October 8, 2009

Low-quality females prefer low-quality males.

"Evolutionary biologists previously thought that females would always opt for the best male available."

53 comments:

Beta Conservative said...

Why are you looking at me that way honey?

Fred4Pres said...

The gradual decline of masculine men to girly boys, blame it on the pill!

I am not sure this is true, but it is an entertaining theory never the less.

traditionalguy said...

Is this a Finch specific trait, or are we supposed to infer that humans are caught up in the same values system as small feathered dinasoars. That is speciesist, which is a variation on racist. I for one believe that a males fine feathers like a peacock's are an end in themselves, no matter how many dumpy women they attract.

muddimo said...

Luckily, some high quality females are attracted to lower quality males. Thanks honey!


wv: irgen, a lesser Norse diety

Bissage said...

I knew a guy in college who lamented that all the time he spent pumping iron was wasted because it only attracted fat chicks.

Read into that whatever you want.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I thought this was about Wal-Mart shoppers.

rhhardin said...

"I'm lookin' for a girl with low self-esteem" - country song line

David said...

How does Bill Clinton fit into this theory, do you suppose?

Lem said...

I knew there had to be a scientific explanation for women marring prison inmates.

Its makes perfect sense.

If you don’t hear from me for a while I’ll be .. ;)

wv - tonin (i think we been spied upon by wv)

Treacle said...

David - "How does Bill Clinton fit into this theory, do you suppose?"

With a bottle of muscatel, a handful of roofies and lines like "It's cool; I've been with fatter chicks".

Lem said...

Ok let’s stop pussyfooting around and name names!

Sandra Bullock.

ricpic said...

It's all about comfort. How much of a high quality type person can a body stand?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Interesting. This might answer the question of "why women aren't happy".

Unlike the birds, who know who and where they are in society, women have been told that they should have the best, have it all. Their lives should be perfect and their man should be perfect.

Secretly and perhaps even hormonally, they know that they can't have the "high quality" male. They are taught that they should not be happy with the "low quality" male, when in reality that is exactly what they needed to be happy.

BTW: I'm not calling anyone "low quality". I mean more like low status in societal ranking. Kind of like the woman who 'thinks' she must date the lawyer and overlooks her perfect match, the plumber.

Probably also explains why Maureen Dowd is such an unhappy bitch and hates someone like Palin and the rest of middle American women who are happy with their lives and their mates and their children.

traditionalguy said...

The Finch song is roughly translated as, "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you are with". A Finch's life is one example for love birds the world over. But I much prefer the lovey Dovey birds that coo all night long.

daubiere said...

must resist palin-johnston joke...

Pogo said...

"Low-quality females prefer low-quality males."

Sounds like another acronym will be forthcoming in on-line dating:

LQF seeking LQM for long walks on the littered public beach, and mediocre hugs by a paltry backyard fire.

Elizabeth said...

This study is so ridiculous. Here are the assumptions. Large broods cause more competition between chicks. Therefore, the chicks of large broods are low quality. We know that they're low quality chicks because they differ in "metabolism, longevity and attractiveness." So, fine, I'll grant you that metabolism and longevity are measurable qualities that can be mapped to the quality of birds. But what do they mean attractiveness?

Low quality females select a song associated with low quality males. This is because the low quality females want to be with low quality males, i.e. they want to be with loser birds because they're aware of their own status as loser birds. What? Maybe they want to mate with birds from a large brood.

Absolute nonsense.

ricpic said...

I'm settling for you, you're settling for me;
We're both better off than that guy behind the tree.

Fred4Pres said...

Good thing Ann and Meade are high quality mates!

Michael Hasenstab said...

Anyone who watches COPS knows this is true.

Tibore said...

"Low-quality females prefer low-quality males.

"Evolutionary biologists previously thought that females would always opt for the best male available.""


See? The lesson is that evolutionary biologists should spend less time in labs and lecture halls, and more time in trailer parks.



... What???

lucid said...

Sam Cooke sang: "if you want to be happy for the rest of your life,
make an ugly woman your wife..."


wv: exowl--a high quality finch

lucid said...

@Elizabeth:
The large broods produce BOTH high and low quality chicks, because some chicks in the brood compete more effectively for the resources that are made scarce by the size of the brood. The less successful competitors wind up lower in biological quality.


wv: rebuto--what I just did.

William said...

This explains so much about my personal history.

Elizabeth said...

@lucid

Where do you see that? All I see is: "In larger broods there is more competition between the chicks, she told BBC News, 'so the larger groups produce lower quality chicks'." I see no "BOTH."

The other article I've seen on the subject (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17932-inferior-males-get-lucky-with-the-birds.html) also says nothing about larger broods containing both low- and high-quality finches.

Assuming BOTH, though, the study would be even more absurd because to separate between low and high quality, the scientists are using longevity, metabolism, and attractiveness as variables. Longevity can't be predicted at that stage. (Unless the finches were so ratty that you know they're going to die soon) Attractiveness is an absurd distinguisher because it's from a human perspective. So you're left with metabolism. Females with low metabolisms prefer males with low metabolisms.

m00se said...

I'll let you know how this plays with my wife...

Tibore said...

New joke:

"Low-quality females prefer low-quality males."

So I didn't need the beer after all?

Pogo said...

Beer is still needed to eliminate frontal lobe control.

John said...

Evolutionary psychology is such a load of crap. Low quality females prefer low quality males except of course when they don't. Yeah, that is helpful.

Perhaps a better explanation is that people often prefer to be with someone they consider their equal rather than their better because being with a better makes them feel insecure? That sounds like a much better explination than our genes sometimes, but not when we choose to ignore them, make us do this because it was better that way on the primordial savanahs of Africa or some such nonsense.

lucid said...

@Elizabeth:

Maybe you're right and I'm wrong (lower quality?). It's not clear. If the high and low quality come from different sized broods, then the confound would be, as you originally stated, that chicks from larger broods prefer low quality males. given that the results are contrary to theory, the confound you point to might be the right explanation--also as pointed out by the last commenter in the article who said early experience may influence mate choice.

But I think your other objections are misplaced. Avian experts have lots of other research and information from other sources that lets them assess attractiveness (from the birds point of view) and longevity. So I think, apart from the possible confound, their points hold.


wv: fanioti--italian pastry for watching soccer.

ironrailsironweights said...

Still waiting to hear from Roissy.

Peter

Pogo said...

Aw, c'mon, Elizabeth.

Bad science makes for fun conversations, and evolutionary science fills our need for "just so" stories.

Lighten up!
it's not like people actually set public policy based on crap like this.

oops.

The Drill SGT said...

Secretly and perhaps even hormonally, they know that they can't have the "high quality" male. They are taught that they should not be happy with the "low quality" male, when in reality that is exactly what they needed to be happy.

I agree with Eliz that the study is bird dung,

I think DBQ is corroct on the quality aspect. Let me try to reframe it from my limited (as in male perspective)

I would think that a woman or any animal that mated for life would desire 2 things in a mate.

1. best genes possible (e.g. the high quality mate)

2. the mate with the highest longterm value. by this I mean some quality factor multipled by a time period. No point in getting a brain surgeon, if he is a one night stand. one night stands dont put food on the table for offspring, plumbers do. So it is in the females interest to go as high as she can on the quality spectrum and still expect the guy to hang around.

hence, marrying the plumber may be a good long term strategy if you aren't Mo Dowd

MadisonMan said...

The theory of regression to the mean suggests that two low-quality mates will have a child that is of higher quality. That might explain why low-quality seeks same.

Pogo said...

'Regression to the mean' is my middle name.

Alex said...

Men are predetermined to be attracted to the young, fertile attractive females and to impregnate as many of them as we can. This is our natural calling, feminism has suppressed our needs.

THE MACHO RESPONSE

Alex said...

We are not interested in has-been, dried-up prunes like Maureen Dowd. She should have allowed herself to be impregnated during child-bearing years.

Veeshir said...

So wait, people with lots of self-esteem go for "better" mates than people with low self-esteem?

Huh. Whodathunit?

I would suggest it's because they don't think they can get higher quality guys, not for any evolutionary reason.

Bruce Hayden said...

I saw an interesting study recently, where college aged men and women were dressed similarly, and then allowed to pair up. They tended to pair up pretty much as everyone would expect, with the most desirable males pairing up with the most desirable females.

Then, then assigned everyone a rank, and watched as the males and females matched up. No one knew their own value, just that of everyone else. And, it took a bit longer, and the results weren't as clean, but they did ultimately match up reasonably well by rank.

Human females have two, somewhat conflicting, drives. One is to attract the mate with the best resources, and the other is to attract the best genes. The problem is that the two are somewhat incompatible due to the fact that humans are mostly monogamous. Oh, and if the woman acquires the genes from another male, her mate can't find out, since he is likely opposed to expending his resources to raise some other guy's kids (which is why there is such a double standard with extra and pre-marital sex, etc.)

So, women tend to end up marrying guys somewhere around their level of status, economics, etc. And, it is advantageous to know where you fit in the scheme of things, so that you don't waste your energy on unattainable Alphas if you are a Beta.

Actually, for the first time, we are running into the situation where a lot of women are having to marry "down" in status, education, and finance. While males may predominate at the extremely high levels of income, women are now a majority of college graduates, and constitute half those in medical and law schools, and a greater extent in many other graduate programs. This is not going well, since women are not really programmed to marry down, but rather across and up.

Finally, the answer, I will suggest, to the question of why low quality females prefer low quality males, is that it is much more efficient that way. They don't spend resources competing for what they can't have.

Bruce Hayden said...

We are not interested in has-been, dried-up prunes like Maureen Dowd. She should have allowed herself to be impregnated during child-bearing years.

At first, when I read this, I wondered who she could get to do that for her. But then I realized you used the word "impregnate", which also includes artificial insemination, and all that would take is a sperm bank and some money. So, yes, it was feasible at one time.

J said...

"And quality-matched pairs," she explained, "bred faster - producing eggs faster than the mismatched pairs"

Could that have something to do with the results?

"Probably also explains why Maureen Dowd is such an unhappy bitch and hates someone like Palin"

Palin is quite a bit better looking, smarter, and more successful. I don't think there's any mystery why Dowd hates her.

madawaskan said...

This explains the loves of Bill Ayers.

Bill Ayers and his bad bomb making girlfriend, and his second conquest the catch that is-

Beradine Dohrn.

madawaskan said...

Oh crap imagine my chagrin at getting her name wrong-you'll have to just.imagine. that...

Christy said...

Folks, didn't John Nash get a big prize for explaining all this?

LarsPorsena said...

Low-quality females do nicely when taken in high quantities.

Joe said...

In addition to other criticisms about the study, isn't it more likely that birds are matching up based on the level of socialization--that is, they go with the familiar?

If we're going to anthropomorphize all this, isn't it most likely that the nice birds prefer nice birds and not the arrogant assholes that fight everyone for dominance and look pretty, but lack substance?

(I also agree that most evolutionary psychology is bullshit. Many studies create interesting observations, but the explanations of those observations are usually very eye-rolling. In this case, implying that birds are able to detect "low quality". How the hell would they do that? Same with silly human studies that claim, or suggest, the same thing.)

Tibore said...

"Pogo said...
'Regression to the mean' is my middle name."


LMAO, dude! That's probably the most eggheaded way I've ever seen "Go Ugly Early" stated! :D

Seven Machos said...

I've not read through these comments. But define quality. I'd hate to see science or anything else go too far in this direction.

ak said...

"Evolutionary biologists previously thought that females would always opt for the best male available."

Hmm. Sounds like these evolutionary biologists will soon be replaced by evolutionary biologists who aren't surprised by commonplaces.

"If You Want to Be Happy," btw, was sung by Jimmy Soul, not Sam Cook.

ak said...

Or Cooke.

rhhardin said...

John and Ken report Letterman's wife is going for a huge divorce.

Apparently she agreed to a two joke limit for Monday, and he couldn't help himself. Angry woman allusions are the stuff of jokes, and guys automatically think it will blow over, so there you are.

real audio, an amusing 10 minutes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

John and Ken report Letterman's wife is going for a huge divorce.


Yabut....just think of the ratings he is pulling in.

Deb said...

Is this what my friend meant when she said the class pres was "out of my league?"