View Full Version : Mate Choice: Sciconnect & Aspergers?

James Brody
February 4th, 2006, 05:13 PM
As Maes and others reported in 1998, there is a substantial heritability for "psychopathology" in mate selection. Nuts of a feather breed together and Internet dating now lets us find someone who matches our insanity no matter what its nature. Large public schools accomplish a similar outcome and each generation becomes crazier than the last.

Along these lines, the dot-coms specialize for particular audiences. There exists, for example, a "Harley-Match.com" and a "Cyclematch.com." There are probably dot-coms for nose-pickers and collectors of used teabags. Even before the Internet, however, "Science Connection" advertised in popular science magazines and for a small roll of cash, published your bio and box number. (Oh god. One lady wanted me to live on her ranch in west Texas, another to scope hawks in the Pennsylvania hills. Probably should have pursued the latter one.)

Came the Internet, bios grew pictures, and you can see without first licking a stamp some of what you might get. The Net is both more immediate and more sanitary than in the past. And given my past life as a scientist, Sciconnect.com ought to line me up with several partners.

Choice is nice but there are dangers and paradoxes.

Scientists, per Simon Baron-Cohen, crunch and arrange flies into boxes but have difficulty judging the emotional tone in the people around them. These traits are consistent with the clinical diagnosis of Aspergers. (Such accounts for most of Fred (BF) Skinner's public relations difficulties. He had new ideas, most of them eventually put into practice but first expressed in repetitive, unending, predictable arguments on national television but with an odd manner as if to say, "A babybox is such a logical thing, how could you not love me for this idea?" He wrote in a similar style that spun boredom from revolution [Bjork, D. (1993) B. F. Skinner: A Life. NY: Basic Books.])

Thus, I find now on the Internet a collage of faces and attached bios of people who want enduring social connections but are less apt to make them! Of course, those who advertise may be less extreme than those who do not, but they may still be carriers for Aspergers! Mate with one of them and I might eventually have a kid who sorts his toilet paper by shape and eats his alphabet soup in alphabetical order. Groucho Marx's slogan still applies: "I won't join any club that would have me for a member!"**

Arranged marriages really do make sense...***

* The future of robotics? Match and amplify our nuttiness as is achieved when we marry for love or, instead, compensate for our madness? Mother R. Danielle Olivaw" Or do the reverse in order to attain the great liberal goal of achieved equality rather than equality of opportunity: that is, trip us when we excel, carry us when we don't.
** Interesting masters thesis: search of SciConnect records for the trajectories of pairings and couplings?
*** Darwinian "fitness" is arguably better achieved in a stable niche by arranged marriages than by "love." Similarity pairing ("love") increases variation that explores new niches. "Fitness" in Barabasi's sense lines up in the same way. "Fitness" is measured by the speed, number, and durability of connections that you make: arranged marriages should, again in stable conditions, achieve Barabasi's concept of fitness whereas "love" becomes more useful for discovering or exploring new opportunities when you recruit your own gang of thieves.

Copyright, James Brody, 2006, all rights reserved.

February 9th, 2006, 02:24 AM
just like you have a hard job trying to find practical rationality in the philosophy department...
i think you can have a hard time trying to find social skills in the psychology department...

did skinner really say that? too funny :-)

i think his daughter came to talk at my uni a few years back now... the students were instructed NOT to mention her father and NOT to talk about skinner boxes (apparantly she has a few traumatic childhood memories of those).

regarding love...

i read (and this time i can even remember where)
Paul E Griffiths talks about love (of the modern erotic variety) and he cites some people (can't remember them sorry) who have suggested that the evolutionary function of erotic love isn't to MAINTAIN pair bond, so much as to MOTIVATE / EXCUSE adultery (or sleeping around).

have you heard of that idea?