More on the new Geoffrey Miller book, *Spent*

Here is a typical bit:

Sexual traits are also well predicted by the Central Six [personality traits]…The highly sociosexual, open, impulsive, and selfish tend to invest more of their time and energy in "mating effort" rather than "parenting effort": they are constantly seeking new sexual partners rather than raising the offspring from existing relationships.  On the other hand, people with "restricted" sociosexuality (the virginal, the chaste, and the happily married) have fewer sexual partners, less infidelity, lower openness, higher conscientiousness, higher agreeableness, and lower extraversion.  They invest more time and energy in parenting effort and less in mating effort.

Miller suggests also that parasite loads of various societies predict (cause?) their openness.  A "mating-primed" man is more likely to express bold taste when asked about his preference in cars.  Mostly I am skeptical of such claims (many of the studies fall apart upon inspection) but still it is worth hearing Miller out as long as you approach the cited results with some skepticism.

I liked this passage:

Some common themes emerge from these slightly whimsical suggestions.  One is that buying new, real, branded premium products at full price from chain-store retailers is the last refuge of the unimaginable consumer, and it should be your last option.  It offers low narrative value — no stories to tell about interesting people, places, and events associated with the product's design, provenance, acquisition, or use.  It reveals nothing about you except your spending capacity and your gullibility, conformism, and unconsciousness as a consumer.

The impish troublemaker in me — and yes I have now been Robin's colleague for over ten years — wonders if indeed that is exactly what people are signaling with those purchases.

Here is my first post on the book.


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