Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

To be an effective critical theorist of science, it helps to understand science

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “An Unevolved View of Gender Evolution” Although I am sympathetic to a number of the critiques of traditional sexual selection theory, I have to agree with the overall thrust of this book review: if you are going to shine a critical light on scientific understandings of sex differences in humans, Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Ethics, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction, Sexual Conflict, Sexual Selection

Are technological optimists too optimistic about technological sustainability?

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons The Chronicle of Higher Education “Ecomodernists Spark Rhetorical Heat” In my Ecology for Architects course I have students work on an activity that asks them to advocate one of four “extreme” environmental positions: Population bombers; Neo-luddites; Deep ecologists; or Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Environmental Justice, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Risk & Uncertainty, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Urban Design

Primates — but not their rodent relatives — can infer the effects of other individuals on resource availability

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Frans de Waal via Wikimedia Commons Journal of Comparative Psychology “Inference in a social context: A comparative study of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus), and rats (Rattus norvegicus)” This is not a surprising finding, but it reinforces the fact that the ability to understand the effects Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Empathy, Primates

Higher education teaching loads are about economics, not valuing teaching

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Why We Should Teach Less, Not More” This is a great opinion piece that effectively captures my perspective on this issue. High-quality higher education requires really labor-intensive curriculum development and maintenance. In order for a professor to provide a course that is comprehensive and up-to-date, she must spend countless hours Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching, 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

Maybe infants don’t really care who helps and who hinders after all…

Posted 16 Nov 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Probing the Strength of Infants’ Preference for Helpers over Hinderers: Two Replication Attempts of Hamlin and Wynn (2011)” Great example of how studies need to be replicated! I am wondering if funding agencies should reserve particular lines for replication studies. Does this kind of funding opportunity exist?

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Development, Empathy, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation

The problem with same sex attraction “for the good of the species”

Posted 16 Nov 2015 / 0

arXiv “Toy model for the adaptive origins of the sexual orientation continuum” This is an interesting idea that definitely bears further exploration, but by my reading of the math, the tradeoff here (what’s good for the species in having trait diversity versus what’s good for an individual in achieving reproductive success) is expressed purely in Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolutionary Modeling, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction

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

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

China shifts a failed cultural policy designed to stabilize population

Posted 29 Oct 2015 / 1

The New York Times “China to End One-Child Policy, Allowing Families Two Children” This was a long time coming (see Mara’s Hvistendahl‘s great 2010 piece in Science Magazine for perspective), but the Chinese Communist Party has finally decided to replace its “one child policy” with a “two child policy”. From an evolutionary perspective, there is Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Carrying Capacity, Cultural Evolution, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ethics, Law, Population Growth, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Social Norms