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Your Cheatin’ DRD4 Gene Mutation

Your cheatin’ heart, 
Will pine some day,
And crave the love,
You threw away,
The time will come,
When you’ll be blue,
Your cheatin’ heart, will tell on you…


When tears come down,
Like falling rain,
You’ll toss around,
And call my name,
You’ll walk the floor,
The way I do,
Your cheatin’ heart, will tell on you…

Hank Williams

Scientists confirm the presence of a One-Night Stand gene!

No, you haven’t been redirected to the Onion, this is legit. The Body Odd blog at MSNBC highlights a just-released study confirming that some men and women have a mutation on the human dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4), making them prone to promiscuous behavior. DRD4 is a longer version of the dopamine receptor, the “thrill-seeking gene.” Dopamine is the body’s natural high, and certain individuals are more susceptible to chasing it. Previous studies have shown a link between DRD4 and the following:

  • Gambling
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug use
  • Overeating
  • Political liberalism
  • Passion for horror films
  • ADHD
  • Extreme extraversion
  • Impulsiveness

Hey, I know a couple of those sound weird, but I’m just the messenger. Anyway, researchers have long suspected that DRD4 would strongly link to promiscuity, and the first study of its kind has just been published, suggesting it is so.

The DRD4 research was done at SUNY-Binghamton, surveying 181 college students about their past sexual behavior, sexual expectations and sexual preferences. They also took a DNA swab from the inner cheek. 23% of the females and 26% of the males had the varied genotype. The study looked at three aspects of sexual behavior:

1. History of sexual intercourse

  • 77% of the respondents had had sexual intercourse, but there was no statistically significant difference between the genotypes.
  • The number of past sexual partners was also not materially different between the two groups.

2. History of infidelity

  • 22% of the people with the standard gene reported having been unfaithful to a committed partner in the past.
  • 50% of the genetic mutants had been.
  • Of those who had cheated, those with DRD4 had 50% more sexual partners with whom they had been unfaithful, i.e. they cheated more often.

3. History of promiscuity (One-Night Stands)

  • 24% with the standard gene had engaged in at least one ONS.
  • 50% of the mutated gene owners had.

Previous studies have focused on men, but this study found no differences between males and females. The researchers were careful to point out that “behavioral outcomes are probabilistic, not deterministic.” Apparently, quite a few people with the long version reported that they had never cheated. Why do some people resist these urges, while others don’t? It’s not fully understood, but the authors of the study did say:

“DRD4 VNTR genotype varies considerably within and among populations and has been subject to relatively recent, local selective pressures…in environments where “cad” behavior is adaptive, selective pressure for DRD4 would be positive; but in environments where “dad” behavior is adaptive, selective pressure for DRD4 would be negative.”

Needless to say, the sociosexual environment in the U.S. is highly adapted to cad behavior. An interesting follow up might be to examine how this adaptation affects women. Are female “cads” free to act out in a culture that rewards their male counterparts?

As always, there are a couple of caveats to the results:

1. It may be that those with a strong tendency to pursue risky behaviors are more likely to be forthright about their sexual behavior.

2. The study did not look at variations in mating attractiveness between the two groups. It may be that more attractive people have more opportunity to be promiscuous. Or that attractiveness is correlated to the long version of the gene.

This research may someday lead to DNA testing as part of the mating process. Perhaps there will be an online dating site just for DRD4s. Women may want to know about length (haha) before getting into bed with a guy. I can already hear the excuses – “I was born with the DRD4 mutation! It’s not my fault!”

In the meantime, you’ve already got a pretty solid list of red flags to watch out for. Steer clear of the thrill seekers. If he jumps out of planes or deals drugs, chances are he will cheat on you. If she goes home with you from a bar or wants to be the most beautiful girl at the ball, she’s not going to be happily monogamous.

Once validated, this research destroys forever the fantasy that you can change someone. That you can make a bad boy good, or a party girl want to be a homebody. People don’t change, not really. It appears that we’re hardwired in ways we’ve never even imagined.

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • respectful dissident

    I sometimes feel a bit queasy about sharing this type of pop science. I know this was meant to be a bit of a fun post, but this type of info creates a no-grey-area attitude about finding the right person. I love scary movies, play poker with my friends and am generally described as impulsive/thrill-seeking, but I’m not promiscuous. I’ve been in situations where I could have been but didn’t act on those opportunities because I had enough of a sense values that I did not want to do those things.

    I absolutely advocate what you and other writers of your ilk are pushing for. My generation has unrealistic and hedonistic attitudes about relationships and sex. But…is it so hard to believe that a person can be spontaneous and have a sense of adventure without being a total slut? Constant reptition of maxims that “you can’t change a bad boy/party girl” reinforces the idea that someone can either be fun or committed, not both.

    A lot of people of my generation fear real commitment because they think it’s the end to fun and enjoying life. If you really want to empower youth, teach them how to find a partner who provides stability AND has a healthy appreciation of life. A true partner is someone committed to you, yes of course. However the best type of partner is someone wants to grow with you through life’s experiences good and bad. Even people of the pre-feminism generation have ended marriages because they felt like their lives were no longer exciting. Accepting our innate human need for fun and excitement, and showing people of my generation how to find that with someone in a healthy way may capture more of your intended audience’s attention.

    (This comment has become a a little rant-y and I apologize for that. I am not singling you out, I just feel that many of the writers out there who are part of this backlash against the hook up culture make this mistake a lot. While I agree with the underlying message of these blogs, I find the tone overly patronizing at times.)

  • http://lgfonevolution.blogspot.com Mats

    This is nonsense, of course. lol

  • hepsas

    I hope everyone reading this realizes how scientifically illiterate this post is.

    Susan, you have some legitimate insights, but you seem to have a very hard time understanding what a given piece of scientific research does and does not show. When you mis-report the results of scientific studies, you do real harm to your less-astute readers.

    In this case, it’s a bit hyperbolic to call this a “one night stand gene” – we’re talking about increasing percentages, not an all-or-nothing effect.

    And it’s completely absurd to say this proves you can’t change someone. Knowing that a gene increases the probability that someone will engage in a behavior is not the same as showing that the gene encodes a rigid personality type that cannot be changed by outside influence.

    Most things are a combination of nature and nurture. Knowing that something is partly one doesn’t show it isn’t also partly the other.

    Granted, there may be good reasons to think that trying to change someone is foolish. This study isn’t one of them.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @respectful dissident
    Point taken. To be honest, as someone who has always enjoyed the limelight, and has a somewhat addictive personality, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to learn I’m a mutant. It’s all about being wary of extremes. The girl who’s boasting about all her one-night stands. The guy who’s always breaking the rules. This goes well beyond a sense of adventure and healthy spontaneity!
    .
    I’m all for having more information rather than less information. If it’s true that people with this gene mutation are twice as likely to cheat, and do so more than other cheaters, it’s information you might want to have. We all know who the thrill seekers are, and we’ve always known they don’t make particularly good mates. This is just scientists telling us why.
    .
    In fact, the fantasy that a woman can change a guy is responsible for a great deal of heartbreak and even wasted years. Ditto with some women. From a societal standpoint, the best thing that could happen is that people with this gene pair with one another. This is probably what happens in open marriages, polyamorous arrangements, etc.
    .
    It’s all well and good for a thrill-seeker to get the benefit of stability in a partner. But it’s not such a great deal for the stable person. Not if there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll get cheated on.
    .
    There was indeed some intended humor in this post. I don’t really think that if someone goes skydiving they’d make a terrible husband. Nor does the loveliest woman in the room have to be a narcissist. DRD4 is linked to horror flicks, and it’s probably also linked to enjoying roller coasters too, because of the fright/thrill aspect. I’m truly puzzled as to what liberal politics might have to do with it, but as I said, I’m reporting, not independently linking these traits because I feel like it.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    you seem to have a very hard time understanding what a given piece of scientific research does and does not show. When you mis-report the results of scientific studies, you do real harm to your less-astute readers.

