In general, this was a short and interesting read. Made me want to read other material by Anne Campbell. The last chapter is skipable, just as Kanazawa said when he reviewed the book.
Women’s “natural” empathy is seen not as an obstacle to impartial observa-
tion but rather as an asset that affords them a different “way of knowing”
(Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986). This empathy is endorsed
even in the nonhuman sciences; “If you want to understand about a tumour,
you’ve got to be a tumour” (Goodﬁeld, 1981, p. 213). Allied to this is an ori-
entation toward the idiographic or at least an avoidance of generalization:
Each woman is unique, and sweeping statements about women in general
or classes of women are viewed with suspicion.
This is the most stupid claim of ‘personal experience’-favoring people ive ever read.
The second strand of thought is an explicit acknowledgment of the po-
litical nature of feminist research (Cole & Phillips, 1995). Its aim is to im-
prove the lives of women (“The information-gathering purpose of research
thus takes second place to a facilitative and liberatory one” [Burr, 1998,
p. 139]), rather than to serve existing patriarchal institutions. Because no
ﬁrm line is drawn between the researcher and the researched, the fruits of
feminist research beneﬁt the former as much as the latter (“Inquiry, as I have
portrayed it, is an uncertain, vulnerable process with immense potential for
personal growth and intellectual creativity” [Marshall, 1986, p. 208]). It is
clear that the feminist political agenda takes precedence over “malestream”
social science. Psychologist Celia Kitzinger (1990, pp. 121–122) is blunt in
her denouncement: “Having identiﬁed psychology as incompatible with
feminism because of its refusal to deal with political realities, and its pre-
tence at objectivity, feminists with a professional involvement in the disci-
pline then sought to redeﬁne and harness psychology for the feminist cause.”
In extremis, this has lead to the wholesale rejection of psychology as con-
ﬂicting with feminist ideology: “The antipsychology approach [which grants
all psychological data and theories a severely limited validity, or even rejects
them completely] is the one which I shall argue offers most to feminist psy-
chology” (Squire, 1990, p. 79).
They are beyond hope. But the wording is good, “malestream science”, ill have to remember that when pointing out that males are dominating in science.
Its apparently not completely niche: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/malestream
See also a random article that uses it here: www.progressivewomen.org.uk/the-cultural-malestream-a-dramatic-misrepresentation-of-women/
The above is complaining about the underrepresentation of women in films and theater, apparently missing the obvious ideas:
As a prepubescent actress at an all-girls’ school I had the chance to play a plethora of roles. In fact, I mostly cross-dressed: from a Scottish medieval knight to a chain-smoking, juvenile delinquent. The opportunity to be whoever I wanted to be, to dream up characters far removed from myself is what turned me onto acting. Inevitably, the real world burst that creative bubble. On work experience at the Royal Court Theatre, I had the mind-numbing task of separating acting CVs into male and female. The exercise proved instructive: the women’s pile doubled the men’s. There was no mistaking the visual metaphor: the odds were quite literally stacked against me.
The issue isn’t that there are more women actors than men; it’s the double bind that there are far fewer roles for women than men. Women are not proportionally represented, even though the majority of the viewing public, for both theatre and television, is female.
As an art form, theatre purports to be progressive. Yet, a 2006 study by Sphinx theatre company showed that out of 140 national theatre productions, 62% of roles were for men and 38% for women. Although more women go to the theatre than men, they are still watching plays in which men play central roles. It’s no coincidence that 70% of these plays were written by and 69% directed by men. Despite the significant numbers of female actors, writers and directors, the industry remains male-dominated.
Does it occur to her that women might just not be as interesting characters? They certainly are not if we look at history. Since they, according to her, are the majority of the viewers, perhaps they just like to watch men? These are obviously hypotheses to me.
It still astounds me that casting is so overtly and unashamedly discriminatory. Unlike any other industry, more often than not, an actor is primarily hired on the basis of sex, race and appearance. In this past week, I analysed breakdowns from several casting websites to which I subscribe: 72% sought male actors, while just 28% advertised for women. It’s not only the number of roles available to women; it’s the quality of these roles, which often perpetuate patriarchal stereotypes and/or sexually objectify women. Here are a few gems:
Ah, the sociologist’s second fallacy! Which i will expand to not just racism, but any discrimination. There are some obvious solutions for complainer above: Become a screenwriter and start writing plays with more women. Become a director, start making films with more women. Convince other women not to go into acting (thus increasing demand and wages for those there).
This question of whether ideas that are promulgated through discourse
are veridical is one that constructionists ﬁnesse because they reject the
methods by which “facts” and “truth” are established. But in a crucial way,
their avoidance of this question places them in a very awkward position in
relation to their aims of both representing women’s experiences and im-
proving women’s lives. Constructionists’ analyses of women’s experiences
are negotiable, provisional, and subjective “glosses” of women’s negotiable,
provisional, and subjective discourse about themselves. Since there is no
“self,” aside from its situated constitution in text, it makes no sense to lay
claim to “accuracy” in any description of women’s lives since the term is
meaningless without a criterion for factuality. In addition, if there are no
facts (encapsulated in Derrida’s famous dictum “There is nothing outside the
text”), then constructionists are forced to concede that men’s historical op-
pression of women, the suffering of abused wives, and working women’s in-
ability to break through the glass ceiling are not facts but situated social
Social constructionists not only refuse to seriously address the possibil-
ity of a social reality beyond the text (that may or may not be accurately rep-
resented in discourse) but are equally reluctant to consider the origins of
everyday discourses. If the stronger male sex drive is a collective ﬁction, then
where did it originate? Which sex beneﬁts from it? Why is it not discon-
ﬁrmed by thousands of women’s own experience? At what age and how do
young people acquire it? These are, we are told, illegitimate “mechanical”
But to assume the mechanical reproduction of discourse requires ask-
ing how it got to be like that in the ﬁrst place. And that question is in
danger of throwing theory back into answers according to the terms
of biological, Oedipal or social and economic determinisms. (Hollway,
1984, pp. 238–239)
This reminds me of Jussim et al’s article The Unbearable Accuracy of Stereotypes. Quotes here. Where do stereotypes come from? Usually, they come from the shared experiences of many, many people. Although they can be invented as well. But since they are usually grounded in facts, they are reasonably accurate.
At the biological heart of sex differences lies anisogamy—the vastly un-
equal size (and consequent energetic cost) of gametes contributed by male
and female in sexual reproduction. As Williams (1996, p. 118) points out,
anisogamy marks the start of male exploitation of females. “When egg-
producers reproduce, they must bear the entire nutritional burden of nur-
turing the offspring. By contrast, the sperm-makers reproduce for free. A
sperm is not a contribution to the next generation; it is a claim on contribu-
tions put into the egg by another individual. Males of most species make no
investments in the next generation, but merely compete with one another
for the opportunity to exploit investments made by females.” When com-
bined with internal fertilization, the stage is set for an even greater inequal-
ity in parental investment for two main reasons. First, the cost to the female
of abandoning the embryo or newborn is far greater than to the male. At any
given point in time she has made the greater commitment to the offspring
(in terms of time and energy) and will suffer a higher replacement cost if she
deserts it (all the more true in humans, where her reproductive future is
truncated by menopause). Second, internal fertilization introduces uncer-
tainty about paternity. While a female need never doubt that the offspring
to which she gives birth is her own, males must entertain the possibility of
cuckoldry. The degree of paternal care depends, across species, on the male’s
certainty that he is the biological father. Doubt reduces the likelihood of
male investment and leaves the mother “holding the baby.” For these rea-
sons, in over 90% of mammals, it is the female who exclusively cares for the
young. As primates, humans are remarkable on three counts. First, they
must cope with a very protracted period of infant dependency. Babies are
born, biologically speaking, about nine months prematurely so that the huge
cranium can pass through the pelvis—a channel that could not grow larger
without compromising the mother’s bipedal locomotion. Sexual maturity is
not attained for 12 to 14 years because an extensive learning period is re-
quired to master the complexity of the social environment that humans
must navigate. Second, humans display a very high degree of paternal care
relative to other primates. Men did not elect this route as a favor to
women—selection does not favor strategies that selﬂessly beneﬁt others at a
net cost to the donor. Polygyny (men taking multiple mates) can offer huge
reproductive beneﬁts to a man, but the sheer mathematics of the situation
mean that a high proportion of the less desirable will fail to reproduce at
all—and may not even survive the intense degree of male competition that
polygyny engenders. The prizes are high, but the odds are strongly stacked
against winning. For most men, it would be more advantageous to remain
with one woman and increase the likelihood of their joint offspring surviv-
ing than to court multiple women whose offspring had a low survival prob-
ability for lack of male investment. Third, human males are also notable for
the degree of control that they exercise over their mates. These three facts
are not unconnected. The high and protracted dependence of young grow-
ing humans means that they beneﬁt from care by both parents. These long-
term costs are only likely to be met by males who have high levels of paternal
certainty. That certainty requires close mate guarding of female partners.
About the differences in preproductive outcome. The classical source given is: www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm
where it is written (was said):
The Most Underappreciated Fact
The firstbig, basic difference has to do with what I consider to be the most underappreciatedfact about gender. Consider this question: What percent of our ancestors werewomen?
It’s not a trick question, and it’snot 50%. True, about half the people who ever lived were women, but that’s notthe question. We’re asking about all the people who ever lived who have a descendant living today. Or, put another way, yes,every baby has both a mother and a father, but some of those parents hadmultiple children.
Recentresearch using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended fromtwice as many women as men.
I thinkthis difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To getthat kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entirehistory of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.
He cites no specific study. But see: Favre, Maroussia, and Didier Sornette. “Strong gender differences in reproductive success variance, and the times to the most recent common ancestors.” Journal of Theoretical Biology (2012).
The Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) based on human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is estimated to be twice that based on the non-recombining part of the Y chromosome (NRY). These TMRCAs have special demographic implications because mtDNA is transmitted only from mother to child, while NRY is passed along from father to son. Therefore, the former locus reflects female history, and the latter, male history. To investigate what caused the two-to-one female–male TMRCA ratio rF/M=TF/TMrF/M=TF/TM in humans, we develop a forward-looking agent-based model (ABM) with overlapping generations. Our ABM simulates agents with individual life cycles, including life events such as reaching maturity or menopause. We implemented two main mating systems: polygynandry and polygyny with different degrees in between. In each mating system, the male population can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous. In the latter case, some males are ‘alphas’ and others are ‘betas’, which reflects the extent to which they are favored by female mates. A heterogeneous male population implies a competition among males with the purpose of signaling as alpha males. The introduction of a heterogeneous male population is found to reduce by a factor 2 the probability of finding equal female and male TMRCAs and shifts the distribution of rF/MrF/M to higher values. In order to account for the empirical observation of the factor 2, a high level of heterogeneity in the male population is needed: less than half the males can be alphas and betas can have at most half the fitness of alphas for the TMRCA ratio to depart significantly from 1. In addition, we find that, in the modes that maximize the probability of having 1.5<rF/M<2.51.5<rF/M<2.5, the present generation has 1.4 times as many female as male ancestors. We also tested the effect of sex-biased migration and sex-specific death rates and found that these are unlikely to explain alone the sex-biased TMRCA ratio observed in humans. Our results support the view that we are descended from males who were successful in a highly competitive context, while females were facing a much smaller female–female competition.
Back to the book!
Socialization explanations of sex differences are built on the foundation of
the tabula rasa infant shaped, rewarded, and punished until it conforms to
societal demands for sex-appropriate behavior. They ﬁrst took shape in the
era of behaviorist learning theory. The account was a simple one; parents
treat boys and girls differently, reinforcing the correct behavior in each. Boys
are encouraged to ﬁght, climb trees, and play football. Girls are forced to
wear dresses, play with dolls, and share. The “Baby X” paradigm was hailed
as conclusive evidence of socialization differences (e.g., Will, Self, & Datan,
1976). A six-month-old baby was wrapped in a blue or a pink blanket, iden-
tiﬁed as a boy or a girl, then handed to a woman who was asked to look after
it for a few minutes. When told it was a girl, the women more often offered
the infant a doll in preference to other toys. Surely this showed that parents
treat infants differently as a function of their biological sex?
But there was a problem. Despite many attempts at replication, the ef-
fect seemed even weaker than it had on ﬁrst sight appeared (and recall the
effect was found only for toy selection—there were no differences in social
behavior to the infant). It was certainly not strong enough to support the
whole ediﬁce of sex differences (Stern & Karraker, 1989). And even if par-
ents gave their children different toys, such a ﬁnding would be trivial unless
it could be shown that the toys changed the child’s subsequent behavior. But
the real challenge came when Lytton and Romney (1991) collected from
around the world 172 studies that had examined the way in which parents
treat their sons and daughters. Considering them all together, the evidence
for differential treatment was virtually nil. Parents did not differ in the
amount of interaction with the child, the warmth they showed, their ten-
dency to encourage either dependency or achievement, their restrictiveness,
their use of discipline, their tendency to reason with the child, or the amount
of aggression that they tolerated. There was one area that showed a differ-
ence. Parents tended to give their children sex-appropriate toys. But sex-
differentiated toy preference has been found in infants from nine months of
age (Campbell, Shirley, Heywood, & Crook, 2000). Children play more
with sex-appropriate toys even when their parents do not speciﬁcally en-
courage them to do so (Caldera, Huston, & O’Brien, 1989). It is quite likely
that parents are not using toys to turn their children into gender conformists
but are simply responding to the child’s own preferences.
Didnt know of that meta-analysis. Heres the abstract:
A meta-analysis of 172 studies attempted to resolve the conflict between previous narrative reviews on whether parents make systematic differences in their rearing of boys and girls. Most effect sizes were found to be nonsignificant and small. In North American studies, the only socialization area of 19 to display a significant effect for both parents is encouragement of sex-typed activities. In other Western countries, physical punishment is applied significantly more to boys. Fathers tend to differentiate more than mothers between boys and girls. Over all socialization areas, effect size is not related to sample size or year of publication. Effect size decreases with child’s age and increases with higher quality. No grouping by any of these variables changes a nonsignificant effect to a significant effect. Because little differential socialization for social behavior or abilities can be found, other factors that may explain the genesis of documented sex differences are discussed.
Probably, a newer one exist by now. But interesting nonetheless.
Anyway, if parents’ behavior toward their children was being guided by
their desire for them to conform to traditional gender stereotypes than we
would expect to ﬁnd that the most sex-typed adults have the most sex-typed
children. Yet studies ﬁnd that there is no relationship between traditional
household division of labor, parents’ attitudes to sex-typing, their sex-
typical activities, and their reactions to children’s behavior on one hand
and children’s degree of sex-typing on the other (Maccoby, 1998)
So much for those typical explanations…
Following these early views of the child shaped by selective reinforce-
ment came social learning theory, which emphasized a hitherto neglected
(but altogether central primate) capacity—imitation. This was co-opted into
an explanation of sex differences by proposing that children selectively im-
itate their same-sex parent. Laboratory studies were done in which children
were exposed to adult “models” performing a variety of novel behaviors. If
social learning theorists were right, then the statistical analysis would show
a signiﬁcant interaction between sex-of-model and sex-of-child—girls would
imitate women and boys would imitate men. Dozens of such studies failed
to ﬁnd such an effect (Huston, 1983; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974). Perry and
Bussey (1979) devised an ingenious experiment that avoided the pitfalls of
the previous studies, where children had a one-off exposure to an adult
model. They showed children a ﬁlm of eight adults selecting a preferred
fruit. In one condition all four men made one choice (e.g., orange), while all
four women made another (e.g., apple). In another condition, three men and
one woman chose an orange while three women and one man chose an
apple. In another condition half the men chose oranges and half the women
chose apples. They found that the extent to which children copied an adult
preference depended upon the proportion of their sex that made that
choice. In the ﬁrst condition, there was a high degree of same-sex imitation,
in the second a much smaller amount, and in the third, there was no signif-
icant difference between the girls and boys in their choices. What this sug-
gested was that children were not slavishly imitating a same-sex adult but
rather judging the appropriateness of a particular (in this case wholly arbi-
trary) preference on the basis of the proportion of male or female adults who
made it. These results helped to make sense of previous work, which had
already shown that children tended to imitate activities that they already
knew to be sex-typed regardless of the sex of the model who was currently
engaged in it (Barkley, Ullman, Otto, & Brecht, 1977). What was important
was the child’s internal working model of gender and behavior.
Many developmentalists had already rebelled against the thoroughly passive
view of the child constructed by learning theory. Martin and Halverson
(1981) argued that children have a natural tendency to think categorically.
They form categories about all sorts of things, from animals to sports, and it
would be surprising if they did not, very early in life, form categories of male
and female. Once these categories are formed, all incoming information that
is gender-related gets shunted into the correct binary slot, and over time a
stereotype is built up about what males and females look like, do, and enjoy.
It is this internal model or gender schema, not the surveillance of parents,
which drives the child toward sex-appropriate behavior. At the very same
time that this proposal was being offered for child development, Bem
(1974) was proposing an identical scheme to explain adult differences in
sex-typing. The degree to which we “type” information as gender-relevant
is an individual difference variable. Women who strongly sex-type informa-
tion become more stereotypically feminine than women who are less in-
clined to tag information with gender labels. The cognitive revolution had
come to sex differences: it was not a matter of behavioral training, it was a
matter of mental categorizing, organizing, and recalling.
But gender schema theory was so cognitive that it left no room for an
adapted mind. The cracks inevitably began to appear. One problem was tim-
ing: sex differences in toy choice, play styles, activity levels, and aggression
are found as early as two years of age (Brooks & Lewis, 1974; Fagot, 1991;
Freedman, 1974; Howes, 1988; Kohnstamm, 1989; O’Brien & Huston,
1985; Roopnarine, 1986), but children are not able to correctly sort pic-
tures of boys and girls into piles until their third year (Weinraub, Clements,
Sockloff, Ethridge, & Myers, 1984). Children prefer sex-congruent toys
before they are able to say whether the toy is more appropriate for a boy or
a girl (Blakemore, LaRue, & Olejnik, 1979). They prefer to interact with
members of their own sex and show sex differences in social behavior before
they can label different behaviors as being more common among boys or
girls (Serbin, Moller, Gulko, Powlishta, & Colburne, 1994; Smetana &
Letourneau, 1984). Longitudinal studies conﬁrm that sex-typed behavior
does not wait upon gender labeling (Campbell, Shirley, & Candy, under re-
view; Fagot & Leinbach, 1989; Trautner, 1992). A second problem was
correspondence: even when children’s gender stereotypes crystallize and
peak at about seven years of age, there is no relationship between a child’s
gender knowledge and how sex-stereotypic their own behavior is (Serbin
et al., 1994; Martin, 1994; Powlishta, 1995). Children seem to need neither
the ability to discriminate the sexes nor an understanding of gender stereo-
typic behavior to show sex differences.
Didnt know this! Very cool.
During the last twenty years there has been a signiﬁcant change in the
nature of women’s labor, as women have moved into many arenas tradi-
tionally occupied by men. We might therefore expect to see a shift in both
stereotypes and self-perceptions by men and women. No such shift has
occurred (Helmreich, Spence, & Gibson, 1982; Lewin & Tragos, 1987;
Lueptow, 1985; Lueptow, Garovich, & Lueptow, 1995). Furthermore, we
would expect to see a fair degree of cultural speciﬁcity, with “traditional” so-
cieties showing more marked stereotypes than more egalitarian ones. We do
not (Williams & Best, 1982). Social role theory supposes that sex differences
are responsive to stereotypes and hence that stereotypes should be more ex-
treme and polarized than actual sex differences. They are not (Swim, 1994).
We are left with the alternative suggestion that stereotypes are reasonably
accurate assessments of the typical differences between men and women.
Rather than stereotypes causing sex differences, the reverse is the case. If this
is true, then we at least have a means of explaining the typical division of
labor between the sexes (women elect to spend more time than men do in
parenting activities). Although Eagly acknowledges that two biological fac-
tors (gestation and lactation in women, and size and strength in men) may
be implicated in the division of labor, for her biology stops at the neck: “This
viewpoint assumes that men and women have inherited the same evolved
psychological dispositions” (Eagly & Wood, 1999, p. 224). While anisogamy
may have forced the reproductive burden upon women, Eagly and Wood
make the implausible argument that there has been no commensurate adap-
tation of their goals, strategies, or preferences.
Nobody can seriously doubt that environmental and cultural factors in-
ﬂuence the expression of sex differences. But to acknowledge the impact of
culture upon the surface structure of femininity is not to say that gender has
no biological basis and that the nature of men and women is wholly con-
structed by society. The problem with such a position is that it fails to ad-
dress the issue of why sex differences take the particular form that they do.
If gender differences are arbitrary, it is a curious coincidence that they fol-
low such a similar pattern around the world (Brown, 1991; Murdock, 1981).
Even if sex differences were driven by differential parental treatment, we
would still want to ask why a trait is considered more desirable for one sex
than another. If they were driven by selective imitation, we would still want
to ask why children might show an untutored interest in their own sex. If
driven by gender schema, we would need to ask why sex-speciﬁc conformity
is so attractive to children. If driven by the division of labor, we still need to
explain the preference of men and women for agentic and expressive occu-
pational roles. Liberal feminists explain the transmission of the status quo—
but without asking where it came from.
For newer data about this, see: roseproject.no/, especially the summary here: roseproject.no/network/countries/norway/eng/nor-Sjoberg-Schreiner-overview-2010.pdf (english)
In the more egalitarian countries, sex differences are larger not smaller! It would seem that the more free women are made, the more they choose interests and work closer to their natural inclinations.
It is hard to know what to make of Fausto-Sterling’s (1992, p. 199)
claim that “there is no single undisputed claim about universal human be-
havior (sexual or otherwise).” Presumably even the most ardent cultural rel-
ativist would accept that everywhere people live in societies, that they eat,
sleep, and make love, and that women give birth and men do not. Some fem-
inist biologists refuse to engage in any debate about the evolved nature of
psychological sex differences by denying that two sexes even exist. Muldoon
and Reilly (1998, p. 55) believe that “the objectivity of “hard science” in this
area can be questioned, so much so that the biological deﬁnition of sex itself
becomes untenable.” They suggest that there is no biological basis for our
belief in male and female as “dichotomous, mutually exclusive categories”
(see also Bem, 1993). Notwithstanding these authors’ uncertainty, most
feminists accept that the vast majority of the population belongs to one of
two biologically distinct sexes. Indeed, most feminists acknowledge that the
reproductive differences between them are the result of evolution.
The problems seem to arise when we move from biological functioning
of the body to the biological functioning of the brain—which are seen as
quite unrelated (Bem, 1993). Though everywhere women are the principle
caretakers of children, the fact that there may be variation in how that task
is fulﬁlled leads some anthropologists to conclude that mothering is not uni-
versal (Moore, 1988). This is analogous to arguing that because people eat
different food in different parts of the world, eating is not universal. Fortu-
nately, Donald Brown (1991), trained in the standard ethnographic tradi-
tion, has documented the extent of human universals. Of special interest to
the study of gender we ﬁnd: binary distinctions between men and women,
division of labor by sex, more child-care by women, more aggression and
violence by men, and acknowledgment of different natures of men and
Even though the brain is the most expensive organ in the human body
in terms of calorie consumption, even though feminists accept that hominid
brain size itself was a result of natural selection, and even though the pro-
duction of the very hormones that orchestrate bodily differences originate
in the brain, many social science feminists reject the notion that evolution
could have had an impact on the minds of the two sexes. Though success-
ful reproduction is the reason for our existence today and though the sexes
play vital and different roles in that process, they reject any notion that their
minds may have been sculpted by millions of years of evolution to set dif-
ferent goals or pursue different strategies.
This reminds me of the similar claims made about races. Everybody acknowledge that racial differences in skin color and the like are due to evolution. Things like racially affected diseases are also mainstream: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_genetics_of_Jews.
But when it comes to mental attributes, surely, they deny evolution any significant change over the last thousands of years since africans separated from non-africans out of Africa, or Asians from Caucasians, and so on. Jensen wrote in The g Factor p. 433 that:
Of the approximately 100,000 human polymorphic genes, about 50,000 are
functional in the brain and about 30,000 are unique to brain functions.1121 The
brain is by far the structurally and functionally most complex organ in the human
body and the greater part of this complexity resides in the neural structures of
the cerebral hemispheres, which, in humans, are much larger relative to total
brain size than in any other species. A general principle of neural organization
states that, within a given species, the size and complexity of a structure reflect
the behavioral importance of that structure. The reason, again, is that structure
and function have evolved conjointly as an integrated adaptive mechanism. But
as there are only some 50,000 genes involved in the brain’s development and
there are at least 200 billion neurons and trillions of synaptic connections in the
brain, it is clear that any single gene must influence some huge number of
neurons— not just any neurons selected at random, but complex systems of
neurons organized to serve special functions related to behavioral capacities.
It is extremely improbable that the evolution of racial differences since the
advent of Homo sapiens excluded allelic changes only in those 50,000 genes
that are involved with the brain.
An analogous case is true for another biological group distinction: men and women. Given the possibility of sex-linked genes, it seems entirely unreasonable to expect evolution never to make use of this for the brain. Indeed, we know this isnt the case because hormones are partly controlled in the brain. Why then apriori exclude other sex-linked genes for the brain? It makes no sense at all, and is a clear case of prejudiced opinions.
That being said, it is now known that there are actually fewer genes in humans than estimated when Jensen wrote that in 1998. This however does little to affect the above theoretical reasoning. www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/faq/genenumber.shtml
The ﬁrst is the “Show me the gene” argument, which maintains that we
need not accept the hereditary basis of any trait until biologists locate the
gene responsible. As I have just discussed, phenotypic behavior is not re-
ducible to a gene; it depends upon incredibly complex cascades of interac-
tions with the environment. We will never ﬁnd a one-to-one relationship
between a gene and a life history strategy (e.g., mature early and breed plen-
tifully versus mature late and invest heavily) because all members of a
species have the ability to take either route and the one that is selected is a
function of environmental factors such as crowding, stress, status, and deve-
lopmental experiences. Even discounting environmental effects, the bio-
logical (to say nothing of psychological) development of a single trait could
not be a straightforward mapping exercise because of pleiotropy (where
a single gene affects two or more apparently unrelated traits), polygenics
(where a single trait is controlled by many genes), nonadditivity (where
genes at different loci interact) and switch genes (higher-order genes control
the action of many others). These complexities aside, evolutionary psychol-
ogists are not geneticists, and it is unreasonable to expect them to be. But
this does not mean that psychologists must remain gagged until then. When
we see universal complexities of psychological design that suggest an adap-
tation, it is reasonable to test such a proposal—just as alternative formula-
tions (e.g., sex differences are absent where children possess no cognitive
categories for male and female) are free to test theirs.
This objection is particularly stupid. It is also made with respect to races. I wonder if people also make it with respect to evolution? After all, Darwin had no good idea of the gene, and the biological basis for it wasnt even discovered until 1950ish. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA#History_of_DNA_research
Its a case of setting irrationally high evidence requirements for a claim inconsistent with one’s current beliefs.
The real attack on Wilson’s book started in the fall of 1975 with a letter from
the Sociobiology Study Group to the New York Review of Books (Allen et al.,
1975). In that letter, Sociobiologywas being connected to nazism and racism,
and Wilson was said to support a conservative agenda by emphasizing the
genetic underpinnings of human behavior. Actually, though Wilson’s book
was more than 500 pages long, only the last chapter was devoted to the
human species. There he argued that a number of behaviors, including sex
roles, aggression, altruism, and even moral and religious beliefs, could well
have a biological basis. To boost this argument, he drew parallels to the
behavior of other primates and invoked research on selected traits from be-
havioral genetics and twin studies, suggesting that additional traits may turn
out to have a similar genetic foundation. The critics, however, argued that
Wilson had no evidence and that his statements supported a biological de-
terminist view of humans. For them, such a view implied that social in-
equality was “in our genes,” which would make social measures to diminish
Almost makes me want to read the original book, but surely something newer on sociobiology has come out in the last 38 years?
But what Wilson wanted to present as exciting new ﬁndings his critics
declared to be “bad” and dangerous ideologically inﬂuenced science. And
among his critics could be found two of Wilson’s Harvard colleagues,
Richard Lewontin and Stephen J. Gould, who were members of the Socio-
biology Study Group, which had formed soon after Wilson’s book was an-
nounced as news on the front page of the New York Times in late May 1975.
This group organized many critical activities, starting with a letter in the
New York Review of Books signed by a number of Boston-area academics. The
high point of criticism was a sociobiology symposium at the 1978 meeting
of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washing-
ton, DC, where a group of activists (from the antiracist group Committee
Against Racism) chanted “Racist Wilson, you can’t hide, we charge you
with genocide!” whereupon two of them poured a pitcher of ice water on
Wilson’s neck, shouting, “Wilson, you are all wet!”
In 1975 the critics beneﬁted from the political climate in which bio-
logical explanations of humans were taboo. This was a time when the lib-
eral credo reigned. There was the spirit of the post–World War II UNESCO
declaration stating that no evidence for racial differences existed, and the
general agreement to restrict genetic explanations of humans to the ﬁeld of
medicine. This was also the time of postwar “environmentalism” (or, rather,
culturalism); people like Margaret Mead in anthropology and B. F. Skinner
in psychology were still held in high regard. And just before the sociobiology
debate, as a warning for all, there had been the controversy about IQ around
psychologist Arthur Jensen’s (1969) suggestion that the 15-point difference
in measured IQ between whites and blacks could have a genetic explana-
tion. Wilson had actually been careful with IQ and race in his book, and even
covered his back by citing Lewontin’s (1972) discovery that variation be-
tween populations (races) is much smaller than variation within a popula-
tion (race), a point that was widely regarded as undermining the usefulness
of race as a biological concept. But for the critics, that was not enough. What
mattered to them was the fact that Wilson had dared discuss biological un-
derpinnings for human behavior at all. This is why he had to be forcefully
denounced as a “bad” scientist, both morally and scientiﬁcally.
In 1975 many believed the critics when it came to Wilson’s political
motives. Very few ever read his book or asked about his actual agenda—or,
for that matter, about the critics’ agenda.
