Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Jeremy Yoder on contemporary selection for increased human height

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

Social Evolution Forum “Natural Selection on Human Height Doesn’t Measure Up To Much” I agree overall with Yoder’s analysis, although it seems that he misreads the study a bit: by my reading, women’s height also had an effect on the survival of offspring, although the effect was nearly half that of men. But Yoder’s larger Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Development, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Human Evolution, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, 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

That beard and deep voice may be to put him in his place, not attract her

Posted 09 Nov 2015 / 0

There have been a lot of evolutionary psychology experiments that have tried to define both female and male attractiveness to the opposite sex, an indirect way to get at the nature of sexual selection in humans. A new study published in Behavioral Ecology reminds us that sexual selection is not the only process that has Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Uniqueness, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Psychological Adaptation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Reputation, Sex and Reproduction, Sexual Competition, Sexual Selection

What’s the evolved function of curiosity?

Posted 06 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Jeffrey Pang via Wikimedia Commons Neuron “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity” (Kidd & Hayden 2015) This is a fantastic review of what is known about curiosity and what needs to be learned about curiosity in the near future. I was glad to see the “four questions” approach to curiosity here. Tinbergen’s questions Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Cognitive Ability, MSCI-261, The Evolution of Play, Neuroscience, Play, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Teaching

David Sloan Wilson on how Jeff Bezos don’t know squat about chickens (or evolution!)

Posted 16 Oct 2015 / 0

Evonomics “Jeff Bezos got Darwinism all Wrong!” This is an interesting analysis of the Bezos way of doing business, which represents an oft-lauded bastardization of Darwinian theory. What I like about Wilson’s brief analysis is that he focuses back on the unit of selection that matters for a business: the corporation. Unless you naively believe Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Human Nature, Social Diversity, System Stability, Web

I will speak about the tension between biological and cultural evolution at St. Francis College (December 11th, 2015 @ 3pm)

Posted 08 Oct 2015 / 0

I am excited to announce that I am scheduled to speak about the tension between biological and cultural evolution at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. The title of my talk is “Highly-creative baby-breeding idea propagators: what human (re)productive choices mean for the future of our species“, and it will provide a partial overview of Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Behavior, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Carrying Capacity, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Parenting, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Psychology, Public Outreach, Reproductive Fitness, Resource Consumption, Sex and Reproduction, Sustainability

My testimonial for Gregory Tague’s “Evolution and Human Culture”

Posted 05 Oct 2015 / 1

I have written a lot of book reviews, but I have never been asked to write a book testimonial before. So I am honored to have been asked to write a testimonial for Gregory F. Tague’s Evolution & Human Culture, forthcoming on Brill. Here’s my finished testimonial for this book: Between the age-old outposts maintained by Read More

A Major Post, Art & Design, Books, Cognitive Ability, Consciousness, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Neuroscience, Primatology, Psychology, Social Norms

Anne-Marie Slaughter on the tradeoff between work and caregiving

Posted 02 Oct 2015 / 0

WNYC The Brian Lehrer Show “Where Women Go from Here” Several years ago, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote the seminal article on the conflict between work and parenting. Published in The Atlantic and entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All“, Slaughter’s article used her own professional experience to explore the challenge faced by many women in the developed world: the Read More

A Major Post, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Parenting, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Sex and Reproduction, Sociology