Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

A cool (new-ish) IPD game theory simulator!

Posted 25 Oct 2018 / 0

Back in 2011, I worked with a talented Pratt Digital Arts graduate student name Jean Ho Chu to create a flash-based game that allowed players to explore Robert Axelrod’s seminal iterated prisoner’s dilemma simulations. I think that our game was pretty valuable, mostly thanks to Jean’s many innovative graphic and interactive creations. But culture ratchets Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Educational Software and Apps, Game Theory, Teaching Tools

Scientific American drops special issue on “Science of Being Human”

Posted 20 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American just released a great special issue on The Science of Being Human. It’s one of those nicely-integrated issues that Scientific American has become really good at creaating: from the graphics to the flow of the article topics, everything fits together into a nice three-part structure that explores a diversity of issues surround human evolution and our resulting Read More

A Minor Post, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Periodicals

Mom: “Eat my sh*t and then help your younger siblings”

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Responses to pup vocalizations in subordinate naked mole-rats are induced by estradiol ingested through coprophagy of queen’s feces” Okay, we all knew that naked mole rats are weird. The inbreeding, the eusociality in a mammal, and… well, the look. But this is a new wrinkle. Apparently mom is sending Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Kin Selection

Mom leaves, offspring get buff and work together

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Science News “When this beetle mom disappears, her children become stronger and nicer” There are so many cool aspects to this study! First, it is amazing that lab evolution can produce this dramatic a change in both anatomy and behavior. These results are kind of like what we observe in artificial selection scenarios: there’s a lot Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Competition, Cooperation, Kin Selection, Parenting

All it takes to get a little specialized is a small increase in group size…

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

Nature “Fitness benefits and emergent division of labour at the onset of group living” Another Corina Tarnita study that elegantly converts empirical observations into an insightful model. If it doesn’t take a lot for already-social species to harness the power of “division of labor”, that begs an important question: why don’t more species show this Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Group Selection

Professor Jensen’s Guide to Urban Cycling

Posted 22 Aug 2018 / 0

Welcome to Brooklyn: it’s a great place to cycle if you know how to do so safely. In August of 2018 I was asked to give a one-hour workshop on urban cycling as part of Pratt’s new student orientation program. I figured that I should condense my thoughts on the why, how, when, where, and Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Pollution, Pratt Institute, Sustainability, Sustainable Transportation, Urban Planning

My entry on the evolution of play will be added to the massive Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Posted 24 Jul 2018 / 0

I have been in a bit of a publication lull for the last few years. It isn’t that I haven’t been engaged in a variety of scholarly activities, it is just that it has been awhile since any of them have reached the publication phase. I am hoping that things will begin to pick up Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Cooperation, Emotion, Empathy, Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, MSCI-261, The Evolution of Play, My publications, Periodicals, Play, Psychological Adaptation

Gregory Tague to speak about Art & Adaptation at Pratt Institute

Posted 12 Apr 2017 / 0

Why do people make art? Given that human art-making emerged tens of thousands of years ago and is such an integral part of most human societies, why we make art is an important question. Philosophers have been trying to answer this question for a long time. More recently, scientists have begun to explore explanations for human Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Archaeology, Art & Design, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Department of Mathematics & Science, Emotion, Empathy, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Play, Pratt Institute, Psychological Adaptation, Social Networks

NPR features Christopher Boehm on the love-hate relationship we have people in power

Posted 16 Jan 2017 / 0

This morning NPR dropped a truly eerie and not-so-subtly cautionary piece on how an understanding of chimpanzee behavior towards dominant individuals can shed light on how we regard both celebrities and our political leaders. Using some nice audio from anthropologist Christopher Boehm, the piece establishes that we humans are not alone in our love-hate relationship with Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Primatology, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Social Norms

What “rolling coal” has to say about the cultural state of sustainability efforts

Posted 05 Dec 2016 / 0

Image of a Ford F-150 “rolling coal” courtesy of Salvatore Arnone via Wikimedia Commons. In a recent meeting of my Ecology course dedicated to sustainable policies, we were discussing why people don’t choose to adopt sustainable technologies. I think that the question was asked under the assumption that people want to be more sustainable, but face financial Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Climate Change, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Economic sustainability, Economics, Environmental Justice, Memetic Fitness, Pollution, Public Policy, Punishment, Social Dilemmas, Social Diversity, Social Norms, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Transportation, System Stability