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Compendium on agriculture, Japan, 1782. Rice farming, which requires community planning of water use and irrigation, may have favored a less individualistic mindset in East Asia (Wikicommons)
Compendium on agriculture, Japan, 1782. Rice farming, which requires community planning of water use and irrigation, may have favored a less individualistic mindset in East Asia (Wikicommons)

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Kinship is the organizing principle of small human societies, such as bands of hunter-gatherers or small farming villages. This is seen in their notions of right and wrong—the same behavior may be wrong toward kin but right toward non-kin, or at least not punishable. Morality is enforced by social pressure from fellow kinfolk, which in extreme cases can lead to ostracism and banishment.

This kin-based morality breaks down as societies grow larger and as the circle of regular interaction spreads beyond close kin. Wrongdoers are less easily brought into line because they and their victims no longer share the same kinfolk. Wrongs have to be avenged through vendettas: my clan against yours. Since vendettas can go on indefinitely, causing much more harm than the initial wrongdoing, a society cannot be both large and orderly unless it can resolve disputes between unrelated individuals. Hence, the development of codified law and justice systems. Hence the prohibition of violence as a means to resolve personal disputes.

In much of the world, this is as far as cultural evolution has gone. The circle of trusting relationships extends no farther than one’s kinship ties; beyond, morality is enforced only by the force of law, and court justice is expensive, time-consuming, and not always impartial. So dealings with non-kin are kept to the minimum necessary. This low level of trust restricts trade, keeping it bottled up spatially and temporally in marketplaces and family businesses. A true market economy cannot self-generate.

Cultural evolution has gone farther in two parts of the world: Northwest Europe and East Asia. The outcomes are rather similar—peaceful, orderly societies encompassing large numbers of people—but they have come about differently. Northwest Europeans could pursue this trajectory because they already had relatively weak kinship when they began to develop larger and more complex societies in the 12th century. There was a pre-existing tendency to live outside kinship structures, as seen in the Western European Marriage Pattern: men and women married relatively late and many never married; children usually left the family household to form new households; and many individuals circulated among non-related households, typically young people sent out as servants (Hajnal, 1965; Hallam, 1985; Hartman, 2004; Seccombe, 1992). This weak kinship environment was made possible by three mental adaptations: greater capacity for involuntary guilt and empathy; greater receptiveness to absolute moral norms, as opposed to relativistic ones based on kinship; and stronger desire to punish, exclude, and even kill violators of these norms (Frost, 2014a; Frost, 2014b).

When the Dark Ages came to an end, Northwest Europeans were well positioned to exploit the possibility of creating a larger and more complex social environment. Their mental makeup “pre-adapted” them for a trajectory of increasingly radical change: strengthening of Church and State, expansion of Christian guilt culture, pacification of social relations, and reorganization of these relations independently of kinship to create new forms of social organization (market economy, nation state, ideological regime, etc.).

East Asians have followed a different trajectory to a similar end, relying less on internal means of behavior control (guilt, empathy) and more on external means (shaming, family discipline, community surveillance, notions of moral duty). The main difference is in the relationship between self and society. Whereas a greater sense of self has helped Northwest Europeans to transcend the limitations of kinship and, thus, build larger societies, East Asians have relied on a lesser sense of self to create a web of interdependence that extends beyond close kin. There is a stronger tendency toward holistic attention, emphasis on social (versus personal) happiness, and suspension of self-interest. Conversely, there is a weaker tendency toward self-expression, self-esteem, and self-efficacy (Kitayama et al., 2014).

This trajectory may have been particularly favored by rice farming, which requires community planning of water use and community construction of irrigation networks. Even when neighboring districts are compared in China, individualism seems to be much weaker where rice is grown than where wheat is grown. This pattern holds up even in urban residents who have never actually lived on a farm and whose connection to rice farming is only genealogical (Talhelm et al., 2014).

Gene-culture co-evolution

Our biological selves have evolved to meet not only the demands of our natural environment but also those of our cultural environment. There has thus been selection for certain aptitudes, predispositions, and personality types.

For instance, if a culture favors individuals who respond more readily to the problems of others, this response will become more common with each passing generation, since affective empathy has a heritability of 68% (Chakrabarti et al., 2013). There is no need to create this mental trait from scratch. Affective empathy exists to varying extents in all humans, although it is stronger in women, perhaps because it originally served to strengthen the caring relationship between a mother and her children (Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright, 2004; Frost, 2014a). In Northwest Europeans, it has become more generalized, being felt by all normal individuals toward all people, except for those who are judged to be morally worthless. The result is a higher level of interpersonal trust and the development of social relations that would otherwise be impossible (Medrano, 2010).

Are there biological markers of this gene-culture co-evolution in Northwest Europeans? Enlargement of the amygdala is known to be associated with high altruism toward strangers, and two studies, one in southern California and the other in London, have found a larger amygdala in “conservatives” than in “liberals” (Kanai et al., 2011; Marsh et al., 2014; Schreiber et al., 2013). The difference may actually be an ethnic one, given the voting patterns in both areas.

In East Asians, pro-social behavior is supported not so much by empathy as by notions of duty toward the community (Frost, 2014b). This trajectory of gene-culture co-evolution seems to have its own biological markers, notably certain changes to the dopamine signaling system. In a recent study, a sample of Euro-Americans was compared with a sample of East Asians born in China, Korea, or Japan. The participants were genotyped for the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) and then administered a test on their social orientation. The test showed that the East Asians were less individualistic than the Euro-Americans, but this psychological difference was limited to carriers of DRD4 variants that increase dopamine signalling, i.e., 7- or 2-repeat alleles. Non-carrier East Asians were just as individualistic as non-carrier Euro-Americans (Kitayama et al., 2014). It seems that the East Asian cultural environment can reduce individualism only among individuals who carry these variants.

This finding is puzzling in one sense. Previous work has shown that the same DRD4 variants are associated with risk seeking and heavy drinking. The authors suggest that these variants make people more willing to imitate their peers, be they drinking buddies or ma and pa:

It might be the case that the 7R and 2R alleles are associated with greater acquisition of culturally sanctioned social orientations under generally favorable conditions of socialization, such as careful guidance and scaffolding of norm-congruous behaviors by socialization agents (e.g., parents, relatives, neighbors), but with markedly different, deviant behaviors (e.g., delinquency and risk proneness) under unfavorable social conditions or adversity, which might “reward” externalization or risk taking. (Kitayama et al., 2014)

Although one gene may largely explain why East Asians differ from Euro-Americans in social orientation, other genes may be involved in this and other differences between the two groups:

The current work has some bearing on the coevolution of cultural systems and genetic polymorphisms. Chiao and Blizinsky (2010) suggested that certain alleles of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene might have coevolved with cultural collectivism and individualism. They argued that although a short allele of 5-HTTLPR is linked to anxiety and depression, especially under traumatic life conditions (Caspi et al., 2003), this genetic risk might be mitigated by cultural collectivism, which involves more caring social relations and support networks. Cultural collectivism might therefore “buffer genetically susceptible populations from increased prevalence of affective disorders” (p. 529), which in turn might lead to a relatively high prevalence of the short allele of 5-HTTLPR. (Kitayama et al., 2014)

References

Baron-Cohen, S. and S. Wheelwright. (2004).The Empathy Quotient: An investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 163-175. http://ftp.aspires-relationships.com/the_empathy_quotion_of_adults_with_as.pdf

Caspi, A., K. Sugden, T.E. Moffitt, A. Taylor, I.W. Craig, H. Harrington, et al. (2003). Influence of life stress on depression: Moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene, Science, 301, 386-389. http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/trent/trent/lifestress.pdf

Chakrabarti, B. and S. Baron-Cohen. (2013). Understanding the genetics of empathy and the autistic spectrum, in S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, M. Lombardo. (eds). Understanding Other Minds: Perspectives from Developmental Social Neuroscience, Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=eTdLAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA326&ots=fHpygaxaMQ&sig=_sJsVgdoe0hc-fFbzaW3GMEslZU#v=onepage&q&f=false

Chiao, J. Y., and K.D. Blizinsky. (2010). Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277, 529-537. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842692/

Frost, P. (2014a). How universal is empathy? Evo and Proud, June 28 /pfrost/how-universal-is-empathy/

Frost, P. (2014b). Affective empathy. An evolutionary mistake? Evo and Proud, September 20 /pfrost/affective-empathy-an-evolutionary-mistake/

Hajnal, J. (1965). European marriage pattern in historical perspective. In D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley. Population in History. London: Arnold. http://www.popline.org/node/517620

Hallam, H.E. (1985). Age at first marriage and age at death in the Lincolnshire Fenland, 1252-1478, Population Studies, 39, 55-69. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0032472031000141276#.VMKUzuk5Dcs

Hartman, M.S. (2004). The Household and the Making of History. A Subversive View of the Western Past, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=Ynta0T8XCXgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=%22household+and+the+making+of+history%22&ots=RKOGFT0iX3&sig=yJCKWta8-HpHsyfn1eLaCmbe26A

Kanai, R., T. Feilden, C. Firth, and G. Rees. (2011). Political orientations are correlated with brain structure in young adults, Current Biology, 21, 677 – 680. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)00289-2

Kitayama, S., A. King, C. Yoon, S. Tompson, S. Huff, and I. Liberzon. (2014). The Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene (DRD4) Moderates Cultural Difference in Independent Versus Interdependent Social Orientation, Psychological Science, 25, 1169-1177. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/1169.short

Marsh, A.A., S.A. Stoycos, K.M. Brethel-Haurwitz, P. Robinson, J.W. VanMeter, and E.M. Cardinale. (2014). Neural and cognitive characteristics of extraordinary altruists, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 15036-15041. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/42/15036.short

Medrano, J.D. (2010). Interpersonal trust. World Values Survey Archive http://www.jdsurvey.net/jds/jdsurveyMaps.jsp?Idioma=I&SeccionTexto=0404&NOID=104

Schreiber, D., Fonzo, G., Simmons, A.N., Dawes, C.T., Flagan, T., et al. (2013). Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans. PLoS ONE 8(2): e52970. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0052970

Siu, A.M.H. and D.T. L. Shek. (2005). Validation of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index in a Chinese Context, Research on Social Work Practice, 15, 118-126. http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/15/2/118.short

Seccombe, W. (1992). A Millennium of Family Change. Feudalism to Capitalism in Northwestern Europe, London: Verso. http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=MiTxtZI-pzUC&oi=fnd&pg=PP13&ots=E-rMsM8u-P&sig=ifA6uDqYFLomOGQwyBfNfrDKTpw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Talhelm, T., X. Zhang, S. Oishi, C. Shimin, D. Duan, X. Lan, and S. Kitayama. (2014). Large-scale psychological differences within China explained by rice versus wheat agriculture, Science, 344, 603-607. http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/RiceversusWheatScience-2014-Talhelm-603-8.pdf

 
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  1. Numinous says:

    So dealings with non-kin are kept to the minimum necessary. This low level of trust restricts trade, keeping it bottled up spatially and temporally in marketplaces and family businesses. A true market economy cannot self-generate.

    Pardon me if the above was meant to be a minor tangential point in the article, but I think it is demonstrably false. Through the European Dark and Middle Ages, the Arabs established one of the largest trade networks in the world, from Spain to Indonesia, spanning the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. This network included not just Arabs but Turks, Persians, Indians, Africans, Indonesians, and others. None of these societies stopped being kin-based or move away from family-controlled businesses, but they were able to reach out and establish a trans-national trade network that very much relied on trust.

    I also think you minimize the importance of innovation. Northwest Europe gained a decisive edge in trade and commerce with the invention of modern banking and credit (in Holland and Scotland). The English wisely copied this innovation from the Dutch and went on to establish a worldwide trade empire.

    • Replies: @anon
  2. Sean says:

    If I am reading this right, given different cultural upbringings in their respective homelands, those Europeans with high dopamine activity receptor types, and those East Asians with high dopamine activity receptor types, are the most dissimilar in their behaviour. So behaviour is culturally determined, if you have the high dopamine gene variants.

    I don’t know how important “careful guidance and scaffolding of norm-congruous behaviors by socialization agents (e.g., parents, relatives, neighbors)” actually is compared to peer group socialisation. I think it is in his Better Angels Of Our Nature where Pinker talks about how immigrant children who spend most of their time speaking another language with their parents will pick up the local language and accent from children their own age in an incredibly short time.

    “Cultural collectivism might therefore ‘buffer genetically susceptible populations from increased prevalence of affective disorders’ (p. 529), which in turn might lead to a relatively high prevalence of the short allele of 5-HTTLPR. (Kitayama et al., 2014)”

    By my way of thinking that is putting the cart before the horse. Isn’t it more likely that cultural collectivism is what is being selected for, and the short allele of 5-HTTLPR forces people into cultural collectivism?

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

    This is a good documentary on the cognitive differences between West and East based on Richard Nisbett’s work. Nisbett is interviewed in the documentary:

  4. This low level of trust restricts trade, keeping it bottled up spatially and temporally in marketplaces and family businesses. A true market economy cannot self-generate.

    What does “self-generation” really mean here and what parts of the world does the statement apply to?

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In East Asians, pro-social behavior is supported not so much by empathy as by notions of duty toward the community

    Incidentally, the Chinese philosopher Mencius, whose interpretation of Confucianism is considered the orthodox one and served as the official state ideology for much of Chinese history, grounded his justification of Confucian ethics not on notions of duty but on the innate goodness of man and his sense of empathy:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mencius#The_Four_Beginnings_.28or_Sprouts.29

    To show innate goodness, Mencius used the example of a child falling down a well. Witnesses of this event immediately feel

    “ alarm and distress, not to gain friendship with the child’s parents, nor to seek the praise of their neighbors and friends, nor because they dislike the reputation [of lack of humanity if they did not rescue the child]…

    The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity; the feeling of shame and dislike is the beginning of righteousness; the feeling of deference and compliance is the beginning of propriety; and the feeling of right or wrong is the beginning of wisdom.

    Men have these Four Beginnings just as they have their four limbs. Having these Four Beginnings, but saying that they cannot develop them is to destroy themselves.

  6. Having immersed in the Blackfoot language community and residual original culture for much of my life, from adolescence, I am not surprised at all at the simplistic interpretations of non-western kinship systems. My long experience has been ‘western scientists just don’t get it.’ When the linguist Benjamin Whorf postulated the American Indians live in a reality invisible to western interpretations of reality, as far as I’m concerned, he was speaking of persons such as the author of this article. Perhaps a topic of a future essay but for the moment, I simple wish to draw the readers attention to the facts behind the Blackfeet tribe’s kinship system breakdown:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/10/06/modern-indian-society-2/

    Additionally, I will note there was pre-conquest tribal law (from oral history) in the northern plains tribes absolutely refuting any proposition implying kinship systems determine another group to which a hunting-gathering or kinship group was not related, were not included in the 1st groups protective social order or tribal law. Inter-tribal relations and behaviors were governed by treaty between groups. I’ll further note the inter-tribal violence levels were considerably less to the modern nations adhering to the civilized law of war, probably because they were more individual and tightly regulated. The were no applications of impersonal combats such as we see in the modern world. The simplistic interpretations presented by the author are not true in some all-encompassing sense and making general assertions regarding hunter-gatherer societies is a disservice to persons sincerely wishing to understand cultures outside their frame of reference. Whether inter-tribal or intra-tribal, there were effective checks on violence across a wide swath of territories prior to the western culture’s pressures pushing the plains tribes out of their historic spheres of influence in relation to one another and followed with what amounted to a ‘final solution’ meant to crush these societies social order and deprive them of land and independence.

  7. Escher says:

    Nice article. Mr Frost is a better writer and more cultured man than the other ‘gene expert’ on this site.

    • Replies: @Jim
  8. “this genetic risk might be mitigated by cultural collectivism, which involves more caring social relations and support networks. ”

    Caring social relations and support networks are not really characteristic of Chinese culture or most Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines, the West is more caring in terms of government, support network, even stuff like family relationships. Like Anglospherians often talk to their parents like they would a sibling or friend. Asians tend not to as much.

    And yet Asians have a far lower rate of ‘neurodiversity’ than Westerners. Whether it’s depression, Aspergers, or whatever, these conditions are not as common outside Northwest Europe, even in Latin America, Middle East etc. If it affects 1/100 Westerners it affects like 1/500 Asians or Asian Americans. Just a point I’m making.

  9. Numinous,

    In the ancient world, long-distance trade was in the hands of family businesses. (The Polo brothers were a famous example). It was also a very risky operation that required negotiation with different authorities and, often, with bandits (who wanted a large share of the profits). It never accounted for more than a small fraction of total economic activity and was not at all like international trade today. The bulk of economic activity took place within each family. Outside the towns and cities, most people lived in a state of autarky. They grew their own food, made their own clothes, tended to their own ailments, and created their own entertainment.

    Even today, most businesses in the Middle East are family businesses. This is one of the impediments to Westernization because people feel ill at ease in large impersonal corporate environments.

    We may be using the word “trade” in different senses. “Trade” refers to any economic transaction, monetized or non-monetized. My neighborhood grocer is a “trader.”

    “those Europeans with high dopamine activity receptor types, and those East Asians with high dopamine activity receptor types, are the most dissimilar in their behaviour.”

    No, they’re identical. If you control for the dopamine receptor allele, the “cultural” differences seem to disappear.

    “What does “self-generation” really mean here and what parts of the world does the statement apply to?”

    According to free market theory, a market economy will develop spontaneously without assistance. In fact, “assistance” can impede the development of a market economy. This is true in a high-trust culture, but not so in a low-trust culture. And most of the world is low-trust.

    Anon,

    Affective empathy does exist in East Asians, but it is much less differentiated from cognitive empathy. There is a difference between understanding that someone is in pain (and therefore feeling sympathy) and actually feeling that person’s pain.

    Ronald,

    I’m most familiar with the situation of Canada’s native peoples, but the situation was not that different from that of the U.S. Neighboring bands could get on well with each other if they exchanged women, in which case one would have kinfolk in adjacent bands. But this wasn’t always the case, and often it was simply a mitigating factor. The Iroquois frequently abducted Ojibway and Cree women for marriage, but these kinship ties were seen as shameful. The Inuit almost never intermarried with adjacent Amerindian peoples and they would kill Amerindians for fun. I realize it’s not nice to mention these things, but war between native peoples did involve acts of sadism.

    “I’ll further note the inter-tribal violence levels were considerably less to the modern nations adhering to the civilized law of war, probably because they were more individual and tightly regulated.”

    Then we’re agreed that war is a terrible thing? Did I ever say otherwise? The last two world wars took on a momentum of their own that made peaceful resolution impossible. “We’ve gone this far, so we might as well finish the job!”

  10. @Peter Frost

    Peter

    Something the anthropologists were never really familiar with were two phenomena 1) the Native aversion to correcting wrong assumptions (people are supposed to figure out their mistakes for themselves and 2) telling Christians what they want to hear, it simply was a safer course of action in relations with Anglo culture. Going to this second point, insofar as the women abductions, I am well aware of Blackfeet tribal history and there was no shame whatsoever in these relationships. Nor were these ‘captive’ women necessarily native per se. The Blackfoot word for a Mexican woman is ‘Spy-e-aki’ and reflects the noted warrior White Grass’ incursions into Mexico in the 1840s, where the descent is still noted in family oral histories. And when one mentions ‘captive women’ in relation to plains culture, it should be noted (in a system with strong element of matriarchy) they were able to attain full rights and marry as they chose:

    “Fallen Leaf: While Fallen Leaf was a Crow warrior, she was actually born to the Gros Ventre nation and was captured by the Crow when she was 12. After she had counted coup four times in the prescribed Crow tradition, she was considered a chief and sat in the council of chiefs. In addition to being a war leader, she was also a good hunter and had two wives”

  11. Wyrd says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    I’ll further note the inter-tribal violence levels were considerably less to the modern nations adhering to the civilized law of war, probably because they were more individual and tightly regulated.

    Nay:

    http://www.amazon.com/War-Before-Civilization-Peaceful-Savage/dp/0195119126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422155031&sr=8-1&keywords=war+before+civilization

  12. Chiron says:

    Hey Peter, we learn that ‘Civillization’ begin in the Near East (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Persia) and went to Rome after a few centuries, is there any explanation for what happened?

  13. @Ronald Thomas West

    I missed the part where you explained what we are missing.

  14. Jim says:
    @Sean

    My father was born in the US but in a German speaking community. The only word of English he knew when he entered the first grade was “Hello”. I once remarked to him how difficult it must have been to start learning English in the first grade. He was astonished by my remark and said that he didn’t remember the slightest difficulty in learning English. In no time at all he was teaching my grandmother how to speak English.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    , @difference maker
  15. AG says:

    A well-known fact is that limbic system (including amygdala) produces impulsive behaviors not different from primitive animals. Actually primitive animals function depends on such system. Prefrontal cortex produces rational behavior associated with reasoning, conscientiousness, morality, forward planning or future orientation. Limbic system is inhibited by prefrontal cortex.

    In more advanced species including human, prefrontal cortex have stronger control of primitive limbic system. People from higher social economical status (SES) also display strong prefrontal cortex inhibition of limbic behaviors. These are not speculation. These are neuroscience facts.

    The flaw of your post is too much speculation. Too much connection is made with marginal information. You ignore the most important factor in economical development, and less impulsive behavior. This factor is intelligence (g factor/IQ) which is generated from prefrontal cortex. Strong g factor is associated with less impulsive behavior. The dots connect itself (g factor, prefrontal cortex, impulsive behavior).

    Weak g (low IQ) indicates weak prefrontal cortex. Weak prefrontal cortex/strong limbic system exhibit more impulsive behavior and strong emotional display (certain ethnic groups are quite dramatic in their emotional display). Impulsive behaviors causes increased homicide and crimes. Impulsive behavior is disaster toward wealth building and long term economical success.

    On the other hand, people of high SES display exactly opposite of those low IQ people all due to more developed prefrontal cortex.

  16. “insofar as the women abductions, I am well aware of Blackfeet tribal history and there was no shame whatsoever in these relationships.”

    It was shameful for the people who lost their women. Native women did out-marry into neighboring bands, but these out-marriages normally created relationships of reciprocal obligations between the “giving” band and the “receiving” band. The woman had rights, and those rights would be defended by her male kin. A captive woman had no such rights. She lived at the mercy of her captors.

    “And when one mentions ‘captive women’ in relation to plains culture, it should be noted (in a system with strong element of matriarchy) they were able to attain full rights and marry as they chose”

    Some could. Most had an inferior status:

    “Burial analysis has also indicated that in late prehistory in the La Plata Valley (southwestern Kentucky area), some women were very badly treated. Burials of women who had died of head injuries and had been simply dumped in the grave, discarded, and not buried properly suggest systematic spousal abuse against some women (Martin 1977). These women also show physical signs of heavier work, especially grinding, much heavier than women who are found buried in proper contexts and who did not die from being beaten to death with digging sticks. This is perhaps another indication of the poor treatment of captured wives seen in other areas of North America in late prehistory.” (p. 232)

    http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=Oe2xAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA219&dq=iroquois+abduct+women&ots=neO1uadXg0&sig=v7W3Zl8xrmjugZIQnBPs5hbHDIQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Female captives were usually spared, but male captives were generally tortured and killed. If a male captive was clever and able to ingratiate himself with his captives, he could become accepted as a fellow warrior. Such things did happen.

    We have many written records about the treatment of white captives, who thought they were being singled out, as whites, for vicious treatment. In fact, they were getting the same treatment that was given to all captives, whether White or Indian. Again, there was much variability. Many Indian tribes saw captives as a way of making up for their losses of men during war. Timing and circumstances also had a bearing:

    “Whites inhabiting the trans-Mississippi west in the nineteenth century had in fact every reason to dread falling into Indian hands and a good idea of what was in store for them: among the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains, male captives were tortured (before being put to death), female captives were invariably subjected to sexual and physical abuse and generally condemned to a life of drudgery, while captive children might be killed out of hand or taken into the tribe. In the northeastern woodlands, however, the fate in store for whites captured by Indians was by no means so certain. A study of the experiences and narratives of captives on the upper Connecticut River during the era of Indian raids from Canada suggests that to be captured by Indians in northern New England was a terrifying and traumatic experience, but was certainly no guarantee of death, torture, abuse, or even mistreatment.”

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3157432&fileId=S0021875800017333

    “Hey Peter, we learn that ‘Civillization’ begin in the Near East (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Persia) and went to Rome after a few centuries, is there any explanation for what happened?”

    If you’re talking about physical achievements (monuments, roads, buildings, public works), civilization did begin in the Near East. But the mindset that made civilization possible arose earlier. See my post:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-first-industrial-revolution.html

  17. Sean says:
    @Peter Frost

    Numi. the Islamic empire relied on slaves to great extent, see here. For commerce and similar functions the Arabs used special peoples, such as Jews, to run things, see here. The birth of capitalism, double entry bookkeeping ect, had its origin in Italy, Venice and the Genoese made their money in the white (women) slave trade.

    I have read that the real trouble started because the Inuit had furs which had become a very valuable commodity that could be traded to Europeans. Six of one and half a dozen of the other I suppose. It’s like who started WWs 1&2, a case could be made for Poincaré.

    Peter, to the main issue, it is a fascinating study (and the high-dopamine variant of DRD4 link to alcoholism explains its prevalence among Koreans). I got a bit mixed above, but I think it seems to be showing there are gene variants for group cohesion that massively increase the effect of culture.-

    RECENTLY, we tested approximately 400 undergraduates at an elite American university. About half of them were of European descent, while the remaining half were native Asians, none of whom had spent more than 7 years in the US at the time. They filled out a series of self-report scales designed to assess their self-perception, self-esteem, and other aspects of independence, as well as their sense of interdependence. Replicating many previous studies, we found that European Americans were both more independent and less interdependent compared to Asians. Importantly, this cultural difference was quite pronounced for those Asians and European Americans who carried a high-dopamine variant of DRD4. In fact, among non-carriers of these high dopamine gene variants, the cultural difference was absent. It appears, then, that the high dopamine gene variant carriers play some kind of special role in sustaining the values and beliefs of their culture. [...] The resulting product is thus sociocultural as much as it is biological. We are approaching a whole new conception of what it means to be human.”

  18. The weakest link of Peter’s “Two Paths” hypothesis is the so-called “affective empathy” vs “cognitive empathy”

    “Affective empathy does exist in East Asians, but it is much less differentiated from cognitive empathy. There is a difference between understanding that someone is in pain (and therefore feeling sympathy) and actually feeling that person’s pain.”

    Sorry Peter, with my intelligence I sincerely can’t see the “difference between understanding that someone is in pain (and therefore feeling sympathy) and actually feeling that person’s pain”, alongwith so-called “heritability of 68%” (Chakrabarti et al., 2013)..

    There’s NO clear and objective line between them, let alone a reliable way to quantify them without resorting to detailed gene analysis. Hence Chakrabarti et al., 2013 is very troublesome to say the least in my view.

    My initial detailed rebutal was as follows:

    September 21, 2014 at 5:36:00 PM GMT-4

    [email protected] said…

    2 gigantic “crisis” staring at Peter’s emphathy:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/affective-empathy-evolutionary-mistake.html

    BTW, obviously Panda has been in pain since September 21 , 2014, when will Peter start t0 fell it? lol

    • Replies: @AG
    , @Jim
    , @Sean
  19. Mr Frost, if you ever write up this and related subjects I’d be first in line to buy your book.

  20. @Peter Frost

    Methinks the sweeping generalizations you begin your article with, are showing some cracks.

    Yes, there were certain criteria that determined captives emancipation:

    “In the long and disturbing history of Indian-White relations in North America there have been other Whites, men and women, who became full fledged members and shared the fate of the tribes in the struggle for survival. These, often, had been taken as prisoners when young, and they grew up with new siblings and new parents and a new, wide range of relationships. They were not discriminanted against because in the old world of the tribes skin color never mattered; what mattered were the expressions of one’s spirit and the voice of the heart. But adoption by a human alone was not enough. The adoptee had to open himself/herself to the spirit world of the specific tribe and had to be embraced by it. Thus, adoption was made final or was denied on the highest spiritual level beyond a first move made by adoptive elders” -Karl Schlesier PhD, professor emeritus of anthropology

    Likewise, here is a captive torture story from Blackfoot oral history:

    The Salish had captured a Blackfoot warrior and tied him to a post at the center of their camp. The community then had gathered to witness his death by torture. The point of the torture was to see if this warrior could be made to cry, as he was slowly cut to bits. If this could be accomplished, it could then be reported back to the Blackfeet people how their warrior was weak when faced with death. It would never occur to the Salish to send a false report of the man’s behavior when meeting his end.

    As it happened, this warrior fully being cognizant of the purpose of his death ritual, devised a strategy to circumvent the intended outcome. When the Salish man with first right to begin slicing him with a knife had approached and proceeded to cut and taunt the Blackfoot, the Blackfoot had kept his cool and returned insults as to be so vile, the Salish lost his temper and swiftly killed the Blackfoot in a rage. And this fact of circumstance of death is what was reported to the Blackfeet people

    I expect this is a bit different to motive behind the ideological torture of the Spanish Inquistion or the auto de fe practiced by the English who would go on to torture throughout their colonies to modern times.

    If invading and crushing the infrastructure of numerous nations, to modern times, can be construed to be violence, I expect the Europeans, by far, outstrip the Native nations when it comes to cruelty of behaviors related to aggression.

    You may have the last word-

  21. AG says:
    @PandaAtWar

    When argument based on speculative information, it is still speculation at end. People do this kind of work usually under influence of ideology. I have said before. Ideology is only marginally better than religion for average people. Ideology and religion require its follower disregarding any facts contradicting their belief. Like Rushton said before, scientists with ideological belief harm their own work. A true scientist should not give a damn to ideology or religion.

    Most typical example of pseudoscience from left is Gladwell’s work. Examples from right are plenty also most in form of racist forum.

    I said before. Ideology and religion are guidance for stupid people to judge the world around them because they are just too stupid to figure out thing on their own.

    Some smart people use ideology or religion as tool to manipulate the mass for their own gain.

  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Frost

    Right, that may be the case, but it seems that by “alarm and distress” Mencius means something else other than understanding.

  23. skep says:

    @ Peter Frost

    “born in China, Japan, Korea, or Japan”
    Sorry, I think that you wrote “japan” twice

  24. Ivy says:
    @Jim

    Non-native speakers in many immigrant communities had similar experiences during the earlier part of the 20th century. Many children were encouraged to learn English by being told not to speak their native language so that they would be accepted more readily. Others were told that they would not be taught their native language so that they would learn and adapt more quickly and thoroughly, somewhat akin to burning the ships to prevent return voyages.

  25. […] But this piece, which is a complex look at the some differences between cultures that grow rice versus cultures that grow wheat (it’s not simple determinism, but expression, and it’s a fairly measured piece at that), has a fascinating beginning. In part, because I’be been spending a great deal of time lately thinking about kinship and how we express different ideas of kinship in modernity. […]

  26. Luke Lea says:

    My sense, from reading a lot of books about China, is that the Chinese have no real sense (or a very weak sense) of the public good as we think of it in the West, epitomized in this sad story of a child repeatedly run over in traffic in a big city:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-15398332

    Also I think clans and clan loyalties are more important in China than you seem to think. But I am no expert and would be glad to learn differently.

    • Replies: @AG
    , @Anonymous
  27. JayMan says: • Website
    @Peter Frost

    A study of the experiences and narratives of captives on the upper Connecticut River during the era of Indian raids from Canada suggests that to be captured by Indians in northern New England was a terrifying and traumatic experience, but was certainly no guarantee of death, torture, abuse, or even mistreatment.

    Perhaps this has something to do with the Puritan conquest of Connecticut, where they saw fit to round up the Natives and burn them alive in their dwellings?

  28. JayMan says: • Website

    Although one gene may largely explain why East Asians differ from Euro-Americans in social orientation, other genes may be involved in this and other differences between the two groups

    I’m sure it’s much more than just a few genes.

    Though it’s my understanding that candidate genes haven’t held up well to scrutiny.

    Good post!

  29. Jim says:
    @PandaAtWar

    Intuitively the difference between “cognitive empathy” and “affective empathy” seems pretty obvious although in a particular case it might be hard to disentangle their behavioral effects.

  30. @Jim

    I learned English and Mandarin at the same time. Children are comparative geniuses at learning language

  31. Sean says:
    @PandaAtWar

    ” I sincerely can’t see the ‘difference between understanding that someone is in pain (and therefore feeling sympathy) and actually feeling that person’s pain’”.

    How do you know what you are feeling?

    “However, when Chinese were tested, it was a network involving both mPFC and TPJ that was activated to carry out the self-referential judgment. This suggests that Chinese participants spontaneously took perspectives of others when drawing inferences about themselves[...]

    When European-American participants were exposed to emotional stimuli and asked to suppress their emotional expressions, they showed no decrease of LPP, indicating that they continued to experience the emotion induced by the stimuli even when they tried to hide their emotions on their faces. Interestingly, these participants show increased activity in frontal regions of the brain, indicating that they experienced a lot of conflict while trying to suppress expression of their emotions.

    We observed a different pattern for Asian participants. When asked to suppress their emotions, these participants initially showed strong LPP spikes, suggesting that they indeed experienced certain emotions. But within a fraction of second, that increased brain activity dissipated, and there were no indications that the participants were experiencing any internal conflict. Apparently, our Asian participants had no problem regulating the internal emotions that had been induced by the impinging stimulus.

  32. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Sean,

    You’re right. There is a culture/gene interaction in the carriers, whereas the noncarriers show no difference, regardless of ethnic origin:

    “There was a strong cultural difference in independence in the predicted direction among the 7/2R carriers, with EA participants significantly more independent than AA participants, F(1, 373) = 12.49, p < .001; in contrast, this cultural difference was negligible for the 7/2R noncarriers"

    I've changed the text accordingly.

    Sorry Peter, with my intelligence I sincerely can’t see the “difference between understanding that someone is in pain (and therefore feeling sympathy) and actually feeling that person’s pain

    Panda,

    Yes, this was what Siu and Shek found in their study of empathy in young Chinese participants:

    "the current findings showed that the cognitive and affective aspect of empathy appear to fuse in Chinese adolescents. [...] The fusion of the cognitive and emotional dimensions implies that Chinese people might not perceive the items from the two dimensions as too different in nature."

    This doesn't mean that Chinese people don't feel affective empathy. They do, but it hasn't differentiated from cognitive empathy to the same extent.

    There’s NO clear and objective line between them

    There is, Panda, there is. A psychopath can have a highly developed sense of cognitive empathy, but he uses that ability to manipulate other people, not to help them. Affective empathy involves a transfer of emotional distress, and not simply a reconstruction of another person's emotional state.

    I expect this is a bit different to motive behind the ideological torture of the Spanish Inquistion or the auto de fe practiced by the English who would go on to torture throughout their colonies to modern times.

    Ron,

    Yes, Europeans have a long tradition of framing their actions in ideological terms. The enemy is not simply an enemy. The enemy must be uniquely evil. Only then does it become possible to inflict total violence on him or her.

    People do this kind of work usually under influence of ideology.

    IC,

    No, I do this work as a reaction to ideology. Our understanding of human biodiversity has been distorted by attempts to create a unified theory of everything. This is as true for Phil Rushton as it is for Stephen J. Gould. I understand that there are political ramifications, but the same is true for current mainstream thinking. That, too, has political ramifications.

    Anon,

    Agreed. Most of us feel affective empathy to some degree, but the word "degree" needs to be underlined. We see this in altruism towards strangers , which varies considerably among individuals and between human populations. Swedes, for instance, display very high levels, to a degree that seems to me almost pathological. In the past, it wasn't pathological because the social context was different.

    Skep,

    Thanks! I especially value this sort of feedback.

    I have long believed we are wrong when we tell ourselves that history is a story told by winners. History is a story told by survivors, and that is not the same thing

    Charles,

    Well spoken.

    clans and clan loyalties are more important in China than you seem to think

    Luke,

    They can be more important. Chinese people have a stronger orientation toward the group and the community. This orientation can be toward one's clan, but it can also be more easily transferred to higher levels of group affiliation. There seems to be a gene/culture interaction. But I would like to hear what other people have to say.

    Perhaps this has something to do with the Puritan conquest of Connecticut, where they saw fit to round up the Natives and burn them alive in their dwellings?

    Jayman,

    Puritans seem to be getting a bad rap nowadays. Relations were initially peaceful between the Puritan settlers and the Amerindians. This changed with a conflict that became known as King Philip's War, which was triggered by the hanging of three Wampanoags in 1675 for the murder of a Christianized Indian. But the underlying motive was alarm over the steady and unending growth of the settler population. The natives realized that they would eventually become strangers in their own land. It was this, and not the hangings of the three men, that triggered what was, in fact, an effort to eliminate the white settler population:

    "The war was the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century Puritan New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in American history.[4] In proportion to the population, the resulting war was one of the bloodiest in American history. In the space of little more than a year, twelve of the region's towns were destroyed and many more damaged, the colony's economy was all but ruined, and its population was decimated, losing one-tenth of all men available for military service.[5][6] More than half of New England's towns were attacked by Native American warriors"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Philip%27s_War

    It was a situation of total war — kill or be killed.

    • Replies: @Bill P
  33. AG says:
    @Luke Lea

    East Asian are more self-critical and tend to underestimate themselves. They focus on the own flaw and weakness more than others. If you see negative report of East Asian, you should take it with grain of salt.

    Evidence of negative thinking of self among East Asian

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    (East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, and see underachievement as a chance to improve themselves and get along with others.)

    In contrary, you are more likely overestimate yourself if you are non-East Asian. Even more so if you are stupid.

    Another factor of east Asian humbleness.

    http://www.apesantsandancestors.com/major-new-theory-on-the-impact-of-farming-on-social-psychology/

    Most people from other cultures are more self-centered

    You should always take negative report about East Asian with above information in mind. When East Asian said “we are no good”, it is form of self-pity to make other people feel better. Unfortunately, you instead treat it as sign of problem due to your different culture background. Your attitude of arrogance will not last very long if you live in East Asia.

    In Western world, such behavior would be coined as `self-hate’ liberal. Keep in mind, western people who display such `self-hate’ are often elite. Coincidence? Not really.

    This world is too complicated for simple mind people to understand.

  34. dearieme says:

    “There is a stronger tendency toward holistic attention, emphasis on social (versus personal) happiness, and suspension of self-interest.” Have you actually met any Chinese?

  35. Bill P says:
    @Peter Frost

    Affective empathy involves a transfer of emotional distress, and not simply a reconstruction of another person’s emotional state.

    Can it also involve a transfer of joy, anger, or even boredom? Is affective empathy only something that applies to distress and pain?

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Luke Lea

    The child wasn’t run over in traffic. It was in an indoor covered market where cars generally don’t go. Vans, small trucks, tractor type vehicles ferrying goods to load and unload in the market go through there. It’s not unusual to see little kids running around or simply sitting or lying about unattended in these types of markets and places in China. An unattended child isn’t perceived to be in immediate danger as he or she generally is in public places in the US and elsewhere.

    Here’s a video of something that actually did happen by some traffic A girl walking on the sidewalk suddenly falls through the pavement and a driver and some pedestrians immediately stop to see if she’s ok: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_B1PkgA3kA

    • Replies: @Luke Lea
  37. Art says:

    The phrase “cognitive empathy” is an oxymoron — empathy is an emotion – cognitive implies logic – two different parts of the brain — animals with little cognitive skills have empathy – how about the words caring or kind or thoughtful – each implies some intellectual thought.

    Of course universal “caring and kindness and thoughtfulness” also implies Christian culture (a private philosophical system of thought) — giving credit to Christianity is taboo in today’s pseudo-intellectual world. Today’s Western intellectuals do not have the cognitive capacity to separate the wheat from the chaff (or the courage). They cannot grasp the notion that Western culture still carries the baggage of primordial tribalism. The bad part of the West is its state tribalness – not its private Christianity.

  38. “There is a stronger tendency toward holistic attention, emphasis on social (versus personal) happiness, and suspension of self-interest.” Have you actually met any Chinese?

    The above sentence is taken more or less directly from the study I cited. Let me provide a direct quote:

    “European Americans place a strong normative emphasis on independence of the self from others, whereas Asians put much greater emphasis on interdependence of the self with others. These normative cultural differences are reflected in more specific behavioral cultural traits; more holistic attention (Masuda & Nisbett, 2001), a greater emphasis on social (vs. personal) happiness (Kitayama, Park, Sevincer, Karasawa, & Uskul, 2009), greater suspension of self-interest (Kitayama & Park, 2014), and weaker motivations toward self-expression, self-esteem,and self-efficacy (Heine, Lehman, Markus, & Kitayama, 1999) are all associated with more interdependent orientations.

    The culturally divergent social orientations of independence and interdependence are believed to result from acquisition of cultural norms and values. It is not certain, however, whether (and if so, how) the acquisition of cultural norms may be moderated by, or interact with, specific genetic mechanisms. In the current work, we drew on extant research on Gene × Culture (G × C) interaction and tested whether individual differences with respect to the overarching cultural dimension of independence versus interdependence vary with polymorphisms of the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4).”

    The lead author, Dr. Shinobu Kitayama, specializes in the study of self, cognition, emotion, and motivation. No, he’s not Chinese, but the Chinese are not the only East Asian people.

    Is affective empathy only something that applies to distress and pain?

    Apparently. The heritable components of empathy seem to center on the transfer of emotional distress:

    “Comparisons of the responses given to these items by identical and fraternal twins in the Loehlin and Nichols investigation revealed evidence of significant heritability for characteristics associated with the two affective facets of empathy—empathic concern and personal distress—but not for the nonaffective construct of perspective taking. This pattern is consistent with the view that temperamental emotionality may underlie the heritability of affective empathy.”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00302.x/abstract

    It looks like affective empathy evolved as a means to encourage assistance to people in distress. Initially, this would have been for the relations between a mother and her children. There may have then been natural selection, in some human populations, to generalize this affective empathy to any case of a person in distress. This evolutionary trajectory would be analogous to the retention of lactase synthesis in adults. All humans have the ability to digest lactose, but in most humans this ability is limited to children.

    • Replies: @Art
    , @Harold
    , @David
  39. Bill P says:

    Apparently. The heritable components of empathy seem to center on the transfer of emotional distress:

    “Comparisons of the responses given to these items by identical and fraternal twins in the Loehlin and Nichols investigation revealed evidence of significant heritability for characteristics associated with the two affective facets of empathy—empathic concern and personal distress—but not for the nonaffective construct of perspective taking. This pattern is consistent with the view that temperamental emotionality may underlie the heritability of affective empathy.

    If so, that’s kind of dispiriting.

    Now, I know that anecdotal evidence is not scientifically valid, but I tend to see behavioral/psychological genetics as similar to medicine in that it remains as much art as science, so I’m willing to use my own family experience as a sort of rough guideline.

    My mother, as I mentioned before, is from a mainly Scots Irish family. They are not “bad” people, but they can be rough and unforgiving, and very competitive. It has served them well in the contemporary American culture, with one very tragic exception (a suicide of a child). They don’t have much in the way of affective empathy, but they do have a strong (if simplistic) sense of morality. They effortlessly resisted the American cultural upheaval of the 60s/70s and went on to have successful careers and families.

    My father’s family, on the other hand, was a particular mix one commonly finds in parts of the northern West and Midwest, being primarily Irish/Welsh and Norwegian. My Norwegian grandmother had such a sense of empathy that it seemed almost “psychic,” if I may use that term to describe how our people would understand it in the popular manner of speech. She would care for and foster not only all the neighborhood children, but the animals as well. The squirrels grew so bold as to run into the living room as they pleased, and the sparrows and raccoons became insufferable pests. It got to be such a problem that my grandfather had to secretly trap the animals and drive them to a remote location for release. If I or any other child felt the least bit bad, she knew it immediately and would comfort us despite our best efforts to hide our emotions. Everyone around the neighborhood viewed her as a sort of local saint, yet she was a Norwegian Catholic convert in a mainly Irish neighborhood.

    However, two of her four children inherited her preternatural ability to know how others feel, but they definitely didn’t exhibit the empathy, so they had free rein to manipulate people, which they did with a skill that you’d have to see and know them personally to believe.

    Because of this, I always assumed that there was some connection between empathy and “knowing” how other people felt. It seemed to me to be a sort of emotional intelligence that could go one way or the other depending on one’s moral framework. I chalked it up to the 60s counterculture vs. my grandmother’s traditional Christian mores. I suppose cognitive and affective empathy could be distinct, but wouldn’t one be ineffectual without the other? Is it possible that we are simply mistaking an emotional intelligence that has been channeled by culture for affective empathy?

    • Replies: @anon
  40. @Anonymous

    Nisbett’s book Geography of Thought has some great data on the differences between Westerners and East Asian. Interestingly, he states that the differences are 100% cultural, with zero genetic factors at work. Still, a useful guide to the differences (noun vs. verb thinking, etc.)

  41. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Numinous

    There was a pre-existing trade network in both the Roman and Persian parts of what became the Arab trade network so they mostly just glued the two pre-existing parts together when they conquered both.

    Also a lot of long distance trade involved extended families setting up in a chain along the trade route in question e.g. a merchant family in Antioch send their cousins to settle in the chain of towns between them and the town they are trading with precisely because they don’t trust people in between.

  42. Art says:
    @Peter Frost

    European Americans place a strong normative emphasis on independence of the self from others, whereas Asians put much greater emphasis on interdependence of the self with others.

    The truth is that the forward thinking private American Christian culture has a good working balance (a golden mean) between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group.

    Philosophy, wisdom, and knowledge has taken over genetic material in directing this fine balance.

    • Replies: @Sean
  43. anon • Disclaimer says:

    This is a very interesting topic.

    I wonder if there are any of these behavioral traits where the difference in the average scores of East Asians and Euros is caused by a difference in the average scores of males and females – that is are there examples of a particular trait with scores like

    East Asian and Euro males 5/10
    East Asian females 6/10
    Euro females 7/10

  44. @Ronald Thomas West

    Prefacing your point with personal history really doesn’t do a lot to help your argument.

