Re: Breast Size (Was: Re: Homosexuality and genetic determinism)

Herb Huston (
3 Jun 1995 08:47:51 -0400

In article <>,
Eric Bohlman <> wrote:
}James G. Acker ( wrote:
}: I'm not advocating this as a social practice, but the
}: average length of marriages (mean time to divorce is approximately
}: 4 years) shows this to be a social pattern. (Cited in _Discover_,
}: and there are books about this topic.)

Not quite. The mode, not the mean, was at four years.

}Something about this figure strikes me as fishy. How was it derived? By
}looking at divorce records?

The source data came from the demographic yearbooks of the United Nations
from 1947 on and covering 62 nations.

} If so, than it doesn't take into account the
}marriages that never ended in divorce. Or was it derived by following a
}random sample of married couples over a period of time, using proper
}techniques for dealing with what statisticians call "censored data" (data
}where you know that, for example, a marriage lasted at least ten years,
}but not how much longer, because, for example, the couple was still
}married at the end of the study. This sort of thing happens all the time
}in longevity and survival studies)?

The book to which Jim alludes is Helen E. Fisher, _Anatomy of Love: The
Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery, and Divorce_, 1992, Norton, New
York; ISBN 0-393-03423-2. Dr. Fisher discusses what she calls "The
Four-Year Itch" in Chapter 5, and she includes an appendix that has bar
charts. For her article, see pages 22-33 of the October 1987 issue of

-- Herb Huston