PROSOCIAL: Increasing the Efficacy of Groups:
A lecture by biologist David Sloan Wilson
As we at Drexel continue to turn our sights outward, strengthening ties with our neighbors beyond campus, there is no better time than now to welcome Dr. David Sloan Wilson as the Department of Psychology’s Fall Colloquium speaker.
An evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University, Wilson believes that natural selection can be used to explain and improve the function of groups of all sizes, even at the neighborhood level. His work spans disciplines, drawing on everything from psychology to sociology to economics. He uses this multidisciplinary approach to address an intriguing question: how can behaviors such as altruism, which would seem to hinder our individual potential for survival, actually persist at the group level? Wilson argues that these “prosocial” behaviors can in fact lead to healthy, productive communities that outperform their less-connected neighbors.
The functioning of effective and productive groups is a concern of many disciplines, and yet there has been little progress to date in successfully integrating these disparate approaches. Wilson will discuss an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative to create a theoretical framework that is grounded in the evolutionary dynamics of cooperation and that links the successful principles and practices of these diverse fields.
David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and president of the Evolution Institute, a think tank that formulates public policy from an evolutionary perspective. He has made foundational contributions to basic evolutionary theory and evolution in relation to human affairs. His current research is focused on showing how evolutionary science can be used, not only to understand, but also to improve the human condition. His most recent book is The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time.
This event is open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture.
Sponsored by the Department of Psychology in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences.