Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

America Society of Primatologists condemns H. A. and Margret Rey, calls for Curious George boycott

Posted 01 Apr 2016 / 0

Curious George and his cooperative partner The Man in the Yellow Hat are widely loved by naive children In a scathing press release disseminated today, the American Society of Primatologists (ASP) condemned the work of the children’s author/artist duo Margret and H.A. Rey on their famous Curious George series. At issue are the frequent allusions to George Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Behavior, Cooperation, Empathy, Evolution, Fluidity of Knowledge, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Phylogenetics, Primates, Primatology, Professional Societies, Reciprocity

Dan Ariely’s “Arming the Donkeys” podcast

Posted 15 Feb 2016 / 0

Today I have had to work on a really tedious, mindless task for hours on end, so I have tried to take advantage of this time by catching up on some podcasts. I am a big fan of Dan Ariely, both of his science and his efforts to make that science accessible to the public, Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Cognitive Bias, Communication, Ethics, Human Uniqueness, Partner Choice, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Public Outreach, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Norms

Clever study shows how cooperative bacteria sanction — and therefore exclude — cheaters

Posted 08 Jan 2016 / 0

ScienceDaily “Cooperating bacteria isolate cheaters” This kind of study is where the field exploring how cooperation evolves should be headed: model predictions are verified by actual microbial microcosms, but the interactions of those microcosms are manipulated by genetically-engineering variation in behavior (what this article calls “synthetic ecology”). This approach helps overcome a common problem faced Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Competition, Cooperation, Methods, Microbial Ecology, Partner Choice, Reciprocity, Web

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

How stupid professorial attitudes towards Wikipedia are making students less savvy

Posted 03 Mar 2015 / 1

Recently I have come to realize that (too) many professors have a profound disdain for Wikipedia. Although I sometimes encounter this disdain directly, most of the time I see contempt for Wikipedia reflected through my students. These stupid professorial attitudes about Wikipedia tend to cast a pretty unflattering reflection off of their students. It is Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Information Literacy, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Norms, Teaching

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

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

Cath Dennis publishes non-computerized classroom adaptation of Axelrod’s iPD Tournament

Posted 30 May 2014 / 0

I have corresponded with Cath Dennis of the University of Aberdeen, as we both share an interest in how to bring some of the foundational work exploring cooperation into our classrooms. She has just published one of her classroom activities — an “analog” version of Robert Axelrod’s iPD tournaments — in the Journal of Biological Education.

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Reciprocity, Teaching Tools

New research suggests that chimpanzees understand that cooperation produces benefits

Posted 11 Oct 2013 / 0

WMAC Northeast Public Radio “Academic Minute: Dr. Alicia Melis, University of Warwick – Cooperation and Chimpanzees” Chimps’ ability to take the perspective of others has been questioned, but this set of experiments seems to show that chimps can mentally put themselves in the place of a comrade, imagining what that comrade should do and then Read More

A Minor Post, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Human Uniqueness, Primates, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Web

An anecdote that illustrates the tremendous power of human network reciprocity

Posted 13 Sep 2013 / 0

NPR Morning Edition StoryCorps “How One Man Continues To ‘Just Pass It On’” The story of this man’s life and how he has reacted to the kindness of a stranger nicely encapsulates the very powerful nature of human network reciprocity. Rather than focusing on “repaying the kindness”, Thomas Weller was charged to “pass it on”. Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Uniqueness, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Social Norms