The treatment of the various IQ researchers is also worth reading about. I refer to Nyborg, Helmuth. “The greatest collective scientific fraud of the 20th century: The demolition of differential psychology and eugenics.” Mankind Quarterly, Spring Issue (2011).
The members of Science for the People were genuinely convinced that so-
ciobiology was, indeed, evil. (Of course, for academic activists, the ﬁght
against sociobiology was also a welcome cause to rally around after the IQ
controversy.) The working logic of the critics is worth examining more
closely. It involved a type of “cognitive coupling” between three things: bad
science, ideological inﬂuences, and bad consequences. Moreover, there was
a clear connection between the critics’ criticism of sociobiology and their
conception that “bad,” and only “bad,” science would be socially abused.
What, then, was “bad” science? It turned out to be the kind of science
that the critics disliked: sociobiology, behavioral genetics, IQ research. Bad
science was never the kind of science that the critics did themselves in their
own labs. Bad science was science that involved working with models and
statistics of various sorts, not science at the molecular, reductionist level.
For many critics, the molecular level was where the “real” truth lay. Mod-
eling would never really yield reliable, serious science—only objective-
seeming, dangerous pseudoscience. This was Lewontin’s (1975a) position.
As Lewontin had already declared about those who studied cognitive traits,
they “could not” be interested in genuine science, because real science had
to do with the molecular level. Therefore they “must” be pursuing their re-
search for ideological reasons—which could also explain the “shoddiness” of
their science (Lewontin, 1975b).
Other evolutionary psychologists have made similar statements (see
Dennett, 1995, p. 537; Daly and Wilson, 1988, p. 12). Not only do evolu-
tionary psychologists acknowledge the existence of by-products and noise;
they also explicitly test by-product hypotheses (e.g., Kurzban, Tooby, &
Cosmides, 2001; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). In addition, they acknowledge
that adaptationist claims must be backed by evidence: “To show that an or-
ganism has cognitive procedures that are adaptations . . . one must also
show that their design features are not more parsimoniously explained as
by-products” (Cosmides & Tooby, 1992, p. 180).
Ironically, in the same volume of essays in which Gould and Rose’s
comments appear (Rose & Rose, 2000), Fausto-Sterling makes exactly the
reverse criticism. She takes issue with Don Symons’s (1979) speculation that
the female orgasm might be a by-product rather than an adaptation (Fausto-
Sterling, 2000, p. 211), existing only because of the male orgasm, with the
design “carried over” to the other sex. Whichever view proves to be correct,
Fausto-Sterling here seems guilty of precisely the sins of which evolution-
ary psychologists stand accused, while Symons is as pluralistic as Gould
Elsewhere, however, it is clear that parents do sometimes neglect,
abuse, and even abandon their children (see Hrdy, 1999 for many exam-
ples). Often, one sex of offspring is more likely to be neglected, abused, or
even killed than the other. Female infanticide is the most common pattern
(see Dickemann, 1979b for an evolutionary analysis), but male-biased in-
fanticide has also been reported (e.g., among the Ayoreo of Bolivia by
Bugos & McCarthy, 1984). Much of my own research has focused on a pat-
tern of daughter favoritism among the Mukogodo of Kenya, an impover-
ished and low-status group of Maasai-speaking pastoralists (Cronk, 1989,
1991b, 2000). Although there is absolutely no evidence that the Mukogodo
abuse their children or have ever practiced infanticide, I have documented
in a variety of ways a broad tendency on the part of Mukogodo parents to
favor their daughters over their sons. For example, Mukogodo mothers and
other caregivers tend to hold infant girls more often than infant boys and to
remain closer to them when not holding them. In addition, girls are nursed
longer and more frequently and are more likely to be taken for medical care
than boys. The results of this favoritism include better growth performance
by Mukogodo girls than boys (measured as height-for-age, weight-for-age,
and weight-for-height). Survivorship among young girls is so much better
than among boys that the sex ratio of children ages 0–4 years is 67 boys to
every 100 girls.
A number of explanations for this daughter favoritism are possible. For
example, it might be that Mukogodo parents favor their daughters because
of the bridewealth payments, usually consisting of several head of cattle and
some sheep and goats, that they attract. However, there is no correlation
between how many daughters a man has married off and either his herd
size, the number of wives that he himself is subsequently able to marry, or
the number of wives that his sons are subsequently able to marry. Further-
more, although all of the groups surrounding the Mukogodo also demand
bridewealth payments, they show no signs of daughter favoritism. A better
explanation is that the Mukogodo are responding to the relatively good
prospects of their daughters compared to their sons. Mukogodo women vir-
tually all get married, often to wealthy men from neighboring ethnic
groups. Mukogodo men, on the other hand, often have a hard time accu-
mulating the necessary bridewealth and frequently must delay marriage
until middle age or forgo marriage entirely because of their general poverty
and low ethnic status.
The Mukogodo pattern of daughter favoritism ﬁts predictions made
by evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers and mathematician Dan Willard
(1973). They noted that if the reproductive prospects of male and female
offspring differ in a way that is predictable from the parents’ condition dur-
ing the time of investment, natural selection would favor parents who invest
more heavily in that sex with the better reproductive prospects. Because in
many species the variance in reproductive success is greater for males than
for females, the conditions faced by an individual during development will
typically have a greater impact on the reproductive success of males than
females. The net result is often that males reared when conditions are good
will outreproduce their sisters, while females reared when conditions are
bad will outreproduce their brothers. The Mukogodo appear to be in the
latter situation: Due to their poverty and low status, girls’ prospects are
much better than boys’, and it makes sense for Mukogodo parents to favor
their daughters. Although this pattern of daughter favoritism increases
Mukogodo parents’ numbers of grandchildren, this is not simply a demon-
stration of the common folk wisdom that people like to have many grand-
children. In two surveys of Mukogodo women’s reproductive goals and
preferences, I have found that they express a bias in favor of sons, not daugh-
ters, and Mukogodo parents appear to be entirely unaware of the daughter
favoritism in their behavior. Mukogodo daughter favoritism seems to be not
a conscious strategy for enhancing one’s number of grandoffspring but,
rather, a deeply rooted evolved predisposition shared by a wide variety of
species that is triggered by speciﬁc environmental circumstances. This
demonstrates the value of an evolutionary approach in identifying circum-
stances that lead to patterns of child neglect of which even the parents them-
selves may not be aware.
