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Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 1

Proponents of kin selection as the most parsimonious explanation of how cooperation evolves face a problem when it comes to humans: counter to the predictions of kin selection theory, humans aim a fair amount of altruism at non-kin. While we do not aim our helping behaviors solely at our relatives, we also do not randomly Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Genetics, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Sociology

Evolution 2014: Evolution of cooperation in the high school classroom? You bet!

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

Will Ratcliff presented an absolutely amazing set of laboratories that explore the evolution of multicellularity (http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/). They can be done with high school or college students, and allow students to see the benefits of cooperation and the action of multilevel selection in a few weeks’ worth of laboratory work. Really impressive classroom activity design!

A Minor Post, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection, Predation, Society for the Study of Evolution

Can you replicate the collective adaptive value of religion without god?

Posted 07 Jan 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam” It is interesting to see people explicitly seeking out the benefits of religious community whilst trying to maintain their objective understanding of the material world. Conventional wisdom is that “god” is needed to make religions work, but perhaps just a collective intention Read More

A Minor Post, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Radio & Podcasts, Religion

Writing and record-keeping as important tools in the evolution of large-scale human cooperation

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

This View of Life “The Role Of Writing And Recordkeeping In The Cultural Evolution Of Human Cooperation” What is also so interesting about written language is that it is another means of defining a group: only those who are literate and can read the particular recorded language can fully benefit from the cooperation fostered by Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Empathy, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection

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

Dumb radio ads provide smart insight into the diverse nature of human societies

Posted 15 Feb 2013 / 0

Do everyday people have any sense of their place in the world? Human beings live in incredibly complex societies undergirded by convoluted economies and overwhelmingly diverse cultures. Do we have a sense of how these societies came to be, or how they function and persist? For evolutionists, these are pretty vexing scientific questions: most researchers Read More

A Major Post, Behavior, Cooperation, Economic sustainability, Ethics, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Political Science, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Social Diversity

Barash not so enlightening on the paradox of human homosexuality

Posted 02 Jan 2013 / 1

The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Evolutionary Mystery of Homosexuality” It is interesting that Barash focuses so heavily in this article on traditional population genetic explanations for the “paradox” of homosexuality, especially when it is becoming so clear that single-gene approaches to human evolution make very little sense. Barash also makes a really weak argument Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Group Selection, Kin Selection, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction

Freeman Dyson wins the contest, and then says the contest is stupid

Posted 07 Dec 2012 / 0

Institute for Advanced Study “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” One of my favorite skateboarders when I was young was Natas Kaupas, an innovative skater who pioneered a lot of modern streetstyle. Natas was one of those skaters who could do things that no other skateboarders could, but he was not particularly successful in one arena that was Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Modeling (General), Multilevel Selection, Reciprocity