Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

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

Arming the Donkeys on kids, parenting, and Burning Man

Posted 12 Sep 2016 / 0

Whenever I have a really mind-numbing task that I need to do, I turn to podcasts to save me from the tedium. One of my favorite respites is Dan Ariely‘s Arming the Donkeys podcast. Today I checked out a couple of great episodes for the parents out there. Just released a few days ago is an Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Development, Empathy, Game Theory, Human Evolution, Play, Public Outreach, Radio & Podcasts, Reputation, Social Norms

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

Understanding [culture + multilevel selection] = potential for Sustainability

Posted 13 Jan 2016 / 0

People’s Climate Change March photo courtesy of South Bend Voice via Wikimedia Commons There’s a really important new paper out entitled “A multilevel evolutionary framework for sustainability analysis“, due to be published in the journal Ecology and Society. Although it is not yet published, you can check out a pre-print via Michelle Kline’s site. (UPDATE: Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Social Norms, Sustainability

Would a “labor economy” lead to different outcomes than the “capital economy”?

Posted 11 Jan 2016 / 0

Evonomics “A Simple Way to Decrease Income Inequality” I am intrigued by the idea that measurements of economic success impact our economic decisions and therefore our economic outcomes. A persistent obsession with capital has created an economic system that responds to capital. But what if employment condition — “labor” — was the fundamental unit of Read More

A Minor Post, Belief, Cultural Evolution, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ethics, Political Science, Public Policy, Social Norms, 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

Fascinating and clever study of how personal contact norms vary by relationship

Posted 10 Nov 2015 / 0

Image from PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Topography of social touching depends on emotional bonds between humans” (Suvilehto et al. 2015) This is a really clever study in that it aggregates a lot of data that is collected rather efficiently from a lot of participants. This makes the results robust for this Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Human Nature, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Social Networks, Social Norms

Jonathan Haidt on the business advantage of being ethical

Posted 10 Nov 2015 / 0

This is a fascinating talk by Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist situated within one of the most prestigious business schools in the world whose research focuses on morality and emotion. I can’t help but be impressed when someone addressing business concerns leads with biology, and Haidt does a good job of summarizing the “disruptive cooperation” (read: competitively-superior Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Competition, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Film, Television, & Video, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Parasitism, Religion, Social Norms

China shifts a failed cultural policy designed to stabilize population

Posted 29 Oct 2015 / 1

The New York Times “China to End One-Child Policy, Allowing Families Two Children” This was a long time coming (see Mara’s Hvistendahl‘s great 2010 piece in Science Magazine for perspective), but the Chinese Communist Party has finally decided to replace its “one child policy” with a “two child policy”. From an evolutionary perspective, there is Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Carrying Capacity, Cultural Evolution, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ethics, Law, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Social Norms