Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

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

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

String Theory: should we care?

Posted 02 Feb 2014 / 0

On Being “Reimagining the Cosmos” I always find myself stuck on the fence when it comes to the confrontation between physics and philosophy (and by extension religion). This episode effectively captures my ambivalence. On the one hand, I like that Brian Greene really sticks to his guns on the “sensation of free will”. If there Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Belief, Consciousness, Emotion, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Religion

Can neuroeconomics help economics become a real science?

Posted 06 Oct 2012 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Marketplace in Your Brain” I think that this article suggests that much of economics is not much of a science. Faced with new information, mainstream economics has failed to update its models of how the world works. Doing so would make economics akin to physics or medicine or evolutionary Read More

A Minor Post, Belief, Economics, Emotion, Evolutionary Psychology, Game Theory, Neuroscience, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Religion, Social Networks, Social Norms

Enforcing norms may be for personal gain, not to maintain social order (at least amongst Santa Barbara undergraduates)

Posted 28 Sep 2012 / 2

PLoS ONE “What Are Punishment and Reputation for?” Once again, a valuable and ingenious experiment over-reaches on the meaning of its finding, and the over-reach bleeds into the popular media. This is a really valuable experiment in that it asks about the scale at which social norms are enforced. It is significant that participants in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Punishment, Reciprocity, Reputation, Social Networks, Social Norms

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

E.O. Wilson on the biological origins of sin and virtue

Posted 27 Jun 2012 / 0

The New York Times Opinionator “Evolution and Our Inner Conflict“

A Minor Post, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Psychological Adaptation

Peter Turchin on Steven Pinker’s “Grand Deception” hypotheses

Posted 26 Jun 2012 / 0

Social Evolution Forum “The ‘Big Mistake’ and ‘Grand Deception’ Hypotheses: Alternatives to CMLS?” These are flaws in Pinker’s arguments that I failed to identify in my own critique, and Turchin prevents some valuable insights. This idea that the human mind can be so easily parasitized or ‘cuckolded’ by ideas is strange, casting ideas and culture as Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Web

Olivia Judson reviews Mark Pagel’s “Wired for Culture”

Posted 08 May 2012 / 0

The Wall Street Journal “Making Ourselves at Home” Mark Pagel “Wired for Culture“

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Psychological Adaptation, Web

Martin Nowak lecture on The Evolution of Cooperation at MIT

Posted 03 Aug 2011 / 0

I just checked out a lecture given by Martin Nowak at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that was recently posted on the MIT videos site. The video was recently posted on the MIT site, but it is not entirely clear when it actually happened. I suspect it is the same lecture listed here. Nowak recently Read More

Altruism, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Mathematics, Multilevel Selection, Psychological Adaptation, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Talks & Seminars, Web