[extropy-chat] Calling all EvoPsych Jedi...

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Sat May 7 17:53:53 UTC 2005

At 12:33 PM 5/7/2005, Keith Henson wrote:
>>>... They also work very hard for status, one classic example is judges 
>>>who give up large amounts of income for the higher status of a 
>>>judge.  Why is this?  The answers are obvious if not downright trivial 
>>>given EP.
>>What exactly status is and what people use to infer it and produce it 
>>remain big open questions, and have been for a long time, long before EP 
>>was popular.  They remain so even within EP.  These questions are far 
>>from trivial.
>... It never occurred to me that there would be controversy about what 
>status is (at least in hunter gatherer tribes and chimpanzee groups) or 
>why (after applying EP) people and chimps would seek it.
>"Of all the things which have been measured in such representative
>ancestral environments as we have, social standing or status is the
>most predictive of reproductive success. ... It makes sense for
>hunters who brought in the first meat the tribe has seen in six weeks
>to get a lot of attention (a mark of status) ...
>http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/cults.html ...
>I am not aware of a refutation of the points made in this article. ...

Yes, status can be measured just by asking people "who has high status?"
But measured with substantial error - people often answer this quite
differently.  In any case that is very different from understanding
exactly what contributes how much to status.  Sure bringing in the first
meet in six weeks helps, but how much compared to other things?  I don't
say your article is wrong, I say it doesn't answer the question.

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Assistant Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323 

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