Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: The Science Behind The Three Most Important Words In The English Language

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  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    From the 'Profession' that brought the world 'Recoverd Memeory Syndrom'.
    We now have voyeristic science, oneway mirrors and cameras recording (presumed) social intercourse.
    Grecian 2000, a leather jacket, status over 18year olds, gidda dang dang dang ... you're own porn music starts when you walk into the lecture room, and then tell them this is the answer to happiness.
    I'm in the wrong job.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    most powerful emotions that we know of: grief, love, sexual jealousy

    and

    Next week on Public Address Science: the equally emotion-provoking subject of biofuels.

    Well, next week is going to have to be one hell of a show.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Don Christie wrote:

    ... grief, love, sexual jealousy... biofuels...

    Next week is going to have to be one hell of a show.

    You'd be surprised at the tearful and accusatory emails I get whenever I mention the subject of biofuels. Prepare yourself for something along the lines of a Jerry Springer episode.

    Although perhaps I should fully clarify my earlier statement:

    On a net basis biofuels are, admittedly, only about half as emotion-inflaming as love, grief, and sexual jealousy. But we are running two Public Address Science episodes on biofuels (i.e. twice as much). Therefore the average degree of emotion inflammation will be about the same.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 992 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Don Christie wrote:

    Next week on Public Address Science: the equally emotion-provoking subject of biofuels.

    Well, next week is going to have to be one hell of a show.

    Can't wait for the fun to begin, but is there really that much emotion invested in biofuels? Should probably try to stay on topic, tune in next week.

    Michael, there seems to be some powerful emotions waiting to be expressed, please go on...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I'm surprised that gender differences being shown to be a product of evolution rather than culture isn't generating as much heat as those biofuels.

    Males do some strange things to show their genetic fitness - boy racing is a classic example of lekking. But if you really want to impress the female of the species then you need to take on Poisonous Bullet Ants.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    PSYC 104 and the parade various members of the profession passing by.
    The relationship specialists (as above),
    The bearded animal torturers, one with rodent like features and mannerisms, the other simian in appearance fascinated by the live twitchings of monkey brains.
    The stoned neuro-psychologist.
    Their work is primarily on themselves.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves,

    Michael---OK, that's what you think of the people you feel are involved, now back to the science. What did you think of that, and why?

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    At the risk of getting the thread back on topic (or being an anthro-bore, which has been known to happen) I found this really interesting. I just have one, quite big, question.

    The biological basis for couple attraction in heterosexual couples all looks very sound from an evolutionary viewpoint. But what happens in same-sex couples? Has Prof. Fletcher had homosexual couples in the study, and what happens? If you have two females in a couple, do they both look for what women look for in a partner, both look for what people look for in a female partner, or do you have one from each perspective?

    [**REPLY**: Emma, I've forwarded your question to Prof Fletcher. If/when I get a response I'll post it on this thread -- DH]

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    or do you have one from each perspective?

    Wow, that's the same question my mother-in-law (from waaayyy before the PC era) always asks - "which one's the man?"

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    We don't have the data from the study by which to judge the science.
    Typically the subjects are students themselves with a small paid inducement. Canty is a consrvative establishment and as such the study risks this bias.
    And what of the love that we won't study or publish that'll screws up the curve?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    If you have two females in a couple, do they both look for what women look for in a partner, both look for what people look for in a female partner, or do you have one from each perspective?

    I imagine that there would be a greater spread of mating strategies in same sex couples. It's only on average that heterosexual men and women conform to what one would expect to have evolved. Heterosexuality has, presumably, one main genetic cause, whereas homosexuality is most likely the result of a greater number of causes (genetic, the womb environment etc) and hence would show a greater variability.

    It would be interesting to know if there was a major difference between gays and lesbians.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Canty is a consrvative establishment and as such the study risks this bias.

    In what way could men and women having evolved different mating strategies be considered as "conservative bias"?

    And what of the love that we won't study or publish that'll screws up the curve?

    Are you referring to homosexuality?

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Heterosexuality has, presumably, one main genetic cause, whereas homosexuality is most likely the result of a greater number of causes

    I'm genuinely not sure what you mean by that, Neil. Sexuality is a continuum, not a binary state. No matter what end of the continuum you're on, the genetic cause is the same. It's like saying genes or womb environment have more influence over having red hair than brown.

    But. I'd happily argue that social influences are much more complicated and influential when choosing a same-sex partner. I can argue this from personal experience (we bis have such a fabulous perspective on these things don't you know), but I'm aware how dangerous it is to base broad conclusions on a single example.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Neil a small and homogenious study will do that.
    Yes - the love that dare not speak its name - apologies to whom ever wrote that one.
    The bottom line is the interview didn't qualify the extent of the study, its limitations etc.
    We got what the Mills & Boons version.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I'm genuinely not sure what you mean by that

    I'm making the assumption that for heterosexuals sexuality is more significantly related to the X and Y chromsomes. XX = have sex with men, XY = have sex with women. Whereas with homosexuality there seems to be a larger set of possible causes. (I've just debated this, rather hotly, with my partner so maybe i'm overlooking something).

