Satoshi Kanazawa

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Satoshi Kanazawa
Born (1962-11-16) November 16, 1962 (age 59)
United States
Residence United Kingdom
Fields Evolutionary psychology
Institutions London School of Economics

Satoshi Kanazawa (born November 16, 1962) is a Japanese American evolutionary psychologist based in the United Kingdom, who is currently Reader in Management at the London School of Economics. His work uses evolutionary psychology to analyse social sciences such as sociology, economics, and anthropology.[1] Kanazawa's comments and research on race and intelligence, health and intelligence, ethnic heterogeneity, and the relationship between physical attractiveness and intelligence has been highly controversial. He attributes this to political correctness and censorship,[2] while his opponents have accused him of being a racist[3] and a believer in pseudoscience.[4]

In response to ongoing controversy over views such as that African countries suffer chronic poverty and illness because their people have lower IQs and that black women are objectively less attractive than other races, he was dismissed from writing for Psychology Today. His employer – the London School of Economics – prohibited him from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets for 12 months,[3] and a group of 68 evolutionary psychologists issued an open letter titled "Kanazawa's bad science does not represent evolutionary psychology",[4] and an article was published by 35 on the same theme.[5]

Life and career

He began working at the London School of Economics in 2003.[6]

In February 2008, he started a blog on Psychology Today called "The Scientific Fundamentalist". He was dismissed after the controversy over his "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" article in May 2011.

In September 2012, after the period of 12 months when he was prohibited from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets by the LSE, he was hired by the blog Big Think as a contributing editor; the co-operation was discontinued on 29 March 2013.[7]

Publications and views

Kanazawa has co-written three books with Alan Miller:

  • Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire—Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do
  • Why Men Gamble and Women Buy Shoes: How Evolution Shaped the Way We Behave
  • Order by Accident: The Origins and Consequences of Conformity in Contemporary Japan

He also wrote a blog, The Scientific Fundamentalist, for Psychology Today until his dismissal in 2011.[8]

Kanazawa uses the term Savanna principle to denote the theory that societal difficulties exist because "the human brain" evolved in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, a drastically different environment from today's urban, industrial society.[9] In 2003, in an article in the Journal of Research in Personality, he claimed to show that scientists generally made their biggest discoveries before their mid-30s, and compared this productivity curve to that of criminals.[10]

Attractiveness and sex of offspring

In 2006, he published an article in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, claiming that attractive people are 26% less likely to have male offspring.[11][12] In a letter to the editors regarding Kanazawa's claim that attractive people are more likely to have daughters,[13] Columbia statistician Andrew Gelman points out that a correct interpretation of the regression coefficients in Kanazawa's analysis is that attractive people are 8% more likely to have girls, an error that Kanazawa acknowledges.[14] Gelman argues that Kanazawa's analysis does not convincingly show causality, because of possible endogeneity as well as problematic interpretations of statistical significance in multiple comparisons. While Kanazawa claims that the former error is "merely linguistic" and that he addressed the latter two in his initial article,[12] Gelman maintains that his original criticism remains valid.[15]

Race and attractiveness

In May 2011, he published an article in Psychology Today that explored why black women had been rated less attractive than those of other races in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Subsequent critical independent analysis of the results showed that the difference in assessed attractiveness held for three of the four data sets in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and that there was only a statistically significant race difference in younger women and that it disappeared by early adulthood.[16] Applying his same reasoning to males, Kanazawa also concluded in his article that black men would generally be considered more attractive. Kanazawa was also criticised for arguing that the common factor of subjective interviewer ratings of attractiveness used in his analysis constitutes an objective scale of attractiveness.[17]

The article was subject to controversy and a major left-wing backlash. The earliest backlash was published in the blogosphere, leading to the creation of petitions on and Facebook to have Kanazawa fired.[18] But also other scientists, including a group of evolutionary psychologists publishing a joint statement published criticisms, distancing the discipline of evolutionary psychology from Kanazawa's research.[4] Psychology Today pulled the article and on 27 May 2011, issued an apology to anyone who had been offended and stated that they had not reviewed Kanazawa's article before its publication,[19] and stated that they would police more strictly for controversial content in the future.[8]

In September 2011, Kanazawa apologised to LSE director Judith Rees, saying he "deeply regrets" the "unintended consequences" of the blog and accepting that "some of [his] arguments may have been flawed and not supported by the available evidence". An internal LSE investigation found that Kanazawa had brought the school into disrepute and prohibited him from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets for a year.[20] Following the controversy, an open letter was signed by 68 evolutionary psychologists distancing themselves from Kanazawa and defending evolutionary psychology, writing "The principle of applying evolutionary theory to the study of human psychology and behaviour is sound, and there is a great deal of high-quality, nuanced, culturally-sensitive evolutionary research ongoing in the UK and elsewhere today".[4] In response, an international group of 23 scientists published a letter in Times Higher Education defending Kanazawa's work.[21]

World War III

In a 2008 blog post for Psychology Today titled "Why we are losing this war", Kanazawa claimed that Americans were unable to win in the Middle East—and in the "global clash of civilizations"—because they do not hate their enemies enough.[22] His blog post continued: "Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost."

Correlation of health and intelligence

In 2006, Kanazawa used the "Savanna principle" to explain the correlation of health and IQ vs. health and wealth. He argued that IQ is a better predictor for health than wealth or inequality in most regions of the world, except in Sub-Saharan Africa, where health is more strongly correlated to wealth than to IQ, because Sub-Saharan Africa represents an "evolutionary familiar" environment with lesser selection pressure on IQ than elsewhere.[23] In a criticism of the paper George Ellison (2007) argued that the conclusion was based on "flawed assumptions, questionable data, inappropriate analysis and biased interpretations".[24]

Criticism of multiculturalism

In 2012, Kanazawa wrote that a "'multicultural society' is a logical and physical impossibility". He said that "the artificial language of Esperanto never took off, despite its numerous favorable linguistic features" because "language cannot exist without a society of speakers speaking it daily and interacting with each other."[25]


  1. Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, LSE, retrieved 6 September 2006
  2. Psychology Today: "If the truth offends, it’s our job to offend", 2008
  3. "LSE lecturer Dr Satoshi Kanazawa tells of race blog 'regret'" "BBC, 16 September 2011"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Kanazawa Statement" at EP
  5. Scott Barry Kaufman, "Satoshi Kanazawa Does Not Speak for All of Evolutionary Psychology", Huffington Post, 18 May 2011
  7. Hopkins, Phillip (29 March 2013). "The End of a Bold Experiment: Big Think and Satoshi Kanazawa". Big Think.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Psychology Today Agrees to remove Controversial Author Satoshi Kanazawa from Website; Implements New Policies to Prevent Inflammatory Content". Color of Change. 1 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Kanazawa, Satoshi (2004) The Savanna principle. Managerial and decision economics, 25 (1). pp. 41–54. ISSN 0143-6570
  10. Satoshi Kanazawa (August 2003). "Why productivity fades with age: The crime–genius connection". Journal of Research in Personality. 37 (4): 257–272. doi:10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00538-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Beautiful people have girls" John Von Radowitz,, 2 August 2006
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kanazawa, Satoshi (7 January 2007). "Beautiful parents have more daughters: A further implication of the generalized Trivers–Willard hypothesis (gTWH)" (PDF reprint). Journal of Theoretical Biology. 244 (1): 133–140. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.07.017. PMID 16949101.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Gelman, Andrew (7 April 2007). "Letter to the editors regarding some papers of Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa" (PDF Reprint). Journal of Theoretical Biology. 345 (3): 597–599. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.11.005. PMID 17184794.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Kanazawa, Satoshi; Reyniers, Diane J. (2009). "The role of height in the sex difference in intelligence" (PDF Reprint). American Journal of Psychology. 122 (4): 527–536.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Note 2
  15. Gelman, Andrew; Weakliem, David (2009). "Of Beauty, Sex and Power" (PDF Reprint). American Scientist. 97 (3): 310–316. doi:10.1511/2009.79.310.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. [1] Psychology Today: Black Women are Not (Rated) Less Attractive!: Our Independent Analysis of the Add Health Dataset
  17. Khadijah Britton, [2] "Scientific American: The Data Are In Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa"
  18. Angus Hutchison. "'Black women less attractive' blogpost: Anger grows". International Business Times, 20 May 2011.
  19. "An Apology from Psychology Today" Kaja Perina, 27 May 2011, Psychology Today
  20. Jack Grove (15 September 2011). "LSE scholar admits race analysis was 'flawed'". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Sinned against, not sinning" 16 June 2011, Times Higher Education
  22. (archive)
  23. Kanazawa, Satoshi (11 November 2006). "Mind the gap... in intelligence: Re-examining the relationship between inequality and health" (PDF reprint). British Journal of Health Psychology. 11 (4): 623–642. doi:10.1348/135910705X69842. PMID 17032488.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Ellison, George T. H. (May 2007). "Health, wealth and IQ in sub-Saharan Africa: challenges facing the 'Savanna Principle' as an explanation for global inequalities in health". British Journal of Health Psychology (PDF reprint)|format= requires |url= (help). 12 (2): 191–227. doi:10.1348/135910707X180972. PMID 17456282.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Retrieved 28 November 2012

External links