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Your Parents Owning Their Own Home

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"A few years ago, psychologist Sheldon Cohen conducted an experiment. First, he asked adults a key question about their childhoods. Then, he squirted cold viruses up their noses and watched his subjects for several days to see which of them got sick.

As it turned out, the answer the adults gave to that question was "a great predictor" of whether they would develop the sniffles, says Cohen, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

The question: Did your parents own their home when you were a kid? Actually, Cohen asked that question once for every year from birth to age 18 and found that "the more years your parents owned their own home, the less likely you were to develop a cold," Cohen says.

Though Cohen's findings might seem surprising, they are consistent with a mountain of studies, compiled over several decades, that show socioeconomic status can have a profound influence on health. That research will get a rare four hours of TV time in the next month as PBS stations air a new documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

The documentary, which features Cohen and many other scientists and public health experts, concludes that, contrary to popular belief, your health is not just the sum of your genes, your health habits and the quality of your health insurance plan. Your income, education and race matter; so does your address, your job title and, as Cohen demonstrated, the status your parents had when you were small."

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Sounds pretty interesting.

People's brains are surely way more powerful than we think when it comes to sickness etc..

There have been numerous studies where placebos do just as good a job as real drugs IIRC ?

So if your parents had their own home you were likely to be happier and thus healthier ? Possible.

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"A few years ago, psychologist Sheldon Cohen conducted an experiment. First, he asked adults a key question about their childhoods. Then, he squirted cold viruses up their noses and watched his subjects for several days to see which of them got sick.

As it turned out, the answer the adults gave to that question was "a great predictor" of whether they would develop the sniffles, says Cohen, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

The question: Did your parents own their home when you were a kid? Actually, Cohen asked that question once for every year from birth to age 18 and found that "the more years your parents owned their own home, the less likely you were to develop a cold," Cohen says.

Though Cohen's findings might seem surprising, they are consistent with a mountain of studies, compiled over several decades, that show socioeconomic status can have a profound influence on health. That research will get a rare four hours of TV time in the next month as PBS stations air a new documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

The documentary, which features Cohen and many other scientists and public health experts, concludes that, contrary to popular belief, your health is not just the sum of your genes, your health habits and the quality of your health insurance plan. Your income, education and race matter; so does your address, your job title and, as Cohen demonstrated, the status your parents had when you were small."

I'd need to see evidence it wasn't the other way around, that it isn't health which determines your socioeconomic status. Correlation is not causation. Is there a proposed mechanism by which your wealth determines your ability to resist the cold virus?

Edited by (Blizzard)

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Is there a proposed mechanism by which your wealth determines your ability to resist the cold virus?

I think the commonly considered mechanism is this: anxiety (which I surmise is inversely proportional to status) leads to a stress response, which reduces the immune response (fight or flight dictates that resources be extracted from maintenance tasks and allocated to short term defence preparedness, ergo immunity is a long term maintenance task)

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Sounds pretty interesting.

People's brains are surely way more powerful than we think when it comes to sickness etc..

There have been numerous studies where placebos do just as good a job as real drugs IIRC ?

So if your parents had their own home you were likely to be happier and thus healthier ? Possible.

Testing a drug against a placebo is the standard method for proving it works, so any working medicine outperforms placebo almost by definition.

Of course, useless drugs have managed to get through the trial process. Nothing's perfect.

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I'd need to see evidence it wasn't the other way around, that it isn't health which determines your socioeconomic status. Correlation is not causation. Is there a proposed mechanism by which your wealth determines your ability to resist the cold virus?

Presumably it's the quality of food, living space, status, free time and stress (not all is bad) that determines susceptibility to illness. It's pretty straightforward to see how wealth can affect access to that.

I've covered a fair proportion of the wealth spectrum in my life and I got a hell of a lot more colds when I lived on 5 grand/year as a student (15 years ago granted) compared to 50 grand. And I live in London so get the tube everywhere which means I'm constantly exposed to all that ****. hardly a double blind trial, but it hardly seems like it'd need that to prove it.

Edited by Kinky John

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I think the commonly considered mechanism is this: anxiety (which I surmise is inversely proportional to status) leads to a stress response, which reduces the immune response (fight or flight dictates that resources be extracted from maintenance tasks and allocated to short term defence preparedness, ergo immunity is a long term maintenance task)

I could believe that, but it'd need to be tested. I think the other argument - that people with bad genes get sick and don't get rich - is just as plausible, at least superficially.

Any idea how I can watch the documentary in the UK?

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Presumably it's the quality of food, living space, status, free time and stress (not all is bad) that determines susceptibility to illness. It's pretty straightforward to see how wealth can affect access to that.

I've covered a fair proportion of the wealth spectrum in my life and I got a hell of a lot more colds when I lived on 5 grand/year as a student (15 years ago granted) compared to 50 grand. And I live in London so get the tube everywhere which means I'm constantly exposed to all that ****

Yes, that's another interesting complication I think.. I can easily believe that living in bad conditions makes you more susceptible to illness, simply because of the conditions.

However, if you take people out of those conditions, and give them the cold virus in a laboratory then that's different. The OP also suggests that living in bad conditions years ago can affect your propensity to get a cold now.

That suggests either that the living conditions have affected their body somehow or the alternative hypothesis that people with bad genes get sick and don't get rich.

Edited by (Blizzard)

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Of couse I don't for a moment believe that it is the owning of the house, but the other factors. So I don't think we can use ownership of a house to predict any patterns for the future, as there are some reasonably large income people who aren't buying houses currently. Less fool them.

I would draw comparisons with the research that "university graduates earn £x,000 more per year than non-graduates". This is only based on previous data "on average", is certainly not true at the margin, and is probably not true for people starting now or going to third tier universities.

Slightly off-topic, but the sort of thing that the MSM never consider when they reprint someone else's (good or bad) research.

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Of couse I don't for a moment believe that it is the owning of the house, but the other factors. So I don't think we can use ownership of a house to predict any patterns for the future, as there are some reasonably large income people who aren't buying houses currently. Less fool them.

I would draw comparisons with the research that "university graduates earn £x,000 more per year than non-graduates". This is only based on previous data "on average", is certainly not true at the margin, and is probably not true for people starting now or going to third tier universities.

Slightly off-topic, but the sort of thing that the MSM never consider when they reprint someone else's (good or bad) research.

It occured to me that the bit in bold, and the related idea of sending huge numbers of people to university, is exactly analogous to the cargo cult:

I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are

examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the

South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw

airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same

thing to happen now. So they've arranged to imitate things like

runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a

wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head

like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas--he's

the controller--and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're

doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the

way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So

I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the

apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but

they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.

Textbook idiocy.

Edited by (Blizzard)

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I'd need to see evidence it wasn't the other way around, that it isn't health which determines your socioeconomic status. Correlation is not causation. Is there a proposed mechanism by which your wealth determines your ability to resist the cold virus?

Indeed, it may be that good health is indicative of other positive traits like intelligence etc., i.e. an indicator of just having better genes in general. Having such genes could mean you're more likely to resist infections and be bright enough to get a good job and and so afford to buy your own home.

Reminds me of all the noise about kids from poor backgrounds underachieving at school and how it's the fault of schools and not enough money being ploughed in to the education system. Could it be that most poor families are poor because they're not that smart and can't compete that well in society. Obviously their genes are passed on to their kids, so the educational outcry might be a case of putting the cart before the horse perhaps.

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Indeed, it may be that good health is indicative of other positive traits like intelligence etc., i.e. an indicator of just having better genes in general. Having such genes could mean you're more likely to resist infections and be bright enough to get a good job and and so afford to buy your own home.

Reminds me of all the noise about kids from poor backgrounds underachieving at school and how it's the fault of schools and not enough money being ploughed in to the education system. Could it be that most poor families are poor because they're not that smart and can't compete that well in society. Obviously their genes are passed on to their kids, so the educational outcry might be a case of putting the cart before the horse perhaps.

But if this experiment really did work, what does it say about kids whose parents owned their own home but whose grandparents didn't?

How well you do economically depends on the society in which you live as well as the talents you're born with. My father passed the 11-plus top of all the children in his year in the entire county, but was one of three children of a widow who worked in a cafe, so couldn't go to university and spent his working life in very modestly paid employment and renting.

Also, what about flourishing economies like Germany where a huge proportion rent? How do they manage to be so successful when they're coughing and sneezing the entire time?

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Presumably it's the quality of food, living space, status, free time and stress (not all is bad) that determines susceptibility to illness. It's pretty straightforward to see how wealth can affect access to that.

I've covered a fair proportion of the wealth spectrum in my life and I got a hell of a lot more colds when I lived on 5 grand/year as a student (15 years ago granted) compared to 50 grand. And I live in London so get the tube everywhere which means I'm constantly exposed to all that ****. hardly a double blind trial, but it hardly seems like it'd need that to prove it.

Maybe you've developed more immunity as you've grown older. Regardless of income I used to get stinking colds regularly - now I can't remember when I last had one.* And I work on the front line with the public, who are all too often perfectly happy to let their kids cough and splutter in your face. I use buses a fair bit, too.

*I'm bound to catch one now, of course. ;)

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The linkage is probably: low IQ => low-paid job => non-home-owner parent; and low IQ => gives child poor diet and inflicts passive smoking => child grows up with weak immune system and low IQ of their own.

So I think low IQ is the root factor for both non-home-owning and sickly children.

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The linkage is probably: low IQ => low-paid job => non-home-owner parent; and low IQ => gives child poor diet and inflicts passive smoking => child grows up with weak immune system and low IQ of their own.

So I think low IQ is the root factor for both non-home-owning and sickly children.

I think this, and the previous answer

How well you do economically depends on the society in which you live as well as the talents you're born with. My father passed the 11-plus top of all the children in his year in the entire county, but was one of three children of a widow who worked in a cafe, so couldn't go to university and spent his working life in very modestly paid employment and renting.

assume that we live in a meritocracy. We do not.

I would suggest that you can inherit characteristics that make you attractive to the social elite. This is a far more important factor in determining your future wealth than any sort of skills or abilities.

Height, for example, is strongly correlated with wealth. I think it has been shown that attractive people, men and women, also earn more on average.

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I think this, and the previous answer

assume that we live in a meritocracy. We do not.

I would suggest that you can inherit characteristics that make you attractive to the social elite. This is a far more important factor in determining your future wealth than any sort of skills or abilities.

Height, for example, is strongly correlated with wealth. I think it has been shown that attractive people, men and women, also earn more on average.

You mean like Bernie Ecclestone?

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I think this, and the previous answer

assume that we live in a meritocracy. We do not.

I would suggest that you can inherit characteristics that make you attractive to the social elite. This is a far more important factor in determining your future wealth than any sort of skills or abilities.

Height, for example, is strongly correlated with wealth. I think it has been shown that attractive people, men and women, also earn more on average.

So you're saying that intelligence is nothing to do with a person's economic success. There could be hundreds, thousands, millions of bright people in Britain who stay poor their entire lives.

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Also, what about flourishing economies like Germany where a huge proportion rent? How do they manage to be so successful when they're coughing and sneezing the entire time?

I think the home-ownership thing is a predictor. They're not implying that home-ownership per se prevents you getting colds. Not having read the whole thing, my personal take on this would be that wealthier families tend to have healthier life styles. They eat better food, and do more exercise by and large.

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  • 150 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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