenon.

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Americans Less Rushed But No Happier: 1965-2010 Trends in Subjective Time and Happiness

John Robinson
Social Indicators Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A general societal consensus seems to have emerged that the pace of daily life, at least in the US and other Western countries, is speeding up. However, there seems little empirical evidence to document its presence, let alone its increase. The present article reviews results from two questions on subjective-time pressure that have been asked periodically in US national probability surveys since 1965, and which were repeated in separate 2009 and 2010 surveys. Counter to the popular societal consensus on an increasingly time-pressured society noted above, respondent reports of feelings of being "always rushed" declined by 6-9 points from those reported in 2004. The decline was found both among employed and unemployed respondents, indicating it was not simply a function of higher unemployment. At the same time, feelings of being "very happy" also declined over this period, despite the finding that time-pressured people have consistently reported being less happy. Moreover, more time-pressured people continued to report being less happy in these 2009-2010 surveys, even after controls for marital status, employment and other important predictors of happiness. Somewhat higher correlations with happiness were found for a related subjective-time question on having excess time on one's hands.

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Self-Esteem, Education, and Wages Revisited

Pedro de Araujo & Stephen Lagos
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Personality undoubtedly plays a role in determining educational attainment and labor market outcomes. We investigate the role of self-esteem in determining wages directly and indirectly via education. We use data from the 1979 wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79) to estimate a three equation simultaneous equation model that treats self-esteem, educational attainment, and real wages as endogenous. We find that, while self-esteem has a positive and significant impact on wages indirectly via education, it does not significantly affect wages directly once we control for locus of control. We find that the indirect effect of self-esteem comprises upwards of 80 percent of the total effect of self-esteem on wages after 1980. Additionally, we find that wages and education both affect self-esteem. We discuss gender differences in the relationships between wages, education, and self-esteem and conclude that females experience a higher rate of return on education than males, and self-esteem is a stronger determinant of educational attainment for males than females.

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Evidence for a midlife crisis in great apes consistent with the U-shape in human well-being

Alexander Weiss et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 4 December 2012, Pages 19949-19952

Abstract:
Recently, economists and behavioral scientists have studied the pattern of human well-being over the lifespan. In dozens of countries, and for a large range of well-being measures, including happiness and mental health, well-being is high in youth, falls to a nadir in midlife, and rises again in old age. The reasons for this U-shape are still unclear. Present theories emphasize sociological and economic forces. In this study we show that a similar U-shape exists in 508 great apes (two samples of chimpanzees and one sample of orangutans) whose well-being was assessed by raters familiar with the individual apes. This U-shaped pattern or "midlife crisis" emerges with or without use of parametric methods. Our results imply that human well-being's curved shape is not uniquely human and that, although it may be partly explained by aspects of human life and society, its origins may lie partly in the biology we share with great apes. These findings have implications across scientific and social-scientific disciplines, and may help to identify ways of enhancing human and ape well-being.

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Unlocking Past Emotion: Verb Use Affects Mood and Happiness

William Hart
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the research reported here, I examined whether the verbs applied to descriptions of past emotional experiences influence present mood and happiness. Participants who described a positive experience using the imperfective aspect, which implies ongoing progression, subsequently reported more positive mood and greater happiness than did participants who described a positive experience using the perfective aspect, which implies completion; likewise, participants who described a negative experience using the imperfective aspect subsequently reported more negative mood and less happiness than did participants who described a negative experience using the perfective aspect. These effects were traced to enhanced memory for the described emotional experience in the imperfective condition relative to the perfective condition. The findings demonstrate how formal features of language shape both the reinstatement of past affective reactions and happiness judgments, and may have practical applications for improving subjective well-being.

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Happiness Is Best Kept Stable: Positive Emotion Variability Is Associated With Poorer Psychological Health

June Gruber et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Positive emotion has been shown to be associated with adaptive outcomes in a number of domains, including psychological health. However, research has largely focused on overall levels of positive emotion with less attention paid to how variable versus stable it is across time. We thus examined the psychological health correlates of positive emotion variability versus stability across 2 distinct studies, populations, and scientifically validated approaches for quantifying variability in emotion across time. Study 1 used a daily experience approach in a U.S. community sample (N = 244) to examine positive emotion variability across 2 weeks (macrolevel). Study 2 adopted a daily reconstruction method in a French adult sample (N = 2,391) to examine variability within 1 day (microlevel). Greater macro- and microlevel variability in positive emotion was associated with worse psychological health, including lower well-being and life satisfaction and greater depression and anxiety (Study 1), and lower daily satisfaction, life satisfaction, and happiness (Study 2). Taken together, these findings support the notion that positive emotion variability plays an important and incremental role in psychological health above and beyond overall levels of happiness, and that too much variability might be maladaptive.

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When Wanting Is Better Than Having: Materialism, Transformation Expectations, and Product-Evoked Emotions in the Purchase Process

Marsha Richins
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Materialists believe that acquiring products will make them happier, but the validity of this premise has not been examined empirically. In this research, two cross sectional and one longitudinal study examine the emotions evoked by products before and after purchase. High materialism consumers consistently showed hedonic elevation in product-evoked emotions prior to purchase, followed by hedonic decline after purchase. Low materialism consumers, however, did not display this pattern. Findings show that hedonic elevation appears to be due to expectations among high materialism consumers that purchase of the desired product will transform their lives in significant and meaningful ways. Findings further indicate that satisfaction processes may partially explain the hedonic decline that follows purchase among high materialism consumers but also suggest that for these consumers, the state of anticipating and desiring a product may be inherently more pleasurable than product ownership itself.

