Sunday, February 22, 2015

The day is OK and the sun can be fun
But I live to see those rays slip away

I was up late last night reading this paper from the Journal of Human Biodiversity Eysenck Newsletter, sent by a friend. It earned the 2014 Ignobel Prize in Psychology:

[Thx Galina]
I had always regarded noctural habits as a perfectly rational response to the painful hostility of those times of day when the shouty white fireball is above the horizon. But if the authors are to be believed, nocturnality is a symptom of a slight flaw in one's character... or rather, a sign of the adaptive combination of psychopathic tendencies, narcissistic self-regard, and Machiavellian manipulation.
With this flexibility, some humans may find it adaptive to occupy this under exploited niche for their adaptive goals. We contend the Dark Triad traits may represent a specialized adaptation for night-time living.
They carry on as if the night people are a whole nother species, using the perceptual superiority of their light-gathering tarsier eyes and their greater evening alertness to prey upon the day people, as the latter grow vulnerable in the dying of the light and the waning of concentration.
One manner by which these traits might be adaptive is by predisposing individuals to exploit the night-time niche. With fewer people awake, the lessened light, and the diminished cognitive processing of those with morning disposition, enacting a ‘cheater strategy’ (Jonason & Webster, 2012; Mealey, 1995) might be easier at night
Several parts of the argument are missing. It would be nice to have evidence that 'chronotypy' is actually hereditable; without this assumption, the evolution of a predatory nocturnal subspecies is not gonna happen. It would also be nice to have reliable self-report questionnaires for psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism, rather than half-century-old relics like the MACH-IV.
Attitudes towards medically-assisted
suicide might have meant something
in 1970 but are now merely quaint
Also, you say "Machiavellian manipulation of others", I say "helping them to see their true selves and destinies".

Perhaps "Number of Self-Citations" could be used as an operational index of Narcissism. There were too many for mention of the prior work of Peter Watts of FizerPharm.

My main concern, anyway, is that "self-regard" is difficult (or so I hear) when you cannot see your reflection in a mirror.

It is aslo disappointing that the third author, Dr Minna Lyons, did not change her surname to Harker for purposes of publication.


Yastreblyansky said...

It is aslo disappointing that the third author, Dr Minna Lyons, did not change her surname to Harker for purposes of publication.

That certainly sucs

rhwombat said...

Soooo...the early bird is caught by the worm?

rhwombat said...

Meh. To my mind nominative precedence peaked when Ralph Alpher objected to Hans Bethe being the second author, as proposed by his supervisor, George Gamow in "The Origin of Chemical Elements"in Physical Review 73(7) 803 (1948). Mind you, Gamow's son had it in the bag.

Smut Clyde said...

I knew of the Alpha-Beta-Gamow paper and knew that the second authorship was arranged without consulting Bethe, but it is news to me that Alpher objected to it.

I had forgotten all about the Gamow bag and needed Google to explain the joke.

rhwombat said...

Smut. My work here is done.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Crepuscular critters give me the jitters,
But creatures of night fill me with fright.

OBS said...

OT, but evidently the entire world is freaking out over the shifting color of some stupid dress.

Seems like a perfect thing for the esteemed scientificamists at Riddled to explain in great detail. Perhaps discuss it at your next faculty meeting?

Please? For me?

I promise not to make any hideous animations out of any of the images you may use. Honest. Well, probably not anyway.