Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Moral Sense III approaches, June 2nd at St. Francis College

Posted 25 May 2017 / 0

Alison Dell’s Moral Sense III cover art subjected a Richard Alexander figure to paper chromatography Next week, a variety of natural and social scientists will converge on Saint Francis for Moral Sense III, a one day colloquium exploring the human “moral sense”. In part inspired by the work of Richard Alexander, the colloquium marks the Read More

A Major Post, Conferences, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Population Pressure, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Gregory Tague to speak about Art & Adaptation at Pratt Institute

Posted 12 Apr 2017 / 0

Why do people make art? Given that human art-making emerged tens of thousands of years ago and is such an integral part of most human societies, why we make art is an important question. Philosophers have been trying to answer this question for a long time. More recently, scientists have begun to explore explanations for human Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Archaeology, Art & Design, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Department of Mathematics & Science, Emotion, Empathy, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Play, Pratt Institute, Psychological Adaptation, Social Networks

How the built environment influences our ability to sustain personal and environmental commitments

Posted 07 Jan 2016 / 0

“exercise is good in principle, but it’s almost never the case that it’s the best thing you could do right now.” -Dan Ariely There’s a really interesting experiment being conducted by behavioral economist Dan Ariely and the new WNYC program Only Human. Called “Stick to It!“, the experiment allows listeners to the show to volunteer to download Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Mismatch theory, Psychology, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Urban Design

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

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

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

Taking risks for the data

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The cover story of November’s National Geographic is about the death of storm chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with two of his collaborators (including one of his sons) during a monster tornado outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Samaras is one of many “explorers” supported by National Geographic, an organization that seems to be the Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Genetics, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Play, Risk & Uncertainty

Think the Milgram Experiments tell us something definitive about human nature? Think again!

Posted 21 Aug 2013 / 0

WNYC The Leonard Lopate Show “The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments” This great feature uncovers two major sources of scientific distortion: Milgram himself selectively reported his results in order to tell a more sensational story; and Media depictions, fueled by popular preconceptions, further filtered and distorted the meanings of Milgram’s scientific results. Both Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Human Nature, Methods, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Scientific Fraud, Social Norms