Feeling warm ? Consider dipping your hand into a bowl of cash. In experiments, participants who placed a hand into a bowl filled with bank notes (to guess how many were in it) — compared to placing a hand into a bowl filled with similarly colored paper slips — felt physically colder, subsequently giving a lower estimate of the room temperature and a higher estimate of the temperature of a warm bowl of water. The money didn’t affect estimates of the room’s dimensions.

Reutner, L. et al., “The Cold Heart: Reminders of Money Cause Feelings of Physical Coldness,” Social Psychological and Personality Science (forthcoming).

Say, what do you have to prove?

Not surprising: a new study that shows, when they feel insecure, men take more risks financially. More interesting? In a series of experiments, heterosexual American men made riskier bets after seeing pictures of attractive men (from Abercrombie & Fitch ads), especially if the participant considered himself to be less attractive, was made to think about having a lower relative financial position, or was made to think about a dating situation. But they didn’t do that after seeing pictures of attractive women or unattractive men. There was no similar effect in women.

Chan, E., “Physically-Attractive Males Increase Men’s Financial Risk-Taking,” Evolution and Human Behavior (forthcoming).

Work may literally be killing you

Is stress aspermanent a fixture in your office as the copy machine? It may affect your health.A study by professors at the business schools of Harvard and Stanford suggests that more than 120,000 deaths per year and 5 to 8 percent of annual health care costs are associated with job-related stresses. While the largest mortality factor was access to health insurance (about 50,000 deaths per year, pre-Obamacare), unemployment, low job control, and job insecurity were not far behind. The largest health care cost factors — aside from not having health insurance — were high job demands and work-family conflict. And these estimates don’t include lost productivity, absenteeism, or workers’ compensation. Although some of these costs are borne by employers, some are not, even though the employer gets the benefit of the labor.

Goh, J. et al., “The Relationship between Workplace Stressors and Mortality and Health Costs in the United States,” Management Science (forthcoming).

Got a millennial living in your basement? Your parenting style may be to blame

Note to the helicopter parents out there: Unless it’s your goal, you may be inadvertently making it harder for your son or daughter to eventually get married. Researchers at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University analyzed data from college students around the country and found that students who reported having helicopter parents (agreeing that “my parent makes important decisions for me” or “my parent intervenes in solving problems”) also thought it was better to be single and to delay marriage, even controlling for gender, religiosity, race, and parental marital st atus, warmth, and education.

Willoughby, B. et al., “‘Back Off’! Helicopter Parenting and a Retreat from Marriage among Emerging Adults,” Journal of Family Issues (April 2015).

Parental class influences voting records

Where you stand depends on where you sit. It also depends on where your parents sat. An analysis of roll-call votes in Congress reveals that upper-class Democrats with working-class parents vote more liberally — especially on votes scored by the Chamber of Commerce — than upper-class Democrats with upper-class parents, even controlling for the legislator’s race, gender, age, and constituency. There was no such effect of parental class among Republicans — ostensibly because ideological purity is more strictly enforced in that party — and few legislators of either party were themselves working class.

Grumbach, J., “Does the American Dream Matter for Members of Congress? Social-Class Backgrounds and Roll-Call Votes,” Political Research Quarterly (forthcoming).


Kevin Lewis can be reached at kevin.lewis.ideas@gmail.com.


More Uncommon Knowledge