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Apr. 7 2010 — 9:41 am | 162 views | 1 recommendations | 2 comments

Good News for Nerds

Talk nerdy to me

Image by adactio via Flickr

Via Barking Up the Wrong Tree, “Intelligence and mate choice: intelligent men are always appealing” :

What role does a man’s intelligence play in women’s mate preferences? Selecting a more intelligent mate often provides women with better access to resources and parental investment for offspring. But this preference may also provide indirect genetic benefits in the form of having offspring who are in better physical condition, regardless of parental provisioning. Intelligence then may serve as both a cue of a mate’s provisioning abilities and his overall heritable phenotypic quality. In the current study, we examined the role of a man’s intelligence in women’s long- and short-term mate preferences. We used a rigorous psychometric measure (men’s WAIS scores) to assess intelligence (the first study to our knowledge), in addition to women’s subjective ratings to predict mate appeal. We also examined the related trait of creativity, using women’s ratings as a first step, to assess whether creativity could predict mate appeal, above and beyond intelligence. Finally, we examined whether preferences for intelligent and creative short-term mates shifted according to a woman’s conception risk. Multilevel modeling was used to identify predictors of mate appeal. Study participants (204 women) assessed the long- and short-term mate appeal of videos of 15 men with known measures of intelligence performing verbal and physical tasks. Findings indicate that both intelligence and creativity independently predicted mate appeal across mating contexts, but no conception-risk effects were detected. We discuss implications of these findings for the role of intelligence and creativity in women’s mate choices.

Of course, there’s also bad news for nerds: No sex in high school: “Higher intelligence operates as a protective factor against early sexual activity during adolescence, and lower intelligence, to a point, is a risk factor.”

That certainly matches up with what I remember of high school. And the movie Idiocracy.

Apr. 7 2010 — 7:00 am | 60 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Neuro News Nanos

Fat Guy on a Motorcycle

Image by yummyporky via Flickr

Here are this morning’s:

* New York City cab heat map — where to grab a cab — I love GPS more than any other relatively recent technology

* Daughters make Americans more conservative — but their representatives more liberal — “Conservative policies support the genetic fitness of women by capitalizing on each pregnancy, reducing male promiscuity, and increasing paternal investment in children.”

* Freakonomist Keeps Close Eye On GE Stock Versus Height Of Mexican Weightlifters — innovative — a valuable contribution to the literature

* Daughters make Brits more liberal — PDF — “The model describes a world in which, because of wage discrimination and different female preferences over public goods, parents rationally tilt to the left if they have daughters, and to the right if they have sons.”

* Obesity epidemic maybe started earlier than thought — BMI values of US-born black and white adults measured between 1959 and 2006— “transition to post-industrial weights was a gradual process and began considerably earlier than hitherto supposed”

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Apr. 6 2010 — 2:51 pm | 23 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Neurovid: Fears

Different Phobias, Famous people with Phobias, Trauma, PTSD, How anxiety medications like Xanax, Valium, Ativan and other Benzodiazepines or Benzos work, the stress response, panic attacks, etc.”

HT: onlineschools

Apr. 6 2010 — 12:54 pm | 230 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Snopes, Can’t Beat Myths

Freedom The Urban Legend

Image by bixentro via Flickr

Don’t miss this profile of the nice folks behind Snopes.com:

The popularity of Snopes — it attracts seven million to eight million unique visitors in an average month — puts the couple in a unique position to evaluate digital society’s attitudes toward accuracy.

After 14 years, they seem to have concluded that people are rather cavalier about the facts.

In a given week, Snopes tries to set the record straight on everything from political smears to old wives’ tales. No, Kenya did not erect a sign welcoming people to the “birthplace of Barack Obama.” No, Wal-Mart did not authorize illegal immigration raids at its stores. No, the Olive Garden restaurant chain did not hand out $500 gift cards to online fans.

The Mikkelsons talk matter-of-factly about why these stories spread the way they do.

“Rumors are a great source of comfort for people,” Mrs. Mikkelson said.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? People don’t much want to know the truth. They just want a story that amuses them, confirms their biases, or makes the world a more wondrous place.

ALSO: The dark truth about Snopes.com below the fold…

continue »

Apr. 6 2010 — 7:00 am | 86 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Neuro News Nanos

Coto yawning

Image by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr

Here are this morning’s:

* The psychological immune system — how you sneezing makes me healthier — a boosted immune response

* When professors get their politics — early — “Most professors, especially liberal ones, claim that their politics were formed in the main before they became professors.”

* The behavioral economics of earnings estimates — a dangerous game — getting out ahead of the army of frogs

* Gay animals — giraffes are totally gay — “One primatologist speculated that the real reason two male orangutans were fellating each other was nutritional.”

* An article that will make you yawn — because it’s about yawning — even fetuses yawn

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    About Me

    I'm a freelance writer and blogger based in Brooklyn, NY. My background is mostly in politics. I've worked on the editorial boards of the New York Sun and New York Post. In 2006, I wrote a book, "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party" (Wiley). I've also done my share of freelancing, for places like the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Reason, and RealClearPolitics.

    These days, I'm interested in humanity's ever-expanding understanding of its own irrationality. Hence, this blog.

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