  45. M says:

    IC (East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, and see underachievement as a chance to improve themselves and get along with others.)

    I think the analyses by Sedikides which see this more in terms of defensive self handicapping in a low self esteem context generally tend to have more accuracy.

    East Asian regions tend to have a pretty low forgiveness culture (difficulty accepting apologies, giving forgiveness, letting bygones be bygones), so people with unrealistically low opinions of themselves, who are not emotionally inclined to take even sensible levels of risk on their own performance, will tend not to take the risk of talking themselves up (even if its accurate) for fear of retribution.

    The confident and tolerant culture of the West (probably in particular Americans) is very much the opposite – people will embrace positive views of themselves, often unrealistic and fragile positive views, because their experience shows them that if they are found out, the response will be temperate, reasonable and proportionate (although maybe some of a bailout culture is a negative side of this).

    Fundamentally though, underneath all this, East Asia tends to have a striving culture though, as most people with real experience of China know (hence dearieme’s “Have you actually met any Chinese?”). There’s a reason that developing and developed asia is classified by advertisers as a region of ambitious, status conscious, power seeking strivers and joy seeking hedonists http://tinyurl.com/n76yss9 (as opposed to Westerners who advertisers appeal to as people focused on overly romanticized personal relationships and pretentious ideas of their own creativity).

    Chinese are quite willing to use guanxi and social relationships to get where they’re going, without real motivation to help those people more than suit their own self advancement. People really are all out for themselves, and maybe their nuclear family. They’re just insecure and anxious about themselves, so give “humble” responses and tend to a self help type attitude on their weak points (like all anxious people who are nonetheless status striving and self interested).

  46. The phrase “cognitive empathy” is an oxymoron — empathy is an emotion – cognitive implies logic – two different parts of the brain.

    Actually, at least five parts of the brain are involved:

    - The superior temporal cortex codes an early visual description of another person’s action and sends this information to posterior parietal mirror neurons.

    - The posterior parietal cortex codes the precise kinesthetic aspect of the action and sends the information to inferior frontal mirror neurons.

    - The inferior frontal cortex codes the purpose of the action.

    - Parietal and frontal mirror areas send copies of motor plans back to the superior temporal cortex in order to match the visual description of the person’s action to the predicted sensory consequences for that person.

    - The mental simulation is complete when the visual description has been matched to the predicted sensory consequences.

    That’s cognitive empathy. Affective empathy is achieved when this mental simulation is fed into one’s own emotional state.

    See:

    Carr, L., M. Iacoboni, M-C. Dubeau, J.C. Mazziotta, and G.L. Lenzi. (2003). Neural mechanisms of empathy in humans: A relay from neural systems for imitation to limbic areas, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 100, 5497-5502.

    http://www.ucp.pt/site/resources/documents/ICS/GNC/ArtigosGNC/AlexandreCastroCaldas/7_CaIaDuMaLe03.pdf

    “Emotion” and “logic” are not mutually exclusive. Emotion can serve a logical purpose. Often, we don’t see the logic because we have a false idea of the purpose of life, but there is a logic.

    Prefacing your point with personal history really doesn’t do a lot to help your argument.

    On the contrary, history is the argument. Human evolution didn’t end back in the Pleistocene. In fact, it has proceeded at a faster pace during human history than during most of prehistory.

  47. AG says:

    You do have a valid point.

    Howerver

    Dunning kruger effect applies to all people and all ethnic groups. In western culture, self-actualizers (elites) are able to laugh or make fun of themselves. The people who are yelling proud american, some thing similar are tend to be from low end of society. The self-critical people tend to be the smart ones.

    Dunning kruger efffect only confirmed what Rushton already find on pattern comparison across major racial groups. Basically pattern difference across racial groups also present within the each groups.

    At end, they are confirming what an old saying ” ignorance is bliss”

    Truth is like a math answer which is the same result no matter what equations you use to solve it. For a given question, you can use either algebra or analytic geomtry, the result is the same. The truth or fact should be similar like math answer. All trained scientists should understand this prniciple. The truth can stand the test.

    In real life, arrogant people are always idiots when you exam them carefully. I often call them superiority due to ignorance or studipity.

  48. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill P

    However, two of her four children inherited her preternatural ability to know how others feel, but they definitely didn’t exhibit the empathy, so they had free rein to manipulate people, which they did with a skill that you’d have to see and know them personally to believe.

    If it’s genetic then I’d say that would take (at a minimum) three components.

    1) A component conferring exceptional ability to spot distress even if highly disguised.
    2) A second component which creates an *involuntary* reaction to that distress.
    3) A third component that can switch that involuntary reaction off.

    So if it was genetic maybe your grandmother had (1) and (2) and the kids got (3) from their father (among other possibilities).

    You can see how the first two would be beneficial for mother-baby specifically and adult-child generally and (3) could be useful in hunting, butchering and war.

    #

    If the three components were genetic and independent the combos would be:

    If a person didn’t have (1) the rest wouldn’t matter as they wouldn’t recognize the distress in the first place (or perhaps they’d construct a logic based morality?)

    However assuming for the moment (1) is required then:

    (1)+(2): involuntary altruist
    (1)+(3): predator
    (1)+(2)+(3): altruist-predator

    with the extent varying with the person’s individual score in (1), (2) and (3)

  49. Luke Lea says:
    @Anonymous

    Here’s another link on the incident: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8830790/Chinese-toddler-run-over-twice-after-being-left-on-street.html

    And Wikipedia’s coverage of the same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Wang_Yue

    The common attitude seems to have been that it was none of their business. Of course you might say that the same attitudes are found among Manhattanites, but you would be wrong. At the village level especially clans are important. And of course it is in villages that until recently the overwhelming majority of the Chinese lived. Not enough time for gene-culture evolution. I question Peter’s conclusion on this particular point.

    A great source of information about all things Chinese is here: http://factsanddetails.com/china/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  50. Sean says:
    @Art

    Behaviour is culturally determined, but only for those with a high dopamine gene variant.

  51. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Luke Lea

    I didn’t say clans weren’t important. But I don’t see how they’re that relevant in these particular cases of the baby being ignored or the girl falling through the sidewalk being helped immediately. If clans are the dominant factor, how would that explain both these cases?

    The impression seems to be that this incident occurred on an ordinary street with regular car traffic in which a person lying on the street will be assumed to have been hit by a car or in immediate danger of being hit by a car. That wasn’t the case. This was in a market area without ordinary car traffic. As I mentioned, it’s not unusual to see little kids running around or simply sitting or lying about unattended in these types of markets and public places in China. Part of the reason they don’t regard it as their business is because they don’t have to. Unattended children are commonplace and generally not a cause of concern. Manhattanites don’t have this attitude because seeing unattended children is rare in New York and other American cities, and cities are regarded as dangerous places and unaccompanied minors are generally perceived to be in immediate danger.

  52. Harold says:
    @Peter Frost

    Is affective empathy only something that applies to distress and pain?

    Apparently. The heritable components of empathy seem to center on the transfer of emotional distress

    There is also ‘affective’ vertigo, as one might call it, or ‘sympathetic vertigo’, as I usually call it. I had assumed this was due to ‘mirror neurons’ and that empathy was built on the same basis. But if the ability to experience symapthetic distress has been specifically selected for does that imply that sympathetic vertigo has too? One wonders if there are racial differences in the tendency to experience sypathetic vertigo. Something which, for once, wouldn’t be that hard to test.

    I get sympathetic vertigo sometimes when my cat jumps onto our third story handrail. And I don’t even particularly mind heights.

