Male criminality and its correlation with sexual success has spawned a little discussion with a good evolutionary biologyst and regular commentator on the Manosphere, so-called Paragon (aka Martin Cruz). I debated with him on “No con artist wants a solution” (The black Pill blog) and on “Is it you or is it men” (Evan Marc Katz blog), about the role of the criminal behavior on mating opportunities. See the whole discussion over here:
The strategic optima of genetic benefits(indicated in physical attractiveness) is short-term mating, and thus anything that expedites short-term mating traffic(netting males higher fitness gains, and thus an evolutionary advantage) is likewise advantageous.
It then follows that genetically attractive males should evolve strategies that expedite this kind of traffic(frequently indicated in abuse, delinquency, and promiscuity), as documented in the study:
“Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency” (Martin L. Lalumièrea and Vernon L. Quinseyb a Forensic Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1R8;b Department of Psychology, Queen’s University at Kingston, Humphrey Hall, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6.)
Thus, evolutionary success will tend to correlate male physical attractiveness with abusive, delinquent, and promiscuous tendencies(and will limit deviations accordingly).
So, when we observe that females privilege such males, it is not that females find these traits attractive per se, but rather that they are selecting for certain desirable traits that have become correlated with negative ones – this is their dilemma.
In fact, females will be under evolutionary pressure to accomodate such males, as male offspring will tend to share the same inherent advantages as their fathers, resulting in high-fitness male offspring for the mothers(and thus a likewise evolutionary advantage).
Females who tend to reject such males will be at a relative disadvantage(producing less prolific offspring), and thus evolution will tend to limit the frequency of such females over time to the point of rarity.
To summarize, there are evolutionary reasons why female choices tend in the opposite direction from ‘nice guys'(females who privilege ‘nice guys’ – by the conventional meaning of the term – incur an evolutionary disadvantage for the increased prospect of breeding fitness-handicapped sons – thus evolution will limit the frequency of such outcomes accordingly).
I replied to Paragon:
Other research suggests the opposite. Criminal behavior is correlated with low physical attractiveness and if we assume as true the good genes hypothesis, delinquency would be associated with bad genes. Some of the earliest criminological researchers shared this thinking. Physiognomy persisted throughout the 18th century, most notably in the work of Swiss scholar Johan Casper Lavater, whose influential Physiognomical Fragments appeared in 1775. One hundred years later, Italian prison physician Cesare Lombroso published Criminal Man (1876), a famous study that attributed criminal behavior to what he termed “atavism,” an inherited condition that made offenders evolutionary throwbacks to more primitive humans. By conducting autopsies on 66 deceased criminals, and comparing 832 living prison inmates with 390 soldiers, Lombroso created a list of physical features that he believed were associated with criminal behavior. These “stigmata” included sloping foreheads, asymmetrical faces, large jaws, receding chins, abundant wrinkles, extra fingers, toes, and nipples, long arms, short legs, and excessive body hair-hardly the image of handsome men.
Harvard anthropologist Earnest A. Hooton conducted an ambitious 12-year study that compared 13,873 male prisoners in 10 states with a haphazard sample of 3,023 men drawn from the general population, searching once more for physical differences. Hooton published his findings in The American Criminal and Crime and the Man, both books appearing in 1939. The books attributed criminal behavior to biological inferiority and “degeneration,” ascribing a variety of unattractive physical characteristics to criminals (including sloping foreheads, compressed facial features, drooping eyelids, small, protruding ears, projecting cheekbones, narrow jaws, pointy chins, and rounded shoulders).
By the 1930s, however, biological research was rapidly losing favor, as criminologists increasingly argued that social factors alone cause criminal behavior. Hooton’s research was ridiculed in particular, one sociologist dismissing his findings as comically inept in historic proportions (or “the funniest academic performance… since the invention of movable type” [Reuter 1939]). Hooton was condemned for his circular reasoning: offenders were assumed to be biologically inferior, so whatever features differentiated criminals from noncriminals were interpreted as indications of biological inferiority.
Despite the skepticism of many sociologists regarding these attempts to link physical unattractiveness to criminal conduct, self-derogation and general strain theories can explain this relationship. Self-derogation theory asserts that youth who are ridiculed by peers lose self-esteem and the motivation to conform (Kaplan 1980). General strain theory claims that repeated “noxious,” unwanted interactions produce disappointment, depression, frustration, and anger (Agnew 1992). Both theories see delinquency and crime as means of retaliation that boosts one’s self-worth or vents one’s anger. Certainly, unattractive youths are prime candidates for noxious ridicule that results in low self-esteem and emotional strain.
