little think

there was a study published in current biology the other day showing that, unlike “neurotypical” kids, autistic kids don’t overimitate after being shown how to do something. from a popular report @livescience:

“Kids with Autism Don’t Copy ‘Silly’ Actions”

“When imitating the behavior of an adult, children with the developmental disorder autism tend to skip ‘silly,’ unnecessary actions, while those without autism tend to copy everything they see, silly or not, a new study suggests.

“The study involved 31 children with an autism spectrum disorder, and 30 typically developing kids without autism. All the children were asked to watch as an adult showed how to remove a toy (a rubber duck) from a closed Tupperware container. Some of the steps performed were necessary, such as unclipping the lid of the box and taking the lid off, while some were unnecessary, such as tapping the lid twice. The children were then given the container, and asked to get the toy out as fast as they could.

“Kids without autism were much more likely to copy the unnecessary steps, even though the children were not specifically instructed to copy everything the adult did. About 43 to 57 percent of kids without autism copied the unnecessary steps, compared with 22 percent of kids with autism….”

the researcher who conducted the study suggests that: “children with autism do things efficiently rather than socially, whereas typical children do things socially rather than efficiently” [my emphasis].

humans are social creatures. in an extreme sort of way (see: the great civilizations). and our sociality has enabled us to do some fantastic things. but it also makes too many humans thick as planks because most humans really, really, really want to follow and belong to the group. whatever the cost (i.e. even if it means being dumber than a chimp).

and woe to those who don’t play along:

“The End of a Bold Experiment: Big Think and Satoshi Kanazawa”

“Over the past few months, across various social media platforms, and also from the mouths of some of our own bloggers, I have listened to a sustained critique of Kanazawa’s presence on Big Think….

“What I hope results from this experience is what educators call a ‘teachable moment.’ We certainly believe in the value of free speech at Big Think, and give voice to controversial thinkers whose opinions tend to span the political spectrum and often challenge the sacred cows of their respective fields…. However, in providing a platform for dangerous ideas, we also run the risk of overreaching and losing the goodwill of our most dedicated readers. Our commitment is first, and always, to you, and to maintaining your trust…”

…’cause we wouldn’t want you to stop LIKING us and exclude us from the in crowd! heavens, no.

what a bunch of … little thinkers! but that’s all most people are capable of, because most people are social, and social belonging trumps all. like i said over here, it really is us contrarians who require explaining because we are the exceptions to the rule!

jared taylor (quoted by john derbyshire) said recently: “Most people are incapable of holding an unfashionable opinion.”

yup.
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(btw, i’m not saying that all contrarians are on the autistic spectrum … but i think a h*ckuva lot of them probably are!)

(note: comments do not require an email. neurotypical personality disorder [<<joke alert!].)

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linkfest – 04/07/13

A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Five Loci Influencing Facial Morphology in Europeans“Our results also suggest that the high heritability of facial phenotypes seems to be explained by a large number of DNA variants with relatively small individual effect size, a phenomenon well known for other complex human traits, such as adult body height.”

The Genetic Correlation between Height and IQ: Shared Genes or Assortative Mating?“In this study, we used a large (total N = 7,905), genetically informative dataset to understand why two potentially sexually selected traits in humans—height and IQ—are correlated. We found that both shared genes and assortative mating were about equally important in causing the relationship between these two traits.”

ScienceShot: Monkey Smiles Are Contagious“Previously, only humans and orangutans had been shown to quickly and involuntarily mimic the facial expressions of their companions, an ability that seems to be linked to empathy.”

No evidence for higher testosterone in black compared to white adolescent males – @race/history/evolution notes.

Brain scans decode dream content“Researchers have decoded the content of people’s dreams using brain scanning technology”

Fertility and Happiness: A Global Perspective and A Fat World – With a Fat Secret? – from jayman (he was on a roll this week!).

Genes behind obesity mapped in large-scale study“An international research team has identified seven new gene loci linked to obesity.”

Is Psychometric g a Myth? – @human varieties. see also Is the g Factor a myth? from steve sailer.

Darwin: Are the races of man separate species or merely separate subspecies? – from steve sailer.

Inbreeding, race replacement, genetic disease, “diversity” – @race/history/evolution notes.

Wyld Stallyns and House O’Rats and Undecidable Propositions – from greg cochran (he was also on a roll this week!).

Have We Evolved to Be Nasty or Nice? – from matt ridley.

Shocker — married mothers smarter than single moms – from the awesome epigone.

Sex, models and housework – b.s. king takes a critical look at the (suspicious) maths behind that “sex and housework” story that made the rounds recently.

The Parsis“At present, we simply don’t know enough about Parsi history to understand what social and psychological characteristics may have been favored during the long centuries between the arrival of this community in India and its encounter with the British from the 17th century onward.” – from peter frost.

Mankind’s Collective Personalities – from john derbyshire.

Polynesian mtDNA in extinct Amerindians from Brazil – @dienekes.

Religiosity and fear of death: a three‐nation comparison“Overall, the patterns in all three countries were similar. When linearity was assumed, there is a substantial positive correlation between most religiosity measures and fear of death…. [F]emales were more religious and feared death more than did males, and Muslims expressed considerably greater fear than did members of any other major religion.” – @mein naturwissenschaftsblog.

Researchers see antibody evolve against HIV

Shocker: Colorado shooter on prescription psychiatric meds – @mangan’s.

The average human vagina – yes, there’s a lot of variation down there (sorry, no exciting pics @the link!).

Great Scientist ≠ Good at Math“E.O. Wilson shares a secret: Discoveries emerge from ideas, not number-crunching” – hmmmm. i still think that (*ahem*) being able to do maths is an awfully handy skill in biology, not to mention population genetics.

Could playing ‘boys’ games help girls in science and math?“[M]en and women with either a strong masculine or androgynous gender-identity fared better in mental rotation tasks.” – so, the women who were more guy-like were better at the mental rotation tasks. duh!

Global E-mail Patterns Reveal ‘Clash of Civilizations’“The global pattern of e-mail communication reflects the cultural fault lines thought to determine future conflict, say computational social scientists.”

In Praise of Kinship“You don’t have to be a relativist to see that one-size individualism can’t fit all cultures, or that clannish bonds are often deeply fulfilling.” – wsj review of mark weiner‘s book, The Rule of the Clan. see also What Modern Democracies Should Understand About Clan-based Societies Explored in New Book by Rutgers–Newark Law Professor.

bonus: The secret superdads: More than a dozen UK sperm donors have fathered 20 or more children EACH“Five-hundred men have sired more than 6,100 children in Britain”

bonus bonus: French people mired in ‘collective depression’“A new survey published on Thursday found that 70 percent of them see their country as afflicted by a ‘collective depression’, with two thirds believing that France is ‘in decline’…. ‘This deep French depression is explained in large part by a sense of lost identity.'”

bonus bonus bonus: Xenophobia has no effect on migrants’ happiness, says study

bonus bonus bonus bonus: An Emergency Hatch for Baby Lizards“Unborn lizards can erupt from their eggs days early if vibrations hint at a threat from a hungry predator, new research shows.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Lego pulls toy following accusations of being anti-Islamic – but Lego denies discontinuing Jabba’s Palace over race claimspreviously.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Boy, 17, builds DNA testing machine [polymerase chain reaction machine] in his bedroom to find out why his younger sibling has ginger hair

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Chinese president urges openness, respect for diversity – of types of governments! (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. baby lizards! awwwww!)

linkfest – 04/15/12

Can You Predict a Monkey’s Social Status by Looking at Its Genes?“Does one’s social stature change how one’s genes are expressed. Yes, concludes a new study that used differences in gene expression to identify a monkey’s social status with around 80 percent accuracy.”

Disliking races may be a personality trait“[I]f a person dislikes one group, he tends to have comparatively cool feelings for all groups, even his own.” – from the inductivist.

More thoughts on genetic load – from greg cochran.

Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules“2-year-olds and chimpanzees are more likely to copy actions when they see them repeated by three of their peers than if they see the same action done by one peer three times.”

Dark coloration and male aggressiveness: Is there a link? – from peter frost.

A gaping hole in the Master’s evolutionary theory – chuck @the occidentalist presents evidence that he says suggests that “there are, at most, small genetic differences, with respect to intelligence, between Black and White adults born, respectively, in Africa and in Europe.”

The Downside of Higher IQ – from dennis mangan, esq.

Genetic Variant Influences Brain Size, Intelligence – from parapundit.

What’s in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China“‘When it comes to surnames the Chinese people are unique. 1.28 billion people share 7,327surnames. In fact the 100 most common names account for 85% of the population,’ said Dr Chen. ‘This means Chinese surnames include more cultural and genetic information than in most other countries….’ The team found the highest levels of surname diversity at the Yangtze River basin, particularly around the middle and lower reaches of the river. The team believes this is due to multiple large migrations throughout Chinese history.”

Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas“Our combined pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analyses reveal unexpectedly low levels of biomass burning associated with pre-A.D. 1492 savanna raised-field agriculture and a sharp increase in fires following the arrival of Europeans.”

More than 20% of Irish children ‘hear voices’“More than one in five Irish children between 11 and 13 have reported hearing voices, a sign some experts believe is a risk factor in mental illness.”

Study Finds Significant Skull Differences Between Closely Linked Groups“The researchers looked at the skulls of 27 women and 28 men who died in Lisbon, Portugal, between 1880 and 1975. They also evaluated the skulls of 40 women and 39 men who died between 1895 and 1903 in the rural area of Coimbra, just over 120 miles north of Lisbon. The researchers found significant variation between female skulls from Lisbon and those from Coimbra.”

bonus: “Race-Baiting” … and Its Discontents – good one from richard spencer.

bonus bonus: On Dinosaur Time“Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.” – cool!

bonus bonus bonus: Water, water everywhere – but is it essential to life?“New research by scientists at the University of Bristol has challenged one of the key beliefs in chemistry: that proteins are dependent on water to survive and function.”

(note: comments do not require an email. xkcd’s lakes and oceans.)