The article hints about the functioning of a genetic variable and how it interacts within a social environment.
Here is the teaser video which only hints at a small part of the article. This type of research will lead to many books and the genetic component will only loom larger as we are on the cusp of the $1,000 genome.
When I was helping to manage a Gene sample gathering project that was to be the World's largest, a single Genome cost about $100 million to sequence. My estimate of the cost curve was that we would hit $1,000 by 2010. We will probably be there in 2011, not bad analysis.
The issues mentioned in the article include:
- Violence and bullies (individual bullies often get ostracized from the group and suffer biologically due to the exclusion)
- Socialization and group conflict(some interesting narratives about conflict and the maintenance of a dominance hierarchy)
- Non-linear phase transition in group dominance (rapid downfall after a coup for one group)
- Genetic potential realized relative to environmental factors specifically what we would call "nurturing or good mothering".
There is even hint about the fascinating Dunbar limit which I think holds one key to optimal group organization. Great article for the anthro-socio geeks like me. I will probably read the Atlantic article 2-3 times as it is dense and not quite scientifically conclusive in many areas, but fascinating all the less at the hints it gives to future questions in regards the role of genes, culture and environmental determinism in the face of genetic potentials expressed.