[ExI] time article that sounds vaguely like ep

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 16:01:33 UTC 2011

On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 5:00 AM,  "spike" <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> ... On Behalf Of Keith Henson
> ...
>>...Capture-bonding, what happens in cases like Patty Hearst or Elizabeth
> Smart can be understood by a model where women who adjusted to capture had
> children...Keith
> Keith this goes off in another direction please, but do indulge me.  The
> Elizabeth Smart case: that one is seems so weird, every parent's nightmare.
> We think of our kids as being very vulnerable to kidnapping when they are
> infants, less so at age four.  By about age six, we expect them to be able
> to identify themselves to someone as having been kidnapped, and by age ten
> we expect them to be able to come up with some genuine intellectual
> resources to escape.  But Miss Smart was fourteen, and we just expect more,
> far more, from a kid that age.

By stone age standards, both Smart and Hearst were adult women.

> So we need to wonder how the hell this could
> have happened, and how capture bonding would apply in that case.  When she
> was found, it just seemed so weirdly ambiguous.  Wouldn't it at least take a
> few days or weeks for the whole capture bonding psychological mechanism to
> kick in?

It did.  She was with the "tribe" of the bozo and his wife for months.

> I guess I understand it in the Hearst case, but the Smart case has
> bothered the hell out of me.

>From a psychological perspective, they are identical.

"Fighting hard to protect yourself and your relatives is good for your
genes 5, but when captured and escape is not possible, giving up short
of dying and making the best you can of the new situation is also good
for your genes. In particular it would be good for genes that built
minds able to dump previous emotional attachments under conditions of
being captured and build new social bonds to the people who have
captured you. The process should neither be too fast (because you may
be rescued) nor too slow (because you don't want to excessively try
the patience of those who have captured you--see end note 3).

>An EP explanation stresses the fact that we have lots of ancestors who gave up and joined the tribe that had captured them (and sometimes had killed most of their relatives). This selection of our ancestors accounts for the extreme forms of capture-bonding exemplified by Patty Hearst and the Stockholm Syndrome. Once you realize that humans have this trait, it accounts for the "why" behind everything from basic military training and sex “bondage” to fraternity hazing (people may have a wired-in "knowledge" of how to induce bonding in captives). It accounts for battered wife syndrome, where beatings and abuse are observed to strengthen the bond between the victim and the abuser--at least up to a point.

"This explanation for brainwashing/Stockholm Syndrome is an example of
the power of EP to suggest plausible and testable reasons for
otherwise hard-to-fathom human psychological traits."

(from Sex, Drugs and Cults, now over 8 years ago)

>From what we know of the few remaining and historical hunter
gatherers, about 10 percent of the women in a given tribe are captured
from other tribes.

It's a bit hard to estimate exactly when the line that led to humans
started doing this, but a reasonable number is at least 500,000 years

At 25 years per generation, that's 20,000 generations.  At the above
rate, that's 2000 capture events where your female ancestors (and
mine) were selected for ones that adjusted to being captured.
Considering it only took 40 generations of selection of this intensity
to make tame foxes out of wild ones, it is no wonder that the
psychological mechanisms involved in capture-bonding are nearly

As for the Smart case, these mechanisms were shaped in a very
different environment.  Walking away from the tribe that had captured
you in the stone age was suicide.  Once turned on, the psychological
mechanism are not easy to break down without outside influence.


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