Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

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

Can understanding cooperation lead to higher-yield crops?

Posted 07 Jan 2016 / 0

The Scientist “The Evolution of Cooperation” Starting with the title, this short article is not bringing anything all that new to the existing literature on how cooperation evolves. But once I realized that this piece was really about the direction of Denison’s research on rhizobia, the rest of the basic background made a lot more Read More

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Competition, Cooperation, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Web

Religious children are less altruistic… or maybe not…

Posted 16 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A recent study published in Current Biology claims to have demonstrated that children raised in religious households are less altruistic and more vindictive than their peers raised in non-religious households. Using two different tests — a Dictator Game conducted with stickers and a task that measured reactions to watching interpersonal Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Evolution, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Group Selection, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms

Have we outgrown the scale of cooperation supported by the Big Gods of Big Religion?

Posted 08 Sep 2015 / 0

Cliodynamica “From Big Gods to the Big Brother” There are a bunch of really interesting ideas in this post, particularly related to the challenges associated with scaling up cooperation. As Turchin nicely points out, once you get past the tribal scale reputation alone — even fueled by the power of gossip — is not going Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, History, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Punishment, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms, Web

Is the threat of regulation enough to incentivize cooperation from nitrogen polluters?

Posted 01 Jun 2015 / 0

National Public Radio All Things Considered “It’s Raining Nitrogen In A Colorado Park. Farmers Can Help Make It Stop” What I find interesting about this example is how the local nature of this problem creates greater incentives for “voluntary” measures taken by polluters to reduce the impacts of their polluting activities. Because the effects of Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Environmental Justice, Eutrophication, Political Science, Pollution, Public Policy, Punishment, Reputation, Social Norms

E&E in A&D: The Armstrong Lie

Posted 18 Jan 2015 / 0

I just finished watching the 2013 documentary The Armstrong Lie. I do not get much time to watch movies — and my favorite genre of movie, documentaries — very much these days, but I used to be a big fan of pro cycling in the Armstrong era, so I knew that I had to check Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Behavior, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Film & Video, Game Theory, Group Selection, Play, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Norms

Model evidence that third party punishment only makes sense in tight-knit groups

Posted 29 Jan 2014 / 0

Proceedings of the Royal Society B “High strength-of-ties and low mobility enable the evolution of third-party punishment“

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Evolutionary Modeling, Punishment, Reputation, Social Networks

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

Further evidence that Hamilton was wrong about eusocial insects

Posted 11 Nov 2012 / 0

Current Biology “Social Evolution: When Promiscuity Breeds Cooperation” Current Biology “Promiscuous Honey Bee Queens Increase Colony Productivity by Suppressing Worker Selfishness” What I find so fascinating about this study is that relatedness can actually under some scenarios undermine cooperation, and that when proper policing of cheating is possible, less-related individuals may have more incentive to Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Hymenoptera, Punishment, Superorganisms

Enforcing norms may be for personal gain, not to maintain social order (at least amongst Santa Barbara undergraduates)

Posted 28 Sep 2012 / 2

PLoS ONE “What Are Punishment and Reputation for?” Once again, a valuable and ingenious experiment over-reaches on the meaning of its finding, and the over-reach bleeds into the popular media. This is a really valuable experiment in that it asks about the scale at which social norms are enforced. It is significant that participants in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Networks, Social Norms