Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Fantastic piece on nature/nurture by Patrick F. Clarkin in TVOL

Posted 23 Sep 2017 / 0

There’s a lot that has been written about the nature/nurture dilemma, perhaps because misconceptions about the role that genes and environment play in biological development are so persistent. Patrick F. Clarkin recently published a couple of wonderful short essays on the topic: This View of Life “We Are Not Hard-Wired“ This View of Life “Evolution Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Evolution, Development, Epigenetics, EvoDevo, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Human Evolution, Language Evolution, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation

Is family-linked terrorism a cultural and genetic phenomenon?

Posted 03 Dec 2015 / 0

National Public Radio “In Worst Attacks, Terrorists Often Have Fraternal Bonds” This is an interesting — albeit brief — piece on a recent “pattern” that has emerged in terror attacks: teams of attackers are often composed of blood relatives. As a good scientist I have to point out that there’s a danger here of over-generalizing Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Data Limitation, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Human Evolution, Memetic Fitness, Mismatch theory, Phenotypic Plasticity, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Social Diversity

Group phenotypic composition: implications for individuals and their groups

Posted 22 Oct 2015 / 0

Trends in Ecology & Evolution “From Individuals to Groups and Back: The Evolutionary Implications of Group Phenotypic Composition” Man, I wish that this article was written in a more accessible manner, because what it presents is important. There is a critical feedback between how the composition of groups affects individuals and how individuals affect the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolutionary Modeling, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phenotypic Plasticity, Population Genetics, Social Diversity

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

Our paper on a super-rational solution to the tragedy of the commons published in Scientific Reports

Posted 14 Jan 2015 / 1

I am very pleased to announce that a paper that I worked on with collaborators Jun-Zhou He, Rui-Wu Wang, and Yao-Tang Li has been published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. The paper, entitled “Asymmetric interaction paired with a super-rational strategy might resolve the tragedy of the commons without requiring recognition or negotiation“, considers how Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Coevolution, Cooperation, Game Theory, Multilevel Selection, My publications, Phenotypic Plasticity

Apparently I should stop holding my breath for the Google Translate “dolphin” module

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Dolphin Talk and Human Credulity” Great short here (and further evidence that TED Talks entice scientists to lose their heads and say unfounded things). Anyone who has carefully watched a child learn to talk comes to realize what a complex dance between cognition anatomical coordination is involved in language acquisition. It is Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ability, Communication, Human Uniqueness, Language Evolution, Linguistics, Phenotypic Plasticity, 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

Do our brains require endurance activity in order to function?

Posted 03 Jan 2013 / 0

The New York Times “Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain” While I think that the finding that brain size and capacity for endurance are linked is interesting and important, I am a bit baffled by this article’s take on the evolutionary process that might have driven this connection. Does exercise make our brains larger and Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Brain size, Development, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Mismatch theory, Neuroscience, Phenotypic Plasticity

Multiple Intelligences theory gets some neuroscientific support

Posted 20 Dec 2012 / 0

Neuron “Fractionating Human Intelligence” What is crazy about these findings is that they are novel. Is this really the first time that anyone decided to tackle the question of what different “intelligence tests” measure? The first time that anyone has shown the neurological basis for multiple intelligences? The only thing I am surprised about in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Development, Epigenetics, Evolutionary Psychology, Fluidity of Knowledge, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Human Evolution, Intelligences, Neuroscience, Phenotypic Plasticity

New PNAS special issue explores the developmental effects of early social environment

Posted 17 Oct 2012 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergartners Sackler Colloquium“

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Development, Gene by Environment Interactions, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychology, Sociology