Europe’s Economy Is Collapsing

Europe’s economy is collapsing.  There’s been too much spending and too much borrowing.  We’re next in line if we can’t get our budgets balanced.

The debt crisis in Europe escalated sharply Friday as investors dumped Spanish and Portuguese bonds in panicked selling, substantially heightening the prospect that one or both countries may need to join troubled Ireland and Greece in soliciting international bailouts.

The draining confidence in Western Europe’s weakest economies threatened to upend bond markets, destabilize the euro and drag out the global economic recovery if it is not quickly contained. It also underscored the mounting problems facing countries that during the past decade have both over-borrowed and overspent, and are now in danger of losing investor faith in their ability to make good on their massive piles of debt.

The perceived risk of debt defaults in Portugal and Spain drove their borrowing costs to near-record highs Friday, with the interest rate demanded on Portuguese bonds at a point where it could effectively cut the Lisbon government off from raising fresh cash to run the country.

Source:  Washington Post

*Sigh*.  I told you all about this long ago.  I’ve been writing this same thing, over and over and over, like a stuck record since 2006.  I get tired of writing posts saying the same thing.  Just to quote one of my more recent posts on the matter,

Our situation is eerily similar to Greece.  As Professor Ferguson points out, the looming crises will jump out of nowhere the second the costs to borrow more money increase due to fears of ballooning debts and deficits.  And that sort of thing happens in an instant.  That’ll set off a chain reaction and destroy this economy driven by borrowed funds.  This is exactly what Alan Greenspan is telling us as well.

Source:  http://www.jasonsummers.org/u-s-an-empire-in-decline/

Mark my words – this is the EXACT situation the United States is in.  The “Great Recession” is not over; it’s just beginning.  One day investors will start to panic about our debts as well, and our borrowing costs will shoot way up.  Then what are we going to do?  Print even MORE money?

These economic problems are hitting people hard.  There are record people needing food stamps nowadays.

A new time-lapse video illustrates the depressing rise of food stamp usage throughout the U.S.

The video’s creator, Zero Hedge’s John Lohman, points to the alarming levels — food stamps now feed a record 43 million — and warns that the program is the only thing keeping Americans from going “postal.” Sinatra’s upbeat tune “I’ve Got The World By A String” serves as an especially disturbing soundtrack.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, food stamp usage has increased almost 60 percent since 2007.

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/21/food-stamp-map-video-us-_n_786478.html

And this must be because the corporations have no money to hire people, right?  No, you’re quite mistaken.  While your family is on food stamps, corporate profits are the highest ever recorded.

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.

Source:  Yahoo finance

Oh, and by the way… I wonder how much longer you’ll have healthcare (assuming you do have health insurance)?  Let’s take a look at the cost trajectory given to us by the Congressional Budget Office.

If they can’t get that fixed, you won’t have health insurance for much longer.  You’ll get sick and well… die, I guess.  Somewhere around ~2019, a Fidelity Investments study predicts that very few corporations will be offering healthcare, retirement plans, and many other benefits we’ve become accustomed to.

I feel like I’m getting old because I think, “2019?  That’s a long ways off.  Wait, it’s almost 2011?  Didn’t I graduate in 2001?  Wow.  Time needs to slow down!”

Health care costs for employees have been rising for years, but perks and benefits such as cost-of-living increases, pension plans, bonuses, 401(k) contributions and tuition reimbursement are now being looked at as places to save millions of dollars. Given the massive savings for employers, many workers have doubts about when — or if — such items will ever fully or partially return.

On average, companies have sliced up to five employee-oriented spending areas, such as 401(k) matches and tuition reimbursement in the past year says Laura Sejen, global head of strategic rewards consulting at employment consultancy Watson Wyatt.

Job cuts and reduced raises have been commonplace for years, but the desperate economic times have chief executives cutting areas previously considered untouchable.

….

Employers spent nearly $8 trillion on total worker compensation in 2007, which is the latest full-year data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a public policy and education firm. Benefits such as retirement funding and health insurance made up 18.6% of that outlay. Wages and salaries represented the rest.

Health plan coverage alone typically costs employers $5,000 to $15,000 per worker each year, according to Fidelity Investments’ Consulting Services.

Funding retirement plans is also expensive. For every $1 million in total payroll expenses, a company could halt a match of 50% for every dollar up to 6% and save $30,000 a year if every employee were contributing the maximum.

Given the deep savings, slicing that retirement benefit and others can be hard to avoid for company leaders.

….

Almost half of U.S. employees surveyed by Fidelity predict that benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings plans and pension plans won’t be provided by their employer by 2019.

Most of that group say they’ll be responsible for getting their own benefits. A smaller percentage — 18% — says the government will provide for them.

Watson Wyatt says that 62% of employers are very confident they’ll offer health care benefits 10 years from now, down sharply from 73% last year. It’s the first time in the study’s 14-year history that employer confidence declined.

Health care costs are rising at about 6% to 7% a year, and “if you put that in the context of a difficult economy, most companies aren’t prepared to shoulder all of that burden,” says Tom Billet, a Watson Wyatt senior health benefits consultant.

He says that employees should get used to picking up more of the tab.

In general, the average 401(k) account shriveled 27% in 2008, falling to $50,200 from $69,200 in 2007, according to Fidelity. Without an employer match, workers feel extra savings pressure to shore up their sagging retirement accounts.

Dozens of companies have pulled back on retirement contributions, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. General Motors, Eastman Kodak and Sears Holdings are among them.

“Traditional pensions in the private sector are on their way out,” says Alicia Munnell, director of the retirement research center.

Yet, she expects 401(k) matches to come back. Many companies that suspended or reduced their matches after the recession of 2001 reinstated their contributions after the economy rebounded, she says.

Less formal perks, such as flexible time off, have taken a hit, as well.

….

Source:  http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2009-04-06-employers-cut-worker-benefits_N.htm

These sorts of lies really annoy me, “Job cuts and reduced raises have been commonplace for years, but the desperate economic times have chief executives cutting areas previously considered untouchable.”  What bullshit.  They’re earning record profits.

Please join me in screaming as loud as you can from your back porch; that is, if you still have a home.

A Darwinian Theory Of Beauty

This is a TED talk with Dr. Denis Dutton discussing how we evolved our sense of beauty.   What I’ve always found fascinating about sexual selection is that it can lead to selection pressures toward higher intelligence, increased motor skills, and other more highly developed sensory organs.  In humans, it likely gave us wit, humor, our enjoyment of music, and our aesthetic appreciation of art.  As Dr. Dutton points out, all human arts require precise skill.  Take playing the piano for instance.  Sexual selection attracts women to men with brains which can process complicated sound patterns, control highly coordinated motor movements, and compose the complicated music in the imagination.  Women aren’t as attracted to men who can’t do this, so an exponential increase in human brain power results over subsequent generations.  This is why women are into musicians and other artistic types.

The Puzzle Of Suicide

Suicide is a strange issue if you really sit down and think about it.  Why would human beings evolve to, at times, desire suicide?  What possible benefit could that confer upon our species?  If we’re survival machines concerned with reproducing and replicating ourselves, what purpose does suicide have?

Well, I’ve had a lot of free time this past week so I’ve been doing a lot of reading, particularly David Buss’s textbook Evolutionary Psychology:  The New Science Of Mind.  He offers a really interesting perspective on suicide.

Evolutionary psychologist Denys de Catanzaro (1991,1995) has developed an evolutionary theory of suicide and tested his theory on many samples of subjects, ranging from the general public to many “high-risk” samples such as the elderly and those in a psychiatric ward. De Catanzaro’s central argument is that suicide will be most likely to occur when an individual has a dramatically reduced ability to contribute to his or her own inclusive fitness. Indicators of this dramatically reduced capacity include expectations of poor future health, chronic infirmity, disgrace or failure, poor prospects for successful heterosexual mating, and perceptions of being a burden on one’s genetic kin. Under these conditions it is at least plausible that the replication of an individual’s genes would have a better chance without him or her around. If a person is a burden to his or her family, for  example, then the kin’s reproduction, and hence the person’s own fitness, might suffer as a result of his or her survival (Buss 101).

For those of you not well versed in biology, Wikipedia defines inclusive fitness as, “the sum of an organism’s classical fitness (how many of its own offspring it produces and supports) and the number of equivalents of its own offspring it can add to the population by supporting others.”

According to evolutionary psychologists, we’ve evolved to feel depressed and suicidal when we become a burden to others sharing our genes.  If we can’t support ourselves, have no reproductive chances, feel ourselves a burden to those related to us genetically (our family), face health problems, financial problems, and anything else which would prohibit us from procreating, producing, and raising successful offspring, we feel suicidal.  Our bodies, which are gene-replication machines, become suicidal and wish to terminate themselves once they see that they can no longer contribute toward the survival of those who share their genes, or further reproduce (make copies of our genes).  Unconsciously the mind says, “There is no chance of replicating myself and I can no longer contribute toward the welfare of those who share my genes.  It is time to terminate.”

Talk about a bleak and cold outlook, but when you think about it, it’s very plausible.  It explains all the facts.  I’ve always wondered why people feel themselves a “loser” if they don’t have a well paying job, a mate, and the capability to provide for themselves.  Why those things as opposed to something else?  Why couldn’t a loser be someone who sucks a football, or anything?  Why does it specifically have to be earning potential and the capability to get a mate?  The stereotypical loser lives with his parents, has no money, and has no prospect of finding a lover.  But why?

It’s completely irrational if you think about it.  The jobs that pay the most typically aren’t even the most beneficial to society.  I’m currently attending Missouri University of Science and Technology as a Physics major, and I’ve only been attending for less than a semester, and  due to my good grades and high math and science test scores, I’m already getting job offers offering a lot of money, and from guess who?  Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and weapons manufacturers.  A lot of the most honorable members of our society take lower paying positions because what they’re doing is more important than the money.  And why should you feel suicidal just because you haven’t found a lover who is compatible with you?  Growing up I would always hear kids being picked on, “You loser, you’re going to die alone.”  These are little kids.  Nobody taught them this.  This is ingrained human psychology which we’re all born with.  But why?  I used to think, “Why would it matter if you died alone?”  And when I thought about the problems inherent in our capitalistic society, you can easily lose your job and find yourself unable to provide for your family.  You may even end up having to move in with loved ones.  That’s why its so crucial that we have a social safety net.  But yet, if your family is on welfare, you’re a useless nobody.  Where does all this come from?  It’s primitive evolutionary baggage, that’s what it is.

I can remember in high school, all the guys were concerned with their penis size and sexual stamina.  Even older uneducated crowds find themselves immersed in this primitive psychology. One of the most popular songs out there today is from Rihanna, and it’s all about penis size and sexual stamina.  When I listen to this song, all I hear is, “Are you a good replication machine?  I want to mate with you!”  This video is stone age psychology mixed with a rap beat and computer special effects.

That song has almost 114,000,000 views.  Young and old alike are watching this video and they don’t even understand why it appeals to them.  It’s all primitive savage psychology.  You sit back and think to yourself, “Why in the world do people act like this?”  Well, we’re gene replication machines competing for whose genes will be passed on to the next generation.  It all comes down to sex, procreation, and being “strong” to provide for the next generation.

To test this evolutionary theory of suicide de Catanzaro looked at suicidal ideation: whether a person had ever considered suicide, had recently considered suicide, intended to kill himself or herself within one year, intended to kill himself or herself ever, or had previously engaged in suicidal behavior. The dependent measure was a sum of responses to these items. Suicidal ideation is not actual suicide, of course. Many people have thoughts of suicide without actually killing themselves. Nonetheless, because suicide is usually a premeditated event, a lot of suicidal ideation will almost invariably precede an actual suicide. So suicidal ideation is a reasonable index to examine as a proxy for actual suicide.

