Daniel J. Benjamin's research while affiliated with University of California, Los Angeles and other places

Publications (124)

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Effects estimated by genome-wide association studies (GWASs) include effects of alleles in an individual on that individual (direct genetic effects), indirect genetic effects (for example, effects of alleles in parents on offspring through the environment) and bias from confounding. Within-family genetic variation is random, enabling unbiased estim...
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Estimates from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of unrelated individuals capture effects of inherited variation (direct effects), demography (population stratification, assortative mating) and relatives (indirect genetic effects). Family-based GWAS designs can control for demographic and indirect genetic effects, but large-scale family datase...
Article
We conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment (EA) in a sample of ~3 million individuals and identify 3,952 approximately uncorrelated genome-wide-significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A genome-wide polygenic predictor, or polygenic index (PGI), explains 12–16% of EA variance and contributes to risk predi...
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Polygenic indexes (PGIs) are DNA-based predictors. Their value for research in many scientific disciplines is growing rapidly. As a resource for researchers, we used a consistent methodology to construct PGIs for 47 phenotypes in 11 datasets. To maximize the PGIs’ prediction accuracies, we constructed them using genome-wide association studies—some...
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Any large dataset can be analyzed in a number of ways, and it is possible that the use of different analysis strategies will lead to different results and conclusions. One way to assess whether the results obtained depend on the analysis strategy chosen is to employ multiple analysts and leave each of them free to follow their own approach. Here, w...
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(Abstracted from N Engl J Med 2021;385:78–86) Embryo selection based on polygenic scores (ESPS) is the principle wherein one can select individualized embryos to transfer as part of in vitro fertilization based on predictions of health and other outcomes derived from genome-wide association studies (GWASs). The majority of human traits including ph...
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Companies have recently begun to sell a new service to patients considering in vitro fertilization: embryo selection based on polygenic scores (ESPS). These scores represent individualized predictions of health and other outcomes derived from genomewide association studies in adults to partially predict these outcomes. This article includes a discu...
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We conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of relative intake from the macronutrients fat, protein, carbohydrates, and sugar in over 235,000 individuals of European ancestries. We identified 21 unique, approximately independent lead SNPs. Fourteen lead SNPs are uniquely associated with one macronutrient at genome-wide significance (P < 5 ×...
Preprint
Polygenic indexes (PGIs) are DNA-based predictors. Their value for research in many scientific disciplines is rapidly growing. As a resource for researchers, we used a consistent methodology to construct PGIs for 47 phenotypes in 11 datasets. To maximize the PGIs' prediction accuracies, we constructed them using genome-wide association studies - so...
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We present consensus-based guidance for conducting and documenting multi-analyst studies. We discuss why broader adoption of the multi-analyst approach will strengthen the robustness of results and conclusions in empirical sciences.
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Estimates from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) represent a combination of the effect of inherited genetic variation (direct effects), demography (population stratification, assortative mating) and genetic nurture from relatives (indirect genetic effects). GWAS using family-based designs can control for demography and indirect genetic effects...
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Associations between genotype and phenotype derive from four sources: direct genetic effects, indirect genetic effects from relatives, population stratification, and correlations with other variants affecting the phenotype through assortative mating. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) of unrelated individuals have limited ability to distinguish...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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The compromise effect arises when being close to the “middle” of a choice set makes an option more appealing. The compromise effect poses conceptual and practical problems for economic research: by influencing choices, it can bias researchers’ inferences about preference parameters. To study this bias, we conduct an experiment with 550 participants...
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We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.
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How well do pre-school delay of gratification and life-course measures of self-regulation predict mid-life capital formation? We surveyed 113 participants of the 1967–1973 Bing pre-school studies on delay of gratification when they were in their late 40’s. They reported 11 mid-life capital formation outcomes, including net worth, permanent income,...
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How well do pre-school delay of gratification and life-course measures of self-regulation predict mid-life capital formation? We surveyed 113 participants of the 1967-1973 Bing pre-school studies on delay of gratification when they were in their late 40’s. They reported 11 mid-life capital formation outcomes, including net worth, permanent income,...
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In the version of the paper initially published, no competing interests were declared. The ‘Competing interests’ statement should have stated that B.M.N. is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Deep Genomics. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Although technology-driven economic growth generates gains in consumption and employment opportunities, it may also negatively impact other dimensions of well-being, such as emotional well-being or sense of stability. We study 204 aspects of self-reported well-being among 1,576 US MTurk survey respondents, aggregated into seven themes: evaluative w...
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Researchers commonly use p-values to answer the question: How strongly does the evidence favor the alternative hypothesis relative to the null hypothesis? p-Values themselves do not directly answer this question and are often misinterpreted in ways that lead to overstating the evidence against the null hypothesis. Even in the “post p < 0.05 era,” h...
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Humans vary substantially in their willingness to take risks. In a combined sample of over one million individuals, we conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of general risk tolerance, adventurousness, and risky behaviors in the driving, drinking, smoking, and sexual domains. We identified 611 approximately independent genetic loci associ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans vary substantially in their willingness to take risks. In a combined sample of over one million individuals, we conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of general risk tolerance, adventurousness, and risky behaviors in the driving, drinking, smoking, and sexual domains. We identified 611 approximately independent genetic loci associ...
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Williams and Bargh (2008) reported that holding a hot cup of coffee caused participants to judge a person’s personality as warmer, and that holding a therapeutic heat pad caused participants to choose rewards for other people rather than for themselves. These experiments featured large effects (r = .28 and .31), small sample sizes (41 and 53 partic...
Article
Williams and Bargh (2008) reported that holding a hot cup of coffee caused participants to judge a person's personality as warmer and that holding a therapeutic heat pad caused participants to choose rewards for other people rather than for themselves. These experiments featured large effects (r =.28 and.31), small sample sizes (41 and 53 participa...
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Preference for mates with similar phenotypes; that is, assortative mating, is widely observed in humans1–5 and has evolutionary consequences6–8. Under Fisher's classical theory⁶, assortative mating is predicted to induce a signature in the genome at trait-associated loci that can be detected and quantified. Here, we develop and apply a method to qu...
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We conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses of relative caloric intake from fat, protein, carbohydrates and sugar in over 235,000 individuals. We identified 21 approximately independent lead SNPs. Relative protein intake exhibits the strongest relationships with poor health, including positive genetic associations with obesity,...
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Here we conducted a large-scale genetic association analysis of educational attainment in a sample of approximately 1.1 million individuals and identify 1,271 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs. For the SNPs taken together, we found evidence of heterogeneous effects across environments. The SNPs implicate genes involved in brain-development p...
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Non-random mate-choice with respect to complex traits is widely observed in humans, but whether this reflects true phenotypic assortment, environment (social homogamy) or convergence after choosing a partner is not known. Understanding the causes of mate choice is important, because assortative mating (AM) if based upon heritable traits, has geneti...
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We introduce multi-trait analysis of GWAS (MTAG), a method for joint analysis of summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of different traits, possibly from overlapping samples. We apply MTAG to summary statistics for depressive symptoms (N eff = 354,862), neuroticism (N = 168,105), and subjective well-being (N = 388,538). As...
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The epigenome is associated with biological factors, such as disease status, and environmental factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index. Although there is a widespread perception that environmental influences on the epigenome are pervasive and profound, there has been little evidence to date in humans with respect to enviro...
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Project examines intuitive misconceptions of chance. The authors affectionately referred to this as the "Barney" project. Don't ask us why.
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We propose to change the default P-value threshold for statistical significance for claims of new discoveries from 0.05 to 0.005.
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"We propose to change the default P-value threshold forstatistical significance for claims of new discoveries from 0.05 to 0.005."
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We introduce Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG), a method for joint analysis of summary statistics from GWASs of different traits, possibly from overlapping samples. We apply MTAG to summary statistics for depressive symptoms ( N eff = 354,862), neuroticism ( N = 168,105), and subjective well-being ( N = 388,538). Compared to 32, 9, and 13 genome-...
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Quadratic voting and the normalized gradient addition mechanism are both social choice mechanisms that confront individuals with quadratic budget constraints, but they are applicable in different contexts. Adapting one or both to apply to the same context, this paper explores the relationship between these two mechanisms in three contexts: marginal...
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How should a survey-based measure of well-being be implemented? How could it be constructed in a systematic and politically neutral way? These questions should be approached by economists with the same level of care that has been taken in the theoretical and practical development of GDP. We focus on two essential requirements for implementation: fo...
Preprint
The epigenome has been shown to be influenced by biological factors, such as disease status, and environmental factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and body mass index. Although there is a widespread perception that environmental influences on the epigenome are pervasive and profound, there has been little evidence to date in humans with...
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The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior—age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)—has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood...
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In the version of this article initially published, one of the affiliations listed for author Maciej Trzaskowski, to the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Split, Split, Croatia, was included in error. The correct affiliation for this author is the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensla...
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Educational attainment is strongly influenced by social and other environmental factors, but genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals1. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for educational attainment that extends our earlier discovery sample1, 2 of 101,069 individu...
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Very few genetic variants have been associated with depression and neuroticism, likely because of limitations on sample size in previous studies. Subjective well-being, a phenotype that is genetically correlated with both of these traits, has not yet been studied with genome-wide data. We conducted genome-wide association studies of three phenotype...
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Much of science is (rightly or wrongly) driven by hypothesis testing. Even in situations where the hypothesis testing paradigm is correct, the common practice of basing inferences solely on p-values has been under intense criticism for over 50 years. We propose, as an alternative, the use of the odds of a correct rejection of the null hypothesis to...
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Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders1, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness2. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigat...
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Full-text available
Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders1, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness2. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigat...
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Full-text available
We tested whether polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder would predict creativity. Higher scores were associated with artistic society membership or creative profession in both Icelandic (P = 5.2 × 10−6 and 3.8 × 10−6 for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder scores, respectively) and replication cohorts (P = 0.0021 and 0.00086)....
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I study a gift-exchange game, in which a profit-maximizing firm offers a wage to a fair-minded worker, who then chooses how much effort to exert. The worker judges a transaction fairer to the extent that his or her own gain is more nearly equal to the firm's gain. The worker calculates both players' gains relative to what they would have gained fro...
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Under what conditions do distributional preferences, such as altruism or a concern for fair outcomes, generate efficient trade? I analyze theoretically a simple bilateral exchange game: each player sequentially takes an action that reduces his own material payoff but increases the other player's. Each player's preferences may depend on both his/her...
Article
The compromise effect - a tendency to choose options close to the “middle” of a choice - has been shown to confound measurement of preferences. In an experiment with 550 participants, we study risk preferences elicited with Multiple Price Lists. Following prior work, we manipulate the compromise effect by varying the middle options of each Multiple...