  53. David says:
    @Peter Frost

    I started keeping a small farm about a decade ago and learning to care for the animals has been a rich experience. I’ve wondered several times about the impact of animal husbandry on human moral instincts. The need to stick up for the little guy, for example, applies to lambs, too, so that when I see an abandoned one, a moral indignation kicks in, motivating me to save it. I feel that I have a duty to my animals, to allow them to self actualized. I mete out justice. A ewe that abandons her offspring for no apparent reason is more likely to become mutton. Maybe the huge advantage bestowed upon those with empathy for animals in more successful food production helped develop more empathy all around.

  54. @Peter Frost

    The really lovely thing for Amerindian chauvinists is that “oral history” is whatever they SAY it is. If I, as a WigwamTeepee Tribe member, say that my tribe and all its neighbors were peaceful loving people who just drank pure water, ate only animals expired of natural causes, and gathered with other tribes only to hold hands and sing happy songs, then what right have YOU, an evil white man, to say otherwise? Your words on paper mean nothing compared to my sacred “oral history” and my people were angelic in all respects until your evil ancestors showed up.

    This is our present state of affairs. Whites must condemn everything our ancestors did. “Native Americans” are entitled to lecture us on morality. To claim otherwise is to be racist. Having relinquished our pride and admiration for our heritage and accomplishments, we must be lectured to by peoples who never developed written languages, ate one another, and thought nothing of barbarism even modern cinema would shun. Look at the rage directed against Mel Gibson for his film on the Mayans. And if I recall, he didn’t come near depicting the worst of the barbarity.

    • Replies: @Bill P
  55. M says:

    IC In western culture, self-actualizers (elites) are able to laugh or make fun of themselves. The people who are yelling proud american, some thing similar are tend to be from low end of society. The self-critical people tend to be the smart ones.

    One scale measure of arrogance, as a personality trait rather than cognitive error (thinking you’re better than you are because you don’t know much), is the Honesty-Humility index.

    It has no relationship with IQ, but tends to be lower (more arrogant) in people who seem to show higher creative accomplishment.

    http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/p_silvia_cantankerous_2011.pdf

    In this context though, Honesty-Humility, a tendency to avoid greed, behave modestly, be socially disfluent, sincere, is separated from Agreeableness, the tendency to be forgiving, gentle, tolerant. So in this context, angry and intolerant personalities quick to take offense have no advantage on creativity, but those who tend to be grasping, arrogant, socially adroit and deceptive are more creative. Holding IQ constant, the more arrogant will probably tend to be more creatively productive, the more humble the more creatively paralysed.

  56. Bill P says:
    @Stan D Mute

    Stan, Indians did get a raw deal. They didn’t ask for smallpox, confrontation with a more advanced civilization, forced relocation, etc.

    Sure, they were brutal toward each other. I think Ronald kind of glosses over some of that, and he ignores the fact that being an Indian woman was no bowl of cherries. If there’s anything that strikes me as fantastical about what he writes, it’s these claims of Indian matriarchal society. I ascribe that to a reaction against the moral condemnation Indians were unfairly subjected to for not honoring their women to the same extent the Anglos did, which is an extremely high bar — nobody else on earth took veneration of the female to the Anglo extremes of the 19th century (Qing dynasty Chinese officials took note of this and found it very peculiar). And also, Ronald isn’t an Indian – he’s an Anglo American – so you can’t blame them for what he writes.

    I live near a lot of Indians, and there’s still some overt hostility toward whites, but it’s pretty pathetic, and mainly expressed by the full-bloods who have been tossed off the rez for drunkenness (so the state rather than the reservation has to pay their welfare) while the half-breeds and their white spouses get fat off the casino revenues.

    There are some things my ancestors did to Indians that were pretty lousy. And some things that were done to my ancestors, by Indian and Anglo alike. One thing I can say is that if I were an Indian, I would be pretty ambivalent about the “progress” of the last couple hundred years. In fact, I often feel that way as a white guy. We’ve all lost a lot on the way to modern society, and some of it was probably worth keeping. If you spend some time in the natural splendor of the West, you’ll know what I mean.

    If there’s anything that could mitigate some of the awful things that happened, I think we could start by admitting that there was intrinsic human value to Indians and their way of life. Because it’s true, it shouldn’t be too hard. And we don’t even have to condemn ourselves to do so, because we can honestly relate.

  57. @Anonymous

    that’s freaky, i keep choosing the same answers as the easterners automatically… must be my wapanese side coming through!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  58. Sean says:

    Peter, mirror neurons and affective empathy would seem to give a powerful effect to activities such as group singing, ritual, military drill and (don’t laugh) line dancing.

  59. TZ says:

    The video of the post #3 shocked me greatly as a Finn as I ended up picking the same answers as the Asians. Both of my mother’s and father’s family tree side has been collected few centuries backwards and they have lived, to my knowledge, pretty much in Finland and I’m not aware of any racial mixing either (and such isn’t seen on anyone’s looks). The same pattern continued in the 2nd part. http://tune.pk/video/1802041/west-and-east-cultural-differences-22

    Only really disagreement I would say was with the art and maybe writing (not really closer look on it on the videos). I found myself preferring the western art view… be it that I’m prejudiced by being used it or not. Or was it superior in quality. Who knows. I did agree with the more philosophical Asian outlooks presented especially on the 2nd part as a way I’m inclined to think myself too. (note: I have never really done any reading on such topics… it’s just something I have come up myself.)

    Especially I was surprised so greatly because I had read last year a book review of the book in question and not noticed this pattern (but then again those certain examples as seen in the videos were not presented on the review, 11 pages). http://www.toqonline.com/archives/v6n1/61-Jones.pdf

    Thought the reason for my writing isn’t about me but of the thought this let me into. Finns are sometimes considered to be the odds ones of Europe. Perhaps my line of thinking in more common in Finland if not the majority… this could explain why Finns are sometimes seen so different even thought they look European. Finns have low levels of immigration compared to most of the other European nations (I believe North-eastern Asian countries are similar in this aspect).

    IC said on post #33 that “East Asian are more self-critical and tend to underestimate themselves. They focus on the own flaw and weakness more than others. If you see negative report of East Asian, you should take it with grain of salt.” This line of thought could be applied to Finns too.

    I’m wondering has Frost or someone else studied the Finns more closely to see if they indeed have a lot in common with Northeast Asians in term of what happens in the mind? If so I suspect this could explain a lot about Finland. Could be interesting.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jim
    , @Jim
    , @AG
  60. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @TZ

    I’ve heard that Finns are shy. East Asians tend to be very shy.

    Also perhaps high intelligence, relatively low creativity?

    http://meinnaturwissenschaftsblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/solving-puzzle-of-why-finns-have.html

  61. Jim says:
    @TZ

    I believe Finns do show evidence of an Asian component in their genome. It’s not as much as Lapps though. Finnish Lapps are about 20% Asian and Russian Lapps 30%. However Hungarians are not much different genetically from other East Europeans. Apparently there weren’t enough Magyars to have much genetic effect.

  62. Jim says:
    @TZ

    How similar are Finns to Estonians?

  63. Jim says:
    @Escher

    Razib Khan’s prose style now is much more natural than it was years ago.

  64. […] might very well be whatever domestication package went along with rice farming in southern china as peter frost has discussed. others undoubtedly include the sorts of civilizations described by cochran & harpending in the […]

  65. AG says:
    @TZ

    Dunning kruger effect applies everywhere.

    Douglas MacArthur: Arrogant, many failures in reality, life to age 84

    Matthew Ridgway: self-discipline, loyalty, selflessness, modesty, and willingness to accept responsibility and admit mistakes (a quality of scientist), few failure in reality, life to age 98.

    You pretty much can figure out who has higher IQ for these two men. But the idiot got more fame due to self-bragging big mouth which is repected by similar idiotic mass.

  66. […] Two paths to civilization. Really, g is “substantially heritable”. What inclusive fitness means. Gene-culture coevolutionary theory. Collectivity and contagion. Some gentle transhumanist satire. […]

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