You guys are a bunch of apes.

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    Jun 29, 2010 12:02 AM GMT
    Anthropological study:
    “Male chimpanzees showed an increase in testosterone [when they anticipated competition], which is thought to prepare animals for competition or aggressive interactions. By contrast, male bonobos showed an increase in cortisol, which is associated with stress and more passive social strategies in other animals. . . .

    Human males usually experience an increase in cortisol before many types of competition in a similar way as seen in the bonobos. However, if men have what is called a "high power motive," or a strong desire to achieve high status, they experience an increase in testosterone before a competition.”


    The article also suggests human males’ testosterone levels change after competition as well, a trait apparently unique to humans. I’m probably a bonobo-type guy. What kind are you?

    The article is particularly interesting since economists never model agent preferences over competition levels, but those preferences clearly exist and the study suggests are largely negative. Where are women in the study, you ask? They appear nearly as prominently as they do in my social life icon_surprised.gif Much beloved, hardly seen.
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    Jun 29, 2010 12:07 AM GMT
    sock monkey?
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    Jun 29, 2010 12:16 AM GMT
    You know, the more I think about this article the more hypotheses it suggests. Are all those finance guys the chimpanzee-type minority? Might Scandinavia have unusually low rates of chimpanzee-type males? Regarding the US I’d hypothesize it has a disproportionately high level of the chimps, since its early European immigrants largely self-selected knowing they would face competition from native groups and from other European imperial powers.

    If empirical testing were more my thing I would be salivating right now.
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    Jun 29, 2010 1:38 AM GMT
    Check out a dude/author/primatologist named Franz de Wall.

    http://www.amazon.com/Our-Inner-Ape-Primatologist-Explains/dp/1594481962

    He is a great author who cuts through the BS and basically weaves his research into a great story.

    The bonobo societal structure is all about compromise, intimate social interactions and female hierarchy. I'd be a pretty good bonobo icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 29, 2010 2:02 AM GMT
    * tosses acorn at Satyricon's head *
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    Jun 29, 2010 3:52 AM GMT
    Satyricon gets more and more cut every new profile photo.
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    Jun 29, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    (Food attacks and procreation rivalry!) See, you two are trying to go all chimp-competitive on me, but you pulled a bonobo by sharing food and compliments icon_biggrin.gif

    Kev1962 saidCheck out a dude/author/primatologist named Franz de Wall.

    http://www.amazon.com/Our-Inner-Ape-Primatologist-Explains/dp/1594481962

    He is a great author who cuts through the BS and basically weaves his research into a great story.

    The bonobo societal structure is all about compromise, intimate social interactions and female hierarchy. I'd be a pretty good bonobo icon_biggrin.gif


    Yeah, I had heard about the contrast between bonobos and chimps before and it seems like De Waal anticipated the article by comparing their contrast to humans. I'm not sure how he could suggest it impugns Dawkins' selfish-gene theory, however.
  • MSUBioNerd

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    Jun 29, 2010 4:12 AM GMT
    Hmm. I've not read this specific book of his -- though I've read a few of his previous ones -- but I agree with the skepticism that this in any way argues against the selfish gene principle. The selfish gene principle is merely that a gene which increases its relative frequency in a population will be favored even if it does so in a way that is otherwise costly to the individual which carries it, or the species as a whole. Standard Darwinian algorithms can easily select for altruism when the benefit is higher than the cost and there is some way to make choices about interactions (say, preferentially helping those more closely related to you, or those who have helped you in the past), so the existence of altruism is in no way a counterargument to the selfish gene principle.