    How have I misreported the study? Can you be specific? The one-night stand gene was the headline of the MSNBC article, which I linked to. I have reported very specifically and accurately what the study revealed and what caveats the researchers offered. My closing remark is obviously opinion.
    .

    In this case, it’s a bit hyperbolic to call this a “one night stand gene” – we’re talking about increasing percentages, not an all-or-nothing effect.

    Yes, I specifically stated that. However, 50% of people with this gene cheated. And they’re only 20! That’s twice the normal rate. Do you not think that’s significant? It’s not all or nothing, and I never said it was, but it’s extremely powerful data. We’re on the cusp of incredible findings about genetic wiring. It’s extremely threatening to some, who have a vested interest in the sexes not being materially different, or who abhor the idea that perhaps man is not entirely a creature of free will, but may be profoundly influenced by genes. These are uncomfortable ideas and findings. Still, our aim should always be discovery.
    .

    Most things are a combination of nature and nurture. Knowing that something is partly one doesn’t show it isn’t also partly the other.

    Which is precisely what I said. Quite a few of those with the gene have never cheated, and scientists will next try to figure out why. Most things are are combination of nature and nurture, but the balance is not what we have long believed. Nearly all research in the last two decades has reinforced the inevitability of nature. Whether it’s a cancer gene, or a gene with behavioral implications, we are indeed hard-wired for probable outcomes.
    .
    So I would agree with your statement that it is theoretically possible to change a promiscuous, thrill-seeking, dopamine-loving, troublemaker into a model mate. Annette Bening seems to have done it. It’s just not very likely. I stand by my assertion that a person who exhibits several of these linked behaviors is not a good long-term prospect. As I said above, that’s nothing new. What’s new is the research into why not.
    .
    Of course, none of this may stand up to peer review. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • SayWhaat

    But…is it so hard to believe that a person can be spontaneous and have a sense of adventure without being a total slut?

    I feel like that too, that people automatically assume fun and extrovert = dumb/slut. People don’t always realize that sometimes, the modestly-dressed girl at the bar is a sex kitten dying to be released. : p

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I feel like that too, that people automatically assume fun and extrovert = dumb/slut.

      Really? That interests me. In an era where casual sex is at least more out in the open, perhaps we’re looking for behaviors that appear to correlate with a willingness to have it? I have always been the fun, extroverted type, but I’ve never had those assumptions made about me, so I think it must be cultural, and a reflection of this time.

  • Snowdrop111

    I am a political liberal because I am a Christian. Or maybe I am a Christian because I am a political liberal. Let me interject quickly that I am a pro-life liberal. Political liberals most certainly can be Christians. I attend a megachurch with 14,000 of them. In a Midwestern red state.

    I obviously don’t have that gene…but I have never noticed more thrill-seekers among political liberals. The ones I know don’t run with a fast crowd *at all.*

    Anyway, I have totally seen people who were formerly promiscuous change. I will speak only from the religious angle right now. I have seen girls I grew up with in church go through a rebellious phase and settle down when they got married because what they were looking for in their rebellious phase was validation, not thrills. Maybe they had the “Seeking Validation” gene which maybe a lot of promiscuous women have rather than a “thrill” gene. And I have seen older women who weren’t raised religiously settle down and with a religious man, who forgives their past and they go on from there. Our preacher’s wife was like that. There are plenty of Christian women with a high sex drive who don’t cheat because they are religious. If any women from another religion want to get on here and speak to whether they restrain themselves despite their desires, they are welcome to. I have definitely seen high-sex-drive Christian women restrain themselves while married. My (not the same as above) preacher’s wife friend was chomping at the bit in a bad marriage and she would absolutely NOT do anything while married. Oh she was tempted but if she met a man she was tempted by, she would not attend a meeting he was going to be at until her divorce was final.

    Anyway, for an essay by a conservative on how the current thinking on being hard-wired by genetics is going to bring down ruin and destruction, from a political conservative point of view please see Tom Wolfe’s “Sorry But Your Soul Just Died.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Snowdrop
      Religion is probably the most influential external force in curbing behavior that society considers undesirable or unhealthy. Obviously, religion can also be a destructive force, e.g. Taliban, but it provides a clear prescription on how to live, what’s moral and what’s not.
      .
      I would agree that change and redemption is possible for all of us. However, a young man or woman hoping they can effect that change in someone else is facing very long odds. We don’t change for other people. People with this gene variation are going to be more likely to seek thrills and succumb to the lure of forbidden risk. The good news is that they are generally identifiable by their actions. It’s not Russian Roulette.

  • Joe

    Susan, I think Respectful Dissident and you have placed this report correctly on the continuum between science and pop-science. And it was an appropriately light article.

    Once validated, this research destroys forever the fantasy that you can change someone. That you can make a bad boy good, or a party girl want to be a homebody. People don’t change, not really.

    But if there’s a serious side to the discussion, this may be it.
    .
    Seems like there’s a general tendency to take human behavior and assign it to genes or physical conditions or even sociological situations that completely absolve people of responsibility for their actions. For my money, it’s the way things are reported in the popular press; I sometimes doubt that the general public really takes it that way all that much.
    .
    Despite our genes, we do ultimately have free-will and choice, I am convinced. And most people most of the time exercise it properly (whew!). But there may be a lesson to be learned about judging people, though. You never know what they have to overcome to do good.
    .
    Gee – someone who’s got a (mythical) gene for cowardice may be mustering the courage of a hero just to return a defective item to a store and demand a refund. The thrill seeker summons the patience of Job just to sit still for an hour and talk to a neighbor. You do it ’cause it’s right, not because to like to. Fortunately, most understand that, even if there’s a tendency for studies like this one to undermine the idea.

    Oh, before I forget, lest there’s any confusion, I’m not the other Joe who’s a regular commenter.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Gee – someone who’s got a (mythical) gene for cowardice may be mustering the courage of a hero just to return a defective item to a store and demand a refund. The thrill seeker summons the patience of Job just to sit still for an hour and talk to a neighbor. You do it ’cause it’s right, not because to like to.

      It really is fascinating to think about the implications of all of this. I was out with friends last night, one of whom is a bone marrow transplantation surgeon. He conducts and sees a lot of DNA research. He was describing all of the recent discoveries that are being made re genes. Some of it is extremely useful now, i.e. certain men have androgen receptors that make them more likely to get prostate cancer. But he also talked about how tricky some of this is going to be among different populations. For example, many Asian people lack a gene that enables them to metabolize alcohol. They are literally incapable of alcoholism. And yet Northern Europeans are extremely efficient at it, and have high rates of alcoholism. This is true in Ireland, England, and Scandinavia, for example. Now we’re talking about behavior that society finds problematic. And some people may have a double variation – both DRD4 and norther European ancestry, for example. Is alcoholism a foregone conclusion for some, depending on how variable their genes are?

      As a Jew, my friend wondered what will happen if we find a link between a certain gene mutation among Jews and greed, for example. Coming to grips with our true nature is going to be very, very tricky in the years ahead.

  • jess

    i would say this is all a stretch
    .
    correlations are not certainty
    .
    and loads of people have ‘patches’ of youthful experimentation and then settle down
    .
    and there is the effect of culture and media
    .
    i think this is a bit misleading- probabaly does qualify as ‘pop’ science

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jess
      Ha, with all due respect, you have no idea what you’re talking about. This study was conducted with Helen Fisher as an advisor, one of the foremost “relationship scientists” in the world. Some of the brightest minds in the U.S. are designing and conducting gene studies in academic settings, and they’re being published in respected academic journals.
      .
      If find it hilarious that you, who have linked to British tabloids as scientific sources, would question this science. This isn’t some crappy Maxim poll or Ask Men survey. And there’s more to come, I can assure you. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t mean that our genes make certain outcomes inevitable. But they do make certain outcomes considerably more likely. Perhaps if someone knew this, and did not want to be a promiscuous cheater, they could take appropriate action to avoid that outcome, in much the same way an alcoholic gets clean and sober.

  • http://Ft.com VJ

    I present one of the better known literary examples of this, and his last of 6 wives. The ‘lucky’ one who stubbornly stayed. Seemingly, they both died happy with their decision too. The Indy Obit for Norris Church Mailer:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/norris-church-mailer-model-writer-and-actress-who-became-norman-mailers-sixth-and-last-wife-2144092.html

    Cheers, ‘VJ’

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @VJ
      Oy, and she turns out to have slept with Bill Clinton.

  • Timothy Webster

    Important point to add to this; it has been quietly making the news more and more often that genes can be switched on and off DURING A PERSONS lifetime, and the genes expression can alter WITHIN A PERSONS LIFETIME based on their own behavior and environment.

    So, the question is, did the gene change because they were sluts, or are they sluts because of the gene? At any rate, it would be nice to be able to take a cheek swab and send it in for this type of analysis before “committing” to someone.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Timothy Webster
      You’re the second person to mention this research about genes being flipped on and off. Fascinating stuff, and I can’t find a link. Do you recall where you saw any of this?

  • Will S.

    I always knew liberalism was a disorder.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Susan…”I’m truly puzzled as to what liberal politics might have to do with it”

    I wonder if the correlation would be different for different age ranges and social groups. For example, assume that what the gene is *really* correlated with is *conformity*. In that case, people with the gene who live in a liberal milieu would tend to become liberals, whereas those who live in a conservative milieu would tend to become conservatives.

  • The Deuce

    Once validated, this research destroys forever the fantasy that you can change someone. That you can make a bad boy good, or a party girl want to be a homebody. People don’t change, not really.

    Agree and disagree. I’ve seen people who were no doubt wired this way undergo profound change, so people do really change. However, it involved a fundamental conviction and change in worldview for them. I think, therefore, that it’s pretty accurate to say that *you* can’t change them, just by being such a wonderful special snowflake, or nagging them enough, or whatever. Also, I think it’s important to understand, even when they do change, their genes don’t. They still maintain those basic building blocks of personality that made it easy for them to fall into that sort of behavior in the first place (though, like all human tendencies, this one can be put to good use or bad use).

  • Joe

    Susan, the research about genes being “turned on and off” was explored in a fascinating episode of NOVA some time ago. Epigenetics is a good term to use if you want to do a search.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Joe
      Thanks for the NOVA link. That looks fascinating!

  • The Deuce

    Btw, it appears to me that the common thread between all the very different behaviors associated with this mutation is a tendency not to give much rational consideration to practical consequences in choosing one’s course of action, or to ignore such considerations. That’s how political liberalism is related.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Btw, it appears to me that the common thread between all the very different behaviors associated with this mutation is a tendency not to give much rational consideration to practical consequences in choosing one’s course of action, or to ignore such considerations.

      That would point to impulsivity, novelty-seeking, and low risk-aversion, all of which have been linked to dopamine-rich behaviors.

  • Badger Nation

    Susan,
    .
    Dalrock’s latest post has inspired some questions of my own I’d like to get your take on. One of the items of feminist dogma is that women were locked away in the kitchen from white-collar professional life until 1970 when they were finally able to become doctors, lawyers, etc.
    .
    The woman who told me “I don’t think guys feel pain when they get rejected” (discussed in an earlier thread) also went on some song and dance about how her mother could only become a teacher, nurse or secretary.
    .
    Someone (J I believe) asserted this theme at Dalrock recently and a commenter called it “feminist cowshit.” I must admit I find it suspicious, as my grandmother worked as a reporter in the 50′s and her sister was an attorney.
    .
    What were things like when you were considering college? Did your mother bemoan her lack of opportunity vis a vis men and encourage you to go for the gold to compensate? What about your husband’s mother and grandmother?

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Jezebel and Bro Bible each welcome the study results in their own ways:

    http://jezebel.com/5704661/sluttiness-caused-by-dna-according-to-science

    http://www.brobible.com/story/one-night-stand-study-offers-reason-i-cant-settle-down

    Interestingly, both the feminists and the bros take the tack that sluttiness is not their fault after all. A rare point of agreement.

  • The Deuce

    Well then, I’m sure the lovely lasses at Jezebel won’t object if there’s a “beating your ho’ senseless because she cheated on you” gene (and vice-versa for Bro Bible douches and smashed cars)!

  • The Deuce

    @Susan

    Needless to say, the sociosexual environment in the U.S. is highly adapted to cad behavior. An interesting follow up might be to examine how this adaptation affects women. Are female “cads” free to act out in a culture that rewards their male counterparts?

    It rewards them sexually, but does it reward them genetically? Most of this cheap sex is non-reproductive. Those forming stable families are having the most kids, while the socially liberal are having the least.

    It’s extremely threatening to some, who have a vested interest in the sexes not being materially different, or who abhor the idea that perhaps man is not entirely a creature of free will, but may be profoundly influenced by genes….

    Most things are are combination of nature and nurture, but the balance is not what we have long believed. Nearly all research in the last two decades has reinforced the inevitability of nature.

    Actually, I don’t think that this thing truly touches on the question of free will, and neither does the nature vs nurture debate. In fact, the assumption that our actions are completely determined by nature or nurture, or some combination of them, leaves out free will from the get-go, and is incoherent.

    To take one example, why do you believe that the DRD4 mutation predisposes people to cheating? It’s because that conclusion is strongly implied by the data, right? There are two propositions here. The first proposition (the premise) is “Twice as many people confirmed to have DRD4 cheated, and cheated much more often” and the second proposition (the conclusion) is “DRD4 predisposes people to cheating”. There is a logical relationship between those two propositions, and you believe the conclusion because you recognize that logical relationship. The recognition of that logical relationship is what makes the belief rational. If your belief was caused by something else, such as a dislike for the number 4, it wouldn’t be rational.

    Likewise, if you believe the conclusion because you have a gene that determined that you would believe it, your belief is irrational. And if you believe it because your upbringing determined that you would believe it, it is irrational. And if it is determined by a combination of the two, it is likewise irrational. In that case, your belief in the conclusion is no more rational than Jess’s disbelief caused by her upbringing & genes. In both cases, the belief is caused by non-rational forces outside your control.

    The reason, of course, is that (as I mentioned before) the belief has to be caused, at least in part, by the logical relationship between the premise and conclusion in order to be rational, and neither your genes nor your upbringing are that logical relationship. In fact, NO material thing can be that logical relationship, because logical relationships are abstract, unchangeable, and absolute (the logical relationship between premise and conclusion can be “seen” by multiple people simultaneously across the world, is just as valid yesterday as it is today, and is true for everybody whether they accept it or not), whereas all material things are changing, temporary, and concrete. It follows, then, that in order for your belief to be rational, it must be caused in part by immaterial logical relationships – which is to say, you must have free will.

    There’s a paradox there. If you conclude that there is no free will because a study suggests to you that all your actions are determined by genes and/or environment, then you have concluded that there are no rational conclusions, which means that your own conclusion is irrational. Unless of course you made an error in judgment in reaching that conclusion, in which case it is still irrational. It follows, then, that there can be no truly rational basis for concluding that there is no free will.

  • The Deuce

    Wow, my last comment would’ve really benefited from putting ‘.’ between paragraphs to create line breaks. I hate it when I forget to do that.

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    I’m always amused by how fast someone jumps in and calls this kind of thing pop-science. To be fair, there are certainly news outlets and bloggers who will misinterpret or overstate such studies, but there’s nothing “pop” about this kind of research. It’s the cutting edge of the unification of biology and psychology.

    Every decent study has a section on limitations. And you’ve pointed out two very real potential confounding variables. But the results suggest that such a single confounding variable isn’t necessarily likely. For one thing, we’ve done studies on how much people lie on self-reporting surveys about sexuality. Lots of them. (I wrote about one recently, in which the difference in the number of reported sexual partners between males and females all but disappeared when females thought they were hooked up to a lie detector.) Most good studies discard outliers and focus on the mean and standard deviations, which is a good way of discovering what most people are like. Furthermore, most studies also have internal checks to detect inconsistency in answers, which is more likely when people are exaggerating or outright lying. And so forth and so on.

    But beyond all of that, this kind of study is what’s generally known as a pilot study, and the results are used — not to establish scientific fact — but to get funding for more definitive research, which is more expensive, but eliminates self-reporting bias to a large degree.

    So… moving on from that… the implications of this study are not at all surprising to scientists. (I know because I read science journals for my science.) It’s difficult to sell the concept to a lot of people, but we are highly, highly beholden to our genes for our personalities and behavioral tendencies. It would be rather shocking if our sexual habits — arguably the most important of our behavioral traits, evolutionarily — were not highly determined by our genes, when so many other “trivial” matters are.

    Of course, there are lots of political and social implications to admitting that some people are just “born that way.” We don’t like the idea of science creating a caste system. And perhaps it’s a real concern. But denying the facts won’t help us avoid injustice. It’ll just create an entire population of people with their heads in the sand.

    The good news is that for readers of HUS, the implications aren’t revolutionary at all. In fact, they hardly require any change of behavior. Just listen to your mother. “Some boys are just trouble. Don’t try to change them. It’ll just bring tears to you.”

    And the same for guys. Don’t marry the prom queen princess who dated half the football team. Just don’t do it.

    There’s nothing wrong with admitting that genetics play a role in what we already do — judge people by their behaviors. We’ve all grown up saying, “He’s a bad boy,” or “she’s a prude.” We’ve made the judgments. This study and the hundreds like it just demonstrate that we are right to do so.

  • The Deuce

    It’s also important to point out that this isn’t a cheating gene per se. It”s a gene for a personality trait (apparently disinhibition or something similar) that indirectly makes cheating more likely. When you think about it, this is nothing new. We’ve always known that some people were naturally less restrained than others, and those of us with a modicum of common sense have always known that people with less inhibition are more likely to cheat. That has never stopped us from holding them responsible before, so it shouldn’t now. As I pointed out above, denying free will is tantamount to denying rationality, so if predispositions absolve people of responsibility for cheating, then they also “absolve” you from having any rational basis for believing that they absolve them of responsibility.

  • filrabat

    Easy to pin it on genes. Humans are successful precisely because of our brains. Part of that involves our ability to override our genes (i.e. be self-aware of and anticipate our future impulses, fight temptation.) This is especially true in a society as developed as the 21st century United States. Sure, genes may increase the odds that any one person will turn out such-and-such, but genes aren’t entirely destiny.

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    Part of that involves our ability to override our genes (i.e. be self-aware of and anticipate our future impulses, fight temptation.)

    Ah… but what precisely made our brains intelligent and self-aware enough to discover our genes? That would be our genes, right?
    .
    It’s kind of paradoxical in some ways, and I know that it’s hard to grasp, but if we have a propensity to do things which “defy” our genes, it was our genes that gave us that propensity. So we’re not “overriding them.” We’re still acting in accord with the template they gave us.
    .
    Consider for a moment that in many, many, many species, some individuals “sacrifice” their genes for the good of the group. Worker ants never pass on their genes, but in protecting and serving the queen, the genes of the species survive. This is a simple example of seemingly contradictory behaviors to the “will” of evolution. Humans, being far more complex, have far more complex behaviors which cannot be examined as individual events, but must be seen within the scope of macro-behaviors of the species as a whole.
    .
    Consider: Why is it that only a very few people actually question their genes and act against them? Might it be that they have a gene which triggers a propensity for questioning the status quo and acting against it?

  • The Deuce

    Wanted to comment a bit more on some of the ideas going back and forth here. First of all, genes by themselves don’t give us anything. Consider that if you put human genes inside a mouse zygote, you won’t get a human. You’ll just get a dead cell. That’s because genes don’t mean anything by themselves (just like my writing means nothing to someone who can’t read English). You need something capable of interpreting them a certain way, and a mouse cell lacks the necessary factors to build a human from human DNA. The information to code a new human isn’t all in the DNA, but also in the existing human cell. Ultimately, it’s just as accurate to say that we make the genes as it is to say that the genes make us.
    .
    Rather than talking about resisting our genes (which makes no sense, because your genes are just molecules, and you couldn’t will them away no matter how hard you tried) it makes more sense to talk about resisting your urges, with the understanding that some people have stronger urges to overcome than others, just as we’ve always known. Again, all this adds is the understanding of one factor that is partly responsible for some peoples’ urges being stronger.
    .
    And again, I can’t reiterate enough, any interpretation of the evidence that suggests that your decisions are entirely the result of factors (such as genes and environment) other than the objective logical relationships between the premises and conclusions that you think they’re based on is a non-starter, because that interpretation implies that all beliefs are subjective and irrational, which means that you have no rational, objective reason to believe it in the first place.
    .
    In fact, that line of thought is precisely what underlies post-modernism. Rather than seeing it as a non-starter, PoMos embrace the conclusion that our choices are entirely determined by factors other than objective logical relationships that we think they are, and are therefore irrational and subjective, and that there is therefore no objective truth that we can have access to. From that comes the idea that we really just construct our own reality, and from that idea arose precisely the ridiculous blank-slateism that research like this ought to help dispel.
    .
    Which is all a long way of saying that yes, this study uncovers some of the factors behind the innate dispositions that people without their heads in the sand have known that we had since time immemorial. But to draw wide-reaching philosophical conclusions about free will and genetic determinism is to undercut yourself completely.

