Question: Why does scientific discovery occur at a young age?
Satoshi Kanazawa: Well the basic premise of evolutionary theory is that the ultimate goal of all biological beings is reproductive success and that includes humans as well and in order to achieve reproductive success men and women have to find each other and it’s a major goal of all males, including all men to find and attract mates. In order to do that they try to achieve and obtain high status to attract mates because women are attracted to men of higher status and greater resources and in order to do that early on in their lives before they can achieve they have to put in a lot of effort to obtain higher status and that’s why early on in their lives, when they’re still young, when they’re still looking for mates they tend to achieve more than they do later on in their lives after they have found mates.
Question: Does this explain the link between genius and crime?
Satoshi Kanazawa: The basic contention of my work is that all men are essentially the same, so be they scientists, criminals, artists, musicians and writers, whatever their chosen field of work they do whatever they do in order to get laid, so they try… The reason why scientists and artists achieve more earlier in their lives is the same as the reason why criminals are young and they try to achieve more when they’re young as well.
Question: Why does getting married depress genius?
Satoshi Kanazawa: Because reproductive success is the goal. Once they get married that means they have at least one mate. True, by competing more they can acquire more mates and possibly produce more children, but there are also costs associated with continued competition, so after they get married men tend to shift their effort, reproductive effort from mating to parenting, so now that they have one mate and they have produced some children it’s better for men to stop trying to impress more mates and start investing more into children.
Question: How did you research this?
Satoshi Kanazawa: Okay, well yes, in my study I examined the biographies of 280 scientists and I tracked the age trajectory of when they made the greatest achievements and most of them achieved their highest scientific distinction early on in their life, in their late 20s and early 30s.