    I agree there is a continuum but there is a large amount of clustering around the end points of straight and gay.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I have no idea what sort of reward Psych Canterbury offers participants in these tests, but chocolate fish seems to be a popular currency. Here, for example:

    http://www.ling.canterbury.ac.nz/experiments.shtml

    I'd respectfully submit that such inducements can only skew the demographic, as it takes a certain kind of person to bite the head off a chocolate fish.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3565 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'm making the assumption that for heterosexuals sexuality is more significantly related to the X and Y chromsomes. XX = have sex with men, XY = have sex with women. Whereas with homosexuality there seems to be a larger set of possible causes. (I've just debated this, rather hotly, with my partner so maybe i'm overlooking something).

    Okay, I'd disagree with that, but I think we can do that civilly. I see sexuality as one thing, one trait. Like height, even though you still have 'short' and 'tall' (and of course 'middling'). The trouble I find with the idea that hetero and homo are completely different things is that it CAN lead to some pretty distasteful arguments. Like, being straight is something you are, but being gay is something you do, ergo you can just stop.

    [REPLY: Emma, I've forwarded your question to Prof Fletcher. If/when I get a response I'll post it on this thread -- DH]

    Cheer, David, I appreciate the effort.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Canty is a consrvative establishment and as such the study risks this bias.

    This is rolled out ad naseum as if it were beyond questioning. But what, other than it being endlessly repeated, do you base this assertion on?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1579 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I went looking for something concise and informative on this issue and found this - Pas de Deux of Sexuality Is Written in the Genes

    Sexual orientation, at least for men, seems to be settled before birth. “I think most of the scientists working on these questions are convinced that the antecedents of sexual orientation in males are happening early in life, probably before birth,” Dr. Breedlove said, “whereas for females, some are probably born to become gay, but clearly some get there quite late in life.”

    So there are maybe some differences in how men and women get their sexuality.

    Still, we all start off as women but some of us get to be prats in cars.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    The bottom line is the interview didn't qualify the extent of the study, its limitations etc.
    We got what the Mills & Boons version.

    That seems a fairly inane criticism. I don't recollect the last time I heard some science (with which I'm familiar) being reported in the media where that wasn't the case.

    Frustratingly, I can't find my copies of his papers (I think they're at home), or the notes from the last talk of his I went to (not filed), but he has run studies in the US from memory.

    And as for recovered memory, repression dates back to Freud (not a psychologist), and most of the evidence from the last 20 years is pretty unequivocally against it...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Michael Fitzgerald wrote:

    We got what the Mills & Boons version.

    James Green wrote:

    I don't recollect the last time I heard some science (with which I'm familiar) being reported in the media where that wasn't the case.

    I only have a nominal five minutes to do my science report, guys, and it's very difficult to get into much detail within that time limitation. I see my job as covering the main points, and then letting people find out the details for themselves via the web links that I provide.

    But if you have any suggestions as to how I can pack more information into around five minutes then please let me know.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 992 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Rob - That's where I went it is.

    James - Just because it is the standard of reporting doesn't excuse it and if its noted we might get somewhere on it.

    David - my comment was directed towards the Radio Live interview. A link to the study would be interesting though to get an understanding of the scope of the study.

    An old flattie of mine doing his masters in sociology got on the TV news for his pretty bogus lunchtime general knowledge survey that showed the ignorance of the average uni student. It was all beer and giggles.

    David nice story of the family.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    David -- I absolutely accept that. It's most glaring when it's something with which you're familiar was my point. Last time I heard Fletcher speak, I'm pretty sure we came up with an equally plausible argument to explain at least some of his findings (which is why I'm not a fan of evolutionary psychology).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Michael Fitzgerald wrote:

    Just because it is the standard of reporting doesn't excuse it and if its noted we might get somewhere on it.

    David - my comment was directed towards the Radio Live interview.

    Fair enough! I actually know the bloke who does the Radio Live science programme, so I'll phone him up and pass on your comments. Don't worry, I'll make sure he doesn't get away with his light-weight Mills & Boon-style journalism any more!

    Maybe I can even get him fired...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 992 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    So there are maybe some differences in how men and women get their sexuality.

    Thanks, Neil, that was interesting, and would tend to suggest that differences in gender brain chemistry would outweigh differences in sexual orientation.

    It is, however, yet another study that ignores the existence of bisexual people. I mean, when they say:

    But since gay men have about one-fifth as many children as straight men, any gene favoring homosexuality should quickly disappear from the population.

    It suggests to me that one of the reasons it doesn't disappear is that bisexual men act as 'carriers'. (Also the mechanism they're describing wouldn't eliminate it, just keep it rare.)

    Still, it's nice to know my reaction to Angelina Jolie and Toni Marsh is 'relatively indiscriminate.

    Michael - I also went to Canterbury. I know what my particular department was like, fifteen years ago. And I didn't try to get funding for research, so despite going there, I have absolutely NO idea what its 'philosophy' is now, or how that effects research. Oh, if only there was someone around who was actively doing research at Canterbury now, who might have an informed opinion...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

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