Daniel Nettle

Daniel Nettle
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris-PSL · Institut Jean Nicod

PhD

About

333
Publications
134,462
Reads
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15,101
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - present
Newcastle University
Position
  • Professor of Behavioural Science

Publications

Publications (333)
Article
Full-text available
Greater income inequality is associated with lower average wellbeing. There are multiple possible explanations for this pattern. We use data from the European Quality of Life Survey 2012 (27,571 respondents from 28 countries) to evaluate the contributions of different causal pathways to associations between national income inequality and wellbeing....
Article
Full-text available
This work was funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a project entitled Assessing the prospective impacts of Universal Basic Income (UBI) on anxiety and depression among 14-24-year-olds. This serves as a pilot study for our much broader, long-term examination of the role of Universal Basic Income as a public health measure. The project commenced...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand public perceptions of the role of income for improving mental health, since public perceptions shape political decision-making. Socioeconomic determinants such as poverty cause a great deal of mental ill-health, yet it is not clear whether the general public believes this to be true. Lay understand...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. Across countries and states, greater income inequality is associated with lower wellbeing. There are multiple causal pathways that could produce such an association. If the relationship of individual income to wellbeing is downward concave, greater dispersion of the income distribution must reduce average wellbeing. More unequal countri...
Preprint
Full-text available
Why do some people moralize overindulgence in inherently victimless bodily pleasures, such as gluttony, masturbation, drinking, or laziness, when these behaviors appear devoid of any harmful consequences to other people? We test the hypothesis that these moral judgements stem from perceptions that overindulgence alters people’s self-control, thus m...
Preprint
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Background. Despite increasing recognition that clinical interventions are insufficient to improve mental health without corresponding emphasis on population mental health, few studies have compared public perspectives on population and clinical interventions.Aims. We begin to address this here by examining views of one intervention that holds cons...
Article
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Across human societies, people form "thick" relationships characterized by strong attachments, obligations, and mutual responsiveness. People in thick relationships share food utensils, kiss, or engage in other distinctive interactions that involve sharing saliva. We found that children, toddlers, and infants infer that dyads who share saliva (as o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Across human societies, people form ‘thick’ relationships, characterized by strong attachments, obligations and mutual responsiveness. People in thick relationships engage in distinctive interactions, like sharing food utensils or kissing, that involve sharing saliva. Here we show that children, toddlers, and infants infer that dyads who share sali...
Preprint
Full-text available
The last thirty years has seen the emergence of a self-styled ‘evolutionary’ paradigm within psychology (henceforth, EP). EP is often presented and critiqued as a distinctive, contentious paradigm, to be contrasted with other accounts of human psychology. However, little attention has been paid to the sense in which those other accounts are not evo...
Article
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The aim of this study was to identify the dietary-intake correlates of food insecurity in UK adults. We recruited groups of low-income participants who were classified as food insecure (n = 196) or food secure (n = 198). Participants completed up to five 24h dietary recalls. There was no difference in total energy intake by food insecurity status (...
Article
We postulate that at least two distinct cognitive systems affect political judgements. The first system, moral cognition, delivers intuitions about what societal outcomes would be ideal. The second system, which we dub the intuitive theory of social motivation, makes predictions about how other citizens will behave in practice, and hence feeds into...
Article
Full-text available
Birds exposed to food insecurity—defined as temporally variable access to food—respond adaptively by storing more energy. To do this, they may reduce energy allocation to other functions such as somatic maintenance and repair. To investigate this trade-off, we exposed juvenile European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris , n = 69) to 19 weeks of either un...
Article
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Impulsivity, in the sense of the extent rewards are devalued as the time until their realization increases, is linked to various negative outcomes in humans, yet understanding of the cognitive mechanisms underlying it is limited. Variation in the imprecision of interval timing is a possible contributor to variation in impulsivity. We use a numerica...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity—defined as limited or unpredictable access to nutritionally adequate food—is associated with higher body mass in humans and birds. It is widely assumed that food insecurity-induced fattening is caused by increased food consumption, but there is little evidence supporting this in any species. We developed a novel technology for measu...
Article
Full-text available
Impulsivity refers to the valuation of future rewards relative to immediate ones. From an evolutionary perspective, we should expect impulsivity to be sensitive to the current state of the organism (for example, hunger), and also its long-term developmental history. There is evidence that both current hunger and childhood socioeconomic deprivation...
Preprint
Full-text available
How do the dietary intake patterns of people exposed to food insecurity differ from those of people who are food secure? A recent study of a US sample found that food insecurity was associated with greater reliance on carbohydrate, a lower diversity of food, and more variable time gaps between eating. We examined whether these features were also pr...
Article
Full-text available
The onset of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic led to a marked increase in positive discussion of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in political and media circles. However, we do not know whether there was a corresponding increase in support for the policy in the public at large, or why. Here, we present three studies carried out during 2020 in UK and U...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers increasingly wish to test hypotheses concerning the impact of environmental or disease exposures on telomere length (TL), and use longitudinal study designs to do so. In population studies, TL is usually measured using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based method. This method has been validated by presenting a correlatio...
Preprint
Full-text available
How do people arrive at their opinions regarding how society should be governed? We suggest people possess an intuitive theory of human nature. The function of this theory is to predict how strangers will behave in particular classes of situation, and suggest what kinds of institutions and interventions are required to make society function under t...
Article
Full-text available
Humans sometimes cooperate to mutual advantage, and sometimes exploit one another. In industrialised societies, the prevalence of exploitation, in the form of crime, is related to the distribution of economic resources: more unequal societies tend to have higher crime, as well as lower social trust. We created a model of cooperation and exploitatio...
Article
Full-text available
Background A large body of evidence indicates the importance of upstream determinants to health. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been suggested as an upstream intervention capable of promoting health by affecting material, biopsychosocial and behavioural determinants. Calls are emerging across the political spectrum to introduce an emergency UBI t...
Article
Full-text available
Plasticity is studied across the social and biological sciences, but communication between disciplines is hindered by differences in the concepts used to do so. For instance, the distinction between expectant and dependent plasticity is widely used in psychology, but rarely used in evolutionary biology. As a consequence, researchers are less likely...
Article
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This paper represents a collaboration between a policy researcher and a behavioural scientist who studies cooperation. Our goal was to develop a shared understanding of one particular policy topic, the reforms to the UK system of disability benefits initiated during the last term of the New Labour Government and accelerated under the Conservative-l...
Article
Full-text available
Objective People have the intuition that hunger undermines social cooperation, but experimental tests of this have often produced null results. One possible explanation is that the experimental tasks used are not rich enough to capture the diverse pathways by which social cooperation can be sustained or break down in real life. We studied the effec...
Article
Full-text available
The term ‘life-history theory’ (LHT) is increasingly often invoked in psychology, as a framework for integrating understanding of psychological traits into a broader evolutionary context. Although LHT as presented in psychology papers (LHT-P) is typically described as a straightforward extension of the theoretical principles from evolutionary biolo...
Preprint
Full-text available
The 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a marked increase in positive discussion of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in political and media circles. However, we do not know whether there has been a corresponding increase in support for the policy in the public at large, or why. Here, we present two studies carried out in April and May 2020 in UK a...
Article
Full-text available
For decades, parts of the literature on human culture have been gripped by an analogy: culture changes in a way that is substantially isomorphic to genetic evolution. This leads to a number of sub-claims: that design-like properties in cultural traditions should be explained in a parallel way to the design-like features of organisms, namely with re...
Article
In this commentary, we ask when rationalization is most likely to occur and to not occur, and about where to expect, and how to measure, its benefits.
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans sometimes cooperate, and sometimes exploit one another. The prevalence of interpersonal exploitation is related to the distribution of economic resources: more unequal societies tend to have higher crime and lower trust. Models of the evolution of cooperation have not yet shown why this should be. We created an evolutionary model of cooperat...
Article
Full-text available
Many human societies feature institutions for redistributing resources from some individuals to others, but preferred levels of redistribution vary greatly within and between populations. We postulate that support for redistribution is the output of a structured cognitive system that is sensitive to features of the social situation. We developed an...
Article
Full-text available
Longitudinal studies have sought to establish whether environmental exposures such as smoking accelerate the attrition of individuals' telomeres over time. These studies typically control for baseline telomere length (TL) by including it as a covariate in statistical models. However, baseline TL also differs between smokers and non-smokers, and tel...
Article
Full-text available
On average, psychological variables are often statistically different in people living in poverty compared with people living in affluence. The default academic response to this pattern is often the deficit model: Poverty damages or impairs brain function, which leads to poor performance that only exacerbates the poverty. Deficits and damage are re...
Preprint
Full-text available
People sometimes cooperate successfully, and sometimes fail to do so. Although there is a large literature on human cooperation, we still lack evidence on the individual-level factors that influence its success or failure. Here, we investigate the impact of experimentally manipulating hunger, via asking participants to skip breakfast, in two econom...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight amongst women, but not men, in high-income countries. Previous research using food recalls suggests that the total energy intake of food-insecure women is not elevated, though macronutrient composition may differ from that of food-secure women. There is limited evidence on temporal patterns of foo...
Article
Full-text available
Experimentally inducing low subjective socioeconomic status (SSES) increases food consumption in standardized eating opportunities. Separately, food insecurity (FI) has also been shown to be associated with increased food consumption when a free eating opportunity is provided. Here, we assigned 123 adult volunteers to a low-SSES manipulation or a c...
Article
Full-text available
Smoking is associated with shorter leucocyte telomere length (LTL), a biomarker of increased morbidity and reduced longevity. This association is widely interpreted as evidence that smoking causes accelerated LTL attrition in adulthood, but the evidence for this is inconsistent. We analysed the association between smoking and LTL dynamics in 18 lon...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many human societies feature institutions for redistributing resources from some individuals to others, but preferred levels of redistribution vary greatly within and between populations. We postulate that support for redistribution is the output of moral computations that are sensitive to perceived features of the social situation. We develop a wi...
Preprint
Many human societies feature institutions for redistributing resources from some individuals to others, but preferred levels of redistribution vary greatly within and between populations. We postulate that support for redistribution is the output of moral computations that are sensitive to perceived features of the social situation. We develop a wi...
Article
Full-text available
Impulsivity—the extent to which a reward is devalued by the amount of time until it is realized—can be affected by an individual’s current energetic state and long-term developmental history. In European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), a previous study found that birds that were lighter for their skeletal size, and birds that had undergone greater sh...
Article
Full-text available
The qPCR method provides an inexpensive, rapid method for estimating relative telomere length across a set of biological samples. Like all laboratory methods, it involves some degree of measurement error. The estimation of relative telomere length is done subjecting the actual measurements made (the Cq values for telomere and a control gene) to non...
Data
Appendix with analytical results and additional simulations. (PDF)
Preprint
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight amongst women, but not men, in high-income countries. Previous research using food recalls suggests that the total energy intake of food-insecure women is not elevated, though macronutrient composition may differ from that of food-secure women. There is limited evidence on temporal patterns of foo...
Article
Full-text available
The term 'life-history theory' is a familiar label in several disciplines. Life-history theory has its roots in evolutionary models of the fitness consequences of allocating energy to reproduction, growth and self-maintenance across the life course. Increasingly, the term is also used in the conceptual framing of psychological and social-science st...
Article
Full-text available
There is enduring debate over the question of which early-life effects are adaptive and which ones are not. Mathematical modelling shows that early-life effects can be adaptive in environments that have particular statistical properties, such as reliable cues to current conditions and high autocorrelation of environmental states. However, few empir...
Preprint
Full-text available
Life history theory developed as a branch of formal evolutionary theory concerned with the fitness consequences of allocating energy to reproduction, growth and self-maintenance across the life course. More recently, researchers have advocated its relevance to many psychological and social-science questions. As a scientific paradigm expands its ran...
Article
Full-text available
Judgement bias tasks are designed to provide markers of affective states. A recent study of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) demonstrated modest familial effects on judgement bias performance, and found that adverse early experience and developmental telomere attrition (an integrative marker of biological age) both affected judgement bias. Oth...
Preprint
Full-text available
The qPCR method provides an inexpensive, rapid method for estimating relative average telomere length across a set of biological samples. Like all laboratory methods, it involves some degree of measurement error. The estimation of relative telomere length is done subjecting the actual measurements made (the Cq values for telomere and a control gene...
Article
Full-text available
Judgement bias tasks are designed to provide markers of affective states. A recent study of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) demonstrated modest familial effects on judgement bias performance, and found that adverse early experience and developmental telomere attrition (an integrative marker of biological age) both affected judgement bias. Oth...
Article
Full-text available
The strength of the avian stress response declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted the strength of the stress response even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition (D...
Article
Full-text available
The cyclic ratio (CR) schedule is a behavioural assay developed to study feeding in rats, in which the number of operant responses required to obtain food reward (the ratio requirement) increases and then decreases in a repeating cycle. In a recent study, we used the CR schedule with European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to investigate the effects...
Book
Full-text available
This is the book version of my essay project Hanging on to the Edges. Follow the link for access to the PDF or to order paper copies.
Article
Full-text available
Telomeres have been proposed as a biomarker that integrates the impacts of different kinds of stress and adversity into a common currency. There has as yet been no overall comparison of how different classes of exposure associate with telomeres. We present a meta-analysis of the literature relating telomere measures to stresses and adversities in h...
Preprint
Full-text available
Impulsivity refers to the valuation of future rewards relative to immediate ones. From an evolutionary perspective, we should expect impulsivity to be sensitive to the current state of the organism (for example, hunger), and also its long-term developmental history. There is evidence that both current hunger and childhood socioeconomic deprivation...
Article
Full-text available
Regulation of mass in small birds is based on simultaneously minimizing starvation and predation risk, but the mechanisms birds use to assess starvation risk are still debated. While we know that birds anticipate periods of unpredictable food availability/energy expenditure (e.g. the winter and night) by increasing their fat reserves, we do not kno...
Preprint
Full-text available
The responsiveness of the avian stress system declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted stress responsiveness even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition showed a low...
Preprint
The responsiveness of the avian stress system declines with age. A recently published study of European starlings ( Sturnus vulgaris ) found that a marker of biological age predicted stress responsiveness even in individuals of the same chronological age. Specifically, birds that had experienced greater developmental telomere attrition showed a low...
Article
Full-text available
Food insecurity is associated with high body weight for women but not men in affluent Western societies. However, it is not currently known what behavioural or psychological mechanisms drive this association. Moreover, it is also unknown whether only current experience of food insecurity in adulthood is important, or there are lasting effects of ch...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades, developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) has emerged as a central framework for studying early‐life effects, that is, the impact of fetal and early postnatal experience on adult functioning. Apace with empirical progress, theoreticians have built mathematical models that provide novel insights for DOHaD. This article...
Chapter
Full-text available
Buddhism and the replication crisis
Preprint
Full-text available
Telomeres have been proposed as a biomarker that integrates the impacts of different kinds of stress and adversity into a common currency. There has as yet been no overall comparison of how different classes of exposure associate with telomeres. We present a meta-analysis of the literature relating telomere measures to stresses and adversities in h...