Gene Expression

Update: The author of the paper clears up confusions.

Follow up to the post yesterday, here’s the paper, Physical attractiveness and reproductive success in humans: evidence from the late 20th century United States:

Physical attractiveness has been associated with mating behavior, but its role in reproductive success of contemporary humans has received surprisingly little attention. In the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (1244 women, 997 men born between 1937 and 1940), we examined whether attractiveness assessed from photographs taken at age ∼18 years predicted the number of biological children at age 53-56 years. In women, attractiveness predicted higher reproductive success in a nonlinear fashion, so that attractive (second highest quartile) women had 16% and very attractive (highest quartile) women 6% more children than their less attractive counterparts. In men, there was a threshold effect so that men in the lowest attractiveness quartile had 13% fewer children than others who did not differ from each other in the average number of children. These associations were partly but not completely accounted for by attractive participants’ increased marriage probability. A linear regression analysis indicated relatively weak directional selection gradient for attractiveness (β=0.06 in women, β=0.07 in men). These findings indicate that physical attractiveness may be associated with reproductive success in humans living in industrialized settings.

I don’t see a point in commenting further at this point. Since Satoshi Kanazawa is a fan of Ann Coulter (H/T Jezebel), I think it would be appropriate to refer to him as the “Ann Coulter of Evolutionary Psychology.” His genius for self-promotion is equivalent.

Comments

  1. #1 Billare
    July 29, 2009

    AMEN.

  2. #2 bgc
    July 29, 2009

    Satoshi Kanazawa has more interesting ideas in a year than most scientists have in their whole lifetime.

    Some of his ideas are likely to be useful, others not; some will be vindicated (in whatever modified form) others demolished – but let’s not get up-tight about it.

    Modern science is way too dull and timid – we need more people like Kanazawa!

  3. #3 razib
    July 29, 2009

    Some of his ideas are likely to be useful, others not; some will be vindicated (in whatever modified form) others demolished

    to be frank, most seem to be full of crap on the face of it. this conclusion is something which seems shared by a lot of people who i know who are not hostile to evolutionary psychology but know a bit of evolution or statistics. that is a serious problem in our opinions.

  4. #4 Lemmy Caution
    July 29, 2009

    A linear regression analysis indicated relatively weak directional selection gradient for attractiveness (β=0.06 in women, β=0.07 in men).

    Since this attractiveness effect appears to be larger for men than for women, it takes some guts to sell this to the newspapers as new findings concerning female attractiveness.

    Here is an even more egregious example:

    The researchers established 15 speed-dating events for 350 young adults. During eight events, men rotated around the seated women, and during seven events, women moved between seated men. When men rotated, men said yes 50% of the time and women said yes 43% of the time. However, when women rotated, the trend for higher female selectivity vanished, with men saying yes 43% of the time while women said yes 45% of the time.

    Even though the women’s choosiness hardly changed, the summary for the article on this study is “Women become less choosy when they, rather than men, move from table to table”.

  5. #5 p-ter
    July 29, 2009

    why the talk about Kanazawa? This paper isn’t by him, right?

  6. #6 razib
    July 29, 2009

    why the talk about Kanazawa? This paper isn’t by him, right?

    yeah, in hindsight it seems that i might have ended up slandering markus jokela, as the paper itself is rather modest. since it was published in early may it seems that what happened was that someone contacted kanazawa for talking points after seeing a press release, he gave them really juicy ideas, and it went viral in the british media from that point on. all the other blogging i’ve seen on the researched is also confused because the british articles tend to quote kanazawa’s commentary on the paper copiously, and conflate that with the real findings….

  7. #7 Markus
    August 3, 2009

    Some clarifications on what the study found, how it got reported in the news, and the differences between the two:

    http://blogs.helsinki.fi/mmjokela/women-are-getting-more-beautiful-getting-the-story-right/

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