Monday, June 1, 2015

Sociology is not useful for learning about relationships (I read the papers so you don't have to bother)

In this post I try to talk about WHERE to learn things and WHY.

From a new article:

The paper compared the likelihood of married people age 18 to 32 cheating on their spouses with the percentage of the household income they contributed. Of men who were completely financially dependent on their wives, 15% had an affair, compared to 5% of women. The numbers dropped as household income became even, at which point 3.4% of each cheated.
At that point the behavior by gender significantly diverged. The greater the portion of household income women earned, the less likely they were to cheat, with only 1.5 percent of women who were the complete breadwinners having an extramarital affair. However, as men brought in a larger portion of the total income, the chance of their cheating increased, to 4% of those who brought home all the money.
As men provide more of the family’s income, they are more likely again to cheat. Munsch thought that opportunity may be the reason. “These men are probably in fairly powerful positions,” she said. That could mean travel, resources to hide infidelity, “and they have more people interested in having sex with them [because of their position and standing].”
Although women who were in the upper economic bracket also likely had similar powerful positions, there are some differences. “We don’t see men throwing themselves at very successful women in the same way,” Munsch said. “Women [also] go to extreme lengths in this situation to shore up their husband’s masculinity. Because we know that women go to these lengths to keep their potentially strained relationships intact, they probably aren’t going to cheat.”
Or in other words:

But it's weird that they've completely ignored any attempt to explain themselves with evolutionary biology or basic game theory. If you're in any relationship, and you lack power, you can try to establish a backup relationship. This is a risky strategy because if you are found out, you ruin your primary relationship, and you find out you really needed that backup (which may be a mirage).
Sociology is one of the sciences that has a lot of natural disadvantages. 
1. Normalization is nearly impossible. Every sociology paper including his quotes the idea that women are graduating from collage more than men now, but if you look around you at the degrees that actually have ROI (e.g. STEM), they are not. The world does not need more communications majors. Those are just people who are so bad at math they think paying 100K for a job that starts you at 40K is a good idea.
2.  People are stupidly sensitive to results in the sociology area. This makes it more likely to be click-bait or politics than science. You can see this directly in his paper linked above, where he laments progress in gender revolution having "stalled or slowed". If he was studying humans as the animals they are, he'd be using more objective language.
3. Human societies change quickly compared to most other sciences. The modern trend may not be to less infidelity, but perhaps also less fidelity-requirements. Everyone in the Peoples Republic of California appears to have an Open Relationship, and we may find that people just tend to opt out of marriage in general. To his credit he tried to normalize by race and cohabitation in his paper. But his normalization on age is terrible, as it almost has to be.
In conclusion: you CANNOT LEARN IMPORTANT THINGS from Sociology's work when it comes to romantic relationships. You are much better off learning from pick up artists and sales people and sex workers who all have vast amounts of experimental data in their field. Or of course, going to the Big Data source of AdultFriendFinder, JDate, FetLife, OKCupid, Google, Facebook, or 

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