September 3rd, 2001


Why do we like to cuddle?

From a post to the

evolutionary psychology

mailing list:

The following is related to Dreamburn's question about concealed
ovulation and is from an upcoming paper (Geary, 2000, Evolution and
proximate expression of human paternal investment. Psychological
Bulletin, 92).

In addition, "non-reproductive sex" is, in fact,
reproductive, although it doesn't always lead to
conception: This sex for fun likely facilitates pair
bonding which, in turn, increases paternal investment and
decreases cuckoldry risks (i.e., increases paternity

From the paper:

Because it is in women's best interest to secure paternal
investment, at a cost of lost mating opportunities for
men, any mechanism that reduced these opportunities was
likely to have originated in our female and not our male
ancestors. In fact, it is likely that the evolutionary
course toward paternal investment was initiated by
reproductive and social adaptations in our female
ancestors, given the strong bias of mammalian males toward
mating effort. Although it is not certain, these
mechanisms appear to include concealed ovulation, women's
aversion to casual sex, and female-female competition to
exclude competitors from the social group, as described
earlier (Geary, 1998).

The relation between concealed ovulation and paternal
investment is complex, however, and merits further
discussion. Dunbar's (1995) analysis of primate species
indicates that social monogamy and high levels of paternal
investment are almost always associated with concealed and
sometimes synchronized ovulation, but that concealed
ovulation is most common in primate species with high
risks of infanticide (Hrdy, 1979). In other words,
concealed ovulation is not always associated with high
levels of paternal investment but high levels of paternal
investment are typically associated with concealed
ovulation. One possibility is that reduced infanticide
risk -- that is, mating with many males and thus confusing
paternity -- was the initial selection pressure for
concealed ovulation in hominids (see Hrdy, 1979), although
men do not appear to be biologically biased toward
infanticide (Daly & Wilson, 1988). Concealed and later
synchronized ovulation (which prevents males from mating
with more than one fertile female at a time) appear to be
a further evolved strategy in some primate species, a
strategy to reduce the mating opportunities of males and
thereby reduce the opportunity cost of paternal investment
(Dunbar, 1995). Although conceal ovulation will increase
the amount of affiliation between males and females, it is
not sufficient to ensure paternal investment, especially
in multi-male, multi-female communities where alternative
mating opportunities are possible.

As noted earlier, once physical signs of pregnancy were
evident, males could abandon females and pursue other
mates, if an additional mechanism was not operating. It
appears that this mechanism is pair bonding (Lovejoy,
1981; MacDonald, 1992; Miller & Fishkin, 1997). In this
view, concealed ovulation increased the amount of
male-female affiliation time and resulted in prolonged
sexual activity, which, in turn, reduced the mating
opportunities of males and, at the same time, provided the
initial conditions for the evolution of pair bonding
(MacDonald, 1992). In addition to reducing the risk of
male abandonment during pregnancy, pair bonding would
facilitate the type of spousal relationship that appears
to facilitate paternal investment. Pair bonding would
also increase the sexual fidelity of females and thereby
increase paternity certainty, which, in turn, would result
in reproductive benefits for those males who invested in
offspring. Once male investment resulted in reproductive
benefits, such as reduced offspring mortality rates and
increased social competitiveness, the stage was set for
the further evolution of paternal investment.

On the other hand, if the benefits of hominid paternal
investment were similar to those found in extant
preindustrial and developing societies and in Western
nations prior to the demographic shift, than lower levels
of paternal than maternal investment would be expected
(and are found). If paternal investment yields
reproductive benefits but is not obligate -- and it does
not appear to be in humans -- then a focus on mating
effort, paternal effort, or some combination are viable
reproductive strategies for men. When both mating effort
and parental effort are viable options, considerable
variability in men's reproductive strategies would be
expected (and are found). Moreover, because paternal
investment does not appear to be obligate, it is in the
best interest of some women to attempt the cockoldry of
their social partners. Cockoldry risks, in turn, reduce
the level of paternity certainty and through this militate
against paternal investment. All of these factors lead to
the prediction of greater levels of maternal than paternal
investment and continued conflict between men and women
over this investment (Buss, 1994).

