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

Another great Skeptoid episode, this one on race

Posted 09 Jan 2017 / 0

With a lot of mindless computer work to do, I just had time to check out another Skeptoid episode, this one on race (“There’s No Such Thing as Race… Or Is There?“). You can listen to it here: http://skeptoid.com/audio/skeptoid-4546.mp3 Wow, I am really impressed! So frequently when I hear people try to tackle the subject Read More

A Minor Post, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Genetics, Human Evolution, Population Genetics, Radio & Podcasts

Predicting Future Evolution (Fall 2016)

Posted 10 Dec 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

Maybe human impacts aren’t so dramatic (when experienced from the geologic time scale)

Posted 01 Nov 2016 / 0

A student in one of my Evolution sections this semester sent me this fun little animated video: I thought that it was very clever how animation — a medium that already is inherently dedicated to playing with time scales — was used to give us a view of human development from (mostly) the point of view of rocks.

A Minor Post, Cultural Evolution, Film, Television, & Video, Geology, Human Evolution

Wars on climate change versus revolutions to address climate change

Posted 31 Oct 2016 / 0

The New York Times “We Don’t Need a ‘War’ on Climate Change, We Need a Revolution” I am excited about this opinion piece by my friend and colleague Eric S. Godoy. He and his co-author Aaron Jaffe are absolutely right: as much as we might “fight” to “capture” the right metaphor for the “battle” against climate Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Climate Change, Cooperation, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Philosophy, Public Outreach, Public Policy, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Social Dilemmas

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

My article on adolescence featured in the This View of Life culture series

Posted 29 Aug 2016 / 0

I am very excited to have an article that I wrote on the adaptive nature of adolescent behavior featured in a new culture series in the This View of Life (TVoL) online magazine. My piece, entitled “Adolescent behavior doesn’t make sense (except in the light of cultural evolution)” summarizes an argument that has been rolling around in Read More

A Major Post, Behavior, Cultural Evolution, Development, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Memetic Fitness, Mismatch theory, My publications, Neuroscience, Psychological Adaptation, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction, Sexual Competition, Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Web

Pratt students make the potential trip to Mars better designed

Posted 24 Jun 2016 / 0

Mars landscape image courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory via Wikimedia Commons Scientific American “Home Sweet Habitat: Students Help NASA Design Mars Spacecraft Living Quarters” Anyone who has regularly read my posts on the subject knows that I am a space exploration grump, particularly regarding the idea that humans ought to try to venture out Read More

A Minor Post, Architecture, Evolutionary Psychology, Human limits, Industrial Design, Mismatch theory, Pratt Institute, Psychology, Space Travel, Web

A potentially interesting Evolution of Play documentary

Posted 27 May 2016 / 0

This looks like a potentially-interesting documentary that might address some issues related to the evolution of play behavior. It is interesting that balls — in particular those that bounce — play such a large role in our play behaviors. What’s too bad is that this trailer is entirely inscrutable as far as what the movie is Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, MSCI-261, The Evolution of Play, Play

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2016)

Posted 10 May 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites