Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Can a realistically-parameterized model tell us why our brains are so big?

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

NatureĀ “Sizing up human brain evolution” NatureĀ “Inference of ecological and social drivers of human brain-size evolution” This is an interesting study that I simultaneously think is really cool and has some major flaws. What’s cool about this study is that it trys to get at this question with a model that’s (reasonably) constrained by observed parameter Read More

A Minor Post, Allometries, Articles, Brain size, Cognitive Ability, Evolution, Human Evolution, Individual-based Models, Modeling (General), Neuroscience, Uncategorized

So much for the big-brained city bird theory?

Posted 05 Aug 2015 / 0

BMC Ecology “Commonness and ecology, but not bigger brains, predict urban living in birds” What makes this study smart is that it compares the birds that live successfully in urban areas with the birds that actually have the potential to colonize cities. This makes for a much more meaningful comparison than simply comparing urban species Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Birds, Brain size, Coevolution, Cognitive Ability, Commensalism, Conservation Biology, Habitat Destruction, Resilience, Urban Ecology

Do our brains require endurance activity in order to function?

Posted 03 Jan 2013 / 0

The New York Times “Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain” While I think that the finding that brain size and capacity for endurance are linked is interesting and important, I am a bit baffled by this article’s take on the evolutionary process that might have driven this connection. Does exercise make our brains larger and Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Brain size, Development, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Mismatch theory, Neuroscience, Phenotypic Plasticity

Slate article explores the big brain, big society connection

Posted 31 Oct 2012 / 0

Slate “Tool use and exploration may be just side effects of social skills” Great examples in this short piece of how scientists quantify the benefits of social connection in terms of survival and reproduction. It will be interesting to see how the “Social Brain Hypothesis” stacks up against the “Cultural Intelligence Hypothesis” in future research, Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Brain size, Evolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Hypothesis Testing, Neuroscience, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Web

Identifying the genes that gave dolphins their big brains

Posted 27 Jun 2012 / 0

Science Now “Building a Bigger Dolphin Brain“

A Minor Post, Brain size, Cetaceans, Cognitive Ability, Genetics, Neuroscience