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19 Responses to

  1. jayd says:

    Question with regard to one of your listed links.
    Big Hollywood?
    Clicking on it brings us to a map and something called Spout Out.


  2. TWS says:

    Is your book in ‘nook’ format?

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry, but the book is not available in Nook format at present, nor are there plans to make it so available in the next few months.

      Thank you for the interest, though.

    • Andrei says:

      Posted on incredible, that was a very good read. In colisuncon, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are blogging about. Quite difficult to find of late, especially on the web . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep coming back here if this is how you always write. thank you, keep it up! .

  3. Hmmmm….r/K selection theory applied to political behavior. What a great idea.

  4. Robert Smith says:

    Fantastic book, thanks.
    Wondering: how and when opposing ‘r’ and ‘K’ genes get developed.

    • Thank you for the comments on the book, Robert. You write these things, and put them out there, and never quite know how they are going to be taken. It’s always nice to hear somebody thought it was an interesting take. As we agreed, I’ll send you the check for the nice comment shortly. (Just kidding)

      On the r and K genes, as the book points out, the one gene for which there is evidence of r/K involvement is DRD4. There are probably others, many perhaps modulating individual aspects of r/K like aggression, sexual drive, emotional bonds with peers/family, etc. These r/K predispositions all align together in DRD4, making it’s role clear, because all of those commonly travel together as an r or K strategy, but I’m sure there are other genes as well, adding to the mix and customizing individual aspects of the strategy in individuals.

      Neurotransmitter receptors like DRD4 are a good mechanism by which to produce multiple variations in neurotransmitter function because they are “big” structures coded by big genes, so there are many places within the gene where a small tweak to the gene can produce a very controlled change in the rate of signal “effect” produced by neurotransmitter levels.

      On DRD4, it is a receptor to a neurotransmitter, so the gene’s initial evolution/emergence probably occurred independently of r/K, long before we even had a nervous system, and maybe even when we were single-celled organisms (The gene for the receptor probably began as a sensor molecule embedded in a cell’s “skin” that was designed to take information from the outside of the cell (in the form of some molecule in the environment), and turn it into chemical action inside of the cell, adapting the cell’s behavior to its environment).

      Eventually, as we developed, we evolved specialized cells with such receptors on them. We then added the ability to produce and release the signal molecule which triggered the receptor, and did this at one end of a long, stretched out cell (neuron). This would allow us to purposely transmit a signal along the length of an entire stretched out cell, to another location, without affecting the functioning of cells which the signal passed by. Those long, stretched cells became neurons, using the release of molecules at one end to transmit a signal to another specific location within the organism. As neurons accumulated into brains, you had an organ whose function could be altered by altering the effectiveness of that signal transmission that was performed by the receptors (such as DRD4) on individual cells.

      Once those genes for the neurotransmitter receptors were there, and were controlling the processing of information and the initiation of responses through their effects on the brain, minor mutations in the structure of the neurotransmitter receptors (produced by changes in the gene coding their structure) could affect how well they did their specific jobs, and that would affect the travel of signals around the brain, and that would affect the final decisions and actions produced, by affecting the “behavior” of specific neurons.

      In the case of DRD4 (the D4 dopamine receptor), it would appear that at some point, somewhere, some cell went to make copies of the gene for it, and accidentally added a little extra repetitive junk code to the gene, when the cell copied it. That DRD4 gene variation, with the extra junk added, ended up functioning differently than the old version, and that subtly affected the nature of the individuals who inherited it, through it’s effects on the neurons which expressed it.

      This process may have happened many times, but eventually, individuals with some new versions found themselves in one environment which favored the behavioral changes it produced. They multiplied, and eventually adapted further in other ways we can probably only dream about knowing.

      Once humans began migrating from violent, overpopulated territories, to nearby areas which were uninhabited and full of untapped resources, the sudden change in the need to compete and produce quality offspring favored the less competitive, r-predispositions seen in individuals with the new gene versions. So those individuals who thrived were the individuals with the gene variants favoring r-predispositions, and ultimately their population became less competitive/aggressive, more sexually driven, less loyal/in-groupish/family-oriented, less rule/honor-oriented, and that ultimately lead to the how Liberals desire that sort of environment today.

      So it is kind of like most new mutations. A little accident during the copying of a gene changed the gene in some individuals, That altered how well the gene performed it’s function (driving competitiveness/aggression, territoriality, mate guarding, disgust with inferiority, disgust/anger with disloyalty, etc), and that turned out to produce a new model of human behavior which had less morals, more promiscuity, and less competitiveness/aggressiveness, but which functioned better in one specific environment.

      Meanwhile the older model of the gene found itself better adapted to the older, more competitive, overpopulated environment, so it remained there, and evolved further itself. You then had two types of versions of a gene, coding two strategies, within the same species. Where they met in the bordering environments, those strategists in each strategy who competed with their opposition were probably the individuals who survived, and eventually each strategy developed competitive predispositions towards the other, and desires to make their environment into one which would favor their strategy. Today Conservatives look with disdain on Pansy Liberals and try to defeat them by making men free to compete, as Pansy Liberals look with disdain on Mean Conservatives, and try to defeat them by getting government to prevent anyone from being able to be competitively defeated, in any way, even just with bad words (which is relabeled “Hate Speech”).

      I hope that answers your question more fully, and thank you again for your comment.

  5. Mike says:

    I haven’t read your book, but i saw some parts of your website, and i am really interested in some of the topics that you wrote.
    And i almost agree with having a K type psychology though i don’t agree with some of those points.
    1.- Is war really necessary as an evolutionary process?
    2.- Is the K type society tend to be more cooperative or more selfish (i kinda missed the point on that one)?
    3.- What is your point of view about foreigners helping a country?
    4.- And about the liberal fractured amygdala, can they use that in they favor or do they have another skill that would help society?

    That’s all for know, and i might consider buying your book since i like most of the points that you make (and how the US and some other countries adapt a more r type society).

    • Hi Mike,

      1.- Is war really necessary as an evolutionary process?

      Kind of. I think what is really necessary is competition. Sooner or later resources will tend to grow limited. Today, we are finding technology and economic manipulation delaying this point, but on a grand scale, it is coming, even if it doesn’t happen in our lifetime.

      Without competition, there would be a natural devolution of any species, unfortunately. Every genome tends to succumb to the increasing entropy of accumulated mutations, over time, if there is not some selective pressure to remove the less functional individuals. So I do believe war is necessary, both, due to reality, and if we wish to maintain cohesive, cooperative societies over the long term.

      2.- Is the K type society tend to be more cooperative or more selfish (i kinda missed the point on that one)?

      It is more cooperative to be more selfish. All of Darwin is selfish. The difference between r and K is r is selfish for itself, while K is selfish for the group (a group to whom the K tends to be selfless towards, as a way of enhancing the chances of victory). Obviously, we view this as good, because that is how we evolved.

      3.- What is your point of view about foreigners helping a country?

      Personal or scientific? Personally, I think it is nice, but I prefer my country be highly in-group oriented. Take care of our own first. Then again, I am looking at the system from the inside, as a psychology with certain drives.

      Scientifically, whether it is a wise strategy depends on what you get back for the help. Over time, a purely altruistic population will succumb to Darwin.

      4.- And about the liberal fractured amygdala, can they use that in they favor or do they have another skill that would help society?

      I think Liberals, and the r-strategy are designed to exploit novel resource streams, so as to avoid the competition for the good stuff. I suspect it underlies their drive towards novelty seeking, and it can be seen in monkeys with damaged amygdalae, who eat all food, without any disgust reflex, or preference for good food.

      To that end, there is a body of research which indicates Liberalism may correlate with higher levels of Specialist Intelligence, and this may be an evolved way of finding a niche to operate in without a lot of competition. In other words, if you can make yourself useful in a way other’s can’t, you don’t need to face others in competition.

      That’s great, and good for society, but specialist intelligence doesn’t necessarily correlate with the type of intelligence underlying common sense. So you can get a physicist who is great at unraveling what is going on at the sub-atomic level, but he doesn’t really know jack about the human world, and lacks all street smarts, and common sense. He may win a Nobel prize in his specialist discipline, but he wouldn’t last two minutes on the battlefield, and could never run his own business.

      If he stayed in his discipline, he would be a great benefit to his society, but unfortunately, he usually then demands to call the shots everywhere else, based on his ability in his discipline. Worse, his specialist intelligence is associated with an r-psychology which the rest of society is programmed to not like. So he sets about trying to force everyone to live in his ideal, r-utopia, despite the fact they prefer a more K-world.

      That’s all for know, and i might consider buying your book since i like most of the points that you make (and how the US and some other countries adapt a more r type society).

      I’m a mechanism guy, so I like seeing what I think the underlying mechanism is, which is pushing us in the direction we are going. From manly women who view men as weak and inferior, to politicians who worry more about the opinion of other nations than the well being of their own, to a society where the rules of normalcy begin to be derided as aberrant, and patriotism and loyalty to in-group is a bad word, I think this explains a lot. Truth is, I am shocked nobody has come up with this before.

      Thank you for the comment.

  6. Andrew says:

    Please provide evidence that allowing gays to adopt is worse than letting kids be brought up in foster homes. Or that gay couples are more likely to have or adopt children than gay couples who live together without marrying.

    Also provide evidence that allowing gays to serve openly hurts military cohesion. Please do not cite a few rednecks from Alabama serving in the army who you heard whining about the “fags”, although I imagine that’s all the evidence you can provide.

    • Hello Andrew. Obviously there is Regnerus, and other cases showing Homosexual parents are probably sub-optimal, but I am sure you know that. One of the main purposes of this blog however, is to highlight the differences between the psychologies of the right and the left, in the context of r/K. The truth is, I have no problem with gays, beyond the group’s Liberalism, and my personal preference for a society where I don’t know jack about other’s sexual habits. Once I know you’re gay, I already know more than I wanted, and we are off on the wrong foot.

      On children, what I always find interesting is that Liberals want ironclad evidence that what they are doing will hurt a child, before they stop doing it. There is no caution, no care or concern about possibilities, no burning desire to avoid hurting a child at all cost. Of course this is rooted in parental investment, which is a fundamental r/K trait. Those who invest heavily, wouldn’t do something if there was even the slightest risk of it harming a child, regardless fo evidence – that is the definition of high-investment.

      Liberals, by contrast, follow a strategy of r-type low investment, which is less concerned with the well being of the child. Unless it clearly will kill or damage the child, the child will just have to deal with it, until somebody can show beyond all doubt that the kid is being hurt. Single mom’ing increases criminality rates? Gay parents damages adjustment at adulthood? Even if it’s just a possible danger, Conservatives would oppose it until we knew one way or another. Liberals? It’s fine, who cares – you can’t prove anything. It’s a striking difference in standards.

      The military is similar. Conservatives, as K-psychologies evolved in an environment where if your military failed, you died, since resources were limited, and the choice was win as a group or die. As a result, they are averse to anything which might even offer the chance of diminishing military effectiveness slightly.

      Liberals, as r-psychologies are designed for a much more forgiving environment, where loss in competition doesn’t matter. Resources are free, if you start to lose you just run off somewhere else, and get your free resources there.

      On cohesion, among Conservatives, such as dominate in the military according to Trowbridge, higher levels of disgust documented among them, will almost certainly affect cohesion. This may have evolutionary roots in the relationship between disgust evolution and pathogen load, as well as high population densities, such as is likely associated with K-selection. HBDchick did a whole thing on pathogen load, and the evolution of disgust, which was a good read.

      In other words, if your group needs to be in top shape to keep from getting killed by other groups, it may not be evolutionarily advantageous to welcome into the group anyone who has low levels of disgust, and a resultant high level of pathogen loads. All it takes is one disease and your genes, and those of your group, would be gone in K-selection. Note, but a few examples why groups of guys who need to be fit and healthy to kill other guys might find it evolutionarily disadvantageous to associate with gays (MRSA in gays, Chlamydia causing LGV in gay men, Shigella in gay men, Viral hepatitis in Gay men, Cytomegalovirus-parasites-Herpes simplex and gay men, HIV and gay men).

      I will say as a straight guy myself, I am more comfortable around straight guys, and I can’t really explain a specific reason why. My friends are all the same. It’s not personal or logically thought out, it’s just a general unease. It is probably some sort of instinct among K’s. And just to retouch the r/K thing, if you are driven to be certain we win every war, above all else, you wouldn’t want to take a chance on this. But if you are not so driven, then who cares, let’s experiment. If we lose, no biggie.

      Thanks for the comment.

  7. chris volkay says:

    Hi. Very fascinating. I haven’t read the book yet, but I do have one question. I just read the part about the counter culture and the various populations that came along. First r’s starting in 62, peaking in 67, then the K’s come back and the counter culture dies. My question is, aren’t these k and r personalities and resulting ideologies fairly well fixed by our brain chemistry (the amygdala for one), and thus not amenable to fluctuation.
    The reason i ask, and I’m sure this is a familiar question because it is so common. The old story about if you’re not a liberal at 20, you haven’t got a heart, if you’re still a liberal at 30 you haven’t got a head. And it’s my story too. 1 to 16 conservative like my parents, 17 to say 40 staunch liberal, way out there liberal. Now, returned to sanity conservative for the last decade. If R and K are biological in nature and heritable, which I would agree, they probably are, then why my fluctuation and millions of others from cons to lib back to cons. What are your thoughts on this.
    Chris Volkay

    • Hi Chris,

      It’s an excellent question, thank you. Both amygdala development, and dopamine sensitivity are prone to change. Both change due to resource availability, and they do so in similar fashion.

      If resources are freely available, you don’t get a lot of negative experiences (what the amygdala seems to respond to, and store for future reference). Hence free resource availability → no negative experiences → no amygdala development → a more r-type outlook/psychology.

      Likewise, free resource availability produces a lot of dopamine. As Dennis Mangan pointed out in his speech on Supernormal stimuli, lots of dopamine almost certainly reduces dopamine receptor numbers, kind of like how shooting up lots of testosterone downregulates testosterone receptor production, and this blunts the effect of subsequent testosterone. So lots of dopamine probably reduces receptor transmission of dopamine signals, similar to how the 7r DRD4 allele reduces dopamine signaling, and this too predisposes to r, just as inheriting high numbers of the 7r allele would.

      Now if resources are limited, you will get negative experiences. There will be wins, but there will also be losses, some quite rough. Each will burn a pathway in your amygdala, developing it, and conditioning you to avoid the bad, as you pursue the good. Suddenly, when you watch the economy collapse, and it affects you negatively, free stuff for people who don’t work seems like a bad idea. When crime goes up in your neighborhood, and you have a couple of close calls, suddenly getting a gun isn’t so paranoid a notion. Although data is sparse, it does appear parental investment will go up as well, perhaps due to family being an oasis free from amygdala stimulation and tension, and full of oxytocin, in a world full of tension and short on oxytocin.

      Likewise, less dopamine means receptor numbers will increase, and the few highs you get will be more intense. Filet Mignon each night isn’t so great. But eat bread for a year, and that would be a treat. Likewise, strive, and finally succeed, and it is more of a reward.

      In reality, I think contact with the world inevitably yields encounters with bad, which develop the amygdala in most people, making them more realistic about how things should be organized. As a result, they gradually become more Conservative, because bad stuff begins to be recognized, and it trips their amygdalae.

      Some, however don’t see their amygdalae tripped, and they never develop, or mature that way. Maybe they live in a resource rich bubble, and can’t fathom an economic collapse, or maybe they live in denial, where crime is all around them, but they tell themselves it will never happen. As adults, their amygdalae are measurably smaller, they self identify as Liberal, and they can’t imagine why a governmental parent can’t just give everyone everything they need to live happily ever after, forever and ever, and eliminate any conflict between individuals.

