Saturday, June 30, 2018

How personality is related to sexuality

This new, large meta-analysis of 761 effects sizes with a sample of over 400k people looks at the relationship between personality traits sand sexuality. 

People who score high on neuroticism (the tendency to experience negative emotions like anxiety) are less sexually satisfied (r = .18) and have more symptoms of sexual dysfunction (r = .16). 

Extraverts engage in more sexual activity (r = .17) and risky sexual behavior (r = .18) and have less sexual dysfunction (r = −.17). 

People who are open to experience are more likely to be homosexual (r = .16) and to have liberal attitudes toward sex (r = .19). 

Highly agreeable and conscientious (i.e., self-disciplined) people are less sexually aggressive (r = −.20; r = −.14) and are less like to be unfaithful (r+ = .18; r+ = .17). 

So, if you're looking for a trustworthy partner who enjoys sex, your best bet is to find a person who is even-keeled, cooperative, and diligent. 

By the way, these traits are highly influenced by genes, so don't assume you can change someone into a desirable partner. A major theme among people who take genes seriously is, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Details on wolves and coyotes

We saw in the recent post that a statistic, the fixation index, that measures the genetic distance between two populations indicates that Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans are as far apart as wolves and coyotes.

This is a useful comparison because, while it is hard for humans to look at race without bias, who cares about wolves and coyotes?

I looked at Walker's Carnivores of the World to see what is says about these two species. Notice how I used the term species. Canis latrans (coyotes) and Canis lupus (gray wolves). The simple fact that blacks and whites are different as two (closely related) species is stunning. Coyotes and wolves interbreed, but biologists consider them separate species. But let's get specific.

First of all, the two species are obviously similar. Many of the major traits one would think of for one species is true for the other: carnivorous, keen sense of smell, cooperative hunting, etc. The two species live out their lives in very similar ways. So do blacks and whites.

But the two species are for from identical. Wolves are much larger: head and body length are 1,000 to 1,600 mm compared with coyotes at 750-1,000 mm. Wolves' tails are 350 to 560 mm, while those of coyotes are 300-400 mm. Coyotes have a narrower build, proportionally longer ears, and a much narrower snout. At birth, coyotes average 250 grams; for wolves, it's 450 grams. Coyotes appear to reach sexual maturity earlier than wolves, and their maximum longevity is 1.5 years shorter (14.5 vs. 16 years).

You might counter that perhaps they differ physically, but the real question is behavior, and the two behave the same. Not so. Wolves are more social. They run in significantly larger packs, they engage in cooperative hunting more often and on a larger scale, and they target much bigger game. While coyotes focus on rabbits and rodents, wolves don't focus on anything smaller than a beaver. They take down deer, moose, wapiti, caribou, bison, muskox, mountain sheep, etc.

Coyotes focus much more on scavenging. They are more likely to hunt alone or in pairs, and will even partner up with a badger. The coyote uses his superior nose to sniff out a rodent, while the badger uses his superior claws to dig up the meal they split. Coyotes can prey on sheep, but wolves also go after larger animals that are important to humans: cattle and reindeer.

The home range of wolves is much larger: the book reports a maximum of 13,000 sq km for wolves, but only 80 km for coyotes. Wolves need much more space: They can't get more dense than one wolf per 26 sq km while coyotes get as high as 2 per sq km.

You might counter again that behavioral differences in animals may be influenced by genes, but humans are controlled by culture. Over the years, I've read a number of studies on the heritability of animal behavior. It's often been of rodents--not known for their rich culture. I was stunned to learn that human conduct is influenced by genes just as much as that of animals. Heritabilities for animal behavior typically run from .2 to .4. Studies often give heritabilities for humans higher than that.

To see who we are more clearly, we have got to look at ourselves like we look at coyotes and wolves; as animals, plain and simple.

UPDATE: To clarify, I suspect that the environment is not as important for animal behavior as the heritability studies suggest. For both human and animal studies, anything not genetic gets thrown into the environment component, but it likely contains a lot of measurement error, random noise, and other factors that probably cannot be changed like the term "environment" suggests.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Please show me the white privilege

This table was taken from this article titled, "Deconstructing White Disadvantage." These are percentages of 25-year-olds in England having a college degree. Please show me where the famous English white supremacy is?

Table 1: Proportion of 25 year-olds with degrees by social class of family at age 13/14.