David C. Geary, Ph.D. Department of Psychology 210
McAlester Hall University of Missouri Columbia, MO

Why are we getting smarter?

A fascinating paper….

Heritability Estimates vs. Large Environmental Effects:
The IQ Paradox Resolved

Psychological Review, Vol. 108, No. 2 (April 2001)

William Dickens, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, and
James R. Flynn, University of Otago

(Note: this is a synopsis of an article in Psychological
Review, vol. 108, no. 2, April 2001.)

Darwin's Origin of Species sparked the modern debate about
genes versus environment in explaining differences between
human individuals and groups. Ever since, the pendulum of
scientific opinion has swung back and forth with consensus
always out of reach. For the last 15 years, psychologists
have been plagued by a paradox that suggests that
environment is both feeble and overwhelmingly potent.

The paradox emerged from a debate about race. US whites
outscore US blacks on IQ tests by 15 points. Does that gap
have environmental causes or is it partially due to genes?
In 1973, Arthur Jensen constructed a model that applied
kinship data to group differences in IQ. Evidence from
kinship studies showed identical twins separated at birth
and raised in different homes grow up with very similar
IQs. The fact that they have identical genes provides an
obvious explanation. Jensen argued that fully 75 percent
of IQ variance between individuals was due to genetic
differences (a value which sits in the middle of the range
recently endorsed by a select committee of the American
Psychological Association for adult IQ). Jensen's model
showed that a purely environmental explanation of the
black/white IQ gap meant that the environment of the
average US black must be as unfavorable for the
development of IQ as the lowest one percent of white
environments measured in terms of their effects on
IQ. That simply did not seem possible.
< !-hide->
Jensen's model seemed to preclude a purely environmental
explanation for any large IQ gap between groups. Then, in
1987, Flynn showed that in nation after nation, the
current generation outscores the last generation by some 9
to 20 IQ points. The gains are greatest on those tests
often called the best measures of intelligence. Their size
and speed dictate an environmental explanation. Flynn
applied Jensen's model. An environmental explanation meant
putting the current generation within the top one-tenth of
one percent of the last generation in terms of
environmental quality. What was known to be true was shown
to be impossible.

How could solid evidence show both that environment was so
feeble (kinship studies) and yet so potent (IQ gains over

Dickens has proposed a model that we believe solves the
paradox. It assumes that people who have an advantage for
a particular trait will become matched with superior
environments for that trait; and that genes can derive a
great advantage from this because genetic differences are
persistent. A genetic advantage remains with you
throughout life, while environmental differences tend to
come and go, unless sustained by the steady pressure of

Take those born with genes that make them a bit taller and
quicker than average. When they start school, they are
likely to be a bit better at basketball. The advantage may
be modest but then reciprocal causation between the talent
advantage and environment kicks in. Because you are better
at basketball, you are likely to enjoy it more and play it
more than someone who is bit slow or short or
overweight. That makes you better still. Your genetic
advantage is upgrading your environment, the amount of
time you play and practice, and your enhanced environment
in turn upgrades your skill. You are more likely to be
picked for your school team and to get professional

Thanks to genes capitalizing on the powerful multiplying
effects of the feedback between talent and environment, a
modest genetic advantage has turned into a huge
performance advantage. Just as small genetic differences
match people with very different environments, so
identical genes tend to produce very similar
environments-even when children are raised in separate

In other words, kinship studies of basketball, no matter
whether they involved people with identical genes or
different genes, would underestimate the potency of
environmental factors. Playing, practicing, being on a
team, coaching, all of these would be credited to
genes-simply because differences in them tend to accompany
genetic differences between individuals. Genes might seem
to account for as much as 75 percent of variance across
individuals in basketball performance. If someone showed
that the present generation was far more skilled at
basketball than the last (as indeed they are), Jensen's
math would prove that it was impossible. It would show
that those aspects of environment that are not correlated
with genes (which is all that environment gets credit for
in kinship studies) were very feeble. So feeble that the
present generation would have to be within the top one
percent of the last in terms of quality of environment for

The cognitive ability differences measured by IQ tests may
have the same dynamics. People whose genes send them into
life with a small advantage for these abilities start with
a modest performance advantage. Then genes begin to drive
the powerful engine of reciprocal causation between
ability and environment. You begin by being a bit better
at school and are encouraged by this, while others who are
a bit 'slow' get discouraged. You study more, which
upgrades your cognitive performance, earn praise for your
grades, start haunting the library, get into a top
stream. Another child finds that sport is his or her
strong suit, does the minimum, does not read for pleasure,
and gets into a lower stream. Both of you may go to the
same school but the environments you make for yourselves
within that school will be radically different. The modest
initial cognitive advantage conferred by genes becomes
enormously multiplied.

Once again, just as different genes are matched with very
different environments, so identical genes will be matched
with very similar environments. You and your separated
identical twin will get very similar scores on IQ tests at
adulthood. Using Jensen's model, genes will get credit for
all of the potent environmental influences you both
share. And environment will appear so feeble that it could
not possibly account for the huge IQ advantage your
children enjoy over yourself. Our model shows why this is
a mistake. It shows that kinship studies hide or 'mask'
the potency of environmental influences on IQ. Therefore,
they do not really demonstrate the impossibility of an
environmental explanation of massive gains over time.

The model's next task it to suggest just how environment
performs its demanding role. Social forces affecting the
whole of society can provide something that an
individual's life experiences normally do not. They
provide environmental influences that are just as
persistent over time as the individual's genetic
endowment, and that are not at the mercy of genes. After
all, the present generation has no advantage in genetic
quality over the last, indeed, it is often argued that the
reverse is true due to the lower fertility of the more
highly educated. So between generations, the mask slips
and environmental forces stand out in bold
relief. Relatively small environmental differences between
generations gain enormous potency just as small genetic
differences between individuals did: They seize control of
the powerful reciprocal causation that exists between
cognitive ability and environment.

No one knows for certain what environmental trends caused
massive IQ gains but we can suggest a scenario consistent
with their history. There is indirect evidence that
massive gains in the cognitive abilities IQ tests measure
began in Britain as far back as those born in 1872. They
probably began with the industrial revolution and were
there waiting for IQ tests to be invented to measure
them. The industrial revolution upgraded years and quality
of schooling, nutrition, disease control, all things that
could have had a profound influence in raising IQ, at
least up to about 1950.

After 1950, in nations like the US and Britain, IQ gains
show a new and peculiar pattern. The are missing or small
on the kind of IQ tests closest to school-taught material
like reading and arithmetic. They are huge on tests that
emphasize on-the-spot problem-solving, like seeing what
verbal abstractions have in common, or finding the missing
piece of a Matrices pattern, or making a pattern out of
blocks, or arranging pictures to tell a story.

Perhaps the industrial revolution stopped demanding
progress in the basics and started demanding that people
take abstract problem-solving more seriously. Post-World
War Two affluence may be the key. It brought a dilution of
the pragmatic depression psychology, smaller families in
which children's whys were taken more seriously, work
roles in which people were expected to take more
initiative, more energy for making leisure more
cognitively demanding, whether devoted to chess or bridge
or video games or simply to conversation in which people
were expected to take ideas and logic seriously.

We call these products of the industrial revolution that
may have set massive IQ gains rolling 'triggers'. The
model itself does not specify ultimate causes and we
suggest those listed very tentatively. What the model does
do is demonstrate the potency triggers would gain from
seizing control of reciprocal causation between cognitive
ability and environment. The most dramatic tool at their
disposal is the 'social multiplier'. This posits that when
something raises the average performance of society, that
rise becomes a powerful cause in its own right, and raises
the average performance further, and raises it further,
until the original rise is greatly multiplied.

The most potent facet of our environment is other
people. When something, perhaps the popularity basketball
got from television, triggered greater participation in
basketball, the average performance rose as individuals
played more and got better. Initially, a few people learn
to shoot with either hand, then others imitate them. The
rise in average performance feeds back into a new
challenge for each individual. Those who want to excel
have to learn to pass with either hand and this spreads
and raises the average performance once again. In other
words, every rise in individual performance raises the
group average, which forces everyone to raise their
individual performance a notch higher, which raises the
group average a notch higher, and so on. Even a modest
environmental trigger of enhanced performance can become
potent by seizing control of the social multiplier-and
cause huge performance gains in a relatively short time.

The same kind of reciprocal causation explains IQ
gains. Environmental triggers raise the cognitive demands
of work, family interaction, leisure, and everyday
conversation. Those who respond by upgrading their
cognitive performance raise the average cognitive
performance. Then the rising average affects your
employer, family, and friends and they demand or expect
more, and you (and many others) rise to meet their
expectations, so the average cognitive performance jumps
once again, and so on, and so on. The model quantifies
this process and shows that quite plausible initial
environmental changes would be enough to explain huge IQ
gains-gains of 20 points over a single generation.

The model has a third task. It offers an explanation for a
whole range of other phenomena that have proved
baffling. Why people's genes seem to count more for IQ as
they age. Why enrichment programs boost IQ a lot at the
start, then little more, and then see their effects fade
away after children leave the program. Why cross-racial
adoptions do not raise the IQs of black adoptees to the
white average. Why certain methodologies produce nonsense
results, such as showing that group IQ differences known
to be environmental in origin have a genetic component.
And to return to the race and IQ debate, it shows that
environment could explain racial IQ differences just as it
explains IQ differences between generations.

Finally, the model has an overriding purpose. In
principle, it applies to the dynamics of any human ability
where there is positive feedback between that ability and
environment. We hope it will reconcile social scientists
who have divided themselves, sometimes with bitterness,
between hereditarians who think genes dominant and
environmentalists who think culture dominant. They are
both right: It all depends on whether genetic differences
or environmental factors seize control of potent processes
like the social multiplier. We hope that our model will
allow them all, from the psychologists inspired by Sir
Cyril Burt to the anthropologists inspired by Franz Boas,
to find common ground, and work together to advance our
understanding of human intelligence and other important
< !-/hide->

Original: craschworks - comments


Pay through the nose

From The Vikings and Money in England by Roy Davies:

"...Instead of fighting the invaders, some English kings preferred to pay the Vikings to leave them in peace. These payments were called 'Danegeld' (meaning 'Dane debt' or Dane payment). The Vikings collected tribute in other countries too. In Ireland in the 9th century they imposed a tax and slit the noses of anyone unwilling or unable to pay, and that is the origin of the English phrase 'to pay through the nose' meaning to pay an excessive price...."

More money quotes...

Note that I don't necessarily agree with the sentiments expressed by many of these quotes.

"It's worth is solely that of the things which it will buy Yet
the love of money is not only one of the strongest moving forces
of human life, but money is, in many cases, desired in and for
itself. John Stuart Mill

Money is an invention, a mental devise, very necessary, very
ingenious, but, in the end, a product of the mind. Jacob

"Money is coined liberty." Fydor Dostoyevsky

"The price we pay for money is paid in liberty." Robert Louis

"Money always implies the presence of magic, but the effect is much
magnified when, as now, people have lost faith in everything else."
Lewis H. Lapham

"Money is like muck, not good except it be spread." Francis Bacon

"Money isn't everything as long as you have enough of it."

"Money is the altered essence of man's work and existence; this
essence dominates him and he worships it." Karl Marx

"Our wealth is a reality, and it effects are so numerous, overt,
subtle, and pervasive that it is pure fantasy to believe it isn't
part of the warp and weft of who we are." Nancy (chat room

Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want, but you
can only spend it once. Unknown

Money must become a tool in the only enterprise worth undertaking
for any modern man or woman seriously wishing to find the meaning
of their lives: We must use money in order to study ourselves as
we are and as we can become. Jacob Needleman

"Money is a good servant but a hard master." Saying (French)

"With money in your pocket you are wise and handsome, and you
sing well too." Saying (Yiddish)

"The money. God help us if that's all it is." Louis L'Amour in

"If you have two pennies, spend one on food and one on flowers."
Chinese Proverb

It's worth is solely that of the things which it will buy Yet
the love of money is not only one of the strongest moving forces
of human life, but money is, in many cases, desired in and for
itself. John Stuart Mill

Money is an invention, a mental devise, very necessary, very
ingenious, but, in the end, a product of the mind. Jacob

"Money is coined liberty." Fydor Dostoyevsky

"The price we pay for money is paid in liberty." Robert Louis

"Money always implies the presence of magic, but the effect is much
magnified when, as now, people have lost faith in everything else."
Lewis H. Lapham

"Money is like muck, not good except it be spread." Francis Bacon

"Money isn't everything as long as you have enough of it."

"Money is the altered essence of man's work and existence; this
essence dominates him and he worships it." Karl Marx

Even more money quotes

From Paul Ross

"He that wants money, means, and content is without
three good friends." -Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

"Money alone sets all the world in motion."
-Publius Syrus other words, "Money,
money, money makes the world go 'round." -

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." -Samuel Johnson

(most misquoted) "The love of money is the root of all evil." -Timothy 6:10

"Money you know will hide many faults"
-Miguel de Cervantes, "Don Quixote"

"Remember that time is money." - Benjamin Franklin (though I do not
know if this came -inappropriately enough- from "Poor Richard's Almanac")

"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
-Milton Friedman (We've all heard it. Now
you know who said it --and it just might be
"your final answer.")

"Sudden money is going from zero to two hundred
dollars a week. The rest doesn't count." -Neil Simon

"A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can
prove you don't need it." -Bob Hope (...or 'Writer,

"A bargain is anything a customer thinks a store is losing money on." -Kin Hubbard

"A billionhere, a billion there -- pretty soon it
adds up to real money." -Senator Everett Dirksen on
Congressional spending

"A design is what the designer has when time and money run out." -James Poole

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."
-Yogi Berra

"After a certain point, money is meaningless. It
ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts."
-Aristotle Onassis

"All money is a matter of belief."
-Adam Smith

"As soon as any art is pursued with a view of money, then farewell, in ninety-nine cases out of a
hundred, all hope of genuine good work." -Samuel

"Beauty is potent but money is omnipotent."
- Proverb

"If you want to know what the Lord God thinks of
money, you have only to look at those to whom he
gives it." -Dorothy Parker She also said that
the two most beautiful words in the English
language are, "Check enclosed."

"Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too
much money." -Robin Williams (probably during the

"From birth to 18 a girl needs good parents.
From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From
35 to 55, good personality. From 55 on, she
needs good cash." -Sophie Tucker

"I cannot afford to waste my time making
money." -Louis Agassiz

"I have enough money to get by. I'm not
independently wealthy, just
independently lazy." -Montgomery Clift

"I make money using my brains and lose money
listening to my heart. But in the long run my books
balance pretty well." -Kate Seredy, Hungarian
children's writer, illustrator

"I'm not the man I used to be, so why should I have
to pay off his debts?" -Gary Apple (Anybody know who
he is?)

"If you are poor, though you dwell in the busy
marketplace, no one will inquire about you; if you
are rich, though you dwell in the heart of the
mountains, you will have distant relatives."
-Chinese Proverb

"If you have money, men think you are wise, handsome,
and able to sing like a bird." -Jewish Proverb

"In spite of the cost of living, it's still
popular." -Kathleen Norris

"In suggesting gifts: Money is appropriate, and
one size fits all." -William Randolph Hearst

"It is not economical to go to bed early to save
the candles if the result is twins." -Chinese

"Let us all be happy, and live within our
means, even if we have to borrow the money to
do it with." -Artemus Ward

"Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better
class of enemy." -Spike Milligan

"Money is a stupid measure of achievement, but
unfortunately it is the only universal measure we
have." -Charles Proteus Steinmetz

"Poets are terribly sensitive people, and in my
observation one of the things they are most sensitive
about is money." -Robert Penn Warren

"Rockefeller made his money in oil, which he
discovered at the bottom of wells. Oil was considered
crude in those days, but so was Rockefeller. Now both
are considered quite refined." -Richard Armour

"Success is having to worry about every damn thing in
the world, except money." -Johnny Cash

"When I get a little money, I buy books;
and if any is left, I buy food and
clothes." - Erasmus

"MONEY, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us
excepting when we part with it. An evidence of
culture and a passport to polite society." -Ambrose
"Bitter" Bierce in "The Devil's Dictionary"

"Money is coined liberty." -

"There was a time when a fool and his money were soon
parted, but now it happens to everyone." - Adlai

"I didn't get paid for this article and it took
longer to research than many that I've written from
scratch which is why, instead of 'getting rich
quick,' I'm 'staying poor slow.'" - Paul Ross