      I look on all of this as a kind of scientific explanation for why never having to struggle can leave you immature in some ways. Struggle, and even failure, is like weightlifting for the brain and spirit, developing it, and adapting it to function under a harsher range of circumstances. Since life is a struggle, particularly as you head out on your own, maturity tends to develop the amygdala, and make you more Conservative.

      With the Hippies, they did grow up in a resource rich environment, and an economic contraction did occur as their reign ended, and I am sure that played a part, but they also had a strong genetic input as well, which I think accounts for the extreme nature of the movement.

      In the end, it is like most traits, a mix of genes and environment.

      Thanks for the question.

  8. Bill says:

    I read your book. Fascinating stuff – it finally solved the riddle why all those seemingly unrelated political positions cluster together so frequently.

    I’ve been wondering though how the various streams of libertarianism fit into your theory:

    1) Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro-war. (Ayn Rand objectivists)

    2) Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, anti-war. (some Ron Paul supporters)

    And what about the Old Right (socially and fiscally conservative, yet anti-war)?

    A mix of r/K traits maybe?

    • Thank you for the kind words. I thought it was an interesting concept, and I always enjoy hearing that others think so as well. I do feel it is predictive of what we may see in the future, given we now appear to be shifting, from r to K – it would seem strategies exhibited by the populace should shift as well.

      I can’t say for sure why each hybrid strategy emerges, but, I increasingly view the K-psychology as something the human organism is designed to produce organically through contact with the K-world. If so, it is contact with the K-type world which hones (probably primarily) the amygdala, and produces the behavioral drives associated with K.

      I suspect at some point we will find that though K-traits tend to go hand in hand, it is possible for contact with a K-environment in one respect to produce a specific K-strategy with respect to that specific aspect of the environment, without affecting other aspects of the individual’s strategy. This can become common today, in a society with widely variable economic/social/rearing environments mixed together, and a culture which seems to be mostly shaped and controlled by r’s, overwhelmingly. Single parents have limited resources in the ghetto, richer religious families have tons of resources, but emphasize rearing investment, etc.

      Add in where you get your news, (Drudge Report vs MSNBC) where you go to school (Liberal city school, or Conservative rural school), personal genetics, and even who your friends are, and you can find interesting mixes of psychological inputs into the various aspects of strategy. No longer are resources limited, and all that survives is K in all regards. For the time being Darwin has left the building, so anything goes.

      Thus, it might be possible to raise a child in an environment of competition, and limited resources, while they are exposed to a culture of freely available sex/sexual stimuli. This would produce a psychology which is sexually more r (or r-tolerant), and yet more confrontational, and competitive in matters dealing with economic/social interactions. It’s tough to grow up to be chaste in an environment where everyone is promiscuous, everywhere, and yet it is also tough to adopt a pacifistic psychology, if all it gets you is defeat after defeat at the hands of the less pacifistic. Sooner or later you go out and compete, even as sexual openness is normal to you.

      It may even play out in specific aspects of competitiveness. A business owner, who grows up and lives in a very safe, pacifistic area, may appreciate the need for an economic environment where everyone in business competes and decisions have consequences. His brain has molded itself to the realities of economics. Yet in a safe neighborhood, never encountering threat, he may not be able to grasp why anyone would want a gun, and feel they should all be banned, to keep everyone safe. His financial environment is K, and he quickly adapts there, but his physical/safety environment is more r, and as a result, he ends up more r there.

      On the urge to war, that can easily be variable, IMO. War is always a conflict between loyalty to nation, and loyalty to the troops who actually fight. This is made worse by the fog which accompanies all such decisions, in a complex world. Clearly, it is disloyal to send troops overseas, unless it is absolutely necessary to preserve American lives. And yet, how do you really know? Take Iraq. According to UN Arms inspector Richard Butler, in the late 80’s and 90’s, Saddam was trying to weaponize a pox class virus he pulled out of camels. I would assume he was using live Shiites to culture it and adapt it to a human host, and enhance infectivity. In 2001, we knew nothing about the success or failure of this program, and could find no info on it. Did it succeed with stellar opsec? Was the program not even there to be found?

      Smallpox began as a pox class virus in mice that infected a human by accident, and we saw what it became. What if Saddam accomplished the same thing, in another virus, and handed off a functional sample to Al Qaida, just to pay us back for the first Gulf War? Could we have risked an outbreak of something like smallpox, but without a vaccine to contain the outbreak? Could we risk losing 60-70% of the citizens in every major American city, even if the chance of it happening was just 2%? Do we fight to prevent the 2% chance, and take a 100% chance of losing 5,000-10,000 military personnel? What does loyalty say?

      If that was laid on a K-type’s desk in 2002, what would you do? So for K-types war ends up being loyalty to troops, vs loyalty to nation, and I’m not surprised you see a split in the movement. Given the massive size of our “Group,” it is tough to discern where your loyalty lies. If you have no loyalty to nation, and all loyalty to troops, you’d never send them out, anywhere. If you are all loyalty to nation, and no loyalty to troops, you’d send them out anywhere, for any reason, even one which is possibly, vaguely beneficial to the US. If you have loyalty to both troops and nation, then every threat will become a real moral crisis. I suspect the discomfort of this may lead people to try and bypass the agony of customizing a complex decision (which will always entail either cutting short loyalty to nation or to troops), by adopting a one size fits all decision beforehand – either less interventionism/foreign adventuring, or always pursue the interest of the country, aggressively. It’s far easier to just use a cookie cutter response, rather than confront the fact that sometimes, there is no perfect decision which fully honors every loyalty you want/need to honor.

      If you have no loyalty to anyone but yourself and your image, you have the Liberal psychology, which can oppose wars which are good for the nation (say for Oil), while aggressively supporting wars which are bad for the troops, and meaningless to the nation (Darfur).

      There are almost certainly genetic factors as well, though. HBDChick in the sidebar has a really brilliant site describing how high inbreeding produces favoritism for family/ingroup, and how mild inbreeding may just produce a disregard for outsiders and outside authority, without a lot of clannish tribalism. This may produce the Libertarian’s drive to reject outside authority, but not a drive to impose their group’s authority on others. It may also warp perceptions of in-group between the nation as a whole, and the smaller, closer, immediate community.

      Also, I should point out that r/K is well known to be density-dependent. If a population is spread out, to the point that individuals don’t see each other often (think of Grizzly bears), then the r/K model can break down at the genetic level. It can produce an organism which fights for the rare, spread-out resources, and is violent and territorial, but which evolves to mate with whatever mate it happens across (since it may not see another). Also, Mom raises offspring alone, since there is not enough food in a territory to support both parents and the offspring, all together. This low population density might also limit disease spread, which might produce limitations on the emergence of disgust, similar to what is seen in Libertarians, and that can have cultural effects.

      I mainly focused on the two parties for this reason though. The smaller you go with the theory, the less reliable the characterization of the reason for the belief/ideological bias. It is near impossible to look at a single individual and say, “Here is why he believes this. This much is genetics, and this much is this specific environmental influence, and this part is logic.”

      It’s made even worse because these are logical problems, and often logic may be at odds with a strategy (Such as if logic says avoid war to a K-psychology). If logic wins, and a K-psychology avoids war for the good of the nation, is the person suddenly exhibiting the r-strategy, or just good logic that is beneficial to the nation?

      In aggregating all of these individuals together, however, I think it is possible to say, here are some forces which cause this overall strategy to be efficient, and they are probably why we see this group which exhibits it persist in our populations. Absent these advantages in this environment, Darwin probably would have culled this strategy long ago, and it would be viewed as aberrant when we see it.

      Thanks again for the comment, and taking a look at the book. I really appreciate it.

  9. ladylike says:

    Just posting to add another voice to the ‘when you have the time, please make it available in e-book format’ (Kindle, specifically) request.

    This information is utterly fascinating.

    Thank you!

    • Thank you for the kind words. An ebook version is in the plan, but I’ve been busy trying to understand how ideas go viral on the internet, and the difference in the reach of various social media sites.