Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

How do we know when people are actually happy?

Posted 15 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Science “Conservatives report, but liberals display, greater happiness” This paper was published back in March, but I just discovered it. I am somewhat fascinated by psychological studies of happiness, because happiness is so hard to pin down. What is happiness, and can we rely on people to accurately report how Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Data Limitation, Emotion, Happiness, Psychology, Uncategorized

When Facebook performs a manipulative experiment on its users, the results are interesting, the methods disturbing

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

Did you know that Facebook performs scientific research? If I told you that Facebook is constantly analyzing the activity of its users, that would probably not surprise you. But does Facebook go the next step by performing manipulative experiments on its users? A recent publication in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Consciousness, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Experiments (General), Happiness, Law, Methods, Psychological Adaptation, Sociology, Web

Can playing games make the world a better place?

Posted 27 Sep 2012 / 1

One of the very talented students I work with in the Envirolutions club, Rhett Bradbury, pointed me towards the work of Jane McGonigal, a game designer and evangelist for the idea that games can save the world. For Rhett, her work is important to his Master’s thesis in graphic design, as he is considering how to move Read More

A Major Post, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Development, Emotion, Evolutionary Psychology, Happiness, Health & Medicine, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Phenotypic Plasticity, Play, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Social Networks, Subsistence, Web

Science in Art & Design: Justin Taylor’s “The Gospel of Anarchy”

Posted 07 Oct 2011 / 0

There are so many science books that I want to read that I frequently neglect to read fiction. This is too bad, because good fiction can be as rich with interesting hypotheses about human nature and evolution as any book illuminating evolutionary theory. Towards the end of thinking about how my field informs and can Read More

Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Fiction, Group Selection, Happiness, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Pratt Institute, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Science in Art & Design, Superorganisms

What can Dean Potter teach us about evolution?

Posted 02 Aug 2011 / 2

I have a bit of an obsession with why people push limits in particular sports. Although I am far from a big limit-pusher myself, I do enjoy the more dangerous forms of skateboarding, bicycling, and snowboarding. Of late I have taken up rock climbing, although I have only once made it out of the gym. Read More

Articles, Cultural Evolution, Film, Television, & Video, Happiness, Memetic Fitness, Play, Psychological Adaptation

Economics and Human Satisfaction

Posted 09 Jun 2011 / 0

There’s a nice article in a recent edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “The Economics of Unhappiness“. In this article John Quiggan gives an overview of two recent books that focus on explaining our incessant need to increase our economic status well past the point of meeting our basic needs. Both books suggest Read More

Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Psychology, Happiness, Human Evolution, Psychological Adaptation, Web

Human Adaptation and Happiness

Posted 18 May 2009 / 0

I just finished reading a fascinating article in The Atlantic entitled “What Makes Us Happy?”. Although I am not all that well-read or at all trained in human behavioral science, I am increasingly interested by it, and this article by Joshua Wolf Shenk does an amazing job covering a lot of ground. In the past Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Altruism, Data Limitation, Ecology, Evolutionary Psychology, Happiness, Human Evolution, Long Term Ecological Research, Psychological Adaptation