Only a handful of modern studies have tested the relationships among attractiveness, criminal behavior, and perceptions about crime. Saladin, Saper, and Breen (1988), for example, asked 28 students in one undergraduate psychology class to judge the physical attractiveness of a group of photographs of young men. Forty students in another psychology class were asked to examine the same photographs and then assess the probability that those pictured would commit either robbery or murder. The researchers found that men rated as less attractive also were perceived to be prone to commit future violent crimes, suggesting that unattractive people are more likely to be branded as criminals.
Another study randomly scrambled 159 photographs of young men incarcerated in juvenile reformatories with 134 photographs of male high school seniors (Cavior and Howard 1973). College sophomores in psychology courses were asked to rate the facial attractiveness of these youth. Significantly more high school seniors were judged attractive than males from the reformatories.
In the fascinating policy-oriented research that became the basis for the movie Johnny Handsome, surgeons performed plastic surgery to correct deformities and disfigurements (e.g., protruding ears, broken noses, unsightly tattoos, and needle track marks from intravenous drug use) on the faces, hands, and arms of 100 physically unattractive men at the time of their release from Rikers Island jail in New York City (Kurtzberg et al. 1978). These ex-convicts were matched against a control group of equally unattractive inmates released from the jail who received no reconstructive surgery. When the researchers compared recidivism rates one-year later, those who received the surgery had significantly fewer rearrests. Apparently, improved appearance resulted in improved behavior.
These research findings are preliminary and suggestive; more definitive studies using better measurements are needed. In particular, future research should relate ratings of physical attractiveness to the self-reported criminal behavior of persons taken from the general population. Such studies would rule out the possibility that unattractive offenders are more likely to appear in jails and reformatories simply due to the prejudices of the police and prosecutors.
Nevertheless, existing research hints that the folk wisdom dating back to the ancient Greeks may have some basis in reality. Physical appearance is related to self-worth and behavior; as the adage goes, “pretty is as pretty does.” When it comes to criminal behavior, the opposite may be true as well.
A commentator named Yasmine said:
Here’s the Paragon’s reply:
“Other research suggests the opposite.”
It appears, then, that there are conflicting studies. However, “Good genes, mating effort, and delinquency” is the only one that speaks to ‘actual’ mating frequencies (rather than just things like surveys purporting to measure perceived attractiveness, etc) , and is thus the more compelling.
“Criminal behavior is correlated with low physical attractiveness and if we assume as true the good genes hypothesis, delinquency would be associated with bad genes.”
Not at all, as characteristic delinquency would lend itself better to any strategy working to maximize the number of potential offspring, given null costs in paternal investment. You appear well read, but I would suggest that you either have more reading to do, or your comprehension of the material is lacking.
“First, Lalumièrea et al. work with a measure of “self-perceived” mating success. I guess you know that a self-report study is a type of SURVEY”
Yes, but only the survey I cited speaks anything to mating frequencies.
“Lombroso observed the physical characteristics of Italian prisoners”
Prisoners are an unrepresentative sample – the implication is that highly attractive males escape serious reprimand by virtue of their evident genetic quality(inspite of their equally evident delinquency), and consequent *preference* as mates.
I will agree that criminality is clearly associated with unattractive traits in some significant population of males. This population may, in fact, have once been the dominant population amongst male delinquents(and may *still* be). But, clearly, there is another population which I am speaking to – and it is this population which I argue is riding the coat-tails of evolutionary success!
“But it is not necessary to perform sexually coercive tactics /antisocial behaviour if you are physically attractive.”
It is not a question of necessity, but *advantage*. Again, I reiterate: characteristic delinquency would lend itself better to any strategy working to maximize the number of potential offspring, given null costs in paternal investment. Males less invested in the accumulation of resources are likewise less beholden to the time/energy costs of those investments – which makes them *ideally* positioned to exploit a lifestyle of strategic delinquency, with optimal fitness gains(assuming they are of evidently high genetic quality). And seeing as this ‘delinquent’ strategy represents a fitness optima (in the relevant populations where bi-parental advantage is no longer strongly selected for), it is equally trivial to see how frequencies should follow from evolutionary success – since there is no significant selection pressure for males of high genetic quality to additionally pursue investment strategies, we should expect that (unlike with the case of strategic delinquency) investment strategies should remain uncorrelated with genetic quality over time given their relative high costs and inefficiencies.
“Moreover Figueredo et al. (2000) applied this framework to address the ultimate causes of adolescent sex offending behavior by proposing a brunswikian bvolutionary developmental (BED) theory, wherein an inability to use mainstream sexual strategies lead an individual to develop deviant sexual strategies. Because some adolescents suffer psychosocial problems and consequent competitive disadvantages in the sexual marketplace, sex offending behavior may represent the culmination of a tragic series of failing sexual and social strategies, leading from psychosocial deficiencies to sexual deviance, thence to antisocial deviance, and finally to sexual criminality.”
Exactly – and given that deviant sexual strategies are most costly for *unattractive* males, we should, if anything, expect this frequency is relatively low (and kept relatively low by selection pressures). But, when is a sexual deviant not a deviant? When females *condone* it.
“Nope. It depends of social environments. Non-State societies usually have rewarded such behaviours with success, including reproductive success. But State societies punish young men who act violently on their own initiative.”
Only if they are held ‘accountable’ – consider the nexus/justification of the popular meme where women are seen to enable their ‘abuse’ at the hands of their preferred mates (bad-boys, et al), and you will better understand the unification of this synthesis. “Then, excluded men (lower mate value) become increasingly competitive, becoming more likely to engage in risky, short-term oriented behaviour including gambling, drug abuse, and crime. This sort of pattern fits well with the rest of the biological world. Decades of work in behavioural ecology have shown that in species in which there is substantial variation in mating success among males, males compete especially fiercely.”
Exactly, because such exacting efforts can be taken as evidence of competitive ‘handicapping’ in terms of honest signalling(indicators of high genetic quality, which must resist falsification by proving prohibitively costly to unfit males, so as to selectively cull male frequencies every generation).
But, of course, I am talking about the *winners* and not the *losers* in this competition, and thus your arguments are making bad assumptions with respect to the male populations under scrutiny (largely addressed in my preceding reply).
Mi final speech on this talk:
”Yes, but only the survey I cited speaks anything to mating frequencies.”
I repeat, these “mating frequencies” come from self-reported data, and they are not reliable/verifiable. Furthermore only are reporting their number of partners, not mate value (or physical attractiveness of each female partner, if you prefer).
“I will agree that criminality is clearly associated with unattractive traits in some significant population of males…]. [ …………But, when is a sexual deviant not a deviant?”When females *condone* it.”
At least, I appreciate that you start to accept some of the evidence. Well if you wish we address this item from an evolutionary perspective, let me to say that you ar confusing two categories of gene-based evolutionary theories: One is the crime-specific category and another is the cheater-theory (cad vs. dad), also called r/K theory. Crime-specific category explains why people vary in their genetic dispositions toward criminality, pertaining to the offenses of rape, spousal assault/murder, and child abuse neglect. Switching from a long to a short term strategy only requires opportunity. It depends on frequencies of an individual’s pursuing longterm tactics and short-term tactics, and this has nothing to do with delinquency/violence/criminality. So far the scientific evidence tells us that these are two separate phenomena. It is just that less attractive males’ possibilities are constrained to make more long-term mating optimal. Most research postulates that delinquency can be the result of a life style adopted due to consistent failures caused by deficits (e.g. males lacking of physical appeal) or in adaptive abilities (e.g. males lacking of social skills) which are basic to success in our environment.
“Prisoners are an unrepresentative sample – the implication is that highly attractive males escape serious reprimand by virtue of their evident genetic quality(inspite of their equally evident delinquency), and consequent *preference* as mates.”
Ok, but although this particular study may be excluded, we have the rest of anthropometric research and attractiveness assessment indicating that the average ratings of the criminal population are lower than the control groups.
“Only if they are held ‘accountable’ – consider the nexus/justification of the popular meme where women are seen to enable their ‘abuse’ at the hands of their preferred mates(bad-boys, et al), and you will better understand the unification of this synthesis.”
Crime is an independent phenomenon of aesthetic morphology, as I explained above. You should read some writings about the Peter Frost and Gregory Clark models, where they suggest a natural selection against violence occurred in the several centuries before the fall of the Roman Empire. See:
“Exactly, because such exacting efforts can be taken as evidence of competitive ‘handicapping’ in terms of honest signaling(indicators of high genetic quality, which must resist falsification by proving prohibitively costly to unfit males, so as to selectively cull male frequencies every generation). But, of course, I am talking about the *winners* and not the *losers* in this competition, and thus your arguments are making bad assumptions with respect to the male populations under scrutiny(largely addressed in my preceding reply).”
Mating effort is not an honest sign of anything. As an extension of Zahavi’s hypothesis, Folstad and Karter introduced the immunocompetence signaling hypothesis for humans. This hypothesis suggests that secondary sexual characteristics are reliable indicators of mate quality because the reproductive hormones required for their development, including testosterone, suppress the immune system (e.g., Peters, 2000; Rantala, Vainikka, & Kortet, 2003). The expression of testosterone-linked traits reveals that men are in good enough condition to withstand the deleterious effects of immunosuppression, and women who selected these men as mates would have transmitted features associated with good condition to their offspring. But you got stuck in your mind the spurious linkage between beauty and criminal behaviour, and on that basis all your notional reasoning is incorrect, and is neither theoretically coherent nor empirically supported.
Let me explain. Men adopting a short-term strategy tend to be more physically attractive and sexy. Given a short-term strategy is less likely to work for unattractive males; Sexy cads adopt a long-term strategy that is more likely to produce successful results. It’s not well known the ontogeny of male strategic differences. But the more plausible alternative is that males continuously and unconsciously monitor their ability to succeed in a high mating effort strategy. If so, then we would expect men’s psychology and behavior to track relevant changes. The likelihood of strategic heritable variation is controversial; however, because recombination prevents fortuitous combinations of genes from persisting long enough for polygenic morphs to evolve.A two-strategy system with a binary genetic switch can evolve more easily.
According to this theory it is believed that a subpopulation of top ranked males (good genes) were evolved with genes that leaned them more toward sexual reproduction with little involvement in the offspring’s care. Their sole purpose was to be sexually active with as many females as possible to spread their genes into as many offspring to ensure their survival.
But as optimal strategy of women is a long term mating, sexy cads have specialized to exploit different niches, using deception and manipulation, and promising parental investment. Thus this way they are able to gain sexual access in casual sexual interactions, without extra-costs of parental investment; and allowing them to begin a new sexual courtship with other women quickly.
So these “sexy cads” adopt a “love them-and-leave them” attitude toward mating, and they also possess traits associated with machiavellianism, subclinical psychopathy, and subclinical narcissism (which you’re confusing with criminality, but they are different things). As a result, men who pursue a short-term mating strategy tend to display lower levels of stability, agreeableness, and warmth.
It’s apparent that no amount of evidence will convince you of the reality here, so it seems you will continue to grasp at ever more distant straws to confirm your beliefs. That, and ignore most of facts & studies altogether, except the only one (lalumiere et al) that fits with your guesswork. Pretty much hit the nail on the head trying to develop a phylogenetic theory based on that one single paper (and with a wrong methodology). Evidence tells us that morphology & criminal behaviour are two independent phenomena and are not inter-related.
First, the morphometric studies does not prove an association between physical attractiveness and crimianl behaviour, rather it’s the opposite.What you have hypothesized would need to find a linkage between alleles for “criminal behaviour” and variation in facial morphology. A wealth of twin and adoption studies confirms that individual differences in violent/antisocial behavior are heritable, moreover it is unlikely that genes directly code for violence; rather, allelic variation is responsible for individual differences in neurocognitive functioning that, in turn, may determine differential predisposition to violent behavior. By example, genes regulating serotonergic neurotransmission, in particular monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), have been highlighted in the search for a genetic predisposition to violence. And we know the association between delinquency and the TaqI polymorphism in the DRD2 gene and the 40-bp VNTR in the DAT1 gene. This much-vaunted example of nature–nurture interaction leads one to expect that genetic predisposition alone may be of little consequence for behavior in favorable conditions. And the data obtained for phenotyping of facial shape features have identified five independent genetic loci associated with different facial phenotypes:PRDM16, PAX3, TP63, C5orf50, and COL17A1—in the determination of the human face. So this would be our real framework:
genotype 1(physical attractiveness) + genotype A ( criminal behaviour tendency) X environment interaction favorable = attractive male without criminal behaviour.
genotype 1(physical attractiveness) + genotype A ( criminal behaviour tendency) X environment interaction unfavorable = attractive male with criminal behaviour.
genotype 1 (attractiveness) + genotype B (non-criminal behaviour)= attractive male without criminal behaviour.
genotype 2 (unattractiveness) + genotype A (criminal behaviour) X environment interaction favorable= unattractive male with non-criminal behaviour.
genotype 2 (unattractiveness) + genotype A (criminal behaviour) X environment interaction unfavorable= unattractive male with criminal behaviour.
genotype 2 (unattractiveness) + genotype B (non-criminal behaviour)= unattractive male with non-criminal behaviour.
I do not see any reason to revoke a speculative hypothesis, which should be found some underlying mechanism of pleiotropy with the effect of some gene on pathways that contribute to these two different phenotypes.