Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Enforcing norms may be for personal gain, not to maintain social order (at least amongst Santa Barbara undergraduates)

Posted 28 Sep 2012 / 2

PLoS ONE “What Are Punishment and Reputation for?” Once again, a valuable and ingenious experiment over-reaches on the meaning of its finding, and the over-reach bleeds into the popular media. This is a really valuable experiment in that it asks about the scale at which social norms are enforced. It is significant that participants in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Networks, Social Norms

Think that the DNA transfer is only from parents to offspring? Think again!

Posted 27 Sep 2012 / 0

Science Now “Bearing Sons Can Alter Your Mind” Once again, epigenetic effects complicate our understanding of biological evolution! Two interesting omissions in this article: The fail to point out that female fetuses might also be donating DNA to mom: it is just easier to detect the male DNA unequivocally; and The real implication here is Read More

A Minor Post, Epigenetics, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Health & Medicine, Human Evolution, Phenotypic Plasticity, Sex and Reproduction, Web

Can playing games make the world a better place?

Posted 27 Sep 2012 / 1

One of the very talented students I work with in the Envirolutions club, Rhett Bradbury, pointed me towards the work of Jane McGonigal, a game designer and evangelist for the idea that games can save the world. For Rhett, her work is important to his Master’s thesis in graphic design, as he is considering how to move Read More

A Major Post, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Development, Emotion, Evolutionary Psychology, Happiness, Health & Medicine, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Phenotypic Plasticity, Play, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Social Networks, Subsistence, Web

Some conservatives actually see the public health and economic dilemmas posed by greenhouse gas emissions

Posted 26 Sep 2012 / 0

All Things Considered “New Groups Make A Conservative Argument On Climate Change“

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Economics, Political Science, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts

Can proper education allow reputation to foster action on climate change?

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

Daily Kos “Evolution, Cooperation, and Climate” I like some of the ideas that are expressed here. In a culture where the threat of climate change was well-understood, those who seek to deny its existence would be marginalized. It is true that history might judge those currently fighting against action on climate change, but current reputation Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Cooperation, Group Selection, Reputation, Web

Lack of complete transparency presents an obstacle but not a block to cooperation

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Evolution of cooperation and skew under imperfect information“

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Political Science, Social Networks

Chimpanzees, our closest relatives, cannot triangulate punishment

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “No third-party punishment in chimpanzees” This is pretty astonishing, but perhaps not entirely surprising. As numerous other studies have shown, there are many qualitative differences in the cognition and resulting behaviors of humans and chimpanzees. Whether the fact that chimps do not maintain a sense of ‘social justice’ Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Primates, Psychology, Punishment

What’s ironic is that the creationists do not realize that we evolutionists might be trying to understand their success

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

CreationRevolution “If Morality Evolved, Is It Righteous?” It is striking how this reaction lacks any self-consciousness. Research like that referred to in this post is a potential means of understanding how religions and their particular constructed righteousness (in other words their morals, what they believe ought to be) can succeed.

A Minor Post, Altruism, Cooperation, Creationism, Cultural Evolution, Game Theory, Punishment, Web

Agent-based modeling instead of game theory: I agree!

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

The Society Pages “Progressing from game theory to agent based modelling to simulate social emergence” This is a nice albeit pretty choppy explanation for why we should not listen to orthodox/traditional game theorists. The only argument I see missing here is that game theory relies on the assumption of a well-mixed population: even the Prisoner’s Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Emergence, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Individual-based Models, Spatially Explicit Modeling, Web

Punishment, properly rewarded, can promote cooperation without corruption

Posted 20 Sep 2012 / 0

Public Library of Science ONE “Evolving Righteousness in a Corrupt World” In the race to build the next over-simplified model of cooperative dynamics, it will be interesting to see how the media runs with this one. Is this a “scientists discover the evolutionary rationale for honorable police” moment? I think it is important to take Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Punishment, Social Networks, System Stability