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Off topic: Marriage may tame genius
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
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Jul 14, 2003

My husband e-mailed me this article today. Enjoy it

Marriage may tame genius
Thursday, 10 July 2003

Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says.

Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, compiled a database of the biographies of 280 great scientists, noting their age at the time when they made their greatest work.

The data remarkably concur with the brutal observation made by Albert Einstein, who wrote in 1942: "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so."

"Scientific productivity indeed fades with age," Dr Kanazawa says.

"Two-thirds (of all scientists) will have made their most significant contributions before their mid-30s."

But, regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV.

Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to history's hall of fame.

"Scientists rather quickly desist (from their careers) after their marriage, while unmarried scientists continue to make great scientific contributions later in their lives," says Dr Kanazawa.

The energy of youth and the dampening effect of marriage, he adds, are also remarkably similar among geniuses in music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity.

Previous studies have documented that delinquents are overwhelmingly male, and usually start out on the road to crime in their teens.

But those who marry well, subsequently stop committing crime, whereas criminals at the same age who remain unmarried tend to continue their unlawful careers.

Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women.

That craving drives the all-important male hormone, testosterone.

Dr Kanazawa theorises after a man settles down, the testosterone level falls, as does his creative output.

The study appears in in the August issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, published by the Elsevier group.

The British weekly New Scientist reports on it in its upcoming issue on Saturday.


ABC News Online



[Edited at 2003-07-15 02:49]


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
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Who knows? Jul 14, 2003


Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says.


Perhaps it is because children make so much noise that it breaks his concentration. Who knows?


"Scientists rather quickly desist (from their careers) after their marriage, while unmarried scientists continue to make great scientific contributions later in their lives," says Dr Kanazawa.


Do you know what did Edison's wive told him after he invented the electric bulb? "Turn off that light and come to bed!"

This is a really OLD joke.


The energy of youth and the dampening effect of marriage, he adds, are also remarkably similar among geniuses in music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity.


I think to make a scientific break is such a full-time activity that a person needs to be fully focused on it, and since marriage puts a new set of responsibilities on a person, this focus can't be reached again.


But those who marry well, subsequently stop committing crime, whereas criminals at the same age who remain unmarried tend to continue their unlawful careers.


Marriage brings responsabilities, and if a criminal "marries well", can choose to leave crime because of his wife and children.


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two2tango  Identity Verified
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The reverse view Jul 14, 2003

It is funny to see things with a different lense. Maybe there's a point in a man's career when he gets fed-up with the preasure, and he tends to quit the race, and settle down, and have a home and kids...
In this case you could say that the exhaution of genius opens the gates to marriage and kids...
Enrique (who passed his mid-30s without changing the world).


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
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Don't underestimate yourself Jul 15, 2003

two2tango wrote:
Enrique (who passed his mid-30s without changing the world).


Wrong, my friend. For your wife, kids, parents, friends, and a lot of other people, you have changed the world.


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RHELLER
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Were any women scientists included in the study? Jul 15, 2003

Dear Monica:

Was this a male-only sample?

Interesting topic.

Thanks,
Rita


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NancyLynn
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My mind took a similar tangent, Rita Jul 15, 2003

Rita Heller wrote:

Dear Monica:

Was this a male-only sample?

Interesting topic.

Thanks,
Rita


when I noticed the last bit about dropping testosterone levels.
I guess creativity and criminality are testosterone-fueled?


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sylver  Identity Verified
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Testosterone - yeah, right Jul 15, 2003

NancyLynn wrote:

I guess creativity and criminality are testosterone-fueled?


I love it when we come to the part "wasn't me - testosterone made me do it!". For a chimical component to be determined as the source of an action, it must do so in a reproductible way. Meaning, you inject the bloody thing and you get creativity - or criminality. Unless you get a repetitive phenomenon, you ain't got nothing of scientific value.

I would have more tendency to credit "change of purposes" as a cause for this phenomenon. When a man/woman gets maried, he/she takes on a whole new set of priorities and purposes. Does creativity drops? or is it merely used to fullfill other purposes?
A married man/woman has other responsibilities and more stuff to care for then someone single. So of course, he doesn't do the same type of stuff. Can we conclude that his creativity dropped or simply redirected?

In regards to crime, I doubt very much the urge to impress women is a major cause of it. When a guy gets married, he simply has more things to care for and risks more then when he was single.

If I was charged for a crime now, as a single male, big deal. I sure wouldn't like it, but it would be just me. Now, if I had kids and a wife depending on me to live and be happy. That's a completely different story, isn't it? Impressing girls? nonsense, compared to being responsible for one's family.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
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TOPIC STARTER
Answer to Rita Jul 15, 2003

Dear Rita,
I do not know a lot about this topic, beyond what I read in this article. Basically, everything started as a joke between me and my husband (Matt.) My youngest sister got married last week and I was telling my in-laws what a perfect man she married. My husband jumped into the conversation and told me that he was perfect because he was single during that time of perfection and now that he got married, he would indeed change
I disagreed with him on that. Yesterday, to kind of prove his theory, Matt sent me this article. My understanding is that all the scientists who were used in this study were male. It is however an interesting topic and I thought it would be worth posting here.
Monika





Rita Heller wrote:

Dear Monica:

Was this a male-only sample?

Interesting topic.

Thanks,
Rita


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RHELLER
United States
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Good subject matter, Monica - thanks! Jul 16, 2003

Just an interesting note:
Einstein, born in 1879, was married in 1903, divorced (1919)and married again in 1919. His most important work was published in 1916 (see below) at the age of THIRTY-SEVEN (37)!
------------------------------

At the start of his scientific work, Einstein realized the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics and his special theory of relativity stemmed from an attempt to reconcile the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. He dealt with classical problems of statistical mechanics and problems in which they were merged with quantum theory: this led to an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules. He investigated the thermal properties of light with a low radiation density and his observations laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.

In his early days in Berlin, Einstein postulated that the correct interpretation of the special theory of relativity must also furnish a theory of gravitation and in 1916 he published his paper on the general theory of relativity. During this time he also contributed to the problems of the theory of radiation and statistical mechanics.


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