George Cowan's 90th Birthday Party (and an unhappy Isaac Newton looking on).
Remembering George Cowan (1920-2012).


Behavior Discussion Group at work 2017


Behavior Discussion Group: High theory, 2014

Activities of the Behavioral Science program have included: 
Founding Workshop (August, 2003.)
Workshop on Robustness and Differention of Sex roles (Berlin, November 2003)
Workshop on Neuroscience and Social Emotions (March 2004).
Working Group on Inequality in the Very Long Run (July, 2004).
Working Group on Social Dynamics (Cape Town, January 2005)
Working group on the Coevolution of Behaviors and Institutions (ongoing)
Working Group on Inter-generational Transmission of Wealth and The Dynamics of Inequality (ongoing).
Summer 2007 Discussion and Seminar Meeting Schedule
Behavior Discussion Group Meeting, February 2007
Behavior Discussion Group Meeting, July 2006
Behavior Seminar (ongoing) This page provides an overview of current and recent social science talks at the Santa Fