Monday, October 22, 2007

Pedophiles are short   posted by Razib @ 10/22/2007 10:20:00 PM

Are Some Men Predisposed To Pedophilia?:
A difference in average height is a trait found in other illnesses with biological links. The average difference in height was two centimeters, which is similar to the shorter height associated with schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease.

Further research is necessary, but this finding re-enforces evidence that pedophilia has a biological cause, possibly related to brain development before birth.

I'm really not that interested in the biological origins of pedophilia, instead my attention was drawn to the fact that such a height difference is known for a range of disorders. In The Mating Mind Geoffrey Miller hypothesized that variance in mutational load across individuals tracked beauty. This is basically a "good genes" model for why organisms exhibit sexual preferences. Miller was assuming a polygynous social system, but this makes me wonder as to the importance of "good health" due to provisioning in a monogamous species.

Though height is about 80% heritable in modern environments that still leaves an unaccounted for 20%; where does that come from? Possibly infection or developmental instability early on for whatever exogenous reason. In pre-modern contexts one assumes that heritability would be a bit lower because of the random stresses during pregnancy and during early childhood growth. In any case, adult height in males would surely be a good proxy for how healthy he is, and how productive a provider he might be. Additionally, good genes is still operative in a scenario where ability to resist and fight off infection is a proxy for fitness.

Labels: ,