« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#254 — The Mating Strategies of Earthlings

2021-06-25 | 🔗

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Buss about the differential mating strategies of men and women. They discuss the controversy that surrounds evolutionary psychology, the denial of sex differences, cross-cultural findings in social science, the replication crisis in psychology, the biological definition of sex, why men and women have affairs, ovulatory shifts in mate preference, sex differences in jealousy and infidelity, the sources of unhappiness in marriage, mate-value discrepancies, what we can learn from dating apps, polyamory and polygamy, the plight of stepchildren, the “Dark Triad” personality type, the MeToo movement, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Looking to make your search bar cast this is SAM Harris, just a note to say that if your hearing this you are not currently honour subscriber feet, we here in the first part of this conversation in order to access full episodes of making sense park as you'll need to subscribe, San Aristotle work there, you'll find or private our says. We need to add to your favorite pot catcher, along with other subscriber, only content. We don't run ads on the past and therefore its may possible entirely through the support of our subscribers Sophie and joy, we're doing here, please consider becoming one too damned speaking with David Bus. David is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and his
author of many books, most recently when men behave badly the hidden routes of sexual deception, harassment and assault. And David will not get into many interesting topics around me: differential mating strategies of men and women. We discuss the controversy that surrounds illusionary psychology, the denial of sex differences that one increasingly encounters on the left cross cultural findings in human psychology, the replication crisis, in psychology and then we get into the differences between. Men and women with respect to the relevant attitudes toward sex and made preferences. Sex differences in jealousy and infidelity the sources happiness in marriage. Mate value discrepancies, what we and learn from dating apps,
Paulie Emory and polygamy, the plight of stepchildren and the so called dark Triad personality type that caused so much. May him the meat to movement and related topics anyway, hoping to have this conversation as much as I did all very useful. have to understand, and now I bring you David plus. I am here with David Bus David thanks for joining glad to be talking to you, SAM so you have written a and a very interesting bookie ridden several books, but current one is when men behave badly, the hidden routes of sexual deception, harassment and assault and. When did you start writing? This was the say a me to response, or no,
no, not or not at all. I I will first, five Ben I've actually been researching conflict between the sexes for about three decades, so I have a couple of my first paper honour that thirty years and I know I started- writing a book and signed a contract for it at least a year before the ME to movement broke. So it sets a long term project Took me about three years to write and thirty years to research, thirty years to three years to write. Well, it's really interesting and connects with so many topics. That term are of perennial importance but they seemingly even more important now, but before we get into the specific topic of biological sex and the different Joe maiden strategies of men and women and in all of them logic their perverse and otherwise was just talk about the scientific context in which
We're having this conversation me. This is essentially evolutionary psychology that is the the lens through which you're looking at these phenomena Evolutionary psychology, you has been, and probably still, is, somewhat controversial. Can we rehearse the the reasons why that's the case? I think that its controversial, primarily among people who don't really understand its logic, so people, pick up. You know at a newspaper article on her work. even in the textbooks. They cover it and all say all intro to psychology textbooks cover it. They typically contain conceptual errors. Tipper, he met a conceptual errors? And so I think, there's just no lack of accurate,
understanding of what evolutionary psychology is- and I think part of that stems from you know in my field, us, which is psychology, you can get a bachelors masters or a Phd without ever taking a single course in evolutionary biology, and so what it means is that of all the professors- and you know dont have any training in it and they don't have a deep understanding of it. Now, for some do some pick it up post phd error or get expert some exposure to it. But one way to think about it is that I mean the term evolution we didn't, we could start there were some go in a why things are controversial. I like to say sometimes that its evolutionary psychology is an equal opportunity. Offender in the sense that on the political spectrum. It offends some on the religious right be, who don't believe in evolution revolution as applied to humans.
I ended offence, some on the on the political left who erroneous Finally, I believe perceive that if there are involved in this hey sex differences in mating strategies, then that will interfere with social justice goals like we want to build. many discrimination against women, for example, one eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, and so it is perceived that, while it evolved its inevitable, its electoral there's, nothing. We can do about it and a. simply conceptual error. A misunderstanding of the field and then I guess one other reason at its controversial in the modern environment. Is that I and other evolutionary psychologists, conceptualize, theorize and empirically document evolved sex differences in in this case our mating psychology or a sexual
psychology and we're in a you know, an era where some people believe it's what I call sex difference denial and they bade they. Don't they don't want there to be sex differences? If there are six differences, they don't want them to be, evolve sex differences and then the final ingredient so I have it all here and especially in this new book- is that it deals with controversial topic. So in this case, in the case of the new book, sexual harassment, sexual coercion, sexual deception, it deals with hot topics that are controversial, and that people care about a lot. They have strong emotions. You know to these topics and so, when you combine this mixture, evolutionary theory, sex differences- and then the nature of these hot topic sets a very combustible max and, I think, generate some controversy for that reason, yeah. It fascinating this commitment to
denying sex differences, and I think I get the commitment it I'm evolution that that's just feel mandated Sir Leon and Abraham context. So that's there's not does not a mystery there. I made it, but this denial of sex differences even when it works to the I guess. I understand the initial logic that you think any admission of sex differences will work to the disadvantage of women, but even in those cases where the denial of of sex differences obviously works to their disadvantage. There no brakes on this crazy, train and people, usually the left, just keep denying that there is any basis for around
wishing men from women apart from their self designations in the end right as I get is like a blank slate dogma coupled to a and identity politics that takes as its only fulcrum, what someone wants to say about themselves on any given Tuesday. Here at an end, I think I mean that's too. I think I'm hoping that my book war break through some of these attitudes, precisely for the reason that you mention SAM is that is that denying sex differences in these contacts, for example sexual harassment, some of the topics will get into actually does harm women. I mean you know what we know, for example, that enable the more extreme forms of sexual violence largely perpetrated by men and women, are the primary victims of it. And so my argument is that we really need to understand the underlying sexual psychology
men and women and how they differ in order to eliminate some of these some of these problems, which are genuine problems, yeah yeah. So I the exert a few other pieces here that could boy and a bias against evolutionary psychology that this one, you close the door to in several places. In your book. There said the naturalistic fallacy, the idea that explaining things in terms of evolutionary logic could be mistaken for saying that, because this is the way things have been and we can tell a story that there were adaptive advantages in the past to our ancestors for the human nature taken. This turned where, therefore justifying in this case, these Differences in in making strategies between men and women say were saying is a good thing because, as a natural thing
No one. No one is saying that, or at least I haven't met such a person, and yet that is an obvious misunderstanding. It it is in it. It is astonishing to me how frequently people do jumped to that fallacy, but I think that there is some hope, at least for some people cause. I you mention my other books the first book that I wrote as the evolution of desire strategies of human mating and One guy who read, it told me that understanding men's evolve desire. Perceptual variety helped him to stay more faithful to his wife because he found himself the women who are other than his wife and initially concluded that. Well, maybe I'm not in love with my wife anymore.
Do you realize know they're, actually, two different sets of psychological mechanisms, desire for sexual variety and also the emotion of love, which I think he bald in the context of long term pair bonding, which characterizes a lot of human mating, and so so, I think, understanding doesn't automatically lead to that, oh its inevitable and there's nothing. We can do about it because it's quote natural at one other month on, that is- and this this example illustrates this, I think, is that humans have a a large number of evolved psychological adaptations and at any moment in time only some small subset it is activated, and so we can keep certain adaptations quiescent on activated. We can activate those that we think are desirable to activate, and but but
the issue of what exists and what should exist from a moral or ethical perspective desert. Those are two definitions, yet I guess the concern that an evolutionary explanation. ignores the role of culture, which, of course, it is indeed not because we have evolved, at least for some considerable period of time in the context of culture, and it is an evolutionary description of how culture changes as well How do you know whether that's more than an analogy to genetic evolution is something people can argue about, but their this had a similar darwinian dynamics so here before which it will jump into, ethics, what can we say about the role of culture here, because either it's been widely alleged that much psychological research has been done on so called weird people in a white educated industrialized
which democratic people and therefore has ignored the diversity of people on offer across the planet and therefore it can't really a generalised its results to ball of him Given what we're about to talk about how concerned? Should anyone be that that's the case? I think that evolutionary colleges in general are less guilty. Then other social scientists in in that, and so me, one of the first studies I published on mating psychology was on involved thirty seven different cultures, were, many of which were decidedly non weird, and also, as I talk about in the new book, some of these sex differences. Frogs but in the psychological design of sexual jealousy, I have now been replicated in
a large number of in a more traditional cultures, Brooke Scelza out in california- and I think I don't know if she's in your neck of the woods or not, but she did a study of eleven different cultures and replicated the sex differences. So you know, if you look at the Cross cultural evidence which you know it is difficult to gather, but Jimmy lights. Your four year. There is strong empirical support, at least for a number of hypotheses about that that have been advanced and in particular, Those centre at centering on human mating sounds like this is not the the centre of the replication crisis in psychology but tat, how concerned are you allowed the replication crisis? Is that affecting any of what we're going to talk about an and just? How much is that casting a shadow on any of the work you have done or are doing.
Which I remind people. What we mean by replication crisis have mentioned it a few times in the past by having actually done a proper podcast on it. So well, I guess for the for the listeners, the replication, crisis is that many are phenomena, especially in the field of social psychology, in that sub discipline have turned out not to be replicated. That is other scientists come in and especially if the findings are counter intuitive or a pure astonishing were that our intuitions wooden led us to expect those. Many of those who have not been replicated in, and so people are going back to the drawing board. But I think, as it pertains to me work and the work that I talk about in when men behave badly? I'm not at all worried about it, because these sex differences There are large and magnitude and highly replica bull and its one the reasons why you know early on why I started
in thirty seven cultures, rather than just you, know a couple of samples from north America or Western Europe, because you know you, you dont, want to state your career on off on findings that are not replica and so I thought I was trying to instil that in my graduate students that you wanna be you wanna be sure yourself that the findings are solid and replica well before you publish them so that you don't fall into that into that trap. And so, and so I can tell you with respect to some of the sex differences in made prayer France's that I've documented and that others have attempted to replicate in sexual? policy is another example. Even people who dislike the thing radical lands that I use are still able to replicate the actual results in their own in their own land. And so I who very confident in this case I think it
fact. These sex differences are among the most replica boy in the field of psychology. So ok, let's start I'll, take it from the top or the bottom has the casement How do we define sex, biologically biologists define sex very simply by the size of the sex cells, so the gamete that that is the the males are are defined as the small ones in the human case. We have basically sperm, which are in a little more than tiny packets of D. nay, and you know up an outward motor adaptation designed to get to the the egg to fertilize it. Females are defined as the ones with the larger sex cells in the human case, the the the egg witches large many times the size of sperm and filled with nutrients, and so from the moment,
of conception and then subsequently females are investing more more than males. So some people use it's gonna be cliche at this point, but sperm are cheap. Eggs are expensive, but is it it is true and so, and so the sex defined in that way is different from things like gender identity or sexual orientation or sexual attraction, and so for biologists. At its very clear, you know that sex, sexy evolved somewhere around one point three billion years ago from a sexual s actually reproducing species, we're going on a long time, but there there are two sexes, wrote and- and I think
but also a lot of confusion that is develop when people intermingle that biological definition of male and female, with all these other phenomena, such as identities in and orientations, and labels and how all this sexual reproduction estimates vary, but It's some somewhere between one billion and two billion years ago, as when it when it first evolved. so it's been going on, for I guess you know you'd say a quarter or a third of that of the time of life on earth, think life on earth. He evolved about three and a half billion years ago, so I sexual sexually production it took. It took up at least a billion or two billion for sexual reproduction to evolve. After that. Yes, we ve been at that for a long time, and
even in are a hominid form. We ve been at it for a long time in that That's worth remembering, as we go into the details here, because you when you, when you describe the different mating strategies and their of evolutionary logic, if you lose sight of the vast amount of time wherein incremental changes could have tuned us differently, it can seem less plausible than otherwise would herminius we have been intuitions for how much time need take for things to change in evolutionary terms, and we have with Russia, have bad intuitions for how long tens and hundreds of thousands of years really is yet no exit they had a meaning in a way hits are evolved. Psychology that causes those failures of intuition because we evolve to solve pre.
bombs in. You know the here and now and in time spans of seconds or minutes or sometimes days and occasionally years, but we didn't evolve to either understand deep time or were the concept a billion years, it is just a hub, is very difficult to make that transition, and some have views some scientists abused, analogies or metaphors to try to make that leap. So, for example, a football field like if you start with em evolution of life, started at one end of a ball field and then evolved to the point of modern humans sort of where we are arguing that space and you get down to. I don't remember the exact details, but something like that
last inch of the football field where, where our species evolved couple million years ago, I, and then than when you talk about even things like farming and technology, that agricultural revolution and those desert like your down the seconds and then went so set, but sometimes those devices can help people make the leap to try to tune their intuitions too, too deep time, So what do we think? We understand about the differences between men and women with respect to evolved maiden strategies? Well, I guess we can start, maybe just with a few basics, and that is only mentioned sperm and an egg, but males and females us in the human case. We have dramatically
a front reproductive anatomy and physiology- and consequently these have put different adaptive problems for males and females, so, for example, photos nation, occurs internally within the female body, not within the male body, that what this creates is an asymmetry in certainty of parenthood. where women are always one hundred percent certain- that they are the mothers I know no mother ever gave birth. As far as I am aware, and as the child is emerging from her body wondered a Jew Is this kid really, my on young, There's one hundred percent certain men can never be sure. So some cultures used the phrase Mama's baby, Papas, maybe to kind of capture that asymmetry but stems from the fact that fertilisation occurs internally within women, not within men, and so this is, example of an adaptive problem that men have faced recurrently over evolutionary time
that no woman has ever faced, and so you take those this example other examples. Other fundamental features are the obligatory parental investment that each sex has to devote too pretty say single child women have that obligatory nine month, investment and in its obligatory in the in the sense of women. Don't have a choice about it. Really I guess. Well, maybe some modern technology, American. You can form it out to other female bodies, but one can't say look over. busy with my career right now. I've I've really only want to put in two and a half months over the pregnancy. It's it's a book. Korean nine months is heavy investment metabolic Lee. It also creates problems for women, because her centre of gravity is moved for.
Word and so puts extra torque on her back, in that one reason why we think that male and female spines r r differently constructed where females have a wedge like the vertebrae in their which helps to relieve the torque when that centre of gravity move forward, but to produce that single child that takes a woman nine months. It takes man, a man, just one act of sex at a minimum. Now, of course, men do more than the minimum, typically or often they do, although it all of their investment, varies a lot. But if you take this stark sex difference in this asymmetry in obligatory parental investment, just to produce the child to start
and then that creates different adapter problems for men and women and also a different pay off matrix when it comes to optimum mating strategies. That is, for example, and this is one of the reasons that I think creates the most havoc they talk about it The book is that males their primary limit historically over evolutionary time on reproductive success, has been the number of fertile women that they can set successfully inseminate for women and so adding additional sex partners historically has led
to increases in reproductive success for a man for women. Adding additional sex partners does not now. Women can sometimes benefit from additional sex partners. As I talk about in the book under why women have fears, which I think is a really interesting dimension of were hidden side, a female sexual psychology. But you you can see that due to the asymmetries in investment, they are gonna, be sex differences in optimal mating strategies and so said. The key point that I want to make here is that is that it would be astonishing to an ever mission as if you found profound sex differences in our reproductive anatomy and physiology and
zero attending psychological, behavioral and strategic sex differences that correspond to the adaptive the different adapter problems that those sex differences in anatomy physiology create an end. So we look in, and there are clear predictions in some cases, and we find that yes, lo and behold they they do. You define psychological and strategic and behavioral sex differences in precisely the domains where the sex the face, these different adapter problems, and in one of the things I must mention, wipe out. Some people say: oh you're, saying manner from Mars and women are from Venus to absolutely hate, because no, that's not what were saying the the met, a theory of evolutionary the evolutionary psychology predicts both sex differences and similarities between the sexes at the psychological level and its
and it's a very precise met, a theory, namely we expect similarities between men and women in all that domains in which they face proximately, similar adaptive problems. So as an example, both sexes have face the problem of eating, you know getting fuel for the machine and so many women have by and large similar, although not identical, taste preferences in ever things like sugar set a fat salt and protein hey. Where do you see sex differences in taste preferences? Well, when women get pregnant and they face after problem that men don't face which is, namely that substances that are transgenic meaning dangerous to the fetus in in my new quantities, are perfectly fine for an adult women, but if they pass the placenta barrier, vacant damage the feed
so all of a sudden women space preferences change when they get pregnant and so bit. But this that example illustrates that we we expect sex similarities in large areas perhaps most areas of psychology. Now, as it happens, where do we expect sex differences? Well, they fall very heavy. In the mating and sexuality domains. Yet it is a very interesting and use frame to put around, as you just start, with the acknowledgement that evolution is a thing and that the two sexes have
different. Anatomy is and physiology is related to reproduction and different resource demands and constraints, and fairly discrepancy interests in in genetic terms, with respect to the remaining options. Extracurricular mating options, infidelity, I'm just huge how'd advantages, the propagation of it a man's genes to have sex outside of marriage versus the woman's. It would be a miracle. and even aim a strike against the theory of evolution if there were no differences there in evolved. Psychology, yes yes indeed in and it would be mean it would be like sang humans of divine
up the anatomy and musculature for by Peter Locomotion, but we don't- we don't have by Peter Locomotion right the behaviour. Yes, so let us get into some of these details. There is the em. Maybe we can just take specific concept here. Extrapolate from them. So you know you have a married couple. Debt is some: they have shared interests, aid again visit. These are not only talking about the psychological first person, interests were talking and the genes. I view of things they have shared genetic interests in successfully raising children, but how are their interests not precisely and, in your view, yeah. That's a great point. So I mean it in, and men and women do cooperate and cooperate. Supremely
the young over long periods of time. For four, that precise reason that is, they have a shared vehicle shit, a shared genetic vehicle, that's carrying the precious cargo into the into the future, but they differ in very predictable way. So so one is if there is a possibility for infidelity. Ok- and this could be sexual infidelity, where sexual or reproductive resources are being diverted to someone outside of the the couple or even financial infidelity. When one partner is shunting financial resources toward either their interests or even towards their kin at the expense of their partners, interests or their partners. Can you have the possibility of a disillusion or divorce or brow
ups, where the and that that possibility creates a potential for conflict. So I have outlined, I think, in the book, something like twelve ways in which men and women, men and women's interests from an evolutionary perspective kinda can depart from one another. So even even in the case, I end with that ideally further minimizing conflict, men and women with a couple would die at exactly the same time because if one but the couple dies and the other does not, then the one who is still alive, can remade and then in some cases, reproduce and have additional children, and so the pool resources can be devoted toward
interests that are not me. You know aligned with the interests of the original partner. So so it's there is a very predictable set of circumstances. In which the interests of many women depart from an evolution perspective with the qualification that that also occurs within the context of shared interests, Hokosa so from the Chinese, perspective here, it's very easy to explain the man's infidel any or inclination to be unfaithful, provided he can get away with it. raymie. I get that there is really no limit to the evolutionary advantage for him if he could improve eight thousand women surreptitiously and actually expand no resources on on them and their progeny
That would be an amazing gain for him and in evolutionary terms over the remain faithful to his wife, and one could also add that you're from ascended the stairs This is that an all too common inclination for men, but you know we can also say that he should be highly incentivize to donate sperm to a Sperm bank whenever he can only. I mean that that's row the ultimate case where he could Father scores of children, for whom he would. Shoulder no financial or more emotional responsibility and from his genes perspective. That would all be to the good, but there are very few men who feel any internal psychological motivation to do such a thing so that this clearly
daylight between what people feel they want to do and what would make genetic sense if you are going to use the called logic of evolution. But of course we haven't evolved in the presence of sperm banks, and we don't have intuitions for how good it would be to Father the hundreds of children we never meet, but there's something more mysterious or slightly hard to explain about a woman's tendency to be unfaithful. in a marriage. What do we know about the evolutionary logic of that yeah? It's a great question. And I devote a chunk of my book to exploring that that very issue. Just one quick comment on the sperm man, I think you hit the nail on had with it. Would that spray
our evolution, airily novel and we don't have adaptations to things, the revolutionary novel and so on. So it's that's not really a great mystery. As a steep pinker once said dumb, you know his genes he's never reproduce. He said, His genes can go jump in a light. You know that we're we're we're just operating from our evolved psychology that involves not to these weird modern conditions that we find ourselves in any way, so that your question about female info I think it's really fascinating, because this is an area where I end up agreeing with saw my evolutionary psychology, colleagues, I even even those who I have a lot of respect for such as Marty has attended warmer student mine, steep gang Stettin and others where the two
national explanation, which I originally thought was compelling is that is that women can in at least in some cases, get high quality genes from an affair partner. Well, while retaining the investment of resources and commitment and fostering from a stable, regular made and so and in principle that logic could work out, so in particular for women is made to a man who has inferior genetic material, for example, genes for diseases were or ill health or a compromised immune system. Imprints that can work out and there have been a variety of tests of that in and this is still under contention. But but if you ask the question
Why do women have affairs? Do women really have affairs for the functional reason obtaining good genes from these affair partners and what I argue is for a different hypothesis that I call them mate. Switching hypothesis that is, women, have affairs primarily when their when their unhappy with their current relationship- and you may say, while boy that is the least surprising thing. I've ever heard, but it's interesting that if you look at many love affairs and compare them with men who done have affairs, there is no difference in their marital happiness or relationship satisfaction. So women have affairs when their unhappy with the relationship, the nature of their affairs, differs qualitatively on average, and they were talking about on average differences here in that something like this, percent of women become deeply
personally involved with were in love with her a fair partner and so that that is, that would be a terrible disease. I'm feature. If all you're trying to do is obtained the good genes- and you know you don't wanna- be falling in love with the affair partner. If that were the, if the good genes explanation were correct right. If you look at what motivated and to have affairs desire for sexual variety novelty. Novel sexual experiences is overwhelming the motivation not exclusively, but there This enormous sex difference in the design of of male affairs and female affairs and males typically don't fall in love with Europe, fair partners, although of course some do and in Fact, try to adopt strategies to minimize the the cost, the risks in investment in the affair partner, and so my arguments stems from the notion that something good
We go wrong in a relationship, so you going back over human evolutionary time a man could get injured in in a war or get killed. and bad stuff can be for any relationship. The woman could get doktor, he might decide who wants to take on a second or third wife, compromising the in vestment his devoted to the first wife and son. They can always go wrong, and so my argument is that if a woman, what would have been left totally unprepared and had to just suddenly, if her husband, I got killed or dumped her, she would have to re, enter the mating pool that wouldn't be optimal because
women, take out what I call made insurance as we have you know. We have house insurance and car insurance if something bad should happen to our house or car. We hope that a dozen, but you know it's a back up and that women do exactly the same thing. They cultivate backup potential maids and sometimes have an affair. The in order to exit from a boy. add or cost inflicting relationship or to trade up in the mating market. If she can obtain a substantially better, already made than the one that she has or as a transition back into the mating pool. So I argue- and again this is in contrast to my son, my evolutionary psychology. Colleagues, it is, I think, provides a more comprehensive explanation for why women have affairs and
the evidence for the good genes or door mating strategy hypothesis away at sometimes called the evidence, is turning out to be a lot shake year. Then originally thought so, there's something there, but it doesn't seem to explain the majority of cases where women have affairs. I guess they can both be true. the emotional entanglement that many women feel when having an affair could be a by product of just the degree to which they wait. Emotional engagement and the prospect of finding a carrying made more than men do in in any maiden circumstance. I guess there's this background factory, we have spelled out yet, which is that
Men and women tend to value different things in maids or or the or the same things to very different degrees and in a by comparison. Immunity of the cartoon version of sex France's sort of applies again. It is going to be a bell curve over both populations and they'll. Be women who are psychologically more like men than most women and men, who are more like women than most men, so that these distributions will overlap considerably. But, generally speaking, men tend to be more concerned about how women look then women are with respect to male appearance and presumably the evolutionary logic there is on the physical Nina criteria of bearing children and being healthy, all the while and women. Care more about social status and the prospects of that,
The man will be a good source of care and and resources, and that discrepancy certainly explains a lot of what we see out in the world, but it to your last point: if the Braking systems are that different with respect to those variables, I guess shall entanglement under the conditions of infidelity. If your woman could just be a kind of car, asked of the the underline mating strategy logic, as opposed to something it proves that you're not actually out to surreptitiously get good genes behind your partners back the well. I think that when you have to look at with all these cases that the weight of the Evidence- and I think there has been enough time for evolution-
can buy selection to decouple that emotional involvement for women under under certain circumstances? So so it, as I mentioned, it's a terrible design, features terrible psychological flaw. If, if the sole goal is getting good genes, but it but is, it is an excellent design fee. If the goal is a maid switching goal is there seemed remember there being research around women's mate preferences changing to one another degree when there are violating do I make that that, Yes, no! No. No, you didn't make that up. There's been a fair amount of research on precisely bat, and that was the body of research that was used to try to test the the good genes hypothesis for the dual mating strategy, a hypothesis. The problem that it runs into is is a couple
things. One is well what qualifies as markers of good genes and the the people who have argued for the genes hypothesis, basically selected things, like masculinity and symmetry. Those were the two that were primarily focused on so that women were hypothesized to prefer more masculine and more symmetrical man around population when their most likely to conceive. But the question is that, while with these to be viewed as the exclusive markers of goods and so another example is only one of the most heritable things that we now and I know you ve talked about the sun in other pot cast, but is intelligence. Intelligent says it is a you know at least moderately heritable and probably a bit more than moderate the heritable, and we know that intelligence
is beneficial for solving a wide variety of problem, but women's preferences for intelligence does not shift at our cassettes. Others there's the conceptual issue of what qualifies as markers if they have a nice one, I've a knee jerk response to that what we mean by intelligence now is quite a bit more nuanced, then what counted as a evolution, airily important difference in intelligence. You know even a few hundred years ago, much less seventy five thousand years ago, right so like ie, if you're, if all you're doing is lobbying one another over the head with rocks being smart, while you're doing Did you didn t give much ever deferential advantage. Hedge fund man, jurors end software
engineers and other on markers of differential success. Now a bit like sperm banks right, we just did not evolve to pay attention to those differ. Yeah a possibly amend. I accept your your point. I guess partially, where I would push back a little on it. Is that the you know that we didn't just how our ancestors just handed over the head with rocks socially we're. I didn't navigate social to navigate, navigate social space, and even that you know, the physical environment. You know create a net navigator habitats that resources, and but yet the social intelligence hypothesis is one I passed us for the evolution of Munich high level. I love of human intelligence sets. I pushed back a little bit on that night in India. I think it's an open question
If you go to, I don't know traditional hunter gatherer societies did the people that they call intelligent. Would they be the same people that we can't have it right, but it, but of course recognise that you, your point about you know we have very specialised. You know skills and abilities in mathematics in an hedge fund managing and so forth that that wouldn't have been relevant ancestrally, but, but I want to. back to this, the second problem that I see in it actually released the issue. You brought up very early in our conversation, which is the replica ability crisis. So it's very difficult and time consuming to do This observation research, you know you really have to try. women over time and over a number of cycles to really document it. Well, I and the attempt, so there were several large scale, attempts to replicate these arbitrary shifts in mid May preferences and that have failed to find the effects, and so,
the effects are either a lot less reputable than initially thought where there are a lot weaker than initially thought and require much more sensitive designs to detect, and so I think that there are, you know both conceptual problems with a good genes. Hypothesis, as well as impure problems. Ok, we're back to the and the man and a woman. However, the hapless they might be. So they have one child and Tolstoy got her first they're happy families and and on an unhappy ones, and they have ones are all I can. The unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way, but I had other predictable grains of unhappiness here conform to the different mating strategies. Rights damaged, take Lee response to fidelity. Let's say that or just imagined infidelity you ask the wife to imagine her huh
and cheating on her and vice versa. What do each party find most disturbing about that consciously and how does that relate to their different maiden strategies serve biologically? Yes? Well, there, I think, we're two questions embedded in your question is what what one is, what one of the sources of unhappiness. in cotton couples and then the second is what what are the sex differences in the nature of jealousy and infidelity, and basically there there are and that these are highly reputable and one is a really cool study on verbal interrogations. When you, when people discover that their partner is eating or might be cheating and men want to know. Did you have sex with him and women want to know, do you love her, and so this sex difference. When you imagine your partner being I'd stay for now, we ve done studies where we we ask. What's your point,
got emotionally involved within a fair partner. Anne had sex with them had passionate sexual intercourse, which aspect the infidelity would bother you more, and women are much more likely say that the emotional aspects, the falling in love, the attachment that those specks bother women a lot more than men, whereas this sexual aspects that bother man, alot more and so there's. In our view, not that women are overjoyed by find their partner having sex their non errors. if you'd like to continue listening to this conversation, you'll need to subscribe. Sam Herriston work once you do. You get access to all full length episode of the making sense podcast, along with other subscriber only content, including both set besides an amazing and the conversations have been having the waking up at the makings, has podcast his ad free and relies
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Transcript generated on 2021-07-28.