Gas station without pumps

2011 March 19

Green beard effect

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:13
Tags: , ,

According to Wikipedia

A green-beard effect occurs when a gene, or linked genes, produce three phenotypic effects:

  1. a perceptible trait—the hypothetical “green beard”;
  2. recognition of this trait in others; and
  3. preferential treatment to those recognized.

I tested out this theory on St. Patrick’s Day:


Testing the green beard effect.

It was certainly perceptible, and I would have recognized anyone else who had such a beard, but I didn’t detect much favorable treatment.  OK, I did get a few people saying “nice beard!”

Luckily the green beard was not genetic, or even epigenetic, but washed out with a shower in the evening.


  1. Not even a free beer? Sheesh :) Well, I thought it was a hoot. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Mylene — 2011 March 19 @ 20:04 | Reply

  2. No free beer. In fact, I spent almost $100 buying pizza for the class, since they had a 2-hour poster session followed by a 3-hour oral presentation session for their final exam and there wasn’t time for them to go for dinner in between. I didn’t get home until 11:30 p.m—too late for me to be drinking beer.

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 March 20 @ 12:50 | Reply

  3. *giggle* I love it! Dr. O’Gasstation, that’s you. Reminded me of the following quotation:

    “He very much disapproved of a new game that the university students had started recently, that of shouting ‘beaver’ at the top of their voices whenever they met in the street a man with a beard, and he believed that there was something even ruder that they shouted when they met a man with a beard riding a green bicycle, which, fortunately, wasn’t often.”

    There was apparently a game in which one got a certain number of points for seeing a man with a beard, a certain amount more for a red beard, and top points (or pints for those of drinking age) for a man with a red beard riding a green bicycle. I don’t know what a green-bearded man riding a non-green bicycle counts as. Possibly an inverse beaver.

    Comment by HelenS — 2011 March 20 @ 13:20 | Reply

    • Well, I had a green beard and a red bicycle. Does that count for anything?

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 March 20 @ 17:37 | Reply

      • Oh, *definitely* inverse beaver, then! Didn’t know your bicycle was red.

        Comment by HelenS — 2011 March 21 @ 08:13 | Reply

  4. […] Filtering the literature by only reading and seeking to publish in the same few places as everyone else is a sort of green beard, I think. It produces a perceptible trait, namely papers in Nature and Science. It also causes recognition of, and preferential treatment of, those bearing that perceptible trait. I admit I’m still fuzzy on whether the “traits” here are attributes of individuals or journals or both, so maybe the analogy can’t actually be made all that precise. But don’t let that stop you from showing up to the Ecology Letters reception at the ESA meeting dressed like this. […]

    Pingback by Citation concentration, filtering, incentives, and green beards | Dynamic Ecology — 2012 July 16 @ 11:45 | Reply

  5. […] Green beard effect […]

    Pingback by 2012 in review « Gas station without pumps — 2012 December 31 @ 11:18 | Reply

  6. […] recently, I’ve colored my beard for St. Patrick’s Day, but not removed […]

    Pingback by Shaving my head (and maybe my beard) | Gas station without pumps — 2017 October 24 @ 14:06 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: