Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

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Khemehekis
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Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Khemehekis » 23 Aug 2019 01:49

I get a lot of Quora questions about Myers-Briggs. Today I received an answer from Andreas Hofer in my email box, an answer wherein he linked to his blog on evolutionary psychology.

Hofer says NP's (INFP, ENFP, INTP, ENTP) are usually hunter-gatherers and SJ's (ISFJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ESTJ) are usually farmers. These are two inborn mindsets that evolved with humanity. We started out hunter-gatherers, but then farmers become dominant over the centuries as the world became more agricultural. Agricultural societies tend to be authoritarian and have a xenophobic fear of the out-group, viewing nonconformity as a threat to their society and to their own good.

You can read the blog entry here:

[link removed by admin]

I, Khemehekis, am:

High on personality trait “openness”, low on “conscientiousness”

Strongly (actively) egalitarian

Tendency towards out-group sociality, more accepting of diversity (e.g. different sexuality, refugees, etc.) (and myself bisexual! --Khemehekis)

More liberal ideology

Less sexual dimorphism

Earlier onset of puberty

Neither monogamous nor adulterous -- I don't date

Tendency to wanting fewer children (zero children to be exact)

Relaxed child-rearing attitude

Night owl

"Lazier” (when it comes to physical work and chores)

Highly rebellious when feeling personal freedom and values are threatened

Higher interest in small-talk and gossip

That makes 10 hunter-gatherer traits and 2 farmer traits, plus 1 "neither" (although zero partners is closer to one than many, so I guess that could make 11 hunter-gatherer traits).

Plus, I'm an ENFP, which is a hunter-gatherer type.

What are you?
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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by LinguistCat » 23 Aug 2019 02:21

I'm INXP (maybe slightly more Feeling than Thinking but not by much) and I am also strongly in the hunter-gatherer camp.

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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Salmoneus » 24 Aug 2019 22:46

Your Regularly Scheduled Reminder: Myers-Briggs is complete nonsense. It is literally a textbook example of a pseudoscience. Its concepts were developed off the top of someone's head, and the 'research' supporting it is a self-contained pyramid scheme (in that the research is funded by sales of their products, and in most cases the researchers themselves are also salesmen for and investors in the product, and published in a 'journal' created solely for the purposes of advertising the product) that intentionally keeps itself disconnected from mainstream psychometry. It is completely inconsistent, as it mostly measures mood rather than any long-term characteristic - 50% of people get different answers a month later, and 67% of people get different answers a year later, and to the extent that there's any continuity in results it's likely to be largely the result of people remembering what result they got last time and shaping the answers accordingly. It has no statistical validity - factor analysis shows that, to the extent that it measures anything, the conflates real factors together while presenting 'independent' factors that are actually strongly correlated). It has no demonstrated utility in any practical purpose, as it tells you nothing meaningful about the subject. The extent to which subjects feel it is accurate (and they do) is no greater than if you give them randomly-allotted 'type' descriptions instead - it's basically astrology, in that sense. It's no better than 'generation theory' or 'the four humours'.

Its fundamental problem - aside from being founded on no evidence, and then ignoring any evidence that contradicts it - is that there's no such thing as psychological 'types' in this sense. Most people therefore cluster almost exactly in the 'middle' of the MB chart, and whether they fall on one side of the line or the other is almost arbitrary.




And now an update: this 'hunter-gatherer vs farmer' stuff is also clearly nonsense. Its founded on lazy stereotypes with no basis in reality - the idea that hunters have ADHD clearly comes from someone who hasn't lain motionless for half a day waiting for prey, and the idea that hunter-gatherers are "sharing and caring" comes from someone who hasn't seen the statistics on pre-state murder rates (which are/were far higher than in agricultural civilisation).
What they've done is just round up a rag-bag of random traits associated with being a good person and a bit of an outsider, and then presented them to the internet in order to stoke the self-esteem of outsiders on the internet who want to know why they're better than everybody else. P.T. Barnum would be proud.

It's particularly notable how the characteristics of "hunter-gatherers" - acceptance of minority sexualities, sleeping in late, being left-wing, thinking young people shouldn't be disciplined so harshly by their elders, having promiscuous sex, etc - are just traits of "young people" (i.e. the target audience for ego-fluffing on this sort of blog). Needless to say, traits that change so much with age have no business on a list of things purporting to be related to ethnic origin. It also, btw, is worth saying in bold that although a few small traits may have been shown to have some genetic correlations in micro-scale studies, across populations as a whole personality is not correlated to race. Because race is exactly what this 'theory' is about, given that descent from farmers is an almost entirely racially-determined characteristic. In particular, I think it is borderline disgusting to be promulgating a 'theory' that purports to show, on the basis of zero evidence, that "hunter-gatherers" (i.e. black people) are "genetically" predisposed to be "more lazy" than descendents of "farmers" (i.e. white people). I don't think that's the intent, but it's also not existing in a vacuum.

Going down the list:
- hunter-gatherers have to be extremely conscientious, and they are generally not very open - they tend to live in violent and xenophobic, in-breeding societies. Farmers, on the other hand, tend to live in multicultural societies, where greater urbanisation and mobility throws together a wider array of people. [meanwhile: oh, hunter-gatherers are good and farmers are evil, what a surprise]
- hunter-gatherers are more materially egalitarian, by dint of not having so much stuff to own, but they are just as status-seeking as farmers. Status-seeking is a feature of primates in general. [oh, HGs are good and farmers are evil...]
- we have no reason to think hunter-gatherers were accepting of alternative sexualities or of refugees. Many hunter-gatherer societies have strong gender roles, and they are mostly insular and dominated by rigid and entrenched kinship groups, making them generally unwelcoming to immigrants. [oh, HGs are good and farmers are evil...]
- Hunter-gatherers were not particularly "liberal" - they tended to be traditionalist societies. Many farmer societies were relatively liberal socially, as well as sometimes quite 'liberal' economically, in the sense of having more planned economies. [oh, HGs are good and farmers are evil]
- gender roles can be just as strong for hunter-gatherers as for farmers, though it varies a lot from society to society [oh, HGs are good and farmers are evil...]
- the onset of puberty in modern people is almost totally the result of children's environment (primarily diet and exposure to certain contaminants)
- the idea that hunter-gatherers were 'more monogamous' is risible. In reality, it's exactly the opposite: hunter-gatherers are more likely to tolerate premarital sex, promiscuity, sex outside marriage and serial monogamy; it's agriculturalists (with their worries about land inheritance) who tried to impose strict rules on sexual partners. And wait, hunter-gatherers are 'open' and 'liberal' and accepting of 'diverse sexualities'... but also commited to monogamy!? This is just a list of "things the author likes"...
- hunter-gatherers want fewer children? Hardly! While there are famously some hunter-gatherer groups in extreme environments (mostly deserts) with low fertility, and a number more with high fertility but high infanticide rates, in general hunter-gatherer and farming groups have the same fertility levels. Indeed, in general hunter-gatherers are likely to be MORE open to having more children - their death rate keeps most HG populations well below carrying capacity, so they can have children whenever they want, whereas farmers are often near the limit of their environment's capacity and hence have to introduce family planning...
- 'relaxed child-rearing'? Maybe. But in general there's more vital information to learn for hunter-gatherers and young hunter-gatherers are expected to become full members of society younger; whereas farmers often have more 'protected', spoilt childhoods (less work, more toys). So I'd be surprised.
- Hunter-gatherers are night-owls? I guess it depends what they're hunting and gathering. Certainly, from knowing some of the huntin-shootin-fishin brigade, they're not famous for their lie-ins!
- Lazier? Well, overall, hunter-gatherers do have more leisure, so they're more idle. But are they lazier? Their tasks are often just as time-sensitive as those of farmers, and with higher costs for failure (farmers have more food security), so I doubt it.
- Highly rebellious? I don't know. But many hunter-gather societies are almost military, at least when it comes to certain critical tasks, and it's not like the history of civilisation is one of meek obedience...
- less interested in gossip? Clearly they've not read a lot of anthropology... and farmers are interested in small talk? Ha! They don't know many farmers either!



This is not evidence-based theorising. This is pseudoscience based on lazy, armchair stereotypes. And it's also racist. And scanning the guy's blog and twitter, it's alarming the kind of bullshit he's selling. For instance, he refers to "gifted, created, autistic, bipolar, borderline and other high oxytocin minds" - a big thing of his seems to be some high-oxytocin gene and "intuitive, gifted and autistic" children. But for one thing, 'intuitive', 'bipolar', 'borderline' and 'autistic' are all completely different things (and indeed autism is more associated with intuition deficits than surfeits), and what little research there's been suggests that autism is associated with low oxytocin (or normal oxytocin but lack of sensitivity), and indeed artificial oxytocin intake has short-term benefits in socialisation for autistic people.


The guy is a snake oil merchant.

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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Reyzadren » 24 Aug 2019 23:55

The problem I have with this claim/theory is that it doesn't address the remainder of the MBTI (what about the SP and NJ types?). Therefore, it is incomplete and doesn't even consistently describe itself.
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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Aszev » 25 Aug 2019 00:44

Myers-Briggs (MBTI) lacks any form of scientific validity, and is essentially a modern-day horoscope. Since the original topic (unwittingly or not) promotes MBTI as meaningful, I have removed the link, as I do not wish for this forum to become a platform for spreading the notion that there is anything more to it than entertainment value.
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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Khemehekis » 30 Aug 2019 02:40

First, I'd like to deal with the MBTI-bashing. Most of the set-out-to-debunk claims written by Myers-Briggs skeptics show either lack of awareness of the variety of people (including non-MBTI-affiliated psychologists) who have used and endorsed it, or misunderstanding of how soft sciences like psychology, and in particular psychometrics, work.

House Rule 2 reads: "Note that this includes controversial or extraordinary claims and opinions. Repeatedly posting these without providing evidence and proper argumentation to back them up will be considered trolling." I will thereby support my position with evidence and proper argumentation. Have a look at Debunking the MBTI Debunkers, by Reckful. (And as you'll see in this article, a lot more journals than just The Journal of Psychological Type have published work on Myers-Briggs.)

Salmoneus, your case against the hunter-gatherer vs. farmer theory appears well-researched and accurate. I have a few comments, though:
It's particularly notable how the characteristics of "hunter-gatherers" - acceptance of minority sexualities, sleeping in late, being left-wing, thinking young people shouldn't be disciplined so harshly by their elders, having promiscuous sex, etc
A nitpick: Hofer says that it's being monogamous that's characteristic of hunter-gatherers, and being promiscuous that's characteristic of farmers. You dealt with this one below, though.
are just traits of "young people" (i.e. the target audience for ego-fluffing on this sort of blog). Needless to say, traits that change so much with age have no business on a list of things purporting to be related to ethnic origin.
I agree that these are all traits of young people, or at least young people today. The number one reason I believe Howe & Strauss' generational theory has been debunked, in fact, is because they predicted in 1997, when the oldest Millennials were 15 by their count, that Millennials would come of age as young people pushing for conventional social norms of behavior in every arena of life, bringing back traditional gender roles, being intolerant of eccentricity, pushing a heteronormative worldview, marching off to war in huge numbers, accepting the draft with zeal (what draft?), opposing drug use and drug legalization, listening to music like the Backstreet Boys and *N SYNC (even the over-16 set and even the boys), dressing in a clean-cut, preppy, "all-American" style, getting behind the president of the Fourth Turning era, believing kids have too much freedom instead of seeking youth rights, trusting corporations and big brands, being loyal to their own corporation, going along with injustices to "keep the peace", and valuing unity, order and stability for their own sake. In their teens, twenties, and thirties! Howe & Strauss do say that Millennials will lighten up on their kids and be permissive when they have their own brats, but only once a new Ozzie-and-Harriet-like era begins and Millennials say, "Gee, our strict upbringing made us follow leaders too blindly! We almost followed King George and the Trumperor off a cliff! We better lighten up on our own children so they don't run the risk of doing what we did!"

Forget the arguments that generation theory is apophenic, that all cyclical theories in the social sciences are pseudoscience, etc. At least Howe & Strauss made many falsifiable predictions. And falsified they have been. </generation theory rant>
descendents of "farmers" (i.e. white people).
Or Asian people. Many of the biggest agricultural civilizations have been in Asia (China comes to mind). There have also been some agricultural civilizations in the Middle East. The Phoenicians weren't farmers due to their lack of arable land, and the Jews were primarily religious thinkers rather than farmers, but Sumer was certainly agricultural (and the civilization is believed to have collapsed when their crops failed).

Then again, in contemporary America, Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese) and Middle Easterners (Arabs, Lebanese, Jews, Persians) are stereotyped as people who work and study hard, so Hofer's theory fits the popular stereotype.
- the idea that hunter-gatherers were 'more monogamous' is risible. In reality, it's exactly the opposite: hunter-gatherers are more likely to tolerate premarital sex, promiscuity, sex outside marriage and serial monogamy; it's agriculturalists (with their worries about land inheritance) who tried to impose strict rules on sexual partners. And wait, hunter-gatherers are 'open' and 'liberal' and accepting of 'diverse sexualities'... but also commited to monogamy!? This is just a list of "things the author likes"...
I puzzled over this too.
- Hunter-gatherers are night-owls? I guess it depends what they're hunting and gathering. Certainly, from knowing some of the huntin-shootin-fishin brigade, they're not famous for their lie-ins!
This is an excellent point. I remember getting up early in the morning to go fishing in Colorado when I was 9. (But at least farmers are pretty much early-to-bed, early-to-rise.)
- Highly rebellious? I don't know. But many hunter-gather societies are almost military, at least when it comes to certain critical tasks, and it's not like the history of civilisation is one of meek obedience...
That last sentence is true. There have been wars and revolutions, not just from barbarians, but within civilizations. I think what Hofer is getting at, though, is what Mark Rosenfelder wrote in The Conlanger's Lexipedia: "Premodern agricultural states (but not hunter-gatherers or nomads) are big on authority. Rulers are to be obeyed even when they're lunatics; savants advuse matching one's belief system to the state's; fathers may have life-or-death powers over even adult children." (p. 330)
For instance, he refers to "gifted, created, autistic, bipolar, borderline and other high oxytocin minds" - a big thing of his seems to be some high-oxytocin gene and "intuitive, gifted and autistic" children. But for one thing, 'intuitive', 'bipolar', 'borderline' and 'autistic' are all completely different things
True. It seems to be "chatty, sports/shopping-loving neurotypicals vs. everyone else".
(and indeed autism is more associated with intuition deficits than surfeits)
That was what I thought too.

Just going by the way Myers-Briggs proponents describe the theory, without getting into the question of whether Myers-Briggs is valid, I would have predicted the archetypal Aspie to be:

I: Because Aspies are usually shy and not interested in socializing
S: Because they're literal-minded, concrete thinkers, and are often said to "lack imagination"
T: Because they're ruled by their head, not by their heart
J: Because they're orderly and like rules and routine

So: ISTJ

What Hofer is probably thinking of, though, is things like this:

https://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=62654

You'll notice that more than half the people answering this question on WrongPlanet, an Asperger's site, said they were either INTP or INTJ.

Also: the "like rules and routine" part is puzzling, because Hofer says autistic people are hunter-gatherers, and yet he says farmers like routine and hunter-gatherers dislike it. I'm going to ask him how he reconciles this.
and what little research there's been suggests that autism is associated with low oxytocin (or normal oxytocin but lack of sensitivity), and indeed artificial oxytocin intake has short-term benefits in socialisation for autistic people.
I thank you, Salmoneus, for teaching me this. I'm also going to ask Andreas Hofer about this.
Last edited by Khemehekis on 30 Aug 2019 05:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are you a hunter-gatherer or a farmer?

Post by Khemehekis » 30 Aug 2019 02:44

Reyzadren wrote:
24 Aug 2019 23:55
The problem I have with this claim/theory is that it doesn't address the remainder of the MBTI (what about the SP and NJ types?). Therefore, it is incomplete and doesn't even consistently describe itself.
I checked out Andreas Hofer's blog some more, and he mentions a third type: Pastoralists (them wily cowboys). He says pastoralist corresponds to SP's.

This is how he describes pastoralists:

Early-onset of puberty

Tendency towards polygamy

Look for: playmates

Reluctant to get married and have children when there are so many options in modern life

High divorce rates due to promiscuous tendencies

more status-oriented

More In-group social

Dislike routine, artful
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Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 60,137 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

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