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Author Topic:   Laws of Attraction: The seduction of Evolutionary Psychology?
Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 91 of 102 (292298)
03-05-2006 5:36 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by crashfrog
03-04-2006 5:39 PM


Re: Analysis: short form
I'm sorry? Can you cite where I've used that specific language?

You didn't use that specific language. I was describing a behavior through analogy. I have already mentioned your specific language repeatedly through several of my posts. Just kind of got tired of repeating myself.

When you refuse to read posts and citations, saying you don't have to because they are "nonsense" or because I agree with something said within and so it must be "nonsense", then you are acting out like a child saying "nyah nyah" and "I'm not listening, stupid head."

I hope the clarification has been useful.


holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)

This message is a reply to:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 92 of 102 (352766)
09-28-2006 7:23 AM


bump: new evidence counters some EP claims
There have been a few threads on Evolutionary Psychology (EP). This one may not have dealt as much with the subject of visual symmetry/attractiveness as others have, but its never to late to address it in more detail here.

Certain EP theories have suggested that humans feel "attracted" to bodily features based on symmetry, because symmetry in a body is related to genetic health. Thus attraction to symmetry would result in more/healthy offspring and so get reinforced.

I questioned the solidity of this theory, because a general attraction to symmetry could simply be a product of other brain functions and not related solely to reproduction issues. One possibility was simply that symmetry allows for faster/easier processing, which could translate as greater familiarity and so comfort and so "attractiveness" to an individual.

Apparently my plausible alternative, just got a boost from research. While they were basing their research off of findings that people tend to find "average" more attractive than "unique", the discovery of an underpinning principle is important here. From the authors, on attraction...

Scientists from universities in the United States and New Zealand analyzed previous studies and conducted new research to find that attractiveness could be linked to ease of mental processing....
Winkielman pointed out that this "beauty in averageness" could apply to things like the silhouette of a car, a watch, as well as to people. "You can even get it for the taste of chili," he said.

Thus it appears that brain processes might create a general selective function which does not rely on specific evolutionary benefits.


holmes {in temp decloak from lurker mode}
"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." (D.Bros)

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by Quetzal, posted 09-29-2006 9:08 AM Silent H has replied
 Message 96 by RAZD, posted 10-03-2006 9:07 PM Silent H has replied

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5105 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 93 of 102 (353082)
09-29-2006 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by Silent H
09-28-2006 7:23 AM


Re: bump: new evidence counters some EP claims
Hi Holmes.

I'm not sure you're reading the article correctly. Although the authors do say that "attractiveness" is based more on processing than symmetry, they don't say that symmetry isn't a component of the ease of processing they noted. Given the ubiquity of image searching behavior (which is basically what they found) across the spectrum of the animal world in everything from insects to primates (for predation, predator avoidance, mate selection, etc), I would have been more surprised if humans didn't do the same. It IS interesting that they seem to have isolated the behavior, though.

Thus it appears that brain processes might create a general selective function which does not rely on specific evolutionary benefits.

This is a huge step beyond what the authors are claiming, however. Image searching has a quite valid evolutionary explanation that has been borne out through experimentation and observation. I'm not clear how you can make the statement that this "does not rely on specific evolutionary benefits". Perhaps you can clarify your argument here - I may be misunderstanding what you are saying.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Silent H, posted 09-28-2006 7:23 AM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Silent H, posted 09-29-2006 2:33 PM Quetzal has replied

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 94 of 102 (353153)
09-29-2006 2:33 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by Quetzal
09-29-2006 9:08 AM


Re: bump: new evidence counters some EP claims
Although the authors do say that "attractiveness" is based more on processing than symmetry, they don't say that symmetry isn't a component of the ease of processing they noted.

I guess I should have been clearer. I was not claiming that symmetry has no role in the ease of processing, and so attractiveness. Indeed in my earlier statements regarding EP itself, I agree that symmetry can be the cue for attractiveness. Symmetry allows for ease of processing, which we perceive as (or it helps generate feelings of) attractiveness.

I'm not clear how you can make the statement that this "does not rely on specific evolutionary benefits".

Ease of scanning and using symmetry for ease of scanning may very well have eveolutionary benefits. My intended target was EP concepts of what specific evolutionary benefits resulted in symmetry being a cue for attractiveness.

Current EP theory argues that body symmetry as a factor in determining attractiveness among humans is due to its role in selecting for genetic health in partners. The evidence consists of tests which show that people tend to find symmetrical body features attractive, and separately that people with symmetric body features tend to have better health.

The point of my discussing this article is to show that that specific benefit EP has championed is not the only plausible explanation for why humans find attraction in visual symmetry. The preference is more generalized, and so partner "health" selection becomes less plausible to claim for its appearance in humans.

I hope this makes sense. In a way I was attacking the rather loose methodology that EP has employed to date, which is reminiscent of ID theory. It is not correct to simply pull two correlations together and suggest one has found a causative relationship.

Along this line it was argued that EP conclusions regarding attraction were suggestive, and my possible alternatives were not. Mine just got some support.


holmes {in temp decloak from lurker mode}
"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." (D.Bros)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by Quetzal, posted 09-29-2006 9:08 AM Quetzal has replied

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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5105 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 95 of 102 (353191)
09-29-2006 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Silent H
09-29-2006 2:33 PM


Re: bump: new evidence counters some EP claims
Okay. I guess we're more or less on the same sheet of music. I was just struck by the way you phrased that last part. Since I wasn't involved in your previous discussion, I don't have any comment on that element.