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    Deuce,
    I’m not sure that Susan was making broad statements about free will or genetic determinism. Were you talking to another poster? If so, pardon me.
    .
    To throw my two cents in, it’s been my observation that most talk of “genetic determinism” comes from people who aren’t defining their terms well. Unfortunately, we’ve been brought up — at least most of us Americans — to believe a very religious version of free will which sounds good in Bible School but doesn’t hold up well in philosophy class. It’s just not defined well enough to even falsify.
    .
    We all have an intuitive sense of what it means to have free will. We believe that as we look into the past, we can imagine that we could have acted differently than we did. I know that’s a little backwards from the normal thinking. We tend to imagine that at any point of our life, we have options for the next moment, and can opt to do any one of them. But things get really tricky when we start talking about choice in the future sense. It’s a bit too much for a blog comment, though, so I’ll move on.
    .
    When we speak of genetic determinism, we are on the same kind of shaky ground. To many people, it means that at any given moment, we have no choice but to do the thing which our genes have programmed us to do. We are little more than automatons.
    .
    But this misses the broader and more salient point that our genes have programmed us with the perception of choice. That is, we believe we have choice because our genes have given us the belief that we have choice! So a lot of the bluster beyond this point is extraneous. Yes, it’s true that many of our thoughts (and therefore our choices) are formed before we become aware of them. And yes, this implies that we don’t actually have conscious control over our desires. And yes, this gets into some kind of chicken and egg regress to determine which controlled which, the gene or the desire, in the first place.
    .
    But the point is, we perceive choice. Whether it’s phenomenologically real or not is irrelevant. When we look at a menu, we feel the impetus to make a decision. And we make a decision. And then we take responsibility for it. And whether we attribute that decision to our genes or our mind is a matter of semantics, since the two are inseparable.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    I fear I am unqualified to wade into this debate, as Hamby and The Deuce have set the intellectual standard quite high. So if I may, I’ll just offer some thoughts on genes, determinism and free choice, as a student of life rather than an expert in logic or genetics. Hopefully, I can add to the conversation.
    .
    First, I agree that change is certainly possible in human beings. For example, the desire for repentance and redemption are not universal, but are very much present in some individuals. Of course, this requires introspection as well. Some people, such as those with NPD (now being eliminated from the DSM!) are far less likely to have this experience than others, and here too we must consider the role that genes may play. While the culture and childhood trauma appear to play a role in the development of narcissistic traits, it is believed that there is a strong genetic component.
    .
    Quickly we wade into murky territory, as we must grapple with the idea of personal responsibility. If Jeffrey Dahmer was genetically damaged, should he be punished, or just contained? What about pedophiles? Until now, we as a society have not accepted traumatic experience as an excuse for abhorrent behavior (with some exceptions, including females who murder their abusers). But we have been more tolerant of explanations involving “chemicals”, e.g. the Twinkie defense. As we learn more about the role of genes in influencing behavior, we will face very difficult questions about blame, responsibility, treatment and punishment.
    .
    Deuce, you raise an interesting point when you describe the DRD4 mutation as being akin to disinhibition. For most people, the act of hooking up requires some kind of disinhibition, most commonly achieved by drinking. What I don’t have a good handle on is the cause and effect between disinhibition and risky behavior. Do uninhibited people experience more desire for risk and reward? Or are they simply more likely to cave to their impulses?
    .
    The research implies that people with DRD4 are different in that they embrace risk and seek novelty. That suggests to me that those people will be more interested in sexual variety from the get go (novelty) and will disregard obstacles to getting it (risk). So a person who likes casual sex may be more likely to enjoy gambling, and scary movies, and even breaking the law. People with this personality profile (perhaps as a result of having the DRD4 mutation) are “addicted” to their own pleasure and reward system, i.e. dopamine, adrenaline. Yes, they can presumably practice self-discipline to overcome these cravings, but perhaps that will always be more challenging for them than for others.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Badger
    I wasn’t able to locate the thread at Dalrock’s, but I’m happy to give you my input on your question.
    .
    I think that what changed primarily for women after 1970 were expectations. Yes, a woman could go to college in 1900, but she was not expected to do so and few did. Career women who did not marry were considered odd, almost freaks of nature. Same story with the choice not to have children. It was the feisty females who forged their own paths, and they either had families who supported their choices, or they broke with their families’ wishes.
    .
    If a woman graduated from college (or even dropped out) and got married immediately, she might work for a time but usually did not think of having a “career.” Even if opportunities for women were plentiful (and they were not), being a secretary was work a woman could do while waiting for her “real life” as a wife and mother to begin. Being a teacher enabled women to work while their own children were at school and be home in time for their kids, including summers. Nursing required less commitment than medical school – no need to delay marriage – and generally flexible schedules that might easily adapt to parenting.
    .
    So there were good reasons that many women, though not all, made these choices. What the Women’s Movement did is promise women that they could “have it all.” The career and the family. By the time I went to college in 1973, the sky was the limit for women. Not only could you study whatever you wanted, but when you got out of college, companies were anxious to hire young women professionals. I don’t know a single woman from college who became a nurse, secretary, or teacher.
    .
    In my case, my mother did complain that her life had been wasted raising us kids :-/ She dropped out of college after her junior year to marry and she had three kids in four years. No one forced her to do so – by all accounts she was quite happy with her choices until much later. I think feminism created a lot of discontent for women at a time in their lives when it was pretty late to make changes. I recall my mother going to career counseling in 1974, and being told that she was perfectly suited to police work. We teased her mercilessly about that and she never mentioned working again.
    .
    My father encouraged me to use my brain from an early age. He was really the one who instilled direction and ambition in me. He was a chemist, and bought me a chemistry set when I was very young. He also did things like build Erector sets with me. I believe I got an extra dose of this kind of attention not given to my brothers, precisely because I was the girl. So in my family, there was always a strong expectation that I would be educated and productive.
    .
    For my in-laws, the trend went in reverse. My husband’s grandmother was a teacher with a Master’s, his mother became a librarian in an elementary school, and his sister majored in education but chose to work as a bookkeeper instead. They’re outliers, and probably not instructive for this discussion.

  • Snowdrop111

    “That you can make a bad boy good, or a party girl want to be a homebody. ”

    How come I am sitting not twenty feet from a former party girl, now homebody and mother of two, who never once has mentioned missing her former party days, totally loves her husband, and dotes on her kids?

  • Badger Nation

    Susan,
    .
    Thanks for the testimony. I found the comment, here:
    .
    http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/overcivilized-men-uncivilized-women/#comment-3378
    .
    Dalrock and J got quite into it on this thread concerning a different issue, and she hasn’t been heard from at Dalrock since.

  • Badger Nation

    grerp added to that discussion:
    .
    “I think what gets overlooked in discussions of what men could do vs. what women could do is the fact that most men’s choices weren’t that extensive either. For generations if your father was a farmer, you were a farmer. If your father worked in the mines, you worked in the mines. There was some career mobility for those who had enough wealth to be educated, and then after WWII the G.I. Bill and the economic boom spawned a slew of new careers unavailable before – which made women want more career choice as well. “

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    Susan, I’ve been digging through what literature I can find on DRD4 and it’s damn interesting stuff. One of the things you don’t hear a lot of in the online magazines is its connection to antisaccade movement. In layman’s terms, the twitchy, involuntary eye movements we all experience. The DRD4 variants account for significant difference in the ability to detect antisaccade “errors” when trying to focus on a particular task.
    .
    What’s interesting about this is that antisaccade errors are not “moral errors,” so we can examine them without a lot of preconceived notions. What we discover is that there are big differences in the perception and level of control in people with and without the DRD4 variant. Which is essentially the same conclusion your cited article reached. Nobody even flinches at the antisaccade connection, but tie it to something like sexual desire, and it becomes a huge issue. Interesting, no?
    .
    Furthermore, DRD4 has been linked to the efficacy of parental influence in adolescent intervention programs. That is, young teens with the variant are less likely to successfully complete the intervention programs or refrain from the target activities — marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol. Here, we start to get some nasty responses, but the data is quite clear.
    .
    How about this one… It’s been strongly connected to reward circuitry responsivity associated with food. Put simply, DRD4 and other areas connected with reward responsivity can be used predictively with regard to adult body mass. Your genes predict whether you’ll be fat with a high degree of accuracy.
    .
    The upshot of all of this? Yes, we choose our paths, and we are responsible for our actions. We believe others to be responsible as well. But there will be bumps in the road as we are forced to make decisions when more and more of this kind of research comes out. Do I believe Dahmer ought to have been forgiven because of his genes? Nope. And neither does anyone else I know. And that includes my scientist friends who understand this stuff.
    .
    But again, we must realize that our choices — while certainly our own — don’t occur in a vacuum. That is, at any given moment, I am a unique combination of stored experience, genetic predispositions, and “brain algorithms.” My decisions are the result of these unconscious processes, and if that means I don’t have “free will,” then fine. But let the philosophers sort it out. In the real world, Dahmer still killed people, and deserved to die. And girls should still avoid boys who give every indication of being DRD4 variants. It’s ok to feel bad that they were born that way, but knowing that it’s their genes doesn’t make them any more suitable as husbands.

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    How come I am sitting not twenty feet from a former party girl, now homebody and mother of two, who never once has mentioned missing her former party days, totally loves her husband, and dotes on her kids?

    Could be a lot of reasons. Nobody here has said that every party girl is a DRD4 variant. People party for lots of reasons. That’s a lot of what Susan’s blog is about. Many girls would not necessarily prefer the party scene but do it anyway because of various social or emotional expectations. This is why Susan advocates really getting to know someone on a deeper level and looking for clues to “core personality.” I’ll bet your wife doesn’t display other warning signs of DRD4 variation either, does she?

    I’d say you probably lucked into one of the girls who responds well to domesticity and parenthood at a party.

  • filrabat

    hamby,

    The genes vs behavior comment you brought up is a neverending philosophical debate, while I agree you brought up some things to think about. As for the worker ants comment, I’m focusing on human genes and human behavior. So I’m not at all sure how it’s relevant to bring in non-human species into the debate.

    As for people questioning the status quo (which, in the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, meant “go against our animal impulses”) – I suppose this is where our brains come in. We see certain behaviors create more harm than good, and we make a conscious decision to self-discipline ourselves to the point to resist our impulses (can also be said about religiously-prescribed behaviors too).

    At this point, this gets into the “free will” debate, which even professional philosophers and neurologists have yet to get a firm grasp on. So, this NOT being a specifically philosophy blog, I’m concluding at this point by saying “Some instincts we can overcome or resist, others we can’t. Cheating and promiscuity may well be one of these, but I think most of us have more self-control in this area than our pop culture’s memes imply”.

  • Anonymous

    We all have an intuitive sense of what it means to have free will. We believe that as we look into the past, we can imagine that we could have acted differently than we did. I know that’s a little backwards from the normal thinking. We tend to imagine that at any point of our life, we have options for the next moment, and can opt to do any one of them.

    The issue of free will isn’t primarily about the “feeling” that we “could have done differently” but about the perception that we, at least to an extent, make our decisions for reasons (the logical relationships between premises and conclusions that I mentioned previously).

    Yes, it’s true that many of our thoughts (and therefore our choices) are formed before we become aware of them. And yes, this implies that we don’t actually have conscious control over our desires. And yes, this gets into some kind of chicken and egg regress to determine which controlled which, the gene or the desire, in the first place.

    Perhaps sometimes, but all the time? Consider your choice to write this post, including the opinions you chose to communicate in it, and the words you used. Presumably, you believe that your post is the result of rational deliberation, that you considered the evidence and came to a rational conclusion that you believe is logically implied by the evidence. The point of your post is to persuade us by telling us the reasons that you believe persuaded you to reach the conclusion. However, if your choice in the content of the post is actually the result of unconscious, non-rational causes that took place before you even became aware of the choice, rather than those reasons, then it’s not really rational after all. It’s no more rational than hepsas’ unconscious “choice” to dismiss that the whole thing is a bunch of crap, prior to whatever reasons he/she thinks he/she had for doing so.

    But the point is, we perceive choice. Whether it’s phenomenologically real or not is irrelevant.

    This is tantamount to saying that it doesn’t matter whether there is really objective truth that we can rationally arrive at by exercising our reason, or whether it just seems that way to us but is really all subjective and based on “false consciousness” (the Marxist term for the idea that truth claims are really expressions of unconscious, irrational causes rather than the reasons purported to support them) a la post-modernism.

  • selketchina

    This findings seem to be dead on.

    I lived with 2 unfaithfull spouses and both of em showed all of the indicators. explains alot.

    Fortunatly i am now with a person who doesnt like to drink, Hates gambling, eats healthy and so on.

    Lets hope for the best, right?

    greets

    selket

    PS how to make a discreet DNA test for DRD4 Mutation?^^

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  • Obsidian

    Interesting discussion, Ms. Walsh, and your post above raises a heck of a lot more questions, especially for you. How so?

    Because, as you said above in the comments, Science seems to be confirming a lot of the folk wisdom of the ages that we’ve already and always have known; and if it is indeed true that we are a heck of a lot more hardwired than we would like to admit, it then calls into question the entire purpose of your blogging efforts.

    You set out to assist young college aged Women navigate the hookup scene on campus. Among other things you attempt to do is to get these young ladies to think about it before hooking up with the Alpha cads. On the other hand, you attempt to get the more Beta guys of the world to learn some Game.

    But if what you just reported above is true – and for the record I think it is – it then means that not only will it be nigh impossible for a sizable portion of your young female audience to resist the gina tingle of an Alpha player, but it will also be nigh impossible for Jeremy the STEM Guy who is nevertheless a “sweet guy” to learn and then properly execute, enough Game to be, pardon the pun, a gamechanger. There is too much hardwiring to overcome in both instances.

    For me, the whole Hamby/Duece debate comes in, in this respect – we now exist in a time when not only vast changes have occurred technologically, but also socially; there is minimal censure or rebuke for a Woman to repeatedly choose cads; there is no support structure in place to ensure that Jeremy gets a relatively chaste wife. A kind of deregulation has occured that has, again if the article above and many others like it you’ve published over the past few years is true, rewarded in essence, the few at the expense of the interests of the many. And worse, because it is part of the American Creed to think that everyone is above average, as if they were from Lake Woebegone, it will be hard to get people to, as we say in the hood, stay in their lane.

    Recently, you and I had a discussion about the very real fact and reality that everyone is not physically attractive – and that this fact of life is particularly important for Women. While I argued bringing awareness of this fact to our children so they may be better equipped to meet life on its own terms – unfair and shallow they may indeed be – you disagreed, on other grounds. Science has begun to unravel what has been up to now mysteries, and physical attractiveness is one of them, that there seems to be some kind of hardwiring in that respect. do we continue to turn a blind eye to this, simply because it makes us feel uncomfortable, Ms. Walsh?

    Elsewhere on the internet and in the blogsphere – as you know, I get around – a heated discussion obtains about the book, The Bell Curve. It was and still is, vilified by certain corners because of its real or perceived tilts towards what some refer to as scientfic racism, despite the fact that the book itself says very little about race. But please note, that of all the many critics – quite a few of them stars in the academic world – that have literally lined up to take their turn at bashing the book, none of them – NONE OF THEM – have actually taken on the argument the book is making. Which is simply that, our society is fast becoming one of Cognitive haves, and have nots – and that we need not only to recognize this head on, but that we also need to have honest discussions about how to contend with the have nots. When Richard Florida talks about the Creative Class, whether he knows it or not, he’s actually supporting The Bell Curve. There are many, many other such examples. Yet, because of raw ideology, not commitment to the truth, or any sense of reason, or just good ole commonsense, we skew – I think deliberately – what The Bell Curve was saying. And it winds up doing no one any good in the end.

    I don’t think it is any accident that Game circles and what some refer to as HBD venues are somewhat closely aligned; one is a discipline and body of knowledge that is informed by the other and can be learned to some extent, depending upon what the Man in question brings to the table, emphasis on the last four words. As Gamesmen know and know well, most Men simply do not have the wherewithal to learn or execute Game to any demonstrable degree. Many in the allied Game/HBD communities believe this to be at least in part, genetic.

    In closing, I’ll simply say this: in any area of life, there are winners and losers. This has always been thus – but what is different in our time is that our core values have changed to such an extent, that not only do we honestly believe that everyone can be a winner, but that we refuse to entertain, regardless of what our own lying eyes are telling us everyday, anything contra to this ideology. And in the end, who is it helping? Is it helping the losers -in this case, not necessarily cognitive losers, but most assuredly romantic ones? I don’t think so.

    The Bell Curve spoke of the notion of valued places, something else that was pilloried by the ivroy tower; but I think there was much wisdom in those words Murray and Herrenstein wrote. And I think it applies here, too.

    The Obsidian

  • Badger Nation

    Susan,
    .
    Might want to check out Slate’s article “do real men [here we go again - BN] like to cuddle?”
    .
    Much of the article is first-person fluff, halfway through you’ll find these gems:
    .
    “Some evolutionary psychologists are now reaching the same conclusion as Hollender: that cuddle-wise, men and women just aren’t that different. “I think that the explanations for males doing it are quite similar for the reasons that women do it,” said Binghamton University’s Justin Garcia, who is trained in both evolutionary biology and anthropology and studies hook-up culture on college campuses. Both just want intimacy and validation, he says—and to feel it in their skin.
    .
    In a recent unpublished survey of nearly 700 college students, Garcia found that an identical proportion of men and women—97 percent—said they liked to cuddle in romantic relationships. In a hook-up scenario, 52 percent of men and 61 percent of women wanted to snuggle. “This idea that men want to disseminate their seed and women want love and babies is utter bullshit,” he said. “That is total bullshit.”
    .
    http://www.slate.com/id/2276911/pagenum/all/#p2

  • Badger Nation

    And another one:
    .
    http://www.slate.com/id/2274736/
    .
    “I’ve been in the Netherlands for nearly three months now, and I’ve come to one overwhelming conclusion: Dutch women are not like me. I worry about my career incessantly. I take daily stock of its trajectory and make vicious mental critiques of my endeavors. And I know—based on weekly phone conversations with friends in the United States—that my masochistic drive for success is widely shared among my female friends. Meanwhile, the Dutch women around me take a lackadaisical approach to their careers. They work half days, meet their friends for coffee at 2 p.m., and pity their male colleagues who are stuck in the office all day.
    .
    Though the Netherlands is consistently ranked in the top five countries for women, less than 10 percent of women here are employed full-time. And they like it this way. Incentives to nudge women into full-time work have consistently failed. Less than 4 percent of women wish they had more working hours or increased responsibility in the workplace, and most refuse extended hours even when the opportunity for advancement arises. Some women cite the high cost of child care as a major factor in their shorter hours, but 62 percent of women working part time in the Netherlands don’t have young children in the house, and mothers rarely increase their working hours even when their children leave home.
    .
    It’s hard not to wonder: Have we gotten it all wrong? In the United States, the race for equality has gone mostly in one direction. Women want to shatter the glass ceiling, reach the top spots in the hierarchy, and earn the same respect and salaries as men do. But perhaps this situation is setting us up for a world in which none of us is having any fun. After all, studies of female happiness in the U.S. find that even as our options have increased and we have become financially more independent than in any previous time in our history, American women as a whole are not getting any happier. If anything, the studies show that we are emotionally less well-off than we were before. Wasn’t the whole point of the fight for equality in the workplace to improve our wellbeing?”
    .
    I find it hilarious that a Slately feminist’s instinctive response to the Dutch way of life, a truly progressive country that appears to have gotten right much of things American women’s studies majors want to fight for, is “omg, how can you DO that??”
    .
    Her article is nutty but typical, equating feminist advancement with income, material “independence” and freedom from the burdens of childcare. The money quote showing Dutch women haven’t been brainwashed into exalting corporatism:
    .
    “”We look at the world of management—and it is a man’s world—and we think, oh I could do that if I wanted,” says Maaike van Lunberg, an editor at De Stentor newspaper. “But I’d rather enjoy my life.” Jacob Vossestein…argues that people in the Netherlands view the hierarchical work environment with skepticism and do not generally envy those who climb its ranks.”

  • http://ft.com VJ

    Another brick in the wall. But this one has everything to support all the stereotypes too.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/10/sylvie-cachay-boyfriend-n_n_794899.html

    JMP

  • http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/ hambydammit

    As for people questioning the status quo (which, in the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, meant “go against our animal impulses”) – I suppose this is where our brains come in. We see certain behaviors create more harm than good, and we make a conscious decision to self-discipline ourselves to the point to resist our impulses (can also be said about religiously-prescribed behaviors too).
    .
    Well, this is trickier than it may seem at first, and the ant comparison might be more relevant than you think. Animals besides humans make decisions to avoid impulses that lead to negative consequences. Dogs learn not to cross invisible electric fences. They learn to go away when we yell “Go AWAY!” They learn not to fuck with the big mean pit bull across the street.
    .
    How conscious are their decisions? They’re certainly awake while they’re making them. And they’re certainly reaching the same kind of decision. That is, X is bad, therefore don’t do X, even if you really want to.
    .
    The real issue here is second order thought. Thinking about thinking. Dogs (and ants) don’t spend time pondering why or how they came to a decision. They just decide and act. But humans think about how humans think, and that does seem — on the surface — to be a very important distinction. And in terms of achievement, we can hardly deny that it is. But in terms of individual decisions, we might not be much ahead of the game. “Thinking about thinking” is always a retroactive process. We think about decisions we’ve already made. And though we might have more information at our disposal when a decision is made, I don’t think any research indicates that the moment of decision for us is any different than it is for ants or dogs. That is, “thinking about thinking” and “choosing” are two different kinds of neurological activity.

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  • http://www.alifeofthemind.com Walenty Lisek

    Ok I was browsing my raw data from 23andMe but couldn’t make heads or tails of it, so I’m posting it here. So am I a manwhore or what?

    http://img145.imageshack.us/i/drd4.jpg/

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Walenty
      Whoa, what is that data? I don’t even know how you got that! Unfortunately, my expertise on the DRD4 mutation is limited to this post. Very interesting, though!

  • http://www.alifeofthemind.com Walenty Lisek

    @Susan

    That is the raw data of my genome.

    I guess it hasn’t hit the mainstream yet that direct to consumer genetic testing is available. You know, like the Human Genome Project but for private individuals and families.

    You don’t get a full gene sequencing done, rather they give you a genotyping, which means

    One’s genotype differs subtly from one’s genomic sequence. A sequence is an absolute measure of base composition of an individual, or a representative of a species or group; a genotype typically implies a measurement of how an individual differs or is specialized within a group of individuals or a species.

