Eine interessante Aussage von Geoffrey Miller zu Pickup und Evolutionärer Psychologie
Erst einmal sagt er einiges dazu, wie der Bereich der Evolutionären Psychologie entstanden ist und was für Schwierigkeiten man dort hat:
[Geoffrey Miller] Yeah I’d say about seventy percent of evolutionary psychology is about mating, attraction, physical attractiveness, mental attractiveness, potential conflicts between men and women, and how those play out. But then other evolutionary psych people study all kinds of other things, like the learning and memory that Wikipedia mentioned. …
[Geoffrey Miller] Well one thing to note is it’s a pretty new field. I was literally at Stanford University when the field got invented by some of the leading people, who kind of had a joint retreat there at a place called The Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. 1989, 1990.
And they actually strategized about, „How do we create this new field? What should we call it? How do we launch it? What kind of scientific societies and journals do we establish?“
So the field’s only twenty-five years old. It started out pretty strongly though, because the people who went into it were brilliant, really world-class geniuses, and that’s one of the things that attracted me to the field when I was a grad student.
Since then, the quality of the research has gotten way better. It’s a very progressive field in the sense that we actually build on each other’s insights. Other areas of psychology, everybody wants to coin and patent their own little term, their own, almost, trademarked little theory, and try to ignore a lot of what other people do.
We tend to be in more of the tradition of mainstream biology, where you actually respect what other people have done before, and try to build on it. So I think we’re really good at doing that.
The other thing to remember, apart from it being a young field, is it’s a pretty small field. There’s fewer than a thousand people in the world actively doing evolutionary psych research, compared to fifty thousand people doing neuroscience research, or probably a hundred thousand scientists doing cancer research.
So it’s not a huge field. There’s probably more science journalists trying to cover evolutionary psychology than there are evolutionary psych researchers. …
[Geoffrey Miller] Well I’ll tell you what areas of science really impress me at the moment, in terms of being super high-quality and sophisticated. One is behavior genetics. Twin studies. So I did a sabbatical in Brisbane, Australia with one of the big twin research groups, back in 2007.
And they were just making this shift. They had tracked thirty thousand pairs of twins in Australia for the previous twenty years, and given them literally hundreds of surveys, and measurements, and experiments over the years. And they were just starting to collect DNA from all these twin pairs.
And what you have now is big international networks of people working in behavior genetics, sharing their data, publishing papers with fifty or a hundred scientists on the paper, working together and being able to identify, „Hey, here’s where the genes for, like, how sexually promiscuous you are overlap with the genes for this personality trait, or the genes for this physical health trait.“
And it’s amazingly sophisticated. It’s powerful. The datasets are huge. The problem is a lot of that stuff is very politically incorrect, and it makes people uncomfortable. And people are like, „You can’t say that propensities for murdering people are genetic. Or, propensities for having a lot of musical creativity are genetic,“ people don’t want to hear that. So there’s a big kind of ideological problem there. But honestly that’s where some of the best research is being done in the behavioral sciences. …
Das Gebiet an sich ist also noch vergleichsweise jung und vergleichsweise wenige Personen sind darin tätig. Was vielleicht auch daran liegt, dass es eher „Grundlagenforschung“ ist, ohne das man daraus direkt Medikamente oder Heilmethoden herleiten kann. Zudem ist man in dem Bereich eben schnell in relativ strittigen Bereichen, etwa eben der Frage, wie sich unserer Biologie auswirkt und damit auch bei der biologischen Kränkung.
Dann sagt er noch etwas zu einem meiner Lieblingsthemen, nämlich Status:
[Geoffrey Miller] Well one big thing is I think a lot of the pickup artist guys who quote The Mating Mind book, or refer to evolutionary psychology, get all obsessed with status, and they talk about alpha males, and beta males, and gamma males, and omega males, and whatever. Status, status, status. And that’s fine. Status is important, no doubt.
But the idea that you can simply categorize human males into, „Oh, you’re an alpha. You’re a beta.“ That works for gorillas. It works for orangutans, where the different statuses are actually associated with different body sizes. Like an alpha orangutan is literally twice as heavy as a beta orangutan, and has huge cheek pads, and the beta doesn’t. And they have completely different mating strategies.
But for humans, status is way more complicated. It’s fluid, it depends on context. …