TAXOMETRICS AND EVOLUTIONARY THEORY: THE CASE OF THE PSYCHOPATHIC SEXUALITY TAXON. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Harris et al. (2007) claim that they have identified a psychopathic sexuality taxon and that individuals with a history of precocious and coercive sexual behavior and certain psychopathic traits are members of a qualitatively distinct class. According to Harris et al. this taxon represents a naturally selected trait. Because this "selectionist hypothesis" would have profound implications for our understanding of psychopathy, a careful review of the supporting evidence is warranted. A review of Harris et al.'s study raised several questions about their statistical analyses, sample selection, and underlying assumptions. We then address the question of whether latent structure (categorical or dimensional) is related to natural selection: Would knowing that a trait is taxonic provide information about its evolutionary origins? Finally, we address the question of whether and how knowledge of latent structure can inform the more general question of etiology. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

author list (cited authors)

  • Marcus, D. K., Sanford, G. M., Edens, J. F., Knight, R. A., & Walters, G. D.

publication date

  • May 2011