Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

What do we know about Cultural Transmission?

Posted 29 Jan 2016 / 0

As I have been working on my book-in-progress (Breeders, Propagators, & Creators), I have encountered a difficult-to-answer question of road-block proportions: how do we quantify cultural transmission? The focus of my book is the tradeoff humans face between making babies, spreading existing culture, and inventing new ideas. If such a tradeoff exists, we need to be able Read More

A Major Post, Behavior, Belief, Books, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Emotion, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness, Parenting, Psychology, Religion, Sexual Conflict, Sociology

Review of William B. Provine’s “The ‘Random Genetic Drift’ Fallacy”

Posted 05 Nov 2015 / 5

Just about a year ago, I got an unusual email. It was from William Ball Provine, a well-known historian of science most famous for his work on the modern evolutionary synthesis. Provine was especially well-known to me as the Ph.D. advisor to Greg Graffin of the punk band Bad Religion; although this is a story Read More

A Major Post, Books, Evolution, Fluidity of Knowledge, Genetic Drift, Genetics, Obituary, Population Genetics

My testimonial for Gregory Tague’s “Evolution and Human Culture”

Posted 05 Oct 2015 / 1

I have written a lot of book reviews, but I have never been asked to write a book testimonial before. So I am honored to have been asked to write a testimonial for Gregory F. Tague’s Evolution & Human Culture, forthcoming on Brill. Here’s my finished testimonial for this book: Between the age-old outposts maintained by Read More

A Major Post, Art & Design, Books, Cognitive Ability, Consciousness, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Neuroscience, Primatology, Psychology, Social Norms

Review of What We Made by Tom Finkelpearl

Posted 13 Aug 2014 / 0

I study cooperation. I can say this honestly only with some caveats. I am very interested in what allows cooperation to evolve in biological systems, as cooperation seems to defy the Darwinian imperative to serve the needs of self-replication and yet is unexpectedly prevalent in nature. In particular I am interested in human cooperation, which Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Art & Design, Books, Collaborative Art, Communication, Cooperation, Emotion, Empathy, Environmental Justice, Play, Public Art, Social Diversity, Social Networks

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

My review of “How Species Interact” published in Ecological Modelling

Posted 18 Aug 2012 / 1

My review of How Species Interact: Altering the Standard View of Trophic Ecology by Roger Arditi and Lev R. Ginzburg was just published in Ecological Modelling. You can also read the review here. Lev Ginzburg was my dissertation advisor, so clearly this review has to be seen as subjective; however, if you look at how strong Read More

A Major Post, Books, Ecological Modeling, Ecology, My publications, Predation

NY Times provides perspective on E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

Posted 13 Jun 2012 / 0

The New York Times “Lessons from Ants to Grasp Humanity” Funny how the media likes to trot out Jerry Coyne whenever someone questions Darwinian orthodoxy. I cannot entirely blame Coyne for how he is quoted, but his quotes never seem to offer much a substantial critique. The bit on religion is interesting here: Wilson seems Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Cooperation, Group Selection, Superorganisms

Richard Dawkins on E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

Posted 12 Jun 2012 / 0

Prospect Magazine “The descent of Edward Wilson” First comment on this: what’s up with the ad hominem attacks on Wilson implying (not-so-subtly) that he is somehow slipping (look here for another example) in his old age? Given the massive departure that Dawkins has made from science in his writings on religion, he is the last one Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Cooperation, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Superorganisms

Olivia Judson reviews Mark Pagel’s “Wired for Culture”

Posted 08 May 2012 / 0

The Wall Street Journal “Making Ourselves at Home” Mark Pagel “Wired for Culture“

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Psychological Adaptation, Web

Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”

Posted 29 Jan 2012 / 0

I just finished reading Jon Krakauer’s classic 1996 book Into the Wild. The book chronicles the adventures and eventual demise of Christopher McCandless, a young man who reinvented himself as “Alexander Supertramp” and spent two years wandering the United States before embarking on a final trip into the Alaskan wilderness. McCandless was experimenting with dropping Read More

Books, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Subsistence, Survival, Traditional Ecological Knowledge