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Cry me a river: Identifying the behavioral consequences of extremely high-stakes interpersonal deception

Leanne ten Brinke & Stephen Porter
Law and Human Behavior, December 2012, Pages 469-477

Abstract:
Deception evolved as a fundamental aspect of human social interaction. Numerous studies have examined behavioral cues to deception, but most have involved inconsequential lies and unmotivated liars in a laboratory context. We conducted the most comprehensive study to date of the behavioral consequences of extremely high-stakes, real-life deception - relative to comparable real-life sincere displays - via 3 communication channels: speech, body language, and emotional facial expressions. Televised footage of a large international sample of individuals (N = 78) emotionally pleading to the public for the return of a missing relative was meticulously coded frame-by-frame (30 frames/s for a total of 74,731 frames). About half of the pleaders eventually were convicted of killing the missing person on the basis of overwhelming evidence. Failed attempts to simulate sadness and leakage of happiness revealed deceptive pleaders' covert emotions. Liars used fewer words but more tentative words than truth-tellers, likely relating to increased cognitive load and psychological distancing. Further, each of these cues explained unique variance in predicting pleader sincerity.

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Intake of Mediterranean foods associated with positive affect and low negative affect

Patricia Ford et al.
Journal of Psychosomatic Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine associations between consumption of foods typical of Mediterranean versus Western diets with positive and negative affect. Nutrients influence mental states yet few studies have examined whether foods protective or deleterious for cardiovascular disease affect mood.

Methods: Participants were 9255 Adventist church attendees in North America who completed a validated food frequency questionnaire in 2002-6. Scores for affect were obtained from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule questionnaire in 2006-7. Multiple linear regression models controlled for age, gender, ethnicity, BMI, education, sleep, sleep squared (to account for high or low amounts), exercise, total caloric intake, alcohol and time between the questionnaires.

Results: Intake of vegetables (β = 0.124 [95% CI 0.101, 0.147]), fruit (β = 0.066 [95% CI 0.046, 0.085]), olive oil (β = 0.070 [95% CI 0.029, 0.111]), nuts (β = 0.054 [95% CI 0.026, 0.082]), and legumes (β = 0.055 [95% CI 0.032, 0.077]) were associated with positive affect while sweets/desserts (β = - 0.066 [95% CI - 0.086, - 0.046]), soda (β = - 0.025 [95% CI - 0.037, - 0.013]) and fast food frequency (β = - 0.046 [95% CI - 0.062, - 0.030]) were inversely associated with positive affect. Intake of sweets/desserts (β = 0.058 [95% CI 0.037, 0.078]) and fast food frequency (β = 0.052 [95% CI 0.036, 0.068]) were associated with negative affect while intake of vegetables (β = - 0.076 [95% CI - 0.099, - 0.052]), fruit (β = - 0.033 [95% CI - 0.053, - 0.014]) and nuts (β = - 0.088 [95% CI - 0.116, - 0.060]) were inversely associated with negative affect. Gender interacted with red meat intake (P < .001) and fast food frequency (P < .001) such that these foods were associated with negative affect in females only.

Conclusions: Foods typical of Mediterranean diets were associated with positive affect as well as lower negative affect while Western foods were associated with low positive affect in general and negative affect in women.

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Body Cues, Not Facial Expressions, Discriminate Between Intense Positive and Negative Emotions

Hillel Aviezer, Yaacov Trope & Alexander Todorov
Science, 30 November 2012, Pages 1225-1229

Abstract:
The distinction between positive and negative emotions is fundamental in emotion models. Intriguingly, neurobiological work suggests shared mechanisms across positive and negative emotions. We tested whether similar overlap occurs in real-life facial expressions. During peak intensities of emotion, positive and negative situations were successfully discriminated from isolated bodies but not faces. Nevertheless, viewers perceived illusory positivity or negativity in the nondiagnostic faces when seen with bodies. To reveal the underlying mechanisms, we created compounds of intense negative faces combined with positive bodies, and vice versa. Perceived affect and mimicry of the faces shifted systematically as a function of their contextual body emotion. These findings challenge standard models of emotion expression and highlight the role of the body in expressing and perceiving emotions.

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Long-term Association Between Leisure-time Physical Activity and Changes in Happiness: Analysis of the Prospective National Population Health Survey

Feng Wang et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 December 2012, Pages 1095-1100

Abstract:
Happiness is among the most fundamental of all human goals. Although the short-term association between physical activity and happiness is well known, the long-term associations are not. Data from the National Population Health Survey cycles conducted between 1994/1995 and 2008/2009 (cycles 1 through 8) were analyzed. Happy respondents were classified as physically active or inactive at baseline and then were followed up in subsequent cycles to examine their likelihood of becoming unhappy. Individuals who changed their activity level also were examined. After controlling for potential confounding factors, the authors found that leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) was associated with reduced odds of unhappiness after 2 years and 4 years. People who were inactive in 2 consecutive cycles were more than twice as likely to be unhappy as those who remained active in both cycles after 2 years. Compared with those who became active, inactive participants who remained inactive were also more likely to become unhappy. A change in LTPA from active to inactive was associated with increased odds of becoming unhappy 2 years later. This study suggests that LTPA has a long-term association with happiness. Changes in LTPA are associated with subsequent mood status.

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Feeling Like My Self: Emotion Profiles and Social Identity

Nicole Verrochi Coleman & Patti Williams
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals possess social identities that contain unique, identity-relevant attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs providing "what to do" information when enacting that identity (Kleine, Kleine, and Kernan 1993). We suggest that social identities are also associated with specific discrete emotion profiles providing "what to feel" information during identity enactment. In four studies, we show that consumers prefer emotional stimuli consistent with their salient social identity, make product choices and emotion regulating consumption decisions to enhance (reduce) their experience of identity-consistent (inconsistent) emotions, and that experiencing identity-consistent emotions aids in the performance of identity-relevant tasks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM