315: Nichola Raihani | Cooperation As A Key Element Of Human Evolution In “The Social Instinct”

What causes cooperation when there is potential to exploit? Why is cooperation commonplace in nature, when there is clear benefit from selfish behavior. Examining humans and non-human animals, Professor Nichola Raihani of University College London explores this topic in The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World, and joins us on episode 315 of the show.

Dr. Nichola Raihani is a British psychologist who is a Professor of Evolution and Behaviour at University College London. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (Natural Sciences) at Girton College in the University of Cambridge in 2003. She stayed at Cambridge for her graduate studies, where she studied cooperation in pied babblers in the Kalahari Desert.

Her doctoral research was supervised by Tim Clutton-Brock. In 2008 she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London). In 2011, she moved to University College London, where she studies the evolution of punishment and cooperation.

Links: Twitter | Faculty Page | Research | The Social Instinct

293: Richard Coss | Behavioral Ecology, Predator Recognition, And Perceptual System Development

Welcome to episode 293 of the show, with Professor Richard Coss of the University of California, Davis. From his educational transitions to life transitions, he has covered a variety of disciplines, and looks at key elements of animal behavior and predator activity.

Of his biography, “Dr. Coss is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and a faculty member of UC Davis’ Graduate Group in Animal Behavior and Graduate Group in Ecology. Dr. Coss serves as a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Animal Behavior Society, the International Society for Ecological Psychology, and the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Dr. Coss also served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Behavioral and Neural Biology.”

From his description, “Dr. Coss has two primary research interests, both of which emphasize evolutionary constraints on perceptual and cognitive processes in humans and other species. The first research area examines issues in the behavioral ecology of small mammals. His research typically examines population differences, predator-prey relations, habitat perception, and social communication. Behavioral development in field and laboratory conditions is a consistent theme throughout his experimental studies; Pthis developmental theme is sometimes complemented with neuro-biological measures. The second program of study concentrates on the development of aesthetic preferences and how these preferences are constrained by human evolutionary history. Research on this topic emphasizes visual perception and creativity and often includes cross-cultural comparisons.”

You can check out Professor Coss’ material on his faculty page.