    23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company, one of the wives of the Google founders runs the place. Google has dumped like $5 million on this company. I got mine done during a holiday special for $99. I think the current price from 23andMe is $199.

    I got an ancestry report as well as a health report based on my genetics. Found out some interesting stuff, like that I have a slightly higher risk for several cancers, I’m more susceptible to abuse alcohol and tobacco, I have a better than average chance to live to 95, and I metabolize coffee faster. Well the whole thing would be way too long to go into, but you get the idea.

    I was hoping maybe you knew about genes (since you reported on them!) or maybe had some academic friend you could show it to.

    As an aside, I’m thinking that with this stuff coming down in price the phrase “good breeding” will have a new meaning for people looking for a spouse. A man could be more appealing husband material if he could prove he has the “loyal” version of the DRD4 gene.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Walenty Lisek

      Sorry I don’t have any expertise on genetics – I just read a lot and report back. Your profile sounds absolutely fascinating – I had not ever heard of 23andMe before. I agree with you entirely about using genes to select partners – people will be publishing their results on their online dating profiles. The ethical implications are enormous though. For example, will we be using this information to create “designer babies” or even worse, aborting fetuses that show genetic Imperfections like the DRD4 mutation?

      I don’t know any geneticists, sadly, though I was at a dinner party with one not too long ago, who had some interesting things to say, including the ethical concerns above. He also mentioned that there is evidence genes can change and mutate within our lifetimes – so perhaps joining AA for example, and avoiding alcohol for years might alter that dopamine gene receptor. This area of study should prove fascinating to watch in the coming years.

  • Stephenie Rowling

    @Walenty Lisek
    Thanks for the info. I have this on my favorites I know what do to with my first pay… once I get a job. Probably have six copies of that freaking loyalty genes.

    As an aside, I’m thinking that with this stuff coming down in price the phrase “good breeding” will have a new meaning for people looking for a spouse. A man could be more appealing husband material if he could prove he has the “loyal” version of the DRD4 gene.

    Yeah but knowing people will become a lot more assholish. “You will never find a man/woman with this good gene ever so you better tolerate my crap”. Oh well money/fame/looks had been used for that long enough. We are just adding a new one to the equation.

  • http://www.alifeofthemind.com/ Walenty Lisek

    “I agree with you entirely about using genes to select partners – people will be publishing their results on their online dating profiles.”

    I see this as doing two things, 1) status whoring and 2) legitimate concern for health in a spouse.

    I’ll avoid status whoring this time and just look at health. When it comes to health, both my rs833497 marker and my rs2269726 marker show that I have “typical odds of schizophrenia”. For the people who use this technology for dating, what will happen with the people who come back with “slightly higher odds”? I suspect they’ll say something like “oh I’m not shallow enough to worry about genes” when they are in fact hiding defects that would scare people away. But they probably won’t get dates from people who do use the technology.

    “For example, will we be using this information to create “designer babies” or even worse, aborting fetuses that show genetic Imperfections like the DRD4 mutation?”

    I sure hope so! I welcome the coming age of voluntary eugenics just as I welcome the coming age of our machine overlords like Watson on Jeopardy! Ok, to be less over the top about it let me say this – I have the genes and did suffer from asthma. If I can spare my child from having it I will.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Ok, to be less over the top about it let me say this – I have the genes and did suffer from asthma. If I can spare my child from having it I will.

      You’re on a very slippery slope here. What about the male “ginger” who doesn’t want his son to suffer prejudice against redheads? And what if the mother doesn’t share the same view? We will need to have stringent laws to cover this – it will bring a whole new era of ethical conundrums.

  • jess

    oh come on now
    .
    Surely ‘ginger’ is on the list of acceptable justifications for infant euphanasia.
    .
    One can take these human rights ideals just one step too far you know.

  • http://www.alifeofthemind.com Walenty Lisek

    “You’re on a very slippery slope here. What about the male “ginger” who doesn’t want his son to suffer prejudice against redheads? And what if the mother doesn’t share the same view? We will need to have stringent laws to cover this – it will bring a whole new era of ethical conundrums.”

    I can understand laws to keep people from intentionality giving their child a birth defect. I read an article about a couple that wanted to have their child born deaf so the child could be part of “deaf culture”. I completely understand outlawing that kind of thing.

    As for red hair, let the parents make the choice when they pick the fertilized embryo. The last thing we need is stringent laws. People generally perform better when freedom is allowed, which is why it’s not a coincidence that modern democracy and capitalism are so successful. Yes we will get some results that may offend some people, like children without red hair. But we’ll also get combinations that a bureaucratic method would never come up with. As for which parent should decide, I vote for the father because I would like to see the return of patriarchy.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      As for red hair, let the parents make the choice when they pick the fertilized embryo.

      Ah, designer embryos is a whole different story, though of course some of the issues remain. Obviously, a family selecting for deafness is just plain crazy. In a nearby town a few years back there was a family raising two children as gender neutral. Both parents were psychiatrists. No one at the school knew the genders of the children, and when they went to summer camp they were put in their own tent. I never heard what happened to them once they reached puberty, but I thought the parents should be prosecuted for their behavior, not heralded as “enlightened.”

      As for which parent should decide, I vote for the father because I would like to see the return of patriarchy.

      I LOL’d at this, and then realized you’re probably not kidding.

  • Stephenie Rowling

    @Walenty Lisek

    I actually agree with people having the freedom to select the best genes for their kids, my husband’s family had suffered from Alzheimer’s for generation and the ghosts of seeing all his family going trhough it is really a burden for us. If could have any tool to avoid this for happening to our future offspring I totally will my modeling teacher had all her female relatives died of breast cancer and she had two daughters we were very close so I totally understand people that want to prevent this. I myself won’t see my 100 birthday out of strokes running on the family and killing us after we reach 60 so if I can make sure my kids can get rid of it I totally will.
    Of course I will say that having only one of the parents selecting is not the best way to make sure this as responsible and varied as possible after all the mother is also adding genetic material to the offspring. I think a couple willing to procreate together should already have enough common ground to pick the best between the two. So I will say must be a joined choice, YMMV.

  • http://www.alifeofthemind.com/ Walenty Lisek

    “I LOL’d at this, and then realized you’re probably not kidding.”

    It’s an awesome tactic I use IRL too. When I say something I know at lot of people won’t like I say it in a funny way so they laugh, but then they realize I’m serious. It makes it harder for people to get mad at you for saying something they don’t like if you make them laugh with it. So this allows discussion to continue and slightly helps my side.

    I brought this up on another thread – the way the SMP is going in a generation or two the culture of the ghetto is going to spread everywhere. Single mommies supported by the last of the tax payers with men turning towards apathy and crime. You see a similar thing in Egypt, because of polygamy and poverty most men can’t get wives. A large group of young men who have little or no access to the SMP is a powder keg waiting to go off.

    That’s why the legal and cultural support for monogamous patriarchy (MP) is important. Under MP most men will have access to wives and because of their legal power over their own families they will be invested in the success of the larger community as well. Men who have daughters they are legally invested in won’t support a rape culture.

    But this also means the legal structure which has allowed the SMP to self-destruct has to be removed as well. End no-fault divorce, have default custody of the child go to the father, and abolish the welfare state. As Walter Williams recently put it in the Wall Street Journal,

    Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren’t permitted to wed, most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do,” Mr. Williams says. “And that is to destroy the black family.”

  • http://Hookingupsmart.com Greg Hewitt

    Why must we always conform to the “right” way. I’m sure I have this gene but all it did for me was make my life interesting.