You may not think a study of social spiders would have anything to say about such disparate topics as racial diversity and pickup, but that’s just because you haven’t taken a fistful of shrooms and gone on a vision quest.
…these oddball spider socialites may offer fresh insight into an array of human mysteries: where our personalities come from, why some people can’t open their mouths at a party while others can’t keep theirs shut and, why, no matter our age, we can’t seem to leave high school behind. [...]
[Researchers] have determined that character-building in social spiders is a communal affair. While they quickly display the first glimmerings of a basic predisposition — a relative tendency toward shyness or boldness, tetchiness or docility — that personality is then powerfully influenced by the other spiders in the group.
In laboratory experiments, the researchers showed that spiders exposed to the same group day after day developed stronger and more distinctive personalities than those that were shifted from one set of spiders to the next. Moreover, the spiders in a stable social setting grew ever less like one another over time.
In other words, far from fostering behavioral conformity, a predictable social life accentuated each spider’s quirks and personal style, rather as the characters in a sitcom — the Goth girl, the huckster, the lovable buffoon — rise ever more to type with every passing laugh-tracked week.
“The longer the spiders were with the same individuals, the stronger their personalities became, and the more different they became from each other,” Dr. Pruitt said. “The aggressive ones became much more aggressive, the docile ones more docile.” The consistency of their behaviors also mounted with time, he said, “to the point where they seemed almost rigid.”
As most readers are here to learn how better to attract women in a world gone mad, the story within this story is what group familiarity and uniformity say about your chances to escape your beta box, (or, conversely, to exploit your alpha cred).
Summarizing, a lack of inter-group diversity (say, growing up in an idyllic all-white suburb where Rush blasted from angst-y teen bedrooms) actually increases individual diversity, through the mechanism of amplifying preexisting personality differences among same-group members. In contrast, a lot of inter-group diversity (say, moving to a SWPL hipster enclave in a minority white city soaked in vibrancy that makes daily living an adventure in survival) produces a uniformity of thought and, CH will note, of aesthetic within groups, which is why we see SWPL hoods in nearly every major American city converging on the same farm-to-table Obama-loving liberal hypocrite norm.
Paradoxically, group cohesiveness creates more individual diversity, while inter-group diversity creates more intra-group uniformity. Diversity + proximity = conformity.
In other words, the diversity that really matters — diversity of thought and personality — flourishes in less racially diverse environs.
That’s the diversity angle of this spider study, What about the game angle?
Equally dramatic was the impact of social conditions on the boldness test. Stable spider groups, composed of six spiders that remained together for up to four weeks, showed the greatest variety between individuals, the greatest mix of bold and shy, as well as the highest individual consistency: The pebble-playing times of the boldies grew shorter while those of the timids lengthened.
Among shifting spider groups, by contrast, the boldness scores proved far less predictable, as though the spiders didn’t quite know what was expected of them. [...]
Alison M. Bell, who studies stickleback personality at the University of Illinois, says the spider work neatly illustrates the mix of plasticity and predilection that underlies personality.
“I think it’s such an appealing idea that social interactions could cause social niches, and it resonates with our own experience as humans,” she said. “When you go into a group, your behavior changes depending on the nature of that group, but it can only change so far.”
Yet so long. Soon after getting results from the experiments, Dr. Laskowski met with a group of friends she hadn’t seen since graduating from high school a decade earlier.
“All of a sudden I’m high-school Kate again,” she said. “Just being in that social environment completely reinforced my old behaviors. It was my social niche, that’s what I felt.”
Your identity can be altered by removing (or removing yourself from) social dynamics that reinforce your old identity. Personality is part predilection, part plasticity (ratios subject to debate), and what this spider study hints at is that if you are a docile beta male who wants to inject some alpha characteristics into your behavioral regime, you can move the needle on your suite of personality traits by getting the hell away from stale social settings in which you are known as the niceguy who doesn’t pick up women.
For some men, this won’t be news. Many a former beta male has testified to social and sexual success that accrued after he left his comfortable social circle, or his hometown, for strange new lands and new friends who didn’t know of his past nature. Like the rattled spiders who got confused when their social landscape shifted, the beta male will be able to more easily experiment with bold alpha moves in a new environment filled with new people who haven’t yet pigeonholed him. Additionally, the alpha males who luxuriated in the rewards that familiar people’s expectations granted them will be less bold in new environments, thus paving a path for uppity beta males to exploit the slick seducer niche.