Talk:Life history theory

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Article needs improvement[edit source]

As this article seems to be linked everywhere on this wiki, it really needs to be improved substantially. I'm planning on adding a lot of content to it myself, but if anyone wishes to get started before me, there are several angles I'd suggest covering that are particularly pertinent to involuntary celibacy:
1) claims of secular declines in life history speed due to extended education, wealth, political stability in Western countries etc
2) LHS seems to be extremely linked to the whole Alpha/Beta dichotomy as pretty much every behavioral trait PUAs, redpillers, blackpillers and so on., ascribe to "Alphas" seem to be fast-life history traits, the opposite is true for "beta" traits and slow life history speed
3) a section on Rushton's controversial differential-K theory would be interesting in examining the potential causes of race differences in sexual behavior and the prevalence of involuntary celibacy by race, etc.
4) faster life history seems to be ironically linked to "tradcon" values on the national level (areas that are lower development, more suppressive of female sexuality, more religious, more violent etc also seem to be relatively fast life history countries. people in these countries often exhibit higher levels of the traits purportedly linked to fast life history strategy on the individual level and also reproduce earlier and have greater fertility) and it would be very interesting to explore the potential reasons for this
5) there may be long term assortative mating in life history speed, as while these traits do not predict attraction on at the first acquaintance level, they do predict relationship stability and they also seemed to be related to greater perceptions of suitability when it comes to long-term relationships
6) section on autism and life history strategy would be good, theoretically it seems associated with a fast life history speed due to masculinization but behaviorally it seems linked to indices of extremely slow life history speed. which could be a function of mutations but it does seem there's some genetic interaction at play here as autism seems more common among slower life history demes/races. whites, the middle class, the more intelligent, etc Altmark22 (talk) 21:09, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

Proposed sections:
1) Life history and sexual strategies
2) Sex differences
3) Autism and life history speed (not important but it'd be interesting)
4) Life history speed and sexual violence (can be short)
5) Assortative mating in life history strategy (can be short)
6) Life history strategy and involuntary celibacy (can be short, or a subsection to sexual strategies) Altmark22 (talk) 20:40, 23 July 2021 (UTC)
Indicators that autism is associated with fast LH genes/phenotypes:
1) masculine traits associated with both autism and fast LH in general, some have proposed exceptions exist though this was using autism as the exception to the rule, this is essentially circular logic though. "look autistics don't have sex much so it must be a slow trait in regards to them."
2) autism associated with fast LH behavioral phenotypical facets such as low empathy and social disinterest (prob both cognitive and affective, so if that's true it's just a maladaptive form of psychopathy with the cognitive aspects perhaps being driven by sub-optimally high brain masculinization and neural compensation for the social parts of the brain they lack), however a high ratio of cognitive empathy/affective empathy is likely a fast trait—perhaps reversed in autism though this may just be a function of neurodiversity virtue signalling, need hard evidence
3) preliminary behavioral archetype studies indicate typical autistic behavioral traits mirror certain typical fast LH behavioral traits
4) while fast LH is not directly associated with higher mutational load as Dutton says (being a fast LH strategist doesn't mean you are a mutant), those with a higher load of harmful mutations—of which autistics potentially are given the role of de novo mutations in the etiology of the disorder—may be pushed more into pursuing a fast life history due to the increased early developmental stress caused by such ontological perturbances.
Evidence against:
1) professions high in the BAP (broader autism phenotype) such as people in STEM careers, seem to have more stable marriages (when they can get them, of course) and a later age of sexual onset
2) Autism seems to be associated with greater cognitive specialization, weakening of general intelligence, theorized (Woodley's CDIE hypothesis) to be a slow life history trait
3) later age of sexual onset (when it occurs) and lower amounts of sexual partners among autists (but likely just because they are sexually rejected)
4) low mating effort among autistics (but could just be a function of pathological social withdrawal, like the "beautiful one" mice in Calhoun's experiments or the other animal models of autism where they induce a deleterious mutation in the subjects and it fucks them up real good).
I'd say that clinical autism, even high functioning, is likely just maladaptive and not really strongly reflective of any distinct life history strategy in itself. What would be interesting to consider is, are those higher in the BAP relative slow or fast life history strategists, and could autism itself be associated with a particular life history strategy, but owing to mutations, pollutants, maternal stress or w/e causes it (etiology is likely multifactorial) represent a "failed" (as Dutton claims) slow or fast life history strategy. Those are the questions we need to ask and examine.Altmark22 (talk) 20:56, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

On the r/K, Alpha/Beta dichotomy[edit source]

You noted that the typical features/traits that are associated with Alpha males are also typically r-selected traits. I hope I'm not inferring too much here, but I think it would be fallacious to assume that K-selected traits are synonymous with Beta status in the heirarchy and that r-selected traits are synonymous with Alpha status per se. The reason, in my opinion at least, that Alpha men are depicted as being more r-selected in those circles is because those circles are de facto filled with r-selected men discussing r-selected strategy. You'd be hard pressed to find many men whom are Red pilled whom also advocate for men whom are high status (alpha) to choose and settle down with a woman whom is also high status. Rather I would suggest that there are different types of Alphas whom are more r or K selected depending on the ecology. In unstable and unpredictable enviroments, highly r-selected men rise to the top of the dominance hiearchy and assume the role of Alpha; whereas once an ecology reaches its carrying capacity and becomes more stable and predictable, highly K-selected men rise to the top of the dominance hiearchy and assume the role of Alpha. For example, Clint Eastwood is your archetypal r-selected Alpha; having had 9 children by several different women. Charlton Heston would be your Archetypal K-selected Alpha; having only ever had 2 children by a single woman. His wikipedia page says this: "All kids play pretend games, but I did it more than most. Even when we moved to Chicago, I was more or less a loner. We lived in a North Shore suburb, where I was a skinny hick from the woods, and all the other kids seemed to be rich and know about girls." Which is typical of what you'd find in a K-selected man. Both Clint and Charlton are handsome men; each have masculine features and both very much sit at the top of the dominance heiarchy. The difference between the two is obvious by the way they look. Eastwood has a sharp 'dangerous' look that is alluring to r-selected women whereas Charlton looks more boyish and safe (the type of man that makes a great dad) and would thus attract family oriented K-selected women. I think the false dichotomy arise because men in the redpill community assume that being r-selected and being Alpha are essentially the same thing. It isn't. Alpha status simply means he who sits at the top of the dominance heiarchy; it is perfectly possible to both sit at the top of the dominance heiarchy and have a slow life strategy.

-K or (

Long response with some loose thoughts regarding this topic: There does appear to be a fundamental issue here where the standard definition of "Alpha" is simply men who are highly successful with women. This is often defined as having a lot of casual sex partners, so pursuing the r-strategy. Hence a low-IQ, high-school dropout, deadbeat stoner, for example (traits probably associated with relative r-selection), is inevitably considered more alpha than a tall, good-looking, college-educated guy who is shy and unassertive and not particularly successful with women. But the latter will likely achieve higher status in terms of socioeconomic success while probably having more circumscribed (but perhaps high quality) sexual options than the other guy if he does not abandon his slow life history strategy. It often does not take "objective" SMV into account, really just relying on sexual strategies above a certain threshold of SMV. This is caught up in the idea that women prefer these r-strategy linked behavioral traits also, which may be generally true or true only in certain mating contexts and among certain kinds of women.

In light of these perceptions, it is essential to note that research suggests that relative k-strategist men generally have higher SMV on average. They typically have higher self-perceived and other perceived mate-value. This could be predicted by the fact that it is associated with traits that allow one to ascend in dominance hierarchies based on prestige (vs. brute force or fear), that k-strategists are probably taller (at least men, the relationship may be curvilinear in women with deviations from the median being associated with a faster life history speed), that k-strategists may be generally better looking or at least maintain their looks for longer, etc.

There is some merit to this claim that a fast life history speed is linked to being "alpha" though IMO, as it seems clear that men are generally relative r-strategists compared to women (so you could argue that fast LH in itself is masculine and therefore an alpha trait), this is shown by such things as women are more limited in their reproduction, men dying younger, men being more violent, men are higher in the Dark Triad, men are generally keener on casual sex and report more casual sexual encounters (whether this is explained by prostitute use or not makes no difference, using a whore is the ultimate fast life history strategy move apart from rape—minimal investment), fast LH may be linked to androgenization of the phenotype in both sexes (Rushton claimed this but a lot of his claims in regards to hormones are dubious and should be taken with a big grain of salt, things are much more nuanced in reality), etc. If fast life history strategists are truly more masculine, that does support the idea that being alpha is linked to a fast life history speed.

When men are allowed to do so (such as when given super high status), it does seem they will naturally seek to maximize their reproductive success by engaging in as many sexual encounters with women as possible and maximizing their sexual variety while investing relatively less in the offspring; this is also evidence of a faster life history strategy being linked to "alpha" status but in this specific case, the status likely mostly precedes the strategy and not the other way around. Hence, the link here is not clear.

Regarding the Heston vs. Eastwood comparison, the redpillers would likely claim Heston is a good-looking "beta," not an alpha, because they are laser-focused on maximizing the r-strategy of having sex with as many women as possible, as you stated. Still, I think we'd agree that most men (at least of their era) would respect and look up to both men equally. Heston did, after all, very easily slip into portraying the role of Moses and I think it's clear he was undoubtedly one of histories greatest "alpha" figures. I'd expect this sort of thing also varies by culture; in East Asian cultures, they probably value the k-selected traits more. In Western culture, the r-selected characteristics seem to be the thing that is commonly associated with common perceptions of status or being "alpha." It likely also varies by sub-cultural context. A guy who is an "alpha" in prison most likely posesses very different traits than a guy who is an "alpha" in social contexts where overt violence and intimidation are generally disfavorable towards gaining social status. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a link to a faster life history strategy here. We see that CEOs, politicians, and other prominent people (such as artists and entertainers) seem to often be higher in traits directly linked to a fast-life history strategy (psychopathy). So it could also just be linked to other characteristics such as intelligence, functionality, impulse control, etc., so very successful fast life history strategists. What complicates things even more, is that certain traits that aid one in attaining social status that are often culturally unfavored, such as narcissism, may be associated with a slow life history speed. So, even when we examine the trait-level behavioral facets related to perceptions of "alpha or beta" behavior, we often run into conflicting information.

What is the fundamental issue here, it appears, is women's judgments of men as compared to other men's judgments of men. I think that what is really happening is that there is a type of man, a fast-life strategist, that has a lot of adaptions that make him very attractive to women, particularly other fast life history women (but it would be delusional to think his charms would not work on k-strategist women also). Men that are a combination of good-looking, high Dark Triad, and charming and manipulative are very good at singling out certain women and "selling themselves" to these women in a way that appeals to what that particular woman is looking for at that time. So he'd act aggressive and cold towards women looking for dominance and "tingles," fake signals of investment towards a woman looking for that, etc. I would also expect this type of male to frequently resort to coercion when his seduction efforts are not bearing fruit—basically, the exploitation hypothesis of psychopathy.

These men are not often high in the male hierarchy, but they are very attractive and successful with women. This is likely related to Vox Day's "sigma male" meme, but he doesn't fully realize that there is often a very real mismatch between the type of men women are drawn to and the kind that can win the respect of other men. As women are attracted to status and men's sexual conquests also boost typically boost their position among other men (probably cross-culturally), these things are often linked, but they aren't always strongly linked. So if you have a definition of "alpha" as strictly meaning "male hierarchy leader" (which are fractal remember, there is no single hierarchy unless you are talking about unified tribes or w/e and even then hierarchal relations can be complex even though it is often clear to everyone who the real "alpha" is), but there are traits that allow one to ascend in all hierarchies more quickly). It could therefore be that some "alphas" are relative k-strategists, yes.

I'm planning to lay out these differing points of view in this (prospective) section of the article. The main issue with the whole alpha/beta dichotomy is that every man seems to want to define traits he values or possesses himself as constituting "alpha". As I don't care about such nonsense and don't see either a slow or fast life history as "good" or "bad" but just neutral adaptions to historical selection pressures, I aim to take an objective approach to this section of the article. I'd explain the merits of the different reproductive strategies by ecology, the links between traits that predict status and life history speed, the connection between SMV and life history speed, the link between androgen linked traits and LHS, and the idea that fast life history strategists may be more often pursuing a "direct-seduction" vs. a male competition and status achievement strategy in terms of how they typically gain access to women. Altmark22 (talk) 07:53, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Good points. I have linked this article in the SB which contrasts prestigious and dominance strategies in status ascension which might be relevant (though status drive is even an item in the Dirty Dozens, so it's likely overall more r). The Chad meme seems to predominantly refer to fast-life strategists, and the entire wiki and incelosphere tends to emphasize the fast life (as the Jolly Heretic noted). This emphasis can be explained in various ways. Primarily it's very memeable, but fast types are also currently provoking the most sexual envy, in social media and IRL; fast LH women self-sexualizing and Chads boasting about having sex, while others have been driven into extremely slow strategies e.g. through overpolicing men's coercive behavior, discouraging marriage, helicopter parenting, rat race etc. Bibipi (talk) 10:33, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
Yeah the stuff you have written on prestige vs fear type dominance strategies is good material to base that section of the article on. And yes, it seems the "successful slow life history strategists" as it were, are being quiet and there is a vocal minority of fast life history strategists that are having a hell of a lot of sex. You can see that with how dating apps are being blamed for the resurgence in old STDs that were thought to be extinct, we know from the data most men (and women) don't get laid off those apps at all but there is likely a tiny amount of such men that are having a lot of success on such apps. Same thing with social media etc. This is what envious people in the incelosphere focus on. Altmark22 (talk) 13:17, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Sex differences section[edit source]

Most of this is based on dubious presumptions, zero direct evidence (the bulk of the empirical evidence does show men are faster life history speed on average) clearly biased in tone (women bad, fast life history bad, therefore women fast life history strategists), and needs to be rewritten. And it will be. Some of the claims need to be removed completely, some need to be qualified. So I'll split this section and incorporate most of the stuff that is there. But the overview of this topic is very partisan as opposed to impartial and does not meet the minimal standards of academic rigour that an important article like this needs to hold. Hypotheses are good but they need to be grounded in something more than "some alt-right guy claimed this with zero evidence" and personal opinion on gender relations. So I'm aiming to give a broader overview and incorporate the hypotheses in a subsection of this part of the article.Altmark22 (talk) 09:06, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

I agree. I've already begun toning it down before reading your comment here. The bulk of the evidence suggests a slower strategy in females, especially in the short-term setting, though there are some "paradoxical" findings like faster loss of sex drive within stable relationships (though this could be due to parental investment as opposed to more childbirths), lower socio-cultural engagement (could be due to lower status drive and greater inward/domestic orientation), lower quality friendships (could be due to adaptiveness of gossip even within slow ecologies), higher divorce initiation (could be an evolutionary mismatch), closing gender gap regarding affairs (could just an abnormal recent trend rather than liberating their true sexuality), sooner maturation and earlier age at marriage (may partly be due to arrested maturation and mainly due to men's preference for young women and women's preference for a high status man). Bibipi (talk) 10:06, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
Yeah all of those points are good and that's the stuff that should be left in, and we should try to find ways to integrate this with the bulk of the evidence suggesting a slower life history strategy among females (perhaps just in a narrow sense of demanding more investment from men but there's evidence of them being higher in personality traits associated with a slow life history also, plus the stuff on attachment styles, life span etc). Like how much of these traits are actually life history traits innately and how many merely represent sex specific adaptions that are reflective of typical sex differences in courtship style, parental investment, socialization etc., as you mentioned. This article has a lot of potential because I don't see many places on the internet that apply this theory strongly to mating strategies and human sexuality with a broad focus, despite its clear utility for that. Most is just a dry overview of the concept in biology. You have done some good work laying the groundwork for this article but this article is important to me as it has a lot of potential IMO. I can see this shaping up to be one of the best articles on the wiki. Any other suggestions of new sections to add would also be welcome.

Feel free to add whatever you want and I'll integrate it. If there's any issues in terms of vision for the article or specific points to be included we can hash it out here. I'm doing the research for the article rn but I may not get around to actually writing anything for a while. A section on specific personality traits that may be linked to life history strat would also be very interesting IMO, even though the science on this is weak. Consider this article a draft in its current state, things are in flux, but I'm planning on trying to incorporate everything and make this comprehensive when I have the energy to write it. Altmark22 (talk) 10:17, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Some more thoughts on this article:
  1. Perhaps this article should be moved to "Life history theory", matching Wikipedia's article. On the other hand "life history" is shorter and we don't have articles on medical and sociological life history as on Wikipedia.
  2. It may be dubious to even apply the life history theory to different sexes, because in case of group differences, ecology is the moderating factor, whereas in case of sex differences, differential parental investment explains it (though one could consider the sex-specific circumstances as part of the ecology). For an argument that women on average are more backwards and r-selected (net of higher parental investment) as predicted by their lower reproductive variance and lower selection pressure, one would need to control for their higher parental investment which is very difficulty to do. Though this hypothesis should predict that group differences in life history are larger among males than in females, but these things tend to be confounded by culture.
  3. One could mention the WAW effect discussing the sex difference (all women are assumed to be loyal and good, but a minority is actually very promiscuous and unfaithful). Most tradcon arguments about women being disloyal are mostly actually apex fallacies and exaggerated arguments against WAW (used for politics and/or memeing).
Bibipi (talk) 10:56, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
"Perhaps this article should be moved to "Life history theory", matching Wikipedia's article. On the other hand "life history" is shorter and we don't have articles on medical and sociological life history as on Wikipedia."
Done, also Wikipedia's article is sub-par, we can do better (but focusing obviously on the attempts to apply life history models to human behavior, which their article doesn't do much).
"For an argument that women on average are more backwards and r-selected" I object to the view that "being r-selected" is really associated with backwardness (in terms of individual differences among humans, not species being more r or k adapted (trying to integrate it with Aristotle's scala naturae concept), possibly broad cultural groups, but the later is really iffy IMO) rather than just indicating different sexual strategies, so I'd really reframe any of those sections to be more neutral, as I want this article to be an excellent overview of the attempts to apply LHT to human mating behaviors and not a "meme article."
>"It may be dubious to even apply the life history theory to different sexes, because in case of group differences, ecology is the moderating factor" While likely true to a degree, the bulk of the evidence does tend to suggest men are faster life history strategists on average, as I stated before. It's not just about promiscuity (or intentions towards it), it's that men seem to be on the fast end of the spectrum along a whole number of purported life history traits in comparison to women. They are more aggressive, have a higher sex drive, less socially connected on average, have shorter life spans, higher in the dark triad, have higher activity levels etc. (likely a fast-life history trait
Of course some of these things can represent specialized adaptions distinct from the general fast/slow spectrum or levels of super-K. There may be more male variability here, so more very slow life history strategists and more very fast ones. Main exception here really seems to be that women enter puberty younger and may developmentally arrest quicker, and we can discuss that in that section of the article.
But on the basic biological level, even in terms of one the causes of the differential parental investment (differences in germ cell production, nearly unlimited sperm compared to precious and limited egg) the clear indication is that men are faster life history organisms. Altmark22 (talk) 20:18, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

Strauss-Howe Generational Theory and Life History Fluctuations[edit source]

  • Matures (Artist) => Conservation
  • Boomers (Prophet) => Self-transcendence
  • Gen X (Nomad) => Openness to Change
  • Millennials (Hero) => Self-Enhancement