Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: individualism / collectivism and HTTLPR-5 allele

  1. #1
    xerx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5,464
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default individualism / collectivism and HTTLPR-5 allele

    These chaps claim to have found a "robust" correlation between the type of HTTLPR-5 allele present in a population and the incidence of individualism vs. collectivism in that population.

    The HTTLPR-5 allele comes in two varieties: short and long. The short allelle tends to have a higher frequency in more collectivist nations and is represented by as much as 80% in East Asian cultures. By contrast, Europe tends to vary between 40-45%.

    How does it work? Short-HTTLPR-5 alters the expression of a gene called SLC6A4 to produce less of a protein that's required for regulating serotonin, resulting in a higher concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft. This in turn is associated with increased risk of depression, heightened anxiety, fear conditioning, attentional bias to negative information and so on.

    The article hypothesizes that collectivism and interdependence were selected in those societies in an attempt to reduce the total amount of life stressors in the environment (due to the easy predominance of life stressors). Incidentally, the level of anxiety and mood disorders in these collectivist societies is the lowest in the world, whereas the USA and Europe, being more individualistic, seem to have the highest.


    The Map
    a) Hofstede's study of cultural dimensions (red is more collectivist, yellow is more individualistic). This is a different cultural study on the same issue.
    -Study (click on the countries to the left for information about them)
    -Scores

    b) Frequency of Short HTTLPR-5 alleles (red is higher frequency, yellow is lower frequency).

    c) and d) incidence of anxiety and mood disorders, respectively (red is higher frequency, yellow is lower frequency).



    Honestly, other than the genetics bit, this is something people shouldn't find surprising, least of whom Robert Heinlein, and is almost implicit in a lot of discussion on political theory, so the conclusion isn't gound-breaking or anything. Still, it's pretty cool and the rest of the article is interesting.

    Unfortunately, they decided to use the nation as the unit of analysis instead of breaking it down into cultural subregions.
    You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

  2. #2
    Hot Message FDG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Freiburg im Breisgau
    TIM
    ENTj
    Posts
    15,626
    Mentioned
    156 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    This study's methodology horrible. Basically there's a simple west-east gradient on this particulare gene, and since there's a west-east gradient in collectivism, they end up being related. Should be used as a paradigm on how not to use statistics in a scientific article.

    You could bet that if any other typical "marker" which can distinguish clearly between typically Asian genetics and typicall European genetics would have led to extremely similar results.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

  3. #3
    Executor MatthewZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    TIM
    Ne-LII
    Posts
    800
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    This study's methodology horrible. Basically there's a simple west-east gradient on this particulare gene, and since there's a west-east gradient in collectivism, they end up being related. Should be used as a paradigm on how not to use statistics in a scientific article.

    You could bet that if any other typical "marker" which can distinguish clearly between typically Asian genetics and typicall European genetics would have led to extremely similar results.
    This.

    I'm going to call "correlation does not imply causation" and claim that the evidence given does not overcome the burden of proof.

  4. #4
    xerx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5,464
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    This study's methodology horrible. Basically there's a simple west-east gradient on this particulare gene, and since there's a west-east gradient in collectivism, they end up being related. Should be used as a paradigm on how not to use statistics in a scientific article.

    You could bet that if any other typical "marker" which can distinguish clearly between typically Asian genetics and typicall European genetics would have led to extremely similar results.
    It's not as if they're taking "eye shape" or "average height" as the marker. The allele they're sampling plays a direct part in anxiety. There is also no correlation between the allele and Hofstede's other cultural dimensions (distance from authority, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity–femininity preference and long–short-term orientation), so individualism-collectivism is uniquely represented.

    According to the study, having the short allele is a significant negative predictor of illness in collectivist societies. People with the short allele are much healthier and thrive in these more collectivist environments.

    In individualistic societies, the short allele is a significant positive predictor of illness. This should have been the expected result in both cases, since the allele causes a number of mental problems like anxiety, stress, dwelling on negative outcomes, etc.
    You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

  5. #5
    xerx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    5,464
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
    It's not as if they're taking "eye shape" or "average height" as the marker. The allele they're sampling plays a direct part in anxiety.

    There is also no correlation between the allele and Hofstede's other cultural dimensions (distance from authority, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity–femininity preference and long–short-term orientation), so individualism-collectivism is uniquely represented.
    Which is to say that it isn't a definitive proof because of the age old maxim MathewZ quoted, but better than a random correlation.
    You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

  6. #6
    Hot Message FDG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Freiburg im Breisgau
    TIM
    ENTj
    Posts
    15,626
    Mentioned
    156 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
    It's not as if they're taking "eye shape" or "average height" as the marker. The allele they're sampling plays a direct part in anxiety. There is also no correlation between the allele and Hofstede's other cultural dimensions (distance from authority, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity–femininity preference and long–short-term orientation), so individualism-collectivism is uniquely represented.
    Well, that's a point in favor of their study, surely. However, they could have simply regressed their "collectivism" variable over longitude (setting western europe as 0, and supposing the USA are an extension of wester europe) in order to cancel every possibility of a duplicative effect. If such allele kept its explanatory powers, then their results could be accepted with ease. Basically, I think they should have consulted someone with a statistics background in order to avoid this mistake, which could partially impact its credibility.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

  7. #7
    Executor MatthewZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    TIM
    Ne-LII
    Posts
    800
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Not to beat a potentially dead horse, but it is necessary to accept Hofstede's cultural dimensions for any of the study's conclusions to be valid. I hope I'm not the only one to be skeptical of classifying "culture" on a macro level using numbers. There's also the issue of Hofstede's assumption that culture is mostly static, a notion that directly contradicts all of the research that shows how much cultural values can change in a decade, much less than a generation. Certainly, if personality is linked to genes, (which is reasonable to an extent, given that brain signaling mechanisms are regulated by DNA and the hereditary nature of various mental illnesses, such as Depression) then culture would affect natural selection of personality. However, much as we of the Socionics community have observed, there is a certain need of "balance," or equilibrium, in the personality distribution of a population. Within all cultures exist subcultures: within the relatively "strict" realm of Judaism exist relatively "liberal" sects. Given our knowledge of the existence of personality "masks," what reason do we have to accept that a given macro-culture is at all indicative of the personalities of the very people that comprise that culture? Surely, people with some sort of shared identity(nationality, for instance) are going to have something in common. Why this net sum of personality expression should be interpreted as anything more than the insignificant mean of a large variance is beyond me.

  8. #8
    Trevor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,860
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    There are times when I find myself thinking that in those cases where correlation does imply causation that it's hierarchy what I'm thinking about.

  9. #9
    Haikus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    MI
    TIM
    IEI-Ni
    Posts
    10,060
    Mentioned
    223 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    I AM AN AMERICAN. I AM HETEROSEXUAL, MEAN AND A REAL MAN. I ONLY LOOK AFTER MYSELF. I GO TO WORK EVERYDAY AND I DO MY JOB, AND I COME HOME AND JACK OFF TO MEATHOLES.COM. I ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING THAT I WANT, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU. *SPIT* IF I EVER CATCH YOU WALKING ON MY PROPERTY AGAIN FAGGOT, I WILL BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT. THIS IS AMERICA FAGS, TOUGHEN UP AND GET A JOB AND -

    *suddenly an anvil falls on this person*

  10. #10
    Airman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,556
    Mentioned
    21 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Not much new as concerns the place I live in, low individualism but higher than Latin countries in general, high collectivism, high risk avoidance.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •