Publications

2021
Carmel Kalla, Tanya Goltser-Dubner, Dalya Pevzner, Laura Canetti, Aron Mirman, Ariel Ben-Yehuda, Noa Itzhar, Fortu Benarroch, Amit Shalev, Ruth Giesser, Eyal Fruchter, Inon Vashdi, Osnat Oz, Roni Haber, Chen Saloner, Amit Lotan, Esti Galili-Weisstub, Omer Bonne, and Ronen Segman. 2021. “Resting mononuclear cell NR3C1 and SKA2 expression levels predict blunted cortisol reactivity to combat training stress among elite army cadets exposed to childhood adversity.” Molecular Psychiatry, 26, Pp. 6680-6687. Abstract
Childhood adversity (CA) may alter reactivity to stress throughout life, increasing risk for psychiatric and medical morbidity, yet long-term correlates of milder CA levels among high functioning healthy adolescents are less studied. The current study examined the prevalence and impact of CA exposure among a cohort of healthy motivated elite parachute unit volunteers, prospectively assessed at rest and at the height of an intensive combat-simulation exposure. We found significantly reduced gene expression levels in resting mononuclear cell nuclear receptor, subfamily 3, member 1 (NR3C1), and its transactivator spindle and kinetochore-associated protein 2 (SKA2), that predict blunted cortisol reactivity to combat-simulation stress among CA exposed adolescents. Long-term alterations in endocrine immune indices, subjective distress, and executive functions persist among healthy high functioning adolescents following milder CA exposure, and may promote resilience or vulnerability to later real-life combat exposure.
Alon Eizenberg, Saul Lach, and Merav Oren-Yiftach. 2021. “Retail Prices in a City.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 13, Pp. 175-206.
T. Rubel-Lifschitz, M. Benish-Weisman, C. V. Torres, and K. McDonald. 2021. “The revealing effect of power: Popularity moderates the associations of personal values with aggression in adolescence.” J Pers, 89, Pp. 786-802. Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Values have been found to predict aggressive behavior in adolescents. Adolescents who endorse self-enhancement values typically exhibit more aggressive behaviors, while adolescents who endorse self-transcendent values are less likely to behave aggressively. The associations between values and aggression are low to moderate, suggesting that other factors might moderate them. The study examined whether these associations were moderated by adolescent popularity, an indication of social power. METHOD: The study included 906 adolescents from three cultures: Brazilians (N = 244), Jewish citizens of Israel (N = 250), and Arabic citizens of Israel (N = 409). Personal values were assessed using the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ). Peer nominations were used to assess direct aggression and popularity. RESULTS: Popularity moderated the associations between values and aggression: while the aggressive behavior of popular adolescents was highly associated with their personal values, the behavior of unpopular adolescents was unrelated to their values. This effect consistently emerged across samples, with specific variations for gender and culture. CONCLUSION: Popularity enables adolescents to act according to their personal values: aggressive behaviors increase or decrease according to personal value priorities. The strength of this effect depends on cultural expectations and gender roles.
This study focuses on the perceived community social climate's role as a capital for retaining knowledge-workers in the region. The conceptualization of the perceived community social climate includes seven dimensions: network participation, amenities, collective efficacy, neighborhood ambiance, civic participation, tolerance for diversity, and trust among residents. We offer a measurement scale suitable for measuring physical and virtual interactions. We validated the scale with exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis on a sample of 533 university graduates in Israel. We apply the new measure to investigate the effect of the perceived community social climate on university graduates' staying intentions in the community. We analyzed the data utilizing Multiple-Indicators-Multiple-Causes (MIMIC) model. The findings show that: i) collective efficacy and civic participation motivate neighborhood staying intentions; ii) collective efficacy is motivated by neighborhood amenities, network participation, and social trust; iii) social trust mediates between collective efficacy, neighborhood ambiance, and tolerance-for-diversity; iv) civic participation derives from to neighborhood ambiance and network participation.
Oryah C. Lancry-Dayan, Matthias Gamer, and Yoni Pertzov. 2021. “Search for the Unknown: Guidance of Visual Search in the Absence of an Active Template.” Psychological Science, 32, Pp. 1404-1415. Abstract
Can you efficiently look for something even without knowing what it looks like? According to theories of visual search, the answer is no: A template of the search target must be maintained in an active state to guide search for potential locations of the target. Here, we tested the need for an active template by assessing a case in which this template is improbable: the search for a familiar face among unfamiliar ones when the identity of the target face is unknown. Because people are familiar with hundreds of faces, an active guiding template seems unlikely in this case. Nevertheless, participants (35 Israelis and 33 Germans) were able to guide their search as long as extrafoveal processing of the target features was possible. These results challenge current theories of visual search by showing that guidance can rely on long-term memory and extrafoveal processing rather than on an active search template.
The idea that individuals differ in their sensitivity to the environment's effects is a cornerstone of developmental science. It has been demonstrated repeatedly, for different kinds of stressors, outcomes, and sensitivity markers. However, almost no empirical work was done to examine whether environmental sensitivity is domain-general (i.e., the same individuals are sensitive to different environmental contexts) or domain-specific (i.e., different individuals are sensitive to different environmental contexts), despite its importance to understanding human development, learning, and behavior. To address this question, phenotypic sensitivity to parents and to peers were compared in 1313 11-year-old Israeli adolescent twins. We found that, (1) our phenotypic markers indeed moderate environmental influences, with a discriminant predictive utility, (2) adolescents who are sensitive to their parents are not necessarily sensitive to their peers, and (3) sensitivity to parents and sensitivity to peers have different etiologies and show a negative genetic correlation, indicating that adolescents carrying genetic markers for sensitivity to parents are less likely to carry genetic markers for sensitivity to peers. These findings suggest that environmental sensitivity shows domain-specific patterns, as different individuals can be sensitive to different environments. We discuss the theoretical, empirical, and practical implications of domain-specificity of environmental sensitivity.
Pavel Chigansky and Marina Kleptsyna. 2021. “Sharp asymptotics in a fractional Sturm-Liouville problem.” Fractional Calculus and Applied Analysis, 24, Pp. 715-738.
Semion Polinov, Revital Bookman, and Noam Levin. 2021. “Spatial and temporal assessment of oil spills in the Mediterranean Sea.” Marine Pollution Bulletin, 167, Pp. 112338. Abstract
Ship-generated oil pollution is a significant threat to the Mediterranean Sea. We present a geostatistical analysis of oil spills using three databases for the Mediterranean Sea: REMPEC (1977–2000) with 385 spills (17/year), ITOPF (1970–2018) with 167 spills (3.5/year) and EMSA (2015–2017) with 2066 detections (688/year). It was found that 88% of spills reported by REMPEC occurred near coastline areas, while 65% of the spills detected by EMSA occurred within a range of 22–100 km from the coastline. At the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) level, EMSA oil spills densities were positively correlated with shipping and port activity. We conclude that there is a need to develop an open-access database of oil spills that will be based on both reports and remote sensing acquisition methods. Such a database will facilitate more efficient enforcement of international conventions in offshore areas and will increase the likelihood of effective response.
Alon Zoizner, Shaul R. Shenhav, Yair Fogel-Dror, and Tamir Sheafer. 2021. “Strategy News Is Good News: How Journalistic Coverage of Politics Reduces Affective Polarization.” Political Communication, 38, Pp. 604-623. Abstract
ABSTRACTWhat role does news content play in explaining inter-party hostility? We argue that affective polarization is influenced by exposure to one of the most dominant ways to cover politics: strategy coverage. While previous studies have pointed to the negative consequences of covering politicians? strategies and campaign tactics, we find that this reporting style decreases out-party hostility. Our findings are based on two separate studies: (1) a survey experiment and (2) a cross-sectional analysis that increases external validity by combining survey data with computational content analysis of the articles respondents were exposed to by their primary news sources throughout the 2016 US presidential campaign (415,604 articles from 157 American news outlets). The results demonstrate that despite the wide criticism of the tendency of journalists to focus on political strategies, such coverage may ease inter-party tensions in American politics.
Tammar B. Zilber and Yehuda C. Goodman. 2021. “Technology in the time of corona: A critical institutional reading.” Information and Organization, 31, Pp. 100342. Abstract
Drawing on institutional theory and using examples from Israel, we offer a critique of technology's deployment in responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We distinguish between technologies-in-use (“small ‘t' technologies”), the bundle of artifacts and practices that bring them into being, and “Big ‘T' Technology,” the latter being technology as an institution – shared meanings, structures, and practices that govern thought and action. Using the conceptual tool kit of institutional theory, we make three interrelated arguments. First, the deployment of technologies-in-use in response to the pandemic is embedded in diverse and contradictory institutions, the institution of technology among them. These technologies participate in the very construction of crisis, which fosters the revert to known and established ways of being and doing. Thus, technologies-in-use are not necessarily the most efficient and rational but rather the most legitimate and readily available. Second, putting certain technologies into action has not been happening by itself. Instead, we have witnessed contestations among relevant agents – like politicians and experts – who engage in institutional work to serve their interests. Third, despite its global reach, technology is locally adapted and implemented in specific contexts. All in all, institutional theory helps us to explore further and critique the naïve belief, common in public discourse, in technology as a remedy of all things. Instead, it offers a more critical understanding of the cultural dynamics involved in putting technology to work in the coronavirus crisis. This critical lens carries implications for policymaking and implementation in times of crisis.
Yaniv Tenzer, Micha Mandel, and Or Zuk. 2021. “Testing Independence Under Biased Sampling.” Journal of the American Statistical Association, Pp. 1-13.
Alex Gershkov, Benny Moldovanu, Philipp Strack, and Mengxi Zhang. 2021. “A Theory of Auctions with Endogenous Valuations.” Journal of Political Economy, 129, Pp. 1011-1051. Abstract
We derive the symmetric, revenue-maximizing allocation of several units among agents who take costly actions that influence their values. The problem is equivalent to a reduced-form model where agents have nonexpected utility. The uniform-price auction and the discriminatory pay-your-bid auction with reserve prices that react to both demand and supply constitute symmetric, optimal mechanisms. We also identify a condition under which the overall optimal mechanism is indeed symmetric and illustrate the structure of the optimal asymmetric mechanism when the condition fails. The main tool in our analysis is an integral inequality based on Fan and Lorentz (1954).
Eric D. Gould. 2021. “Torn Apart? The Impact of Manufacturing Employment Decline on Black and White Americans.” The Review of Economics and Statistics, 103, Pp. 770-785. Abstract
This paper examines the impact of manufacturing employment decline on the socioeconomic outcomes within and between black and white Americans since 1960. The analysis shows that manufacturing decline had a negative impact on blacks in terms of their wages, employment, marriage rates, house values, poverty rates, death rates, single parenthood, teen motherhood, child poverty, and child mortality. In addition, the decline in manufacturing increased inequality within the black community for wages and other outcomes. Similar patterns are found for whites, but to a lesser degree—leading to larger gaps between whites and blacks in wages, marriage patterns, poverty, single-parenthood, and death rates.
Blake Hallinan, Bumsoo Kim, Saki Mizoroki, Rebecca Scharlach, Tommaso Trillò, Mike Thelwall, Elad Segev, and Limor Shifman. 2021. “The value(s) of social media rituals: a cross-cultural analysis of New Year’s resolutions.” Information, Communication & Society, Pp. 1-22.
Jasmin Wertz, Salomon Israel, Louise Arseneault, Daniel W. Belsky, Kyle J. Bourassa, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richie Poulton, Leah S. Richmond-Rakerd, Espen Røysamb, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Avshalom Caspi. 2021. “Vital personality scores and healthy aging: Life-course associations and familial transmission.” Social Science & Medicine, 285, Pp. 114283. Abstract
Objectives Personality traits are linked with healthy aging, but it is not clear how these associations come to manifest across the life-course and across generations. To study this question, we tested a series of hypotheses about (a) personality-trait prediction of markers of healthy aging across the life-course, (b) developmental origins, stability and change of links between personality and healthy aging across time, and (c) intergenerational transmission of links between personality and healthy aging. For our analyses we used a measure that aggregates the contributions of Big 5 personality traits to healthy aging: a “vital personality” score. Methods Data came from two population-based longitudinal cohort studies, one based in New Zealand and the other in the UK, comprising over 6000 study members across two generations, and spanning an age range from birth to late life. Results Our analyses revealed three main findings: first, individuals with higher vital personality scores engaged in fewer health-risk behaviors, aged slower, and lived longer. Second, individuals’ vital personality scores were preceded by differences in early-life temperament and were relatively stable across adulthood, but also increased from young adulthood to midlife. Third, individuals with higher vital personality scores had children with similarly vital partners, promoted healthier behaviors in their children, and had children who grew up to have more vital personality scores themselves, for genetic and environmental reasons. Conclusion Our study shows how the health benefits associated with personality accrue throughout the life-course and across generations.
Yair Goldberg, Micha Mandel, Yinon M. Bar-On, Omri Bodenheimer, Laurence Freedman, Eric J. Haas, Ron Milo, Sharon Alroy-Preis, Nachman Ash, and Amit Huppert. 2021. “Waning Immunity after the BNT162b2 Vaccine in Israel.” New England Journal of Medicine, 385, Pp. e85.
Zhen Zhang and Avi Benozio. 2021. “Waste Aversion Reduces Inequity Aversion Among Chinese Children.” Child Development, 92, Pp. 2465-2477. Abstract
An underlying aspect of the development of fairness is the aversion to unequal treatment toward equally deserving parties. By middle childhood, children from Western cultures are even willing to discard resources to avoid inequity. Here, a series of four studies were conducted to assess the robustness of inequity aversion in a culture that emphasizes the value of “Thrift” (i.e., waste aversion). Seven-year-old Chinese participated in third-party (N = 83) and first-person (N = 116) distributive interactions and considered both inequity aversion and waste aversion. Our findings demonstrate that Chinese children accepted inequity (unlike Americans) in the presence of waste but avoided inequity (similar to Americans) in the absence of waste. Cultural and noncultural accounts of waste aversion are discussed.
2020
Edna Guk and Noam Levin. 2020. “Analyzing spatial variability in night-time lights using a high spatial resolution color Jilin-1 image – Jerusalem as a case study.” ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 163, Pp. 121-136. Abstract
In recent decades, there has been an increase in artificial lighting in the world due to urbanization and the revolution of LED lighting. Artificial lighting is an indicator of human activity, but can adversely affect natural ecosystems and people due to negative impacts of light pollution. Space-borne and airborne imagery as well as ground-based measurements enable to measure the intensity and spectra of artificial lights. One of the challenges in remote sensing of night-time lights is how to ground truth night-time imagery acquired by satellites, and how much do space-borne measurements represent the brightness as perceived by organisms. Most of the studies on night-time lights to-date were done using panchromatic sensors at large spatial extents, which did not allow to examine intra-urban variation in night light intensity and spectra. The aim of this study was to test the capability of the new Chinese satellite Jilin-1, which is the first commercial satellite to offer multispectral night-light imagery at a spatial resolution below 1 m, to characterize the night-time properties of urban areas. We examined the correspondence between light intensities as measured from different sensors at different spatial resolutions: two Jilin-1 images of the Jerusalem metropolitan area (0.89 m), VIIRS/DNB (500 m), Loujia-1 (130 m), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) color image (0.05 m) and hemispherical color photographs taken by a calibrated ground DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera). In all the comparisons between different remote sensing tools, as the spatial resolution coarsened, the Pearson correlation coefficient increased, reaching r > 0.5 (after resampling to 100 m). Stronger correlations were found for the red band, and weaker correlations were found for the blue band, probably due to atmospheric scattering. By identifying specific objects such as buildings and lightings, we found good correspondence (R2=0.51) between Jilin-1 and the ground-based measurements of night-time brightness. We further examined the variability of night lights within different land use types and within different ethnic/religion composition of statistical areas. We found that residential areas of Orthodox Jews were characterized with the highest brightness at night compared with residential areas of Arabs in the West Bank that had the lowest brightness. At the statistical zone level (n = 299), more than 50% of the variability in night-time brightness, was explained by land cover properties (NDVI), infrastructure (roads and built volume) and the ethnic/religious composition. In addition, we found that the spectral ratio index which was based on the red and green bands, enabled to better distinguish between land use classes, than the spectral ratio index which was based on the green and blue bands. The availability of night-time multi-spectral imagery at fine spatial resolution now enables to study urban land-use and spatial inequality, and to better understand the factors explaining night-time brightness.
Claire M. Gillan, Eyal Kalanthroff, Michael Evans, Hilary M. Weingarden, Ryan J. Jacoby, Marina Gershkovich, Ivar Snorrason, Raphael Campeas, Cynthia Cervoni, Nicholas Charles Crimarco, Yosef Sokol, Sarah L. Garnaat, Nicole C. R. McLaughlin, Elizabeth A. Phelps, Anthony Pinto, Christina L. Boisseau, Sabine Wilhelm, Nathaniel D. Daw, and H. B. Simpson. 2020. “Comparison of the Association Between Goal-Directed Planning and Self-reported Compulsivity vs Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Diagnosis.” JAMA Psychiatry, 77, Pp. 77-85. Abstract
Dimensional definitions of transdiagnostic mental health problems have been suggested as an alternative to categorical diagnoses, having the advantage of capturing heterogeneity within diagnostic categories and similarity across them and bridging more naturally psychological and neural substrates.To examine whether a self-reported compulsivity dimension has a stronger association with goal-directed and related higher-order cognitive deficits compared with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).In this cross-sectional study, patients with OCD and/or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) from across the United States completed a telephone-based diagnostic interview by a trained rater, internet-based cognitive testing, and self-reported clinical assessments from October 8, 2015, to October 1, 2017. Follow-up data were collected to test for replicability.Performance was measured on a test of goal-directed planning and cognitive flexibility (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test [WCST]) and a test of abstract reasoning. Clinical variables included DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD and GAD and 3 psychiatric symptom dimensions (general distress, compulsivity, and obsessionality) derived from a factor analysis.Of 285 individuals in the analysis (mean [SD] age, 32 [12] years; age range, 18-77 years; 219 [76.8%] female), 111 had OCD; 82, GAD; and 92, OCD and GAD. A diagnosis of OCD was not associated with goal-directed performance compared with GAD at baseline (β [SE], −0.02 [0.02]; P = .18). In contrast, a compulsivity dimension was negatively associated with goal-directed performance (β [SE], −0.05 [0.02]; P = .003). Results for abstract reasoning task and WCST mirrored this pattern; the compulsivity dimension was associated with abstract reasoning (β [SE], 2.99 [0.63]; P < .001) and several indicators of WCST performance (eg, categories completed: β [SE], −0.57 [0.09]; P < .001), whereas OCD diagnosis was not (abstract reasoning: β [SE], 0.39 [0.66]; P = .56; categories completed: β [SE], −0.09 [0.10]; P = .38). Other symptom dimensions relevant to OCD, obsessionality, and general distress had no reliable association with goal-directed performance, WCST, or abstract reasoning. Obsessionality had a positive association with requiring more trials to reach the first category on the WCST at baseline (β [SE], 2.92 [1.39]; P = .04), and general distress was associated with impaired goal-directed performance at baseline (β [SE],−0.04 [0.02]; P = .01). However, unlike the key results of this study, neither survived correction for multiple comparisons or was replicated at follow-up testing.Deficits in goal-directed planning in OCD may be more strongly associated with a compulsivity dimension than with OCD diagnosis. This result may have implications for research assessing the association between brain mechanisms and clinical manifestations and for understanding the structure of mental illness.
Libi Hertzberg, Nicola Maggio, Inna Muler, Assif Yitzhaky, Michael Majer, Vahram Haroutunian, Or Zuk, Pavel Katsel, Eytan Domany, and Mark Weiser. 2020. “Comprehensive Gene Expression Analysis Detects Global Reduction of Proteasome Subunits in Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, 47, Pp. 785-795. Abstract
The main challenge in the study of schizophrenia is its high heterogeneity. While it is generally accepted that there exist several biological mechanisms that may define distinct schizophrenia subtypes, they have not been identified yet. We performed comprehensive gene expression analysis to search for molecular signals that differentiate schizophrenia patients from healthy controls and examined whether an identified signal was concentrated in a subgroup of the patients.Transcriptome sequencing of 14 superior temporal gyrus (STG) samples of subjects with schizophrenia and 15 matched controls from the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) was performed. Differential expression and pathway enrichment analysis results were compared to an independent cohort. Replicability was tested on 6 additional independent datasets.The 2 STG cohorts showed high replicability. Pathway enrichment analysis of the down-regulated genes pointed to proteasome-related pathways. Meta-analysis of differential expression identified down-regulation of 12 of 39 proteasome subunit genes in schizophrenia. The signal of proteasome subunits down-regulation was replicated in 6 additional datasets (overall 8 cohorts with 267 schizophrenia and 266 control samples, from 5 brain regions). The signal was concentrated in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia.We detected global down-regulation of proteasome subunits in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia. We hypothesize that the down-regulation of proteasome subunits leads to proteasome dysfunction that causes accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, which has been recently detected in a subgroup of schizophrenia patients. Thus, down-regulation of proteasome subunits might define a biological subtype of schizophrenia.