Saturday, July 23, 2011

Profile of an alpha

Game, as it currently exists, is a qualitative subject rather than a quantitative one. That qualitative narrative bumps up uncomfortably against the hard data available, so the latter is either minimized or dismissed outright. While this is not the primary reason I find that Game and human biodiversity make strange bedfellows (the primary reason being that the utility of Game is inversely related to the importance of HBD), I'm inherently skeptical of anything that lives by anecdote alone.

Consequently, I seek to interject empirical information into the subject of Game whenever I am able to. We've previously seen that in the US sexual activity has remained steady or declined gently over the last couple of decades, that men of all races with fewer partners have more children than men with many partners do, and that men who cheat have more kids than men who don't but women who cheat have fewer kids than women who do not.

Now, we'll try and add some insights into the demographic characteristics of alphas and betas. Propitiously, the GSS has a great question that, according to the Game narrative, gets right at a crucial distinction between alphas and betas: Alphas do not put the objects of their affection before themselves, while betas do.

The question asks the respondent if he agrees with the statement that he would rather suffer himself than have a woman he is in a relationship with suffer. Being openly willing to suffer for a lover is clearly the mark of a beta. If you're engaged in pumping-and-dumping, the girl is in the process of suffering for your pleasure even as the GSS question is being considered. Your answer is obvious.

Responses are on a five point scale, from strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing. Not surprisingly, a majority of men strongly agree--chivalrous ideals are not dead, and by definition betas outnumber alphas. Where the alpha-beta dividing line among the four other responses is placed is contingent upon what percentage of the total male population is alpha and what percentage is beta. Of course the Game narrative does not maintain that an absolute dichotomy exists, but for empirical purposes distinctions have to be made somewhere.

In his definitive post on what constitutes an alpha, Roissy puts the low end ("lesser") alpha at 7 on the 0-10 point scale, while Adonis ("greater alpha") is obviously at 10. Since it's actually an 11 point scale, the 0-6 beta and omega range comprises 64% of the population while the 7-10 alpha range comprises the remaining 36%. Separating the "strongly agree" beta response from the other four yields a 69.3%/30.7% split, corresponding very well to the chart included in Roissy's post. As Roissy is one of the Game narrative's intellectual giants, this is how the alpha/beta split is defined in what proceeds.

The following tables show what percentage of men in each of the respective demographic categories are alphas and what percentage are betas. As the question was only posed in 2004 (622 men answered the question), Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans are combined--much to the President's relief--into the "other" category:

Party
Alpha
Beta
Republican
24.7%
75.3%
Independent
27.6%
72.4%
Democrat
37.2%
62.8%

Philosophy
Alpha
Beta
Conservative
25.4%
74.6%
Moderate
30.1%
69.9%
Liberal
40.7%
59.3%

Race
Alpha
Beta
White
27.9%
72.1%
Black
42.9%
57.1%
Other
39.5%
60.5%

Kids?
Alpha
Beta
Yes
25.0%
75.0%
No
41.1%
58.9%

Married?
Alpha
Beta
Yes
22.6%
77.4%
No
42.5%
57.5%

Go to bar
Alpha
Beta
At least once a month
36.1%
63.9%
Less than monthly
26.7%
73.3%

Go to church
Alpha
Beta
Never
42.5%
57.5%
Less than monthly
30.3%
69.7%
Less than weekly
34.4%
65.6%
Weekly+
18.9%
81.1%

Education
Alpha
Beta
Less than high school
36.5%
63.5%
High school
29.4%
70.6%
Some college
28.7%
71.3%
Bachelor's degree
33.4%
66.6%
Post-graduate
28.0%
72.0%

Lifetime partners
Alpha
Beta
1
20.3%
79.7%
2-5
29.3%
70.7%
6-10
26.7%
73.3%
11-20
29.6%
70.4%
21+
34.6%
65.4%

Unfortunately, belief in God and wordsum scores were not cross-referenced with the question, so church attendance and educational attainment are about the closest proxies available. Speaking of, betas are slightly more educated than alphas are, but the differences are minor.

Excepting that, they are fairly pronounced. Alphas are disproportionately non-white (especially black), non-religious, unmarried, liberal, Democratic, childless, bar-goers who have been with a lot of women--in short, the glue that holds Western Civilization together! The good news for the ladies is that demographic trends portend more alphas and fewer betas in the future. Tingle tingle!

GSS variables used: AGAPE1, RACECEN(1)(2)(3-16), SEX(1), PARTYID(0-2)(3)(4-6), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7), CHILDS(0)(1-8), EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), MARITAL(1)(2-5), NUMWOMEN(1)(2-5)(6-10)(11-20)(21-800), SOCBAR(1-4)(5-7), ATTEND(0)(1-3)(4-6)(7-8)

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The premise is just wrong. Since when is chivalry beta?

Chivalry is a code of how to treat women that has been passed on from father to son for millenia. If boy's father treated his mother well, then as a man he is likely to treat his wife well.

Are we conclude therefore that men who come from broken homes, and who never learn how to act well, are therefore alpha? Nice.

Having had lots of partners is no proof of alpha status. If you can't hold on to a woman, you will have more short term relationships.

I am chivalrous toward a beautiful wife who is way out of my league and I am not racking up partners, although the love life is very good and she raises our three kids. Apparently this is pure beta. Guys like our president, monogamous and chivalrous toward his wife, total beta. Okay.

Van said...

I also completely disagree with your premise. There is quite a bit more to being an Alpha than treating women like crap.

I'm no blank slatist, but clearly culture and environment have a significant influence on how a person approaches relationships. A person raised in a traditional Christian culture, and who doesn't buy into the modern promiscuous lifestyle, is much less likely to pump-and-dump than someone who drinks heavily, etc. Regardless of alpha/beta status.

I think what you've found is a strong correlation between religion, conservative beliefs, GOP affiliation, and men maintaining traditional gender roles (including that of protector of the family). No surprise there.

By the way - there's nothing more Alpha than taking a bullet for the mother of your children. Even if she's the only woman you've ever slept with.

Van said...

"I am chivalrous toward a beautiful wife who is way out of my league and I am not racking up partners, although the love life is very good and she raises our three kids. Apparently this is pure beta."

In my teens and twenties a lot of sexual partners - some of them quite attractive and very sought after by other guys. I even had a number of partners who were already taken. Surely the sign of an Alpha. In reality I was anything but, and quite insecure under my facade of confidence.

Then I found myself, developed genuine confidence. I'm completely comfortable in leadership positions, and people tend to fall in line. I'm married, have been with the same woman for years, and have never cheated.

Alphaness may be partially (or even completely) genetic. But its expression will by shaped by the cultural beliefs of the Alpha. An Alpha in a hook-up culture will be the king of hook-ups. An Alpha in a traditional culture will be faithful to his wife, but express his dominance in other ways.

"Guys like our president, monogamous and chivalrous toward his wife, total beta. Okay."

Obama's not Alpha - at least not for his position and the other men he works with. Too much pouting when he doesn't get his way, complaining about how people won't go along with his ideas. Just the fact that he gets so much resistance. No, no Alpha.

Audacious Epigone said...

I share both of your sentiments. My conception of an alpha is one who is a natural leader in business, sports, family life, social situations, etc.

But in Game lingo, making personal sacrifices that cost you for the benefit of someone else, especially the woman you are attracted to, is very much considered a beta trait. So in the world of Game, the premise is a good one. That's not to necessarily endorse the Game narrative, though.

sykes.1 said...

In Africa, where women can support themselves and their children with light agriculture, "pump and dump" is the correct male reproductive strategy, and has been for hundreds of thousands of years.

However, in paleolithic Europe during the recent Ice Age, where meat was the major portion of the diet, one man one (+) woman is a better guarantor of reproductive success.

Van said...

"But in Game lingo, making personal sacrifices that cost you for the benefit of someone else, especially the woman you are attracted to, is very much considered a beta trait. So in the world of Game, the premise is a good one."

So not only have you found a correlation between liberalism, Democractic Party affiliation, and treating women poorly; you've found a correlation between these things and the more shallow (and society destroying) expression of alphaness.

Anonymous said...

I am the first commenter. I think the key to deep success in relationships between men and women comes from mathematical game theory. Not the modern "game" concept that is 100% misogyny (which is not even heterosexual if you think about it -- if you genuinely have a thing for women you couldn't hate them all so completely like that!)

I am talking about the prisoner's dilemma, which is highly instructive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma

In a genuine marriage if the husband and wife sacrifice for each other you will have an optimum outcome for both. But as the prisoner's dilemma shows, each person just has to sacrifice and trust. And indeed married people are much happier!

The proponents of "game" are stuck in the realm of suboptimal solutions to the prisoner's dilemma. In this realm, they sting and get stung a lot and get even more bitter and cynical. Dwelling in the suboptimal portion of the prisoner's dilemma world, their view of people becomes twisted and they imagine marriage to be a losing proposition.

silly girl said...

"In Africa, where women can support themselves and their children with light agriculture, "pump and dump" is the correct male reproductive strategy, and has been for hundreds of thousands of years."

Support themselves and their children? Uh, well, in a hand to mouth existence of extreme poverty. I mean technically, yes, they survive long enough to reproduce, but they are totally at the mercy of nature much like the critters.

Contrast that with the patriarchal systems where a higher percentage of children survive and there is art, literature, music, protection from the variances of nature, aka civilization, the loss of which is a pretty high price for the tingle. And they say guys don't think with their brains.

ironrailsironweights said...

One could argue that a man who has nailed more than 20 women cannot be a Beta no matter what his beliefs may be.

Peter

Anonymous said...

First commenter again...

A guy who is a 5 or 6 can get drunk and hook up 3's and 4's all day long. I knew a dude like this in college. Yuck. This tells us what, exactly? The key to racking up scores is to have low standards and be desperate.

Folks who solicit prostitutes or engage in swing-y lifestyle are racking up numbers too. With whom?? If you keep friends in low places, you are also likely to rack up higher numbers.

That is something to aspire to??

John said...

The problem is that men with a lot of sexual partners are

unhappy
http://www.halfsigma.com/2011/06/sexual-conquests-dont-lead-to-happiness.html

stupid
http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/04/intercourse-and-intelligence.php

and have fewer kids
http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2009/08/for-women-too-fewer-partners-means-more.html

and I'm supposed to aspire to this?

You don't need 30 feathers in your cap. You just need to find one good one, and yes, they do exist.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed anyone is taking this whole "Alpha" thing seriously at all, let alone as seriously as this post takes it.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

I'm definitely a skeptic. What amazes me is how so many quantitatively-minded people in the blogosphere simply accept something for which there is so little evidence.

Anonymous said...

However, in paleolithic Europe during the recent Ice Age, where meat was the major portion of the diet, one man one (+) woman is a better guarantor of reproductive success.

The monogamy of an Ice Age type environment is ecologically imposed monogamy. A woman needs the exclusive support of a male to survive, bear, and rear children.

Civilization can be more like the sub-Saharan environment because of the high caloric availability provided by agriculture. A woman doesn't need the exclusive support of a male to survive, bear, and rear children. The weather isn't too harsh, there's excess food around, various jobs available, prostitution, etc. To reproduce the monogamy that was imposed by the ecology in Ice Age type environments, there is socially imposed monogamy in the form of religion, culture, tradition, etc.

Polygynous humans can be better adapted to high caloric availability provided by civilization than are monogamous subspecies as long as the technical infrastructure holds together.

The foundation of civilization is defense of agricultural territory of individuals in exchange for those individuals giving up their sovereignty. He submits his will to a “higher power”.

In this contract the individual man is put at reproductive risk by the female’s instincts to mate with the strongest male in her environment, and a submissive man—the civilized man—is rejected so she can find the man causing other men to submit. The compromise therefore allowed the creation of a pseudo-natural environment within the family where the man could legally maintain dominance over the women.

Anonymous said...

A guy who is a 5 or 6 can get drunk and hook up 3's and 4's all day long. I knew a dude like this in college. Yuck. This tells us what, exactly? The key to racking up scores is to have low standards and be desperate.

Yes, the use of "alpha" and "beta" by Roissey and Co. is very misleading, as it has nothing to do with what these terms usually mean in anthropology. A 40 year old unemployed man living in is mothers basement can be an "alpha", as long as he sleeps with enough women.

In human society an "alpha male" should be one of high status. Of course what counts as giving high status is subjective, and the game boys status marker is the number of women you've slept with.

chris said...

My guess is your measuring the difference between cads and non-cads.

A man can be an alpha (winner) and desire to pursue a long-term mating strategy and a man can be a beta (loser) and desire to pursue a short-term mating strategy.

Although, given the current culture/environment in the West, the ability of women to exploit and take advantage of men who pursue long-term mating strategies is likely to make men who do pursue them seem like betas/losers.

As a previous commentator noted, this has a lot to do with game theory and the prisoners dilemma.

Women are now, through the Courts and the State, given the ability to defect from their agreements to their (reproductive) advantage and their husband's (reproductive) disadvantage, while men have no such option (technically they do but it is one that the Courts and State have significantly mediated.)

Thus pursuing a long-term mating strategy, given women's ability to now exploit the men who pursue such a strategy but not vice versa, can now be perceived as being purely beta/loserly, but that is a symptom of the environment we live in, not a quality that's inherent to men who may choose to pursue a long-term mating strategy.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely disagree. An "alpha" male is defined as a natural leader AND sexually dominant/irresistible to women (if heterosexual). Why this "AND" ? What about great "sexless" tyrants in modern history: Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Hitler? They simply didn't care about sex. Power and ideology were much more important for them.
Who were the greatest lovers (or "sexers", to coin a neologism) in modern (post 1800) history? Franz Liszt, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Frederic Chopin, Richard Wagner -- in short, artists with no "alpha" imagined traits. Frequently insecure, self-doubting, effeminate (Chopin).
As for self-assuredness and leadership, what about Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton (this one never got laid)?

In creative fields, especially science, the "leadership quality" has more to do with one's intellectual strength, insight and originality, than with cocky posturing. In this alpha-beta dichotomy at least three strands are entangled & confused: a) promiscuity & sexual "magnetism" (bohemian artists lead promiscuous lives, but many are rather effeminate) b) leadership and charisma (see Hitler or Lenin- no to sex, yes to power) c) athleticism & macho posturing (not leaders, just jumpers & entertainers). In short, the entire "Greek alphabet" ideology, when applied to humans is- bunk.

Anonymous said...

"Being openly willing to suffer for a lover is clearly the mark of a beta."

This comment sums up why game is such nonsense.

Eggs are expensive, sperm is cheap.

Father fights the lion while the mother escapes with the kids. It's not "beta" it's k-type Alpha.

Heartiste's definition of "Alpha" is the r-type jungle version of Alpha not the k-type version that was *necessary* to get out of the jungle.

It's poisonous nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"Women are now, through the Courts and the State, given the ability to defect from their agreements to their (reproductive) advantage and their husband's (reproductive) disadvantage"

It's more financial advantage and disadvantage than reproductive. The kids still exist.

Although if you look at it as a pre-emptive strike against men trading their wife in for a younger model by removing his ability to support another family then you could say it damaged his overall reproductive chances - assuming that potential second family wouldn't be equally damaging in the long-term by spreading the financial butter too thin.