heterosis

This strikes me as complete and utter bull****.  Excuse me, bologna is more appropriate for this forum.  I just don’t see how you can conduct a scientific study based on personal opinion.  Perceived attractiveness is not a science.  I have a theory that mixed race people have an interesting look, for lack of a better way to put it.  Since we are still a relatively small group, I think there’s something in a mixed race face that may make one take note.  A gaze may linger while a mind tries to process and perhaps dissect what it’s looking at.  And that probably prompts the occasional, “What are you?”  In my opinion, that does not equal more attractive, but I see how it could be misconstrued that way.

I also object to the antiquated notion of heterosis being used in this way- heck, in any way.  Cross-breeding!?  This leads me to believe that Dr. Lewis looks at race as more than a social construct.  I seriously disagree.

Lastly, the notion that because Halle Berry, Lewis Hamilton, and Barack Obama have risen to the top of their respective fields we are to infer that mixed race people are more successful on average makes my skin crawl.  More successful than whom?  Their black counterparts?  That must be what it means because I don’t think anyone can so easily forget the 40+ white presidents, 70+ white actresses, and I don’t know exactly how many (but most likely all) of the former Formula 1 champions that preceded these super-attractive, super-successful mulattoes.  UGH!  So glad I chose not to spend a semester at Cardiff!

Mixed-race people are ‘more attractive’ and more successful, results of a new study suggest.

The Cardiff University study involved rating 1,205 black, white, and mixed-race faces.

Each face was judged on its attractiveness, with mixed-race faces generally perceived as more attractive.

Author of the study, Dr Michael Lewis, also suggested mixed-race people were disproportionately successful in many professions.

The study based its hypothesis on Darwin’s notion of heterosis, the biological phenomenon that predicts that cross-breeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.

Dr Lewis said the phenomenon was mirrored in the results of his study.

“The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive,” Dr Lewis said.

Yet there is reason to believe that mixed-race people may not just be more attractive, but more successful.

Dr Lewis said: “There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness.

“This comes from the observation that, although mixed-race people make up a small proportion of the population, they are over-represented at the top level of a number of meritocratic professions like acting with Halle Berry, Formula 1 racing with Lewis Hamilton – and, of course, politics with Barack Obama.”

Dr Lewis will present his findings to the British Psychological Society’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

SOURCE

symmetry

I came across this article a while ago and have been thinking about it a lot since that “Plight of Mixed-Race Children” post a few days ago. I am generally still offended by that Freakonomics blog article, but maybe it’s a harsh reality that I don’t want to acknowledge. The study Levitt spoke of did have just over 90,000 participants. The “more attractive” thing really stuck out to me as being inappropriate.  Then I remembered reading about this UCLA study…

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11-05-2002

(Daily Bruin) (U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES — A recent study by University of California — Los Angeles Assistant Adjunct Professor of Biology Jay Phelan concluded that biracial people are perceived as more attractive than “uniracial” people because they have more symmetric features. 

Symmetry, according to Phelan, reflects an organism’s developmental stability and is strongly associated with longevity, health and fitness….

Symmetry, he found, was greater in heterozygous organisms. In other words, organisms are more symmetrical – and therefore potentially more “fit” – when their genes have two different alleles (for instance, one dominant allele and one recessive allele rather than two dominant or two recessive alleles). 

Crossing organisms from different populations, he believed, would result in “hybrid vigor.” The theory was that their heterozygosity was making them stronger and healthier. 

Genes produce enzymes that assist in bodily processes. When two slightly different enzymes are produced by heterozygous genes, the organism is “covered under a wider range of conditions,” he said. 

Most humans are heterozygous in about 20 percent of their genes. 

Assuming that biracial people are more heterozygous since they come from different populations (despite the debate surrounding the relative amounts of genetic variation within and among populations), Phelan started by measuring the symmetry of 99 UCLA student volunteers who were either biracial or uniracial. 

Biracial people were defined as those whose mother and father were of different races, but each of their parents were uniracial. Both parents of the uniracial subjects were of the same race. 

Phelan’s study concluded that biracial people were significantly more symmetrical than “uniracial” people. All 25 of the least symmetrical subjects were from uniracial groups, which were either Asian, black, Hispanic or white. Seven of the eight most symmetrical subjects were from biracial groups (Hispanic-white, Asian-white, black-white or Asian-Hispanic). 

In addition, Phelan found that symmetry was about the same for all uniracial people no matter which group they were in, and about the same foall biracial people, regardless of racial background. 

Phelan, however, did not want to stop merely with symmetry. He hypothesized that those who were more symmetrical would also be perceived as more attractive. 

To determine attractiveness, 30 people then rated photos of the subjects who had been measured for symmetry on attractiveness, ranking them from one to seven (seven being the highest). 

The results: Biracial people were perceived as significantly more attractive than “uniracial” people. 

Emily Shin, a third-year psychology student and president of the UCLA Hapa Club, appreciates Phelan’s work. 

“I think that it’s really great that people are doing research on hapa people, generally a group that’s marginalized,” Shin said. 

She added, however, that there is some dissent in the hapa community about research like Phelan’s, which perpetuates the stereotype that hapas are on average, more attractive people. 

“It makes hapa people, especially hapa girls, feel very objectified,” Shin added…..

David Zisser. “Study indicates mixed race, physical symmetry correlate.” University Wire. 2002.

I don’t know what I think of all this just yet. Right now I’m thinking, “If a majority of mixed-race children are struggling as Levitt’s article (which i initially brushed off as ridiculous mostly because of the attractiveness issue) suggests, then we need to help them because it doesn’t have to be that way.”