Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

My review of “Origins of Altruism and Cooperation” is published in QRB

Posted 30 Aug 2013 / 0

I am excited to report that my review of Origins of Altruism and Cooperation was just published in the Quarterly Review of Biology. Although it requires some work to get through, this collection presents a really important counter-narrative to the prevailing attitude in evolutionary biology that altruism is simply self-interest in disguise. The book uses Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Empathy, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Kin Selection, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Primatology, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Social Norms

New evidence of whooping crane culture on the rebound

Posted 30 Aug 2013 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “Wise Old Whooping Cranes Keep Captive-Bred Fledglings On Track” What’s incredible here is the fact that scientists studying these cranes can show — even with their very small sample size — that experienced birds are aiding less-experienced birds in successful migration.

A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Cultural Evolution, Habitat Destruction, Radio & Podcasts

Ethnocentric cooperation dominates humanitarian cooperation in the computer… so why does humanitarianism persist?

Posted 23 Aug 2013 / 2

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation “The Evolutionary Dominance of Ethnocentric Cooperation” Human beings are not always (or completely) engulfed in a war of tribe against tribe. In other words, we are not strictly “ethnocentric” in our cooperation: we are willing to cooperate with those not directly identified as our “in group”. This modeling Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Individual-based Models, Kin Selection

Schadenfreude as an instinct born of being a social, hierarchical animal

Posted 23 Aug 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “On the Failures of Others“

A Minor Post, Competition, Emotion

Cooperative child-rearing pays dividends for ruffed lemurs, irrespective of kinship

Posted 23 Aug 2013 / 0

Mongabay News “The evolution of cooperation: communal nests are best for ruffed lemurs” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology “Communal nesting, kinship, and maternal success in a social primate” What I find particularly interesting about these findings is that they appear to show that kinship — if a factor at all — might well be a byproduct Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Kin Selection, Mating systems, Mutualism, Reciprocity, Reproductive Fitness, Tropical Forest, Web

National Geographic “The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion”

Posted 23 Aug 2013 / 0

National Geographic “The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion” This article provides a great overview of the kind of work that Craig Packer’s research group does in the Serengeti to understand the social behavior of lions. There is valuable information here on why lions are social (unlike other large cats), why lions must cooperate, Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Carrying Capacity, Cooperation, Grasslands, Kin Selection, Predation, Reciprocity

Think the Milgram Experiments tell us something definitive about human nature? Think again!

Posted 21 Aug 2013 / 0

WNYC The Leonard Lopate Show “The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments” This great feature uncovers two major sources of scientific distortion: Milgram himself selectively reported his results in order to tell a more sensational story; and Media depictions, fueled by popular preconceptions, further filtered and distorted the meanings of Milgram’s scientific results. Both Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Human Nature, Methods, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Scientific Fraud, Social Norms

Sarah Coakley on the connection between theology and evolutionary theory

Posted 17 Aug 2013 / 0

Times Higher Education “What’s God got to do with evolution?” It is really interesting to see that Coakley, a theologian, is collaborating with Martin Nowak. This is not entirely surprising: after all, the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics that Nowak heads is funded in part by the Templeton Foundation, which likes to support work at the interface of religion Read More

A Minor Post, Ethics, Religion, Web

Zero determinant strategy is just another short-term adaptation

Posted 15 Aug 2013 / 0

The Scientist “A Twist in Evolutionary Game Theory: Biologists demonstrate the instability of employing a selfish strategy in the prisoner’s dilemma game” Nature Communications “Evolutionary instability of zero-determinant strategies demonstrates that winning is not everything” I am so glad to see that someone did the math and simulations to look at the long-term stability of Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Coevolution, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Individual-based Models, Phenotypic Plasticity, Punishment, Reciprocity, System Stability

US EPA’s EnviroAtlas project promises to give researchers, students new insights into the geography of ecosystem services

Posted 13 Aug 2013 / 0

At the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, I first learned about a really interesting initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project –now dubbed EnviroAtlas — is dedicated to creating a free, interactive online tool for exploring the geography of ecosystem services. I had the opportunity to check out a beta version Read More

A Major Post, Biodiversity Loss, Biomes, Bogs & Wetlands, Climate Change, Computer Science, Conservation Biology, Deserts, Ecology, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Services, Educational Software and Apps, Environmental Justice, Freshwater Ecosystems, Geography, Grasslands, Habitat Destruction, Information Design, Invasive Species, Pollution, Ponds & Lakes, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Rivers & Streams, Sociology, Sustainability, Teaching, Teaching Tools, Temperate Forest, Temperate Rainforest, Terrestrial, Tropical Forest, Water Supply, Web