This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 638 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 96 of 102 (354028)
10-03-2006 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by Silent H
09-28-2006 7:23 AM


but what's first?
Certain EP theories have suggested that humans feel "attracted" to bodily features based on symmetry, because symmetry in a body is related to genetic health. Thus attraction to symmetry would result in more/healthy offspring and so get reinforced.

While they were basing their research off of findings that people tend to find "average" more attractive than "unique", the discovery of an underpinning principle is important here. From the authors, on attraction...

... analyzed previous studies and conducted new research to find that attractiveness could be linked to ease of mental processing....

But what comes first - the perception that the image is easy to process or the ability to process the image for easy perception?

It's not like the issue of beauty is one of simplicity versus complexity, but involves several factors.

Thus it appears that brain processes might create a general selective function which does not rely on specific evolutionary benefits.

But there are very real benefits to finding an average individual to be attractive that have nothing to do with psychology

  • they are most likely to have genes compatible for producing viable offspring, rather than be some borderline variety near speciation, and
  • they are most likely to be members of your species rather than some similar but different species (so many species are so similar, from monkeys to greenish warbler ring species, etc) where it would be a waste of time to attempt mating.

These two tendencies would be enough for natural selection to favor organisms finding average individuals to be attractive.

This is also a mechanism that can provide a cause for stasis in populations not under significant selection pressure -- sexual selection in every generation towards an average individual would tend to diminish the ability of extreme variations to propagate. This also maintains fitness of the species for the environment during times of little selection pressure.

The images could be easy to process because they are compared against an averaged template eh? The more similar {A} is to {ideal beauty} the easier it is to process.

Symmetry is just an averaging of both sides -- the more symmetrical the organism the more averaged it is, and the easier it is for the image to be processed.

Ease of processing does not explain the different markings on very similar species, from rather insignificant white lines in some throats to marks that are only displayed during {mating\courtship} displays.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in further studies.

Just some thoughts.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Silent H, posted 09-28-2006 7:23 AM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 97 of 102 (354087)
10-04-2006 5:52 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by RAZD
10-03-2006 9:07 PM


Re: but what's first?
But what comes first - the perception that the image is easy to process or the ability to process the image for easy perception?

I don't know. And I think that's going to be a hard one to puzzle out, except perhaps using comparative animal studies.

My only attempt at an answer is that it could be defined mathematically. That is there is some objective quality to ease of processing. The more symmetries exist the greater the potential for ease of processing. It all depends on the nature of the perceptual organ of course as to what characteristics would be picked up and assessed.

These two tendencies would be enough for natural selection to favor organisms finding average individuals to be attractive.

The problem is when that same tendency is seen outside of mating selection choice. If every choice tends for averageness, for example look of car or taste of chili, then that makes it harder to discuss that tendency being tied to potential mate selection benefits.

If averages seem to be preferred regardless of topic, and averages are connected to ease of processing regardless of topic, then the more likely explanation is beings tend to prefer things that are easy to process regardless of a specific benefit.

My own personal opinion, is that that would make sense as it would relate to familiarity and so comfort. If something takes longer to process it may stay in the "potential danger" category longer. That would seem to have an evolutionary advantage in not trusting the unknown, which could kill you.

The images could be easy to process because they are compared against an averaged template eh? The more similar {A} is to {ideal beauty} the easier it is to process.

Its possible, but I thought it was suggested the study used simple dot arrangements as well. Its hard to have an ideal dot arrangement. In any case you are right and it would be important to use objects which are not familiar to subjects and so have no preconceived notions of attractiveness.

Ease of processing does not explain the different markings on very similar species, from rather insignificant white lines in some throats to marks that are only displayed during {mating\courtship} displays.

This is true, though its hard to say what any animal's cues are. Perhaps something that does not jump out to us, jumps out to another animal. Thus where we see something more chaotic, they see something more symmetric as only the symmetric elements are prominent.

I agree it'll be interesting to see where this research goes.

Though my gf is going to a dutch university many of her neuro and cog books are in english and I'm finding brain processing quite fascinating.

Edited by holmes, : little here and there


holmes {in temp decloak from lurker mode}
"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." (D.Bros)

This message is a reply to:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 98 of 102 (359888)
10-30-2006 2:46 PM


bumping for Dawkins and any morality EP research
In another thread regarding Dawkins, EP was mentioned as uncovering/explaining the existence/nature of morality. I am bumping this thread for anyone who has examples of such research to post them here.


holmes {in temp decloak from lurker mode}
"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." (D.Bros)

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-30-2006 10:56 PM Silent H has replied

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 285 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 99 of 102 (360004)
10-30-2006 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Silent H
10-30-2006 2:46 PM


Re: bumping for Dawkins and any morality EP research
Have we covered the IPD?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Silent H, posted 10-30-2006 2:46 PM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5053 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 100 of 102 (360157)
10-31-2006 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Dr Adequate
10-30-2006 10:56 PM


IPD
Have we covered the IPD?

If we have not I am willing to discuss it. Off the top of my head I am not certain what IPD stands for. A short description will suffice.


holmes {in temp decloak from lurker mode}
"What a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away." (D.Bros)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-30-2006 10:56 PM Dr Adequate has taken no action

  
Casey Powell 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 101 of 102 (374422)
01-04-2007 2:03 PM


Evolution is primarily Buddhism in disguise.

Replies to this message:
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AdminQuetzal
Inactive Member


Message 102 of 102 (374489)
01-04-2007 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by Casey Powell
01-04-2007 2:03 PM


Casey,

I recognize that you are (relatively) new here, so treat this message as fair warning. We tend to frown on one-line quips that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic - or that aren't even a response to someone. Please refrain in the future from this type of digression. Thanks.

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