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High quality literature production and mating success

We hypothesized that the quantitative and qualitative literary output of famous writers would correlate with their number of mates, children, and grandchildren.

We further assumed that writing lyric poetry would be more beneficial for mating success than nonpoetry because the former consists of more verbal handicaps (e.g., rhymes) than the latter and thus requires special literary competences.”

– so write Dr Benjamin P. Lange [pictured left] (University of Kassel and University of Göttingen) and Prof. Harald A. Euler [pictured right] (University of Kassel) in: Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Vol 8(1), Jan 2014, 20-30. See: ‘Writers have groupies, too: High quality literature production and mating success’.

“In support of the hypothesis that high-quality literature production is associated with mating success, we found, for both canons [i.e. Germany and US], several correlations between markers of literary success and quality, on the one hand, and mating and reproductive successes, on the other hand. As expected, this was less the case for marriages, whereas the highest correlations were found for number of affairs, girlfriends, and romances, because affairs are mating successes that best serve a male quantitative reproductive strategy.”

They also note, with regard to poets:

“The observations that poets die younger, produce their works earlier, have—at least by trend—more mates than nonpoets, and that poetry constitutes a larger verbal handicap than prose could lead to the hypothesis that poets are relatively more quantitative strategists and, furthermore, have higher levels of testosterone than nonpoets. Testosterone could be one major proximate mechanism behind the (male) motivation for literary displays.”

The paper may be read in full here.

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