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James Brody
October 29th, 2005, 06:22 PM
Assortative Mating: The Kids Will Be Weird
The kid had 50 affairs over a summer, the chain spun by his word flow in chatrooms, his writing in iambic-pentameter and doggerel, and his clear skin and droopy eyelids attracted a stream of short-term players. His algorithm: chant a poem, swap a photo, arrange a meeting, lay her, and leave her.
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Maes, Neale, Kendler, Hewitt, Silberg, Foley, Meyer, Rutter, Simonoff, Pickles, & Eaves (1998) found assortative mating for major psychiatric diagnoses and show us an ominous foundation to these gamete swaps. That is, schizoids bred with schizoids, neurotics with neurotics, depressed with depressed, and best of all, bipolars with bipolars. Even the psychopaths find each other! The data contrast with a steady train of negative results from investigators who looked for genetic contributions to mate choice: although humans make mostly with humans, it had appeared that evolution ignored any further role for having similar genes when making babies.

A smaller community means taking less than a perfect fit when you choose a partner. Large high schools, on the other hand, mean a greater chance for craziness to find its twin! Expand the number of eligible candidates and you expand the opportunities for a functional inbreeding in which mates did not recently have a common ancestor but they could have! Internet chat rooms, of course, expand the problem and result in more than a few couples forming across long distances: no matter your craziness, you will find your twin somewhere on the web! Word flow, continuity of topic, and coherence can signal the spin of your ideas just as is true when you speak to a psychiatrist, even one who does not share your original culture or language. You can also find that assortative mating is implicit in the banners for PerfectMatch.com, Match.com, eHarmony.com, and even Cyclematch.com!

And for children of selection: DarwinMatch.com????

Reference:
Maes, H. H., Neale, M. C., Kendler, K. S., Hewitt, J. K., Silberg, J. L. Foley, D. L., Meyer, J. M., Rutter, M., Simonoff, E., Pickles A., & Eaves, L. (1998) Assortative mating for major psychiatric diagnoses in two population-based samples. Psychological Medicine, 28(6), 1389-1401.

Copyright 2005, James Brody, all rights reserved.