Family class background White Black Mixed Indian Pakistani, Bangladeshi Any other Total
Prof / mgnr 38% 41% 39% 67% 55% 68% 40%
Intermediate, routine 17% 39% 26% 43% 34% 39% 20%
Others 21% 41% 18% 46% 21% 28% 24%
Total degree 25% 40% 29% 49% 30% 48% 27%

Source: own analysis of ‘Next Step’ waves 1 and 8, previously known as the Youth Cohort Survey or the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE).[4]

Sex-Ratios and Rape

Here's an interesting article arguing that an excess number of males in an area drives more marginal men to compete with other men with high-risk strategies like rape. The graph below shows the correlation between a surplus of men and the rate of rape. The size of the relationship--.42--is moderate. Race is a strong state-level predictor of violence crime, but percent black should also be associated with a surplus of women. It would be good to see the sex-ratio/rape correlations with race adjusted for.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wolves and coyotes

The fixation index, Fst, measures the genetic difference between two populations. From Greg Cochran's blog:
"According to wiki, Fst between Europeans (CEU) and sub-Saharan Africans (YRI) is 0.153.
"According to this study, Fst between North American wolves and coyotes is … wait for it..  0.153."
UPDATE: Was it the wolves or the coyotes who decided the wolf/coyote distinction was a social construction? 
UPDATE II: I see the same wiki article indicates the Chinese/sub-Saharan African Fst is .192.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A big black-white difference in a gene affecting the immune system

This new study looks at genetic differences in black and white women that affect immune system response. The top hit the researchers identified was a genotyped variant rs2814778, which is called the Duffy-null allele. 66% of black women carried the CC variant; 29% had the CT and 5% had the TT genotype. Compare this to white women: 100% of them have the TT genotype.

Now, the "experts" tell us race is not real. For example, they tell us that, say, whites differ among themselves much more than they differ from blacks. But look at this study: there is ZERO variation among whites, black women are fairly uniform too, and where they differ among themselves, it is due to having varied amounts of white ancestry.

It is widely thought that this geographic genetic diversity is the result of a strong positive selection for protection from malaria infection found in West Africa thousands of years ago. Blacks have faced different environments over tens of thousands of years, so what kind of researcher would claim that any genetic differences between blacks and other groups would be minimal or unimportant? Being able to survive malaria is pretty damn important, and the magnitude of the black-white difference in rs2814778 speaks for itself. The kind of researcher who would minimize and dismiss this is a dishonest researcher.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Trendy trends in identifying as a sexual minority

This Gallup poll is from a survey of over 300k Americans in 2017. You can see a dramatic uptick from 5.8% to 8.2% among Millennials identifying as LGBT over the past 5 years. Kinda dumb to lump the sexes: for all generations, 3.9% of men and 5.1% of women now identify as a sexual minority (table not shown). This is the first time I've seen women with higher numbers than men. Trendy trends on display.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


I learned as an undergraduate in social psychology that "prejudice" refers to judging people before knowing the facts. I was told that it was bad to do that. Now young people are taught that it's bad to judge AFTER getting the facts; for example, making a judgment about a group after looking at data presented at this blog. I guess we need a new word for this transgression. "Postjudice" seems a bit awkward.

Group differences in gonorrhea

This new study examines US patterns of gonorrhea from 2000 to 2015. In 2015, there were almost 400,000 cases reported. Over the 16-year study period, there were 21 million cases. There are two distinct epidemics currently occurring in the US: one among young black heterosexuals, and one among men who have sex with other men (MSM). (Can we attach some meaning to the fact that MSM also stands for 'mainstream media'?)

Hispanics have an infection rate that is 1.8 times higher than among whites. For blacks, it's 9.6 times higher than for whites. Even though MSM's are a tiny sliver of American men, they account for 67% of all infections in males.

The authors claim that one's number of sex partners is an inadequate explanation for what we see. I'm sure there are other factors (e.g., differences in condom use), but gonorrhea rates have got to be an alternative to measuring sexual behavior with self-reports. Surveys don't indicate such enormous group differences, but the pattern of disease suggests that compared to straight white people, blacks and MSM's get around.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Oh the crushing power of Patriarchy!

Here's a table from a new AEI study that shows the US 2016 Bachelor's degrees by major and gender. My nieces and the female teens at my church were all encouraged to go into a STEM field, but I guess some sinister, mysterious force is hypnotizing girls to major in Family Sciences. Notice how almost 300,000 more girls than guys graduated with a degree. Oh how the Patriarchy is CRUSHING these girls!

UPDATE: Okay, I'll confess--I basically majored in Family Sociology. How low-T can you get!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Black-white differences in glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive condition caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma and is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP).

The additive heritability of POAG ranges from 24 to 42%. This new study analyzes data on 4,986 POAG cases and 58,426 controls from 4 race/ethnicity groups. The authors found 24 loci linked to POAG.

The authors found more than double the prevalence of POAG among African-Americans compared to whites--16.1% vs. 7.4%. (The prevalence for East Asians was 9.9%; for Hispanics, it was 7.9%). The figures below shows the relationship between genetic ancestry and POAG. 

Hold it--I thought, as Jonathan Marks instructs us, that race is a cultural and political phenomenon, not a biological one?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Teens who use marijuana around the time of sex are less likely to wear a condom

In a new meta-analysis of eleven studies, teens who use marijuana around the time of sex were only 62% as likely to use a condom as those not using the drug. One more reason why pot is dumb.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...