A new study of male achievement may offer clues to help explain the science behind the crime-prone years of young men.
Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, says an age factor links productivity in any endeavor, including crime, according to the New York Times.
Young men are driven to seek wealth and prestige because these attributes are attractive to women. Once men’s urges to start a family have been satisfied, the wellsprings of productivity, whether in science, art or crime, run dry, Dr. Kanazawa suggests.
In support of his thesis, published in the current Journal of Research in Personality, he notes that marriage seems to have a quenching effect on both creativity and crime. Scientists who remain unmarried, he says, reached their peak of productivity at age 40, much later than the wedded sort.
Criminals, too, retain their productivity much longer if unwed but tend to hang up their crowbars after marriage. “Both crime and genius are manifestations of young men’s competitive desires to gain access to women’s reproductive resources,” he concludes.