In another part of the questionnaire de Catanzaro asked participants a series of questions about their perceived burdensomeness to family, perceived significance of contributions to family and society, frequency of sexual activity, success with members of the opposite sex,  homosexuality, number of friends, treatment by others, financial welfare, and physical health. Participants responded to each item using a seven-point scale ranging from -3 to +3. The participants varied-a large public sample, a sample of the elderly, a sample from a mental hospital, a sample of inmates at a maximum security center housing those who had committed antisocial crimes, and two samples of homosexuals.

The results supported de Catanzaro’s evolutionary theory of suicide. When the measure of suicidal ideation was correlated with the other items on the questionnaire, he found the following results. For men in the public sample, ages eighteen to thirty years, the following correlations were found with suicidal ideation: burden to family ( + .56), sex in last month (- .67), success in heterosexual relations (- .49), sex ever (- .45), stability of heterosexual relations (- .45), sex last year (- .40), and number of children (-.36). For young women in the public sample, similar results were found, although they were not quite as strong: burden to family (+ .44), sex ever (-.37), and contribution to family (- .36).

For older samples health burdens took on increased importance and showed a strong correlation with suicidal ideation. For the public sample of men over the age of fifty, for example, the following significant correlations were found with suicidal ideation: health (- .48), future financial problems ( + .46), burden to family (+ .38), homosexuality ( + .38), and number of friends (- .36). Women over the age of fifty in the public sample showed similar results: loneliness (+.62), burden to family (+.47), future financial problems (+ .45), and health (- .42).

Findings such as these have now been reported by independent researchers. In a study of 175 American university students, Michael Brown and his colleagues tested de Catanzaro’s theory of suicide using a 164-item questionnaire (Brown, Dahlen, Mills, Rick, & Biblarz, 1999). They found that individuals with low reproductive potential (e.g., who perceive that they are not attractive to members of the opposite sex) and high burdensomeness to kin reported more suicidal ideation, as well as more depression and hopelessness (Buss 101-102).

Suicide is a real tragedy.  The man or woman who has “nothing to live for” feels that way because they lack the means to provide for those who share their genes, and have no reproductive prospects.  How ridiculous.  This world is so stupid I want to scream.  Sometimes I just can’t believe the truths I come to.  You really get in there and start digging, wondering about a profound mystery such as why someone you loved committed suicide, and you find out it was ridiculous evolutionary baggage which isn’t even relevant to the modern world.  This world of ours is simply cruel.

Solomon was right when he wrote,

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
– The Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:18

The other day I posted a video of Bertrand Russell’s Three Passions.  He talked about how he was moved by the needless suffering he saw all around him, but he couldn’t fix it.  That’s how I feel all the time.  What can you possibly do to fix something like this?  This is primitive psychology embedded in people’s brains from millions of years of evolution.  Our brains aren’t wired up for the modern world.  What can anyone do?  All you can do is hope that people will get educated and learn about all of this, but deep down, I know that’s never going to happen.

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

– Bertrand Russell, the prologue to his autobiography

Symphony Of Science: A Wave Of Reason

You guys all know I’m a huge fan of the Symphony of Science videos.  A new one just came out and it features Bertrand Russell, so you definitely need to check it out!

Here are the lyrics.