Interesting case study.
There is no single biosocial approach to the study of human behavior any more than there is a single environmental approach. David Buss (1990) identiﬁes three general biosocial approaches to the study of human behav- ior: evolutionary, behavior genetic, and physiological. Although they em- ploy different theories and methods, work with different units of analysis, and invoke different levels of causation, they are not the contradictory stew we ﬁnd when we survey the plethora of strictly environmental theories in sociology. Besides having in common the tremendous potential to illumi- nate human nature, biosocial approaches are vertically integrated; i.e., their principles are conceptually consistent across all three levels of analy- sis. Although I concentrate on evolutionary psychology, all biosocial ap- proaches are so “environment-friendly” that I am tempted to call them “biologically-informed environmental approaches.” Evolutionary psycho- logy will not (and cannot) cannibalize the social sciences. We will always need the social sciences, Barkow (1992, p. 635) assures us, but he also re- minds us that “psychology underlies culture and society, and biological evo- lution underlies psychology.” That is all I am asking criminologists to accept.
Possibly too much for them to accept.
Few social scientists balk at the notion that human anatomy and physiology are products of evolution. We observe some aspect of complex morphology and infer that it was selected over alternate designs because it best served some particular function that proved useful in assisting the proliferation of its owners’ genes. Although there is no other scientiﬁcally viable explana- tion for the origin of basic behavioral design, most social scientists probably dismiss the idea of human behavioral patterns as products of the same nat- ural process. If we accept the notion that evolution shaped our minds and our behavior, we have to accept that many of our less admirable traits such as deception, cheating, and violence owe their present existence to the fact that they were useful to the reproductive success (the total number of an or- ganism’s descendants, and thus its genes) of our distant ancestors, as were more positive traits such as altruism, nurturance, and love.
Can’t get the one without the other. So it is for the qualities that make men aggressive. Make make useful combatants, useful researchers and so on, but also criminals. It is the price society pays.
How can criminal behavior, including such heterogeneous acts as murder, theft, rape, and assault, be conceived of as an evolved adaptation when it is clearly maladaptive in modern environments? First, because a behavior is currently maladaptive does not mean that mechanisms underlying it are not evolved adaptations (designed by natural selection to solve some environmental problem). Our modern environments are so different in many re- spects from the environments our species evolved in that traits and behav- iors selected for their adaptive value then may not be adaptive at all today. Conversely, traits and behaviors that appear to be adaptive today may not have a history of natural selection (Barkow, 1984; Daly, 1996; Mealey, 1995). An adaptation is a current feature with a past; a feature that is cur- rently adaptive may or may not have a future. Second, the speciﬁcs of crim- inal behavior (or of any other social behavior for that matter) are not themselves adaptations: “Genes do not code themselves for jimmying a lock or stealing a car. . . . The genome does not waste precious DNA encoding the speciﬁcs” (Rowe, 1996, p. 285).
The author is right, but has anyone tested whether it actually is adaptive today as well? Do criminals have more kids than non-criminals? That seems quite likely! Which would mean that we are actually breeding for more criminal behavior!
How do cheats manage to continue to follow their strategy given how grudgers respond to them when they are unmasked? In computer simula- tions of interactions between populations of cheats, suckers, and grudgers, cheats are always driven to extinction, as evolutionary theory would predict (Raine, 1993; Allman, 1994). The problem with such simulations is that players are constrained to operate within the same environment in which their reputations quickly become known. In the real world, cheats can move from location to location meeting and cheating a series of grudgers who are susceptible to one-time deception. This is exactly what we observe among the more psychopathic criminals. They move from place to place, job to job, and relationship to relationship, leaving a trail of misery behind them before their reputation catches up to them (Hare, 1993; Lykken, 1995). In mod- ern societies, cheats are much more likely to prosper in large cities than in small traditional communities, where the threat of exposure and retaliation is great (Ellis & Walsh, 1997; Machalek & Cohen, 1991; Mealey, 1995).
Good observation about the ‘psychopaths’ and cheaters. We really are setting up a good environment for cheaters. Interesting. The lack of ability to delete things from the internet will however counter this to some degree.
It is a central tenet of evolutionary theory that the human brain evolved in the context of overwhelming concerns for resource and mate acquisition. When food, territory, and mates are plentiful, pursuing them violently is an unnecessary waste of energy involving the risk of serious injury or death. When resources become scarce, however, acquiring them any way one can may become worth the risk (Barkow, 1989). Among our ancestral males, those who were most successful in acquiring resources gained rank and sta- tus and, thereby, access to a disproportionate number of females. As Daly and Wilson (1988a, p. 132) have remarked: “Homo sapiens is very clearly a creature for whom differential social status has consistently been associated with variations in reproductive success.” Today status is not necessarily as- sociated with aggression and violence (typically, quite the opposite today in most modern societies), but it almost certainly was more so in our ancestral environments (Chagnon, 1996; Wrangham & Peterson, 1998). As the species moved from a nomadic lifestyle to civilization, it was typically the most successful warriors that became a nation’s aristocracy (Baumeister, Smart, & Boden, 1996). Because females prefer males with rank and status, genes inclining males to aggressively pursue their interests (which sometimes meant becoming violent) enjoyed greater representation in subsequent gen- erations. From the evolutionary point of view, violence is something human males (as well as males in numerous other species) are designed by nature to do. Wherever we look in the world, males are far more likely than fe- males to be both the victims and the perpetrators of all kinds of violent acts (Badcock, 2000; Barak, 1998; Campbell, 1999).
Actually a study found that being bullied predicts lack of dating. Being bullied is clearly a sign of low status. So, we should expect high status to predict dating.
Early hominids (Australopithecus anemensis and afarenis) were also 50% to 100% larger than females (Geary, 2000). The low degree of sexual di- morphism among modern Homo sapiens (males are only about 10% larger than females, on average) indicates an evolutionary shift from violent male competition for mates to a more monogamous mating system and an in- crease in paternal investment (Plavcan & van Schaik, 1997). However, there is evidence in the archeological literature indicating that homicide was much more common in evolutionary environments than it is today (Edgerton, 1992). In cultures where polygyny and low paternal investment still exist, we ﬁnd homicide rates greatly exceeding those of any modern society. The Agta have a rate of 326 per 100,000, and the Yanomamo one of 166 per 100,000 (Ellis & Walsh, 2000, p. 71). Chagnon (1996) also presents data showing that homicide rates in many of today’s pre-state societies are many times greater than in any modern industrial society. Indeed, because the Yanomamo practice polygyny, homicide translates directly into reproduc- tive success; males who have killed the most in intervillage warfare (and are thus the most respected) have about three times as many wives and chil- dren than those who have killed least or not at all (Chagnon, 1988).
They must be very war like, breeding for such behavior for many years.
We can accept without question that forced copulation increases ﬁtness among nonhuman animals, but may ﬁnd it distasteful to apply similar rea- soning to humans. If we claim that rape (or any other violent behavior) is a product of natural selection, aren’t we justifying it and implying that it is morally acceptable? No, we are not; and to claim that we are is to commit the naturalistic fallacy, the confusion of is with ought.Nature simply is, what ought to be is a moral judgment, and to say that forced copulation is natural mammalian behavior no more constitutes moral approval than to claim that we approve of disease and death because we call these unwelcome events natural also. Rape in a modern context is a maladaptive consequence of a mating strategy that may have been adaptive in the environments in which our species evolved; it is a morally reprehensible crime that requires strong preventative legal sanctions. Calling something “natural” does not dignify it or place it beyond the power of culture to modify, as manifestly it is not.
Like with their previous comments, perhaps whatever makes males rape is actually still adaptive. One would have to check to see if rapists have more children than non-rapists. Probably need to rely on anonymous surveys, since not all rapists are actually in prison (they might have been).
A third predictor of a person’s reproductive strategy according to AAT (but not considered a factor in other evolutionary theories of crime) is in- telligence, with those of relatively high intelligence generally opting for par- enting effort and those of relatively low intelligence generally opting for mating effort. It is not assumed that low intelligence is intrinsically antiso- cial (or high intelligence intrinsically prosocial, for that matter), only that it makes the procurement of resources needed to advertise parental effort to prospective females problematic. Low intelligence also makes it difﬁcult to learn and appreciate the moral norms of society. Thus, a strategy emphasiz- ing mating effort is similar to criminal behavior in that direct and immedi- ate methods are used to procure resources illegitimately; little thought is given to the consequences either to the self or to the victim (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990). Conversely, parenting effort is embedded in a prosocial lifestyle in which resource procurement relies on the patient and intelligent accumulation of social and occupational skills that are attractive to females. Thus, reproductive strategies mirror antisocial/prosocial behavior in terms of emphases on immediate versus delayed gratiﬁcation.
This is a question open to testing, and it has been. g is a stronger (negative) predictor of crime than is income, so the effect of g is not completely mediated by resources measured by income.
There is also another question to test. It is known that there is a crime hotspot in IQ. From Jensen 1998:
The above-mentioned correlation between crime and IQ is clearly nonlinear. That is, the rate of serious crimes against persons, such as robbery, assault, rape, and homicide, is very low and nearly constant across IQ levels above IQ 100, but below IQ 100 the rate rises steeply, and then declines rapidly below IQ 70. The peak crime rate occurs in the IQ range from 75 to 90, with the highest rate for violent crime in the IQ range from 80 to 90. The vast majority of both petty crimes and violent crimes are committed by the segment of the population ranging from IQ 60 to 100. (So-called white-collar criminals and leaders of organized crime generally have IQs above 100.) These findings apply to both males and females, although the rate for most types of antisocial behavior is much lower for females, especially violent crime.
On the evolutionary account, one would expect the hotspot to move when the population average moves. This is testable. In countries with all blacks in SS Africa, is the crime also committed by people 10 to 30 below the average?
National IQ’s predict national crime rates too, which favors g theory. Here’s the table from Lynn 2012:
The major concern of feminist criminology has long been to explain the uni- versal fact that women are far less likely than men to involve themselves in criminal activity (Price & Sokoloff, 1995, p. 3). Whenever and wherever records have been kept, it has been found that males commit the over- whelming proportion of criminal offenses, and the more serious and violent the offense, the more males dominate in its commission (Campbell, 1999). This fact is not in dispute, although explanations of it are. The traditional sociological view of gender differences in crime and other forms of deviant behavior is that they are products of differential socialization: that men are socialized to be aggressive, ambitious, and dominant, women to be nurtur- ing and passive; and that women will be as antisocial and criminal as men with female emancipation. The majority of studies relating to this issue, however, actually support the opposite of the emancipation hypothesis: that is, as the trend toward gender equality has increased, females have tended to commit fewer rather than more crimes relative to males (Ellis & Walsh, 2000, p. 388).
This makes me wonder why, in their view, that they would WANT to ’emancipate’ women more, if the outcome is that women become just as violent as men! Are feminists inadvertently promoting more violence?
Jerome Barkow asks us to “imagine evolutionary biology and population genetics as one island continent, and the social-behavioral sciences as an- other. Now is the time for ending false dichotomies and for emphasizing continuities. Now is the time to position the social-behavioral sciences in their proper place as a seamless continuation of biology” (1989, p. 18). To become vertically integrated in the way envisioned does not mean that crim- inologists need to become expert evolutionary psychologists, behavior ge- neticists, endocrinologists, or neuroscientists in order to study crime and criminality. They must at least be students of those sciences, however, if they are to develop theories that maintain vertical consistency with them. If they do not they will become irrelevant, as Alice Rossi (1984) warned bio- logically ignorant sex-role researchers in her 1983 presidential address to the American Sociological Association. In this “decade of the brain” and in the age of the Human Genome and Human Genetic Diversity Projects, biolog- ical data relevant to understanding criminal behavior are pouring in at a re- markable rate. Criminologists have an unprecedented opportunity to join other scientists in interdisciplinary analyses of criminal behavior with these data. If criminologists pass up this opportunity, we can be sure that the torch will be passed to other disciplines—the study of criminality is too important to remain mired in premodern science.