Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature

Psychology Today lists ten truths the PC set don’t like to discuss:

Human nature is one of those things that everybody talks about but no one can define precisely. Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, get upset about the influx of immigrants into our country, or go to church, we are, in part, behaving as a human animal with our own unique evolved nature—human nature.

This means two things. First, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are produced not only by our individual experiences and environment in our own lifetime but also by what happened to our ancestors millions of years ago. Second, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are shared, to a large extent, by all men or women, despite seemingly large cultural differences.

Human behavior is a product both of our innate human nature and of our individual experience and environment. In this article, however, we emphasize biological influences on human behavior, because most social scientists explain human behavior as if evolution stops at the neck and as if our behavior is a product almost entirely of environment and socialization. In contrast, evolutionary psychologists see human nature as a collection of psychological adaptations that often operate beneath conscious thinking to solve problems of survival and reproduction by predisposing us to think or feel in certain ways. Our preference for sweets and fats is an evolved psychological mechanism. We do not consciously choose to like sweets and fats; they just taste good to us.

The implications of some of the ideas in this article may seem immoral, contrary to our ideals, or offensive. We state them because they are true, supported by documented scientific evidence. Like it or not, human nature is simply not politically correct.

Here they are, the ten politically incorrect truths:

1. Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them).

2. Humans are naturally polygamous.

3. Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy.

4. Most suicide bombers are Muslim.

5. Having sons reduces the likelihood of divorce.

6. Beautiful people have more daughters.

7. What Bill Gates and Paul McCartney have in common with criminals (PT cites a shared sweet spot on the “age-crime curve” associated w/ risk-taking behavior).

8. The midlife crisis is a myth—sort of.

9. It’s natural for politicians to risk everything for an affair (but only if they’re male).

10. Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist.

Tthe point of reading articles like these is to assume that what PT says is true. What’s interesting isn’t so much which “truths” PT chose, but rather the explanations.

Defending the first argument (gentlemen prefer blondes), PT says in about five different ways that men prefer some biological empiricism. It’s not about blonde or not blonde, but the argument centers around the idea that men want to be able to find some objective benchmark and then check future data against that benchmark to keep track of their mate (breast height, hair color).

Again, in the argument for which genders benefit from which relationship plurality (women from polygyny, men from monogamy), PT suggests that people have some instinct as to their competitiveness (the rule varies for “extremely desirable women”). Societal norms may follow tradition or some basic presumed benefit for the species, but PT is saying that inasmuch as things like divorce rates change the relationship ratio (1:1 or 1:2, over a lifetime), it’s because we figure out how we can best benefit from our competitiveness, desirability, attention span, etc.

The “truths” themselves weren’t that provocative or, arguably, logically sound.  But some of the explanations offer interesting observations (or at least theories) about human behavior.

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