Russell:
When you are studying any matter
Or considering any philosophy
Ask yourself only: what are the facts,
And what is the truth that the facts bear out

Sagan:
Science is more than a body of knowledge
It’s a way of thinking
A way of skeptically interrogating the universe

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions
To be skeptical of those in authority
Then we’re up for grabs

Shermer:
In all of science we’re looking for a balance
between data and theory

Harris:
You don’t have to delude yourself
With Iron age fairy tales

Porco:
The same spiritual fulfillment
That people find in religion
Can be found in science
By coming to know, if you will, the mind of God

Krauss:
The real world, as it actually is,
Is not evil, it’s remarkable
And the way to understand the physical world
is to use science

Dawkins:
There is a new wave of reason
Sweeping across America, Britain, Europe, Australia
South America, the Middle East and Africa
There is a new wave of reason
Where superstition had a firm hold

Plait:
Teach a man to reason
And he’ll think for a lifetime

Sagan:
Cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries
With questions that were once treated only
in religion and myth

The desire to be connected with the cosmos
Reflects a profound reality
But we are connected; not in the trivial ways
That Astrology promises, but in the deepest ways

Feynman:
I can’t believe the special stories that have been made up
About our relationship to the universe at large
Look at what’s out there; it isn’t in proportion

Russell:
Never let yourself be diverted
By what you wish to believe
But look only and surely
At what are the facts

Randi:
Enjoy the fantasy, the fun, the stories
But make sure that there’s a clear sharp line
Drawn on the floor
To do otherwise is to embrace madness

As an added bonus, I’d like to include a video called The Three Passions of Bertrand Russell.

Using Evolutionary Psychology To Breakdown Pop Music

I’d like to take some time and break down a pop song using evolutionary psychology.  Let’s use a song by Justin Bieber as an example.  Let’s try to get into the heads of listeners and learn why this sort of music is so popular.

I just need somebody to love
I, I don’t need too much
Just somebody to love
(Somebody to love)
I don’t need nothing else
I promise girl I swear
I just need somebody to love
(I need somebody I, I need somebody)
(I need somebody I, I need somebody)

It can be tricky to make sense of a song like this.  It almost sounds as if he’s saying that he’ll settle for any girl and that she doesn’t need to be special at all.  “I don’t need too much, just somebody to love.”  If so, that doesn’t make much sense does it?  How could something like that appeal to a woman?  Surely he’s not saying, “Hey girl.  I’m not asking for much.  Any random girl will do.  I just want somebody, ANYBODY, to love.”   So what does he really mean?  What’s this song communicating to these tween women?  What are we missing? Look a little later in the song.
And you can have it all
Anything you want I can bring
Give you the finer things (yeah)
But what I really want I can’t find
Cause money can’t find me
Somebody to love (oh whoa)
Find me somebody to love (oh whoa)
Is she out there
Is she out there

I just need somebody to love

Oh tween girl, where art thou?  Baby I got my lunch money and an extra dollar to get you and me a juice box!  Bringing you the finer things!

Throughout this song, Bieber appeals to major aspects of female psychology and it’s helping him sell millions of records.  He’s exhibiting athletic prowess with his dance moves, he’s signaling commitment, and he’s demonstrating his plentiful resources to provide for her.

Let’s take a look into David Buss’s textbook Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science Of Mind (2007).  I did tell you all about all my new books didn’t I?  *giddy grin* –  *Thumbs through pages* – Ah, here we are.  Chapter 4: Women’s Long-Term Mating Strategies.  It begins,

Nowhere do people have an equal desire for all members of the opposite sex. Everywhere some potential mates are preferred, others shunned. Imagine living as our ancestors did long ago-struggling to keep warm by the fire; hunting meat for our kin; gathering nuts, berries, and herbs; and avoiding dangerous animals and hostile humans. If we were to select a mate who failed to deliver the resources promised, who had affairs, who was lazy, who lacked hunting skills, or who heaped physical abuse on us, our survival would be tenuous, our reproduction at risk. In contrast, a mate who provided abundant resources, who protected us and our children, and who devoted time, energy, and effort to our family would be a great asset. As a result of the powerful survival and reproductive advantages that were reaped by those of our ancestors who chose mates wisely, many specific desires evolved. As descendants of those winners in the evolutionary lottery, modem humans have inherited a specific set of mate preferences  (Buss 106).

1. Generosity:  Bieber is displaying his willingness to share his plentiful resources.

Consider the case of an ancestral woman trying to decide between two men, one of whom shows great generosity to her with his resources and the other of whom is stingy. All else being equal, the generous man is more valuable to her than the stingy man. The generous man may share his meat from the hunt, aiding her survival. He may sacrifice his time, energy, and resources for the benefit of the children, aiding the woman’s reproductive success. In these respects the generous man has higher value than the stingy man as a mate. If, over evolutionary time, generosity in men provided these benefits repeatedly and the cues to a man’s generosity were observable and reliable, selection would have favored the evolution of a preference for generosity in a mate (Buss 108).

Men showing off their wealth, cars, and bragging about their ability to provide is quite common behavior.  It’s how us men compete for mates.

Another indication of the potency of women’s mate preferences comes from their effects on men’s behavior. The theory of sexual selection predicts that the mate preferences of one sex should establish domains of mate competition in the opposite sex. If women value resources, for example, men should compete with each other to acquire and display those resources in mate competition. Many studies document exactly that. In studies of tactics of attraction, men are more likely than women to display resources, talk about their professional successes, flash money, drive expensive cars, and brag about their accomplishments (Buss, 1988b; Schmitt & Buss, 1996). When men derogate their competitors, they use tactics such as indicating that a rival is poor, lacks ambition, and is unlikely to succeed professionally (Buss & Dedden, 1990; Schmitt & Buss, 1996). In studies of deception tactics, men are more likely than women to inflate their status, prestige, and income to potential mates (Haselton, Buss, Oubaid, & Angleitner, 2005).

This is why every rap video is filled with rappers in flashy cars and huge gold chains.

2. Commitment:  Bieber will give her all that he has.

I would take every second every single time
Spend it like my last dime
Step to the beat of my heart
I don’t need a whole lot
Coming for you I admit I’d
Rather give you the world
Or you can share mine
I know I won’t be the first one
Giving you all this attention
So baby listen

The other day I posted about college students and their hook-up behaviors.  I mentioned that I didn’t think most women were comfortable with that sort of thing, and that I rooted my opinion in evolutionary psychology.  Study after study shows that most women seek commitment in partners.

Women long have faced the adaptive problem of choosing men who not only have the necessary resources but also show a willingness to commit those resources to them and their children. This may be more problematic than it at first seems. Although resources can often be directly observed, commitment cannot. Instead, gauging commitment requires looking for cues that signal the likelihood of future fidelity in the channeling of resources. Love may be one of the key cues to commitment.  (Buss 124).

3. Athletic Prowess:  Bieber is showing his dexterity, vitality, and good health with his dance moves and good looks.

One benefit to women of long-term mating is the physical protection a man can offer. A man’s size, strength, physical prowess, and athletic ability are cues that signal solutions to the problem of protection. The evidence shows that women’s preferences in a mate embody these cues. In the study of temporary and permanent mating, U.S. women rated the desirability of a series of physical traits. Women judged short men to be undesirable for either a short-term or a permanent mate (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). In contrast, women found it very desirable for a potential marriage partner to be tall, physically strong, and athletic. A study of women from Britain and Sri Lanka found strong preferences for male physiques that were muscular and lean (Dixon, Halliwell, East, Wignarajah, & Anderson, 2003).

Women also prefer and find attractive men who show the “V-shaped” torso, that is broad shoulders relative to hips (Hughes & Gallup, 2003).

U.S. women consistently indicated a preference for men of average or taller height, roughly 5 feet 11 inches, as the ideal marriage partner. Tall men are consistently seen as more desirable as dates and mates than are short or average men (Ellis, 1992). Furthermore, the two studies of personal ads described earlier revealed that, among women who mentioned height, 80 percent wanted a man to be 6 feet or taller (Cameron, Oskamp, & Sparks, 1978). Perhaps even more telling is the finding that ads placed by taller men received more responses from women than those placed by shorter men (Lynn & Shurgot, 1984). Women solve the problem of protection from other aggressive men at least in part by preferring a mate who has the size, strength, and physical prowess to protect them (Buss 120-121).

This also has a lot to do with the man’s ability to provide.  In the past, a woman needed a man who could hunt and get the family food to eat.  Health and strength were critical factors.

Mating with someone who is unhealthy would have posed a number of adaptive risks for our ancestors. First, an unhealthy mate would have a higher risk of becoming debilitated, thus failing to deliver whatever adaptive benefits he or she might otherwise have provided such as food, protection, health care, and investment in childrearing. Second, an unhealthy mate would be at an increased risk of dying, prematurely cutting off the flow of resources and forcing a person to incur the costs of searching for a new mate. Third, an unhealthy mate might transfer communicable diseases or viruses to the chooser, impairing his or her survival and reproduction. Fourth, an unhealthy mate might infect the children of the union, imperiling their chances of surviving and reproducing. And fifth, if health is partly heritable, a person who chooses an unhealthy mate would risk passing on genes for poor health to his or her children. For all these reasons, it comes as no surprise that women and men both place a premium on the health of a potential mate. In the study of thirty-seven cultures, on a scale ranging from 0 (irrelevant) to +3 (indispensable), women and men both judged “good health” to be highly important. Averaged across the cultures, women gave it a +2.28 and men gave it a +2.31 (Buss et aI., 1990).

Considering that this post has went from Justin Bieber to the psychology of female mating preferences, I might as well briefly talk about some other factors most women look for in a mate.

4. Women seek men who are similar to themselves, share their values, and political viewpoints

Successful long-term mating requires sustained cooperative alliances over time. Similarity leads to emotional bonding, cooperation, communication, mating happiness, lower risk of breaking up, and possibly increased survival of children (Buss, 2003). Women and men alike show strong preferences for mates who share their values, political orientations, world views, intellectual level, and to a lesser extent their personality characteristics. The preference for similarity translates into actual mating decisions, a phenomenon known as homogamy people who are similar on these characteristics date (Wilson, Cousins, & Fink, 2006) and get married (Buss, 1985) more often than those who are dissimilar. Homogamy for physical appearance might be due to “sexual imprinting” on the opposite-sex parent during childhood (Bereczkei, Gyuris, & Weisfeld, 2004). Interestingly, daughters who received more emotional support from their fathers were more likely to choose similar-looking mates. Finally, there is strong homogamy for overall “mate value,” with the “10s” mating with other “10s” and the “6s” mating with other “6s” (Buss, 2003).

5. Women prefer men who like children.


6. Women prefer men who are ambitious and industrious.

How do people get ahead in everyday life? Among all the tactics, sheer hard work proves to be one of the best predictors of past and anticipated income and promotions. Those who say they work hard and whose spouses agree that they work hard achieve higher levels of education, higher annual salaries, and anticipate greater salaries and promotions than those who failed to work hard. Industrious and ambitious men secure a higher occupational status than lazy, unmotivated men (Jencks, 1979; Kyl-Heku & Buss, 1996; Willerman, 1979).
The other day I quoted from Steven Pinker’s book How The Mind Works.  He recounted that during one of David Buss’s lectures, a young college student stood up and said that men were scum.  She said that the only thing on their minds was sex and they were unable commit to a woman.  Well, women can be just as nasty.  In order to attract women, us men have to pretend we love our jobs, even if we hate work.  And if we lose our jobs, study after study shows that women are much more likely to leave us.  So it goes both ways.
U.S. women seem to be aware of this connection, because they indicate a desire for men who show the characteristics linked with getting ahead. In the 1950s, for example, 5,000 undergraduates were asked to list characteristics that they sought in a potential mate. Women far more than men desired mates who enjoy their work, show career orientation, demonstrate industry, and display ambition (Langhorne & Secord, 1955). The 852 single U.S. women and 100 married U.S. women in the international study on mate selection unanimously rated ambition and industriousness as important or indispensable (Buss, 1989a). Women in the study of short- and long-term mating regard men who lack ambition as extremely undesirable, whereas men view lack of ambition in a wife as neither desirable nor undesirable (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Women are likely to discontinue a long-term relationship with a man if he loses his job, lacks career goals, or shows a lazy streak (Betzig, 1989).

7. Women like men with a sense of humor.

Women clearly prefer long-term mates who have a good sense of humor (Buss & Barnes, 1986; Miller, 2000). Humor has many facets, two of which are humor production (making witty remarks, telling jokes) and humor appreciation (laughing when someone else produces humor). In long-term mating, women prefer men who produce humor, whereas men prefer women who are receptive to their humor (Bressler, Martin, & Balshine, 2006). Precisely why do women value humor in a mate? One theory proposes that humor is an indicator of “good genes” (a fitness indicator) signaling  creativity and excellent functioning of complex cognitive skills that are not impaired by a high mutation load (Miller, 2000). Although there is some support for this theory (Bressler et aI., 2006), additional studies are needed.

8. Women like men with a deep voice.

Several studies support the hypothesis that women find a deep voice especially attractive in a potential mate (Evans, Neave, & Wakelin, 2006; Feinberg, Jones, Smith, Moore, DeBruine, Cronwell, et aI., 2005; Puts, 2005). Hypotheses for why a deep male voice is attractive are that it signals (1) sexual maturity, (2) a larger body size, (3) good genetic quality, or (4) all of the above. Evidence that voice attractiveness is important to women in mate selection is indicated by the findings that men with attractive-sounding voices have sexual intercourse earlier, have a larger number of sex partners, and are more often chosenby women as affair partners. These findings, along with direct evidence that women prefer men with a low voice pitch mainly in casual sex partners, suggests that this preference is more central to short-term than to long-term mating (Puts, 2005).

9. Women search for a men who are rich, smart, and good looking.

A second source of findings pertains to women who are in a position to get what they want — women who have the qualities that men desire in a mate such as physical attractiveness (see Chapter 5). What are the mate choices of these women’? In three separate sociological studies, researchers discovered that physically attractive women in fact marry men who are higher in social status and financial holdings than do women who are less attractive (Elder, 1969; Taylor & Glenn, 1976; Udry & Ekland, 1984). In one study, the physical attractiveness of women was correlated with the occupational prestige of their husbands (Taylor and Glenn, 1976). For different groups the correlations were all positive, ranging between + .23 and + .37.

A longitudinal study was conducted at the Institute of Human Development in Berkeley, California (Elder, 1969). Physical attractiveness ratings were made by staff members of then unmarried women when they were adolescents. This sample of women was then followed up in adulthood after they had married, and the occupational statuses of their husbands were assessed.

The results were examined separately for working-class and middle-class women. The correlations between a woman’s attractiveness in adolescence and her husband’s occupational status roughly a decade later was +.46 for women with working-class backgrounds and + .35 for women coming from middle-class backgrounds. For the sample as a whole, a woman’s physical attractiveness correlated more strongly with her husband’s status (+ .43) than did other women’s variables such as class of origin (+.27) or IQ (+.14). In sum, attractiveness in women appears to be an important path to upward mobility; women who are most in a position to get what they want appear to select men who have the qualities that most women desire-men with status and resources.

10. Women prefer older men to younger.

A third source of data on women’s actual mate choices comes from demographic statistics on the age differences between brides and grooms at marriage. Recall that women express a desire for men who are somewhat older. Specifically, in the international study of thirty-seven cultures, on average women preferred men who were 3.42 years older (Buss, 1989a). Demographic data on actual age differences were secured from twenty-seven of these countries. From this sample, the actual age difference between brides and grooms was 2.99 years. In every country, grooms were older on average than brides, ranging from a low of 2.17 years for Ireland to a high of 4.92 years for Greece. In short, women’s preferences for older husbands translates into actual marriages to older men. Actual mating decisions of women accord well with their expressed preferences (Buss 134-135).
There are other subtleties as well.  For now, I’m getting too far off track.  Hopefully by now you can readily see what’s going on in Justin Bieber’s video.