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In my last post I discussed recent research on mental differences between Europeans and Chinese people. The latter are less prone to boredom. They think less abstractly and more relationally. They’re less individualistic, and less likely to punish friends for dishonesty. Mental differences also seem to exist within China, depending on whether one comes from a region that historically grew rice or one that historically grew wheat. Chinese from wheat-growing regions are closer to Europeans in mentality.

Are these differences inborn? Or are they due to upbringing? The second explanation is hard to reconcile with the fact that the regional differences within China involved urban residents who had never lived on a farm of any sort.

Almost a half-century ago, these questions interested the American psychologist Daniel Freedman and his wife Nina Chinn Freedman. They examined 24 Chinese-American and 24 Euro-American newborns whose parents were otherwise similar in age, economic class, and number of previous children. The two groups nonetheless behaved differently. The Euro-American babies cried more easily, were harder to console, and would immediately turn their faces aside if placed face down on a sheet. In contrast, the Chinese-American babies accepted almost any position without crying or resisting. When a light was shone in their eyes, the Euro-American babies would continue to blink long after the Chinese-American babies had stopped blinking (Freedman and Freedman, 1969; Freedman, 2004).

These findings were partially replicated by another American psychologist, Jerome Kagan, who found that Chinese 4-month-olds cried, fretted, and vocalized less than Euro-American infants. At older ages, however, the pattern reversed with Chinese Americans fretting and crying more when separated from their mothers (Kagan et al., 1978; Kagan et al., 1994).

Is this response specific to Chinese? Or does it apply to East Asians in general? In a study of Euro-American, Japanese, and Chinese 11-month olds, the last group was the least expressive one, being least likely to smile or cry. The Japanese babies either fell between the two other groups or were like the Euro-American babies (Camras et al., 1998). When another study looked at Japanese and British newborns, the latter actually showed more self-quieting activity (Eishima, 1992).

On the other hand, Navaho babies are even calmer and more adaptable than Chinese babies (Freedman, 2004). Some anthropologists have attributed this finding to a traditional practice of tying the baby to a cradleboard. As Freedman pointed out, however, this practice is now only sporadic among the Navaho.

Freedman attributed his Chinese and Navaho findings to a general Mongoloid temperament. If that were the case, infants should behave similarly in other North American native peoples. A study of Alaskan Inupiaq found young children to be shy but otherwise no different from Euro-American children. These subjects were, however, older than Freedman’s, being 3 to 6 years of age (Sprott, 2002).

It may be that the Navaho differ from other North American native peoples in this respect. Perhaps, in the past, mortality was higher among those babies who resisted the cradleboard; over time, they and their temperament would have been steadily removed from the gene pool. As Freedman noted, “most Navaho infants calmly accept the board; in fact, many begin to demand it by showing signs of unrest when off.” When Euro-American mothers tried using the cradleboard, “their babies complained so persistently that they were off the board in a matter of weeks” (Freedman, 2004).

Infant calmness can thus arise in relatively simple societies, and not just in advanced ones as I had argued in my last post. In the Navaho case, there may have been some kind of parental selection, i.e., through their child-rearing practices, parents influence what sort of children survive and what sort don’t. In other simple societies, such as among the Australian Aborigines, infant behavior is much less calm and compliant (Freedman, 2004).

Behavior can likewise differ between infants from different complex societies. We’ve seen this with Chinese-American and Euro-American babies, the latter having a less easy temperament. A difficult temperament (colic, excessive crying) is also much more common in babies of Greek or Middle Eastern origin than in babies of Northwest European or Asian Indian origin (Prior et al., 1987).

In the future, it would be interesting to find out whether infants differ in temperament within China, such as between rice-growing and wheat-growing regions.

But will there be more research?

There seems to be less and less interest in this area of research, particularly within the United States. I can point to several reasons:

- The behavioral differences between Chinese and Japanese babies must have arisen over a relatively short span of evolutionary time. Many researchers, even those who are receptive to HBD thinking, have trouble accepting fast behavioral evolution, especially below the level of large continental races.

- American researchers are increasingly interested in the possibility that early parental interaction, such as reading to children, can stimulate brain development. Although it is doubtful that parental interaction can explain differences in newborn behavior, this assumption seems to make people dismissive of Freedman’s work.

- Since the 1970s, and throughout the Western world, academia has become more hostile to the possibility of genetic influences on human behavior. This trend is self-reinforcing, since hiring decisions are biased toward candidates who believe in environmental determinism.

The last two points apply much less to East Asian scholars … or American ones who are willing to do some of their work offshore.

Right now, we need to identify the genetic causation for these differences in infant behavior. One cause may be the 7R allele of the D4 dopamine receptor gene, which is associated with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and is very rare in East Asians (Leung et al., 2005). Nonetheless, as with differences in intellectual capacity, we’re probably looking at an accumulation of small effects at many different genes. Natural selection acts on what genes produce, and not directly on genes, so there is no reason to believe that a single behavioral outcome has a single genetic cause. That would be too convenient.

References

Camras, L.A., H. Oster, J. Campos, R. Campos, T. Ujiie, K. Miyake, L. Wang, and Z. Meng. (1998). Production of emotional facial expressions in European American, Japanese, and Chinese infants,Developmental Psychology, 34, 616-628.
http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~carl/isl/PDFPublications/Production%20of%20emotional%20facial%20expressions%20in%20European%20American,%20Japanese,%20and%20Chinese%20infants..pdf

Eishima, K. (1992). A study on neonatal behaviour comparing between two groups from different cultural backgrounds, Early Human Development, 28, 265-277.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037837829290172D

Freedman, D.G. (2004). Ethnic differences in babies, in L. Dundes (ed.). The Manner Born: Birth Rites in Cross-Cultural Perspective, pp. 221-232, AltaMira Press.
http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=ZSizAQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA221&dq=freedman+chinese+american+newborns&ots=qmXzqhaNE3&sig=eIEw-KCGcciDEDpIiqgdxX9PxJk#v=onepage&q&f=false

Freedman, D.G., and N.C. Freedman. (1969). Behavioural differences between Chinese-American and European-American newborns,Nature, 224, 1227.

Kagan, J., D. Arcus, N. Snidman, W. Feng, J. Hendler, and S. Greene. (1994). Reactivity in infants: A cross-national comparison,Developmental Psychology, 30, 342-345.
http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/~dmoore/1994_Kagan%20et%20al_Reactivity%20in%20infants_DP.pdf

Kagan, J., R. Kearsley, and P. Zelazo. (1978). Infancy: Its place in human development, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Leung, P.W.L., C.C. Lee, S.F. Hung, T.P. Ho, C.P. Tang, et al. (2005). Dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene in Han Chinese children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Increased prevalence of the 2-repeat allele, American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 133B, 54-56.
http://webcontent.hkcss.org.hk/rh/rpp/HKPaediatricSociety20050630DRD4ADHDChinese.pdf

Prior, M., E. Garino, A. Sanson, and F. Oberklaid. (1987). Ethnic influences on “difficult” temperament and behavioural problems in infants, Australian Journal of Psychology, 39, 163-171.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00049538708259045#.VIMoKuktDcs

Sprott, J.E. (2002). Raising Young Children in an Alaskan Iñupiaq Village: The Family, Cultural, and Village Environment of Rearing, Greenwood Publishing Group.
http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=FjBxXAFqD3QC&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=%22alaskan+inupiaq+newborns+temperament&ots=JfwfOrluQq&sig=B3RSdAUzYqcBPIJyJMS65LGy-Zo#v=onepage&q=temperament&f=false

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: China, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Mental Traits 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Isn’t it spelled “Navajo”?

    • Replies: @pyrrhus
  2. This brings back memories.

    Thirty years ago I was on a tour high in the Andes in Peru and Bolivia. We were stopping in small villages populated by Indians.

    Some of the women on our tour noticed that none of the Indian babies, and there were many, ever cried. After they told me this I started to pay attention and it was true. I never heard a single baby cry.

    The babies were carried on their mothers’ backs, not on cradle boards, but in blankets.

    The babies also had very rosy cheeks.

    If it were relevant I could tell you about the unbelievable honesty of the people in one of the villages.

    Karl S.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    They think less abstractly and more relationally.

    I’ve heard it claimed that the left side of the brain is more linear, verbal oriented while the right side is more pattern recognizing and visuo-spatial oriented. Has there been any research on differences with respect to brain hemispheres?

    • Replies: @Cobalt
  4. the Videos of Freedman are certainly one of the strongest things currently available about racial differences / HBD. Because it is not only numbers in columns but real pictures. It has been quite a while since I watched those videos the last time, but as far as I remember there were some japanese babies tested, too, and they also showed the east asian behavioral pattern.
    Looking at grown up Japanese I do not believe that they are in this regard different from other East Asians, they seem to be as calm and non aggressive as other East Asians

  5. AshTon says:

    “The behavioral differences between Chinese and Japanese babies must have arisen over a relatively short span of evolutionary time. ”

    This assumes that Japanese are simply an offshoot of the Chinese. From what I have read the Japanese are formed from a south east Asian/polynesian hunter gatherer base (jomon) overlaid with a Korean/south Chinese agricultural element (yayoi)

  6. Keith Vaz [AKA "Trayvon"] says:

    Blacks mature earliest, then Whites, then Asians. Black babies are also the most active. An ‘education expert’ once used the fact that blacks do best at some tests at a very early age as evidence that schools were massively waycis. Of course, this ‘expert’ with a sinecure was himself black, so too stupid to understand the concepts of maturation and IQ; he didn’t realize that he was making the exact opposite conclusion from the evidence he was presenting.

  7. “In the Navaho case, there may have been some kind of parental selection, i.e., through their child-rearing practices, parents influence what sort of children survive and what sort don’t. In other simple societies….”

    Ok, so “simple societies” earned this comment. Native societies are far from ‘simple’ … they are wonderfully complex, incredibly so, in fact I would argue any ‘simpletons’ are those ethno-centric-Euro-centric cultural mentalities presuming themselves to somehow be superior. Here is a benign contrast between cultures in a context of child-rearing, inclusive of Diné (Navajo-Navaho)

    http://www.earthspirituality.org/archive/zimmerman_seminar.htm

    ^ In relation to this excellent analysis, for all those to dumb to understand it’s not ‘new age’ or come to some other equally moronic conclusion, here’s the more blunt assessment of native reality in juxtaposition to European based cultural mentality (includes American)

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/05/15/youve-got-apes/

    And for those who appreciate satire, this next is likely the best contrast out there, when comparing the European derived, conservative ‘strict father’ model to native … if only because there are intelligent people who can appreciate how any culture that beats its children into submission is going to create idiotic caricature of reality blind to its own stupidities:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/05/24/the-michelle-bachmann-archetype/

    And for my Native American people, Leroy Little Bear particularly, if you happen to be reading here, recalling the lessons of ‘Old Man’ … well, it’s never been a perfect world:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/05/20/napi-in-the-new-age/

    ^ :D

    • Replies: @Rich
    , @TWS
  8. Bill P says:

    There’s an old Chinese practice called sandbagging (or something like that) in which Chinese peasants put their infants in a sand pit/bag and leave them there while they work the fields until the kid is old enough to get around on his own. I guess it’s kind of like putting your kid in a litter box. Actually, that’s exactly what it is.

    I’m not sure how long this has been practiced, but given what I saw of the Chinese countryside back in the 90s, it didn’t look as though all that much had changed over the last couple thousand years, so it might be very old.

    I kind of doubt the sandbags themselves exerted any kind of selective pressure on the kids, but they speak volumes about the attitude toward childrearing in rural China. It seems people expected kids to sit there and not bother people, and didn’t see that as cruel treatment. And, as we all know, infanticide is quite normal in the Chinese countryside.

    So, if you think about it, it probably wouldn’t take all that many generations to give an advantage to the kids who sat silently and didn’t make a fuss.

    I suspect people underestimate the importance of infanticide in selective pressure.

    Take this Bible verse, for example:

    And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.

  9. For what it’s worth, the wheat-growing regions of China are colder and drier than the rice-growing ones. But correlation between temperature and temperament seems to be the reverse of the west.

    Thom Hartmann wrote of a boys school in an Inuit village in Canada in which all the pupils were diagnosed with ADD. I don’t remember if hyperactivity was involved, nor do I remember which of his books this was in. It fits in with his “hunter-farmer” theory of attention “deficit”, i.e., a different method of focusing– especially if the boys weren’t especially hyperactive.

  10. I lived in japan for 25 years. Young Japanese kids seemed to me to be less rambunctious than white kids. This has a feedback effect on Japanese mothers. They need to discipline their kids less and they are quieter.

  11. Bill P says:

    Ok, so “simple societies” earned this comment. Native societies are far from ‘simple’ … they are wonderfully complex, incredibly so, in fact I would argue any ‘simpletons’ are those ethno-centric-Euro-centric cultural mentalities presuming themselves to somehow be superior.

    I think he means economically complex with a lot of division of labor and such, like Inca or Mayan society compared to, say, Apache. That would be relevant because parents in “complex” societies generally have more burdensome lives, so their infants’ behavior is more of an issue.

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  12. Rich says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Yes, the “Native” societies are so much more complex. Many of the early European explorers commented on the great cathedrals, massive agricultural industry, industrial manufacturing, ship building capabilities and defense industries that prevented European colonization and forced us back to our homelands until the American Indians only recently, by executive order, began letting us immigrate into their great Utopia.

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  13. Michelle says:

    My workplace is the perfect environment to conduct a study. Our Chinese born majority are quiet and engaged in working half the time the other half is spent speaking in Chinese to each other about mysterious things, and watching Korean (all the Asians are in love with Korean entertainment) dramas and Korean pop music videos online. The Filipinos are friendly with, and to, everyone, well adjusted, and hard working. Ditto for the Vietnamese, though many of the Vietnamese have grown up in the ghetto and speak Ebonics and are no nonsense and tough. The Asians will never express a public opinion on any subject considered to be controversial and avoid even talking about such things. Personally, I do not think they dwell too much on such things, they seem to concentrate on their friends and family. In a biblical way they seem to accept the things they cannot change.

    Whites, and some of the American born Asians, work half the time and visit with co-workers to talk about foodie stuff and text their friends and watch viral videos and read political websites or watch alternative music videos the other half. Well, maybe half their time is spent on talking about how everyone else is, “Dumb” or “Stupid” for believing in God or Republican politicians, liking this music, that book, or that movie, that kind of food, or driving a certain way or doing anything that they themselves wouldn’t do. All of that means you are just too stupid to live! The implication being that they are superior, I guess. Whites are extremely judgmental about trivial matters and value intelligence above all else and are especially terrified that Europeans might think they are as dumb as all “the other” Americans.

    Blacks do almost no work what so ever, but complain about every bit they do do, they talk to multiple relatives on the phone all day, and play slots online over and over again, read headline news stories, read about soap operas, burn their breakfast popcorn in the microwave, or hop off to buy salty and sugery snacks and scratch off lotto tickets, and watch TV talent shows and Black comedians half the time while the other half of their time is spent in extremely loud boisterous, highly opinionated, factually incorrect conversations with each other about the headline news, talent shows and soap opera plots and about how their jobs are so bad and how their supervisors want to get rid of all the Black people.

    There are few Hispanics in the dept. where I work and they seem to vary quite a bit, so I don’t have enough experience with them to include them in my study. But they seem to be mainly quiet. Just watching and learning, probably. “Let us wait and take sides with the winners!”

  14. @Bill P

    I suppose he could have been more clear on that. My experience with westerners presuming to study indigenous culture has been frighteningly negative (with a very few exceptions.)

    One of my sons I raised immersed in the old Blackfoot style of culture in a very pure form in the critical formative years, including wrapping him for the near entirety of his first six months. What this accomplishes is quite incredible; with no hands available, it diverts attention away from the self and onto surroundings, particularly related to hearing at the early age. This accomplishes, early on, the modification of ego, where awareness is focused initially on environment. This never goes away throughout the course of one’s life. As they grow older, the children are never told they are bad, wrong or that there is anything they cannot do. When they fall, there is no reaction along the lines western parents typically make, because if you’d ever noticed, when a toddler falls, the child first looks at the others in attendance and reacts to the expression they see, and if that expression is fear, they are frightened by the expression and learn to cry. So the native child is not taught to fear pain, where western children have this sense enhanced. When approaching danger, the first choice method is to entice the child away, not shout. Verbal education comes late by comparison to western culture, primarily children are expected to learn from observing example which puts the responsibility for culturally appropriate behaviors squarely on the caregivers, there is none of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ model. The children are never lied to, not even along the lines of a belief in Santa Claus. There no ‘you can’t watch, this is only for adults’ .. if the child cannot watch, nobody watches .. so there is no sense of split between the adult and child’s world, it is egalitarian in ways that make the western idea of egalitarian look juvenile, for further instance, a child that does not wish to be held must be put down. And that’s just scratching the surface. The product is adults who do not presume to trespass on other peoples space because they have learned everyone’s space is sacred and that is a lesson the western peoples could seriously benefit from (as contrasted to people believing in ‘manifest destiny’ going on to trash the world we live in, not only for themselves but for everyone.)

    If these people writing about children from other cultures (not only the article author but particularly the references authors) had integrated to the culture they write about, fully integrated, so far as to understand not only purpose but nuance as well, I’d be less inclined to laugh and more inclined to listen. In fact Native American cultures value silence as a phenomena one can ‘hear’ and the children are immersed in this value from conception… meanwhile the ‘anthros’ scratch their heads and wonder at what they see like so ‘puzzled chimp’ portraits-

  15. bossel says:

    “as calm and non aggressive as other East Asians”
    Chinese are calm & non-aggressive? That may hold water for children, but not for adults. At least, that’s my experience in 8 years China.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    During the Middle Ages, Northern European women swaddled their infants in long strips of linen fabric. The effect of keeping the infant bound in one position was essentially the same as that of the cradle board. I used to wonder whether this had anything to do with an eye to the prevention of the outward signs of rickets, as foods containing vitamin C were nearly impossible to find during the winter months. In other words – did people believe that if they kept their infants’ legs bound straight that they would grow straight?

    Then there is the old wives saying to the effect that the more fussy and colicky the infant is, the more likely he will be highly intelligent when he grows up. My oldest son (of essentially Northern European descent) was extremely colicky and, when he was in high school, his IQ was measured at 170. I used to believe that saying to such an extent that whenever I saw an infant who was exceptionally docile, I wondered whether he would prove to be retarded!

    We know that the Chinese, as a population, tend to rank high on the standard IQ tests. Thus turning that old saying onto its head.

    • Replies: @rod1963
    , @Anonymous
  17. Anon,

    In their own language, the Navaho refer to themselves as Dine. Navajo is the name used by the Spanish and later the Mexicans. Navaho is an anglicized rendering of the same word. There seems to be a trend to replace Navaho with Navajo, apparently because Navajo is the earlier term. By the same line of reasoning, one could argue that Esquimaux is preferable to Eskimo because the first term is the older of the two.

    Karl,

    Infant calmness may be the rule for all Amerindian groups. There are not a lot of good studies on this phenomenon. From my own observation, native children tend to be shy and rather quiet. On the other hand, the ones I saw seemed to move about a lot.

    Anon,

    There has been a lot of work with Chinese adults on their use of the right and left hemisphere, but most of it seems to involve language and script processing. It would be necessary to study infants who have not yet read learned to read or speak.

    Erik Sieven,

    Freedman found that Japanese infants were behaviorally intermediate between Chinese-American and Euro-American infants. I should have mentioned that point in my post.

    Candycane,

    As I understand it, the Jomon absorbed succesive waves of Yayoi. The Yayoi contributed much more than did the Jomon to the final gene pool, but linguistically the contributions of each people were more balanced. Anyhow, is it necessary to postulate a long time span for the evolution of Chinese/Japanese behavioral differences?

    Trayvon,

    I don’t think it’s just a maturational issue. We see these ethnic differences even among newborns.

    Ronald,

    By “simple societies” I mean societies that are relatively egalitarian with a low degree of labor specialization and class formation. In other words, the main social divisions are between men and women and between children and adults. Almost any adult male can hope to become a leader, and all adults of either sex are supposed to be able to do a wide variety of tasks.

    The word “simple” is not pejorative. In fact, it’s often a compliment.

    Bill,

    Infantile mortality was very high in all societies until recent times. Over time, child care could have selected what sort of children would survive and what sort would not.

    Reg,

    Which is why that study focused not only on wheat regions and rice regions in their entirety but also on adjacent counties along the rice-wheat border. I don’t think differences in climate can explain these psychological differences.

    Foreign expert,

    Japanese infants seem to fall halfway between Chinese and European infants.

    Bill P.

    Exactly. I was using the words “simple” and “complex” in a neutral sense.

  18. marylou says:

    Maybe this tendency to boredom explains the active curiosity of the Europeans/Americans. Think of inventions, discoveries, reaching for the stars….

  19. rod1963 says:
    @Anonymous

    Yes foods containing vitamin C were rare for some Northern Europeans even into the last century(prior to WWII). For example my mother was from a very rural SE part of Poland, items like Oranges were so rare and expensive and generally the peasants could not afford them. Basically you either raised what you ate or didn’t eat at all.

    As for wrapping of the infants, she and her parents/relatives did that as well, mostly to keep the feet of the infants from becoming bowlegged.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  20. Cobalt says:
    @Anonymous

    Yes, look up France’s Pottenger Sr., Symtoms of Visceral desease, oldie but goodie and Ersnst Gelhorne a psychiatrist who wrote many books about autonomic nervous system, brain hemisphere, temperament, mental health etc. and finally the book “Personality Strength” and “Nutrition and Your Mind: the Psychochemical Response” case studies from a researcher named George Watson studying the interaction of diet and underlying genetic propensities on temperament.

    Main ideas linking is that populations adapt to different diets found in different ecosystems and the nervous system is calibrated to function with the diet. ANS function can be strongly unbalanced to either extreme or balanced depending on the diet and underlying genetics. This has profound impacts on temperment right vs left brain function according to the hypothesis. Gelhorne has the most detailed descriptions.

  21. @Rich

    Yes Richard, all of those things bringing our world to environmental collapse… really *smart* people

    • Replies: @TWS
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @rod1963

    Potatoes have lots of vitamin C and were introduced into Europe a few hundred years ago. It was and is a staple in Poland and elsewhere in much of Europe.

  23. Sean says:

    “Since the 1970s, and throughout the Western world, academia has become more hostile to the possibility of genetic influences on human behavior. This trend is self-reinforcing, since hiring decisions are biased toward candidates who believe in environmental determinism.”

    In 1978 the Supreme court Bakke decision outlawed ethnic quotas and allowed discrimination in favour of groups previously discriminated against. If environmental determinism is true and everyone is entitled to the same opportunities, then only the equitable acquiring of resources is valid. In that case no group (and very few individuals) with a good environment is entitled to it, because their ancestors must have violated others’ rights to acquire the social station in life handed down as environmental privilege. But that would not explain why Harvard caps Chinese enrollment.

    Given that it is known that newborn babies differ by genetic population to an astonishing extent, who really believes in environmental determinism? Harvard’s cap on Chinese students surely indicates an unspoken understanding of Chinese genetic superiority. I think what is going on is a redistributive project, whereby the exam success of Chinese students in general means every Chinese individual with a perfect SAT score and social accomplishments counts for the purpose of excluding other Chinese students.

    I would not be be too sure that, were academia to explicitly accept that full bore genetic determinism is true, they would then accept that the current discrimination in favour of (what would then be understood to be genetically disadvantaged groups) ought to end. It is more likely academia would switch feet and say ‘we now see that race exists and what we thought were environmentally damaged groups are actually races with different adaptations, but that does not alter the fact that the same group is disadvantaged by comparison to others in our society’.

    Those who think justice requires compensating for purported environmentally deprived groups, would in all likelihood affirm that genetically disadvantaged races are entitled to similar help. We can be confident about that, because it is already implicit in the position of elite academic institutions like Harvard. Evidence suggests academia would not think a group is entitled to superiority derived from genetic background, any more than academia can believe superiority derived from a privileged environment is just.

  24. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Just to clear something up as there has been a few mentions of rickets and a link with vitamin C. I believe rickets is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D which requires sunlight to synthesize in the skin. It is also found in small amounts in food like meat and dairy.

  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    http://avery.morrow.name/blog/2013/06/the-beauty-of-unturned-stones/

    I’m a big fan of the sayings of Confucius called the Analects. But what would an American think if you had him read this book?

    In a book I read a long time ago, someone offered an American scholar a copy of the Analects, and this is what he said:

    “It’s like the talk of an Indian chief!”

    When I read that book I belted out a deep laugh. This encapsulates the difference between East and West perfectly.

    Let’s translate the famous first line from that first paragraph of the Analects as if an Indian chief were saying it.

    “You must learn, children, and review what you have read. That is fun, see.”

    Suddenly, in the next line, a different topic entirely: “Friends — those are good. Especially, when a friend is coming to visit you from far away. There is nothing as good as that.”

    And then another: “Some people get angry when the world fails to acknowledge them. That is no good. Unemotional and calm under pressure — that is what we call character. Got it?”

    In the East, the Analects are like a sacred book. This book was mandatory reading in China from the early centuries B.C.E., and when it came to Japan through Korea in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was treasured.

    Here we see none of the logic of Aristotle, and none of the piercing rhetoric of the modern West. To put it bluntly, it’s like a a bunch of anecdotes about an old man, and it’s full of unclear sayings, leaps of logic, and blank spaces. The reader has to figure it out for himself, thinking, “Ah, that’s what he’s talking about, right?”

    But you can’t figure it out without guessing and filling in the blanks. The Analects is not carefully argued logic but a collection of brief and broken phrases. In every verse, you can only determine 50% of the meaning from what’s actually written there. The other 50% must be figured out by the reader himself. In other words, there is no reading without guessing.

    I don’t know whether this is related to the Analects or not, but Japan is full of these brief and broken phrases, not only in reading ancient texts but also in everyday conversation. You don’t rigorously explain everything you’re thinking to the person you talk with, but have them read your intentions, and you read theirs as well.

    Japanese people don’t like to argue. Even in the courtroom, laying out cold, precise logic to make your conversation partner fall to his feet and beg for forgiveness invites them to form a grudge, so it can only cause trouble later. So when we negotiate, we speak in brief and broken phrases like an Indian, and add a quiet little smile for breathing room. Someone who can do this well in Japan is said to have character or even worth, but a longtime foreign correspondent once warned me drunkenly over beer, “if you pulled that in America, they’d call you an idiot!”

    Fair enough: in Japan, if you attempted to demonstrate the strength of your opinion using endless layers of logic, you’d be the idiot! The listener already understands what you’re trying to prove.

  26. Peter Frost wote: Behavior can likewise differ between infants from different complex societies. We’ve seen this with Chinese-American and Euro-American babies, the latter having a less easy temperament. A difficult temperament (colic, excessive crying) is also much more common in babies of Greek or Middle Eastern origin than in babies of Northwest European or Asian Indian origin (Prior et al., 1987).

    The study: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00049538708259045#.VIMoKuktDcs

    Infants of parents born in Greece, Middle Eastern Countries, North America and some countries of Asia were more likely to be rated as showing behaviours characteristic of a difficult temperament…Infants of parents from North Western Europe and India however did not show these difficulties

    Who were the “Infants of parents born in…North America and some countries of Asia” that were difficult?

  27. pyrrhus says:
    @Anonymous

    It’s really spelled “Dine”, that’s what they call themselves.

  28. pyrrhus says:

    Although it is doubtful that parental interaction can explain differences in newborn behavior, this assumption seems to make people dismissive of Freedman’s work.

    That’s putting it mildly! The concept is patently ridiculous….

  29. M says:

    Michelle Whites are extremely judgmental about trivial matters and value intelligence above all else and are especially terrified that Europeans might think they are as dumb as all “the other” Americans.

    Europeans, as individualists and Asians, as collectivists (accepting this frame for now) can be conformist for very different reasons.

    For the collectivists, it is straightforward: they feel at one with the group and so behave with one mind with the group and punish deviation and betrayal heavily.

    For the individualists, it is less straightforward, but conformism still arises: individualist group bonds are weak, so to make strong groups those who would have them put together powerful rituals which are not so necessarily in natural collectivists. And at the same time, because group bonds are weak, individuals can easily be excluded from a clique, so those who would prefer not to be excluded from the group take on extreme displays of loyalty.

    This is perhaps what gives White European intolerance and conformism a different flavor from those of natural collectivists. The focus on breaking down the individual by rituals and uniforms, exploiting the fear of marginalisation, and encouraging extreme displays of loyalty to cement position within the group. Uniforms, flags, rituals, making a big deal out of trivial signifiers and symbols.

    Anon: Japanese people don’t like to argue. Even in the courtroom, laying out cold, precise logic to make your conversation partner fall to his feet and beg for forgiveness invites them to form a grudge, so it can only cause trouble later. So when we negotiate, we speak in brief and broken phrases like an Indian, and add a quiet little smile for breathing room.

    Japan, at least, is a society where public humility and public vengeance are both high cultural values, with one supporting the other – after all if you were humble and not vengeful, your humility would be exploited.

    So social dynamics favor more those who push their case lightly, unless they’re in a position of authority.

  30. TWS says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Ok, so “simple societies” earned this comment. Native societies are far from ‘simple’ … they are wonderfully complex, incredibly so

    Yes, they should have said ‘primitive societies’ but that just sounds racist. So ‘simple’ is less insulting.

  31. TWS says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    @Richard

    Yes Richard, all of those things bringing our world to environmental collapse… really *smart* people

    And you just revealed you’re a crackpot. ‘Environmental collapse’, the best laugh I’ve had all day.

  32. “If these people writing about children from other cultures (not only the article author but particularly the references authors) had integrated to the culture they write about, fully integrated, so far as to understand not only purpose but nuance as well, I’d be less inclined to laugh and more inclined to listen.”

    FWIW, Dan Freedman was married to a Chinese American woman. In any case, if I follow your reasoning, I should not write about my own culture, since I feel like a loner within it and reject many of its precepts.

    “Who were the “Infants of parents born in…North America and some countries of Asia” that were difficult?”

    The term “North American” no longer means much genetically, especially if we’re talking about children.

  33. OT:
    In porn consumption data, there appears to be greater interest in boobs than in butts among Whites, East Asians, and South Asians. (Source.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Southfarthing

    I don’t know how good that data is.

    But at any rate, there’s been a noticeably marked increase in butts in American pop culture recently. It seems associated with the increasing Africanization of American pop culture.

  35. The term “North American” no longer means much genetically, especially if we’re talking about children.

    That’s why I’m asking who those North American and Asian infants were (and I assume you meant “meant” because it was back in the 80s). So who were they?

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    The predominant cause of ricket is a vitamin D deficiency not vitamin C.

  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Karl Schoening

    I’d love to hear the story!!

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