Social psychology has documented many surprising features of the human mind, providing robust evidence that people deceive themselves, are systematically overconfident, believe implausible things to avoid inconsistency, and so on. Explanations often focus on proximate psychological mechanisms (e.g., we avoid inconsistency because we find it uncomfortable). But behind every proximate mechanism is an ultimate explanation (why is inconsistency uncomfortable?)—why did evolution or learning lead us to be this way? This course will examine proximate and ultimate explanations for classic Read more about PSY 1576
Why do our ideologies change when we are put in positions of power (e.g., victim dehumanization), or subordination (e.g., Stockholm Syndrome), or with peers with a different opinion (e.g., conformity)?Why are our moral and political ideologies so different across time and culture (e.g., the ideologies of ISIS members compared to Americans)? Why do we claim that our morals are logically justifiable when we cannot justify them (e.g., moral dumbfounding)? This course will explore the hidden incentives that can explain these and many other puzzling features of our beliefs and ideologies Read more about PSY 1575
Game theory is the formal toolkit for analyzing situations in which payoffs depend not only on your actions (say, which TV series you watch), but also others' (whether your friends are watching the same show). You've probably already heard of some famous games, like the prisoners' dilemma and the costly signaling game. We'll teach you to solve games like these, and more, using tools like Nash equilibrium, subgame perfection, Bayesian Nash equilibrium, and the one-shot deviation principle.Game theory has traditionally been applied to understand the behavior of highly deliberate Read more about ECON 1057
We will apply an evolutionary framework - with the help of models from "game theory" and "evolutionary dynamics" - to explain social behavior typically considered the realm of psychologists and philosophers, such as why we speak indirectly, in what sense beauty is socially constructed, and where our moral intuitions come from.
Game theory and evolutionary dynamics will be taught from scratch but will not be redundant to experienced students. Five problem sets will be required, which can be done in groups and will require basic programming and math. Read more about HEB 1390
People give a lot: 2% of GDP is donated to charity, 2-4% of hours worked are volunteered, and 50% of Americans vote in National Elections. Yet such giving displays puzzling qualities: for example, giving is often inefficient (consider the efficiency of Habitat for Humanity) and people who would otherwise give will pay to opt out of being solicited.
We use simple game theory models, combined with models of evolution and evidence from experimental economics papers, to better understand our altruistic preferences and their puzzling qualities. In doing so, we gain Read more about ECON 1053
Introduces basic concepts of mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics: evolution of genomes, quasi-species, finite and infinite population dynamics, chaos, game dynamics, evolution of cooperation and language, spatial models, evolutionary graph theory, infection dynamics, somatic evolution of cancer.
Pre-requisites:Math at the level of Math 19a, Math 21a, Applied Math 21a. Familiarity with programming and basic probability highly recommended.