Headline writers can confirm your stereotypes, say genetics

9 Feb

Social scientists from the University of Edinburgh have some exciting news for British headline writers: women are genetically 50% sweet, and men are genetically 80% dicks. Oh, headline writers, enjoy thy Wednesday-morning bounty!

“Women nice by nature, but for men it’s an effort” – Daily Mail Online

“Miss con-gene-iality” – Royal Society

“Genetic tests prove the fairer sex is kinder too” — The Independent

“Women found to have ‘nice’ gene” – Scotsman.com

And India just went ahead and skipped the “men are mean” angle and went for the “born a bitch” headline:

“Being nice or nasty is in women’s genes” – The Times of India

The study looked at 958 pairs of identical and non-identical twins and asked them a variety of questions about their feelings, such as “would you mind going to court to testify about an accident you witnessed?” Hint: if you answered no, you are probably a male because you are genetically more of an asshole.

I couldn’t read the full article because it is restricted to members of the Royal Society (here is the abstract), but I am left with a huge question: the scientists apparently thought the fact that twins being raised in the same household “controls” for environment, but how did they control for the gender-specific socialization that occurs from birth? We all know how often Brits can be found at the bottom of a bar stool under the shards of some broken pint glasses, but it’s probably safe to assume they could still tell the difference between their male and female twins enough to throw the dump truck and the barbie doll across the room in the right directions.


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