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Proof that Science is Misogynistic

As if men don't have enough excuse for infidelity, science is providing yet another.  According to researches at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden, there is a gene allele which can affect the production of a hormone called vasopressin.  Vasopressin is known to positively influence monogamy.  Men with more than two of the gene allele 334 "were twice as likely to have had a marital or relationship crisis in the last year compared with those who lacked the gene variant."

Via LA Times .

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Monica Burns
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 09:39:00

    Ummm, does this mean that this is an excuse for some men to not grow up? I sure wish they’d proved that everyone has an ACCOUNTABILITY gene, which would prove that some people just don’t want to accept responsibility for their actions.

  2. Tracey
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 09:54:34

    To be fair, the scientists have only tested this with voles, not with humans or even primates.

  3. Angie
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 10:48:00

    Science as a pursuit is not misogynistic.

    Whether or not the particular scientists involved in this study are misogynistic depends on whether or not they deliberately faked or misinterpreted or slanted their results in order to give men an “out” on the whole monogamy thing. Given this bit: Walum notes that though the study may shed some light on the genetic underpinnings of human bonding, “there are, of course, many reasons why a person might have relationship problems,” that doesn’t seem to be at all the case.

    Nothing about human behavior is simple, and it’s not the scientists’ fault if the media tries to distill all the complexities and caveats down to a short headline or sound byte.


  4. RfP
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 11:53:12

    Studying genetics does not make science misogynistic. Furthermore, this isn’t a study about *most* men. The article said that having two copies of RS3 allele 334 is a genetic polymorphism–meaning it may occur in as little as 1% of the population. The study used DNA from “552 same-sex twin-pairs and their spouses/partners” (1,899 total people) including about 921 men. They found 41 men (about 4%) with two copies of RS3 allele 334. If that’s representative, the average cheating hubby would have only a 1 in 25 chance of blaming it on genetics. And that’s if this study provided an iron-clad association with behavior–which it doesn’t: the effect found in the study is fairly small.

    The relatively small effect size of the AVPR1A polymorphism on traits tentatively reflecting pair-bonding in males observed in this study clearly does not mean that this polymorphism may serve as a predictor of human pair-bonding behavior on the individual level. However, by demonstrating a modest but significant influence of this gene on the studied behavior on the group level, we have provided support for the assumption that previous studies on the influence of the gene coding for V1aR on pair-bonding in voles are probably of relevance also for humans.

    Future studies may shore up the connection, but Monica Burns has it exactly right:

    I sure wish they'd proved that everyone has an ACCOUNTABILITY gene, which would prove that some people just don't want to accept responsibility for their actions.

    This is a study of one genetic factor. Other studies may find other factors that counteract this polymorphism. Just as one set of neuroscience studies found that structures in the brain make women more empathetic, and later research found that when we *socialize* women into being empathetic, that’s what develops those structures in the brain.

  5. Robin
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:21:46

    I assumed that Jane was being sarcastic; did I misread?

  6. MoJo
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:23:12

    Robin, that’s how I read it.

  7. Nonny
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:27:48

    Well. Being adamantly non-monogamous, I’m always fascinated by studies like this. >_>

  8. veinglory
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:31:08

    The sarcasm is against a background of the media, especially blog, tending to assume scientists are either stupid, or unethical in some way, or both. That;s why I don’t pay much attention unless there is a direct link to the actual research to check for things like… it’s about rodents.

  9. RfP
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 13:30:45

    Jane, sorry if I stomped on you. I arrived here already irritated by similar headlines–not at all sarcastic–in the newspapers.

  10. Charlene Teglia
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 15:04:21

    Steven Brust’s response to this is hysterical.

  11. Oprah Offers 2nd Free Book Download | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Sep 11, 2008 @ 19:50:52

    […] thought science had proven why men strayed and short of removing the second gene allele 334 and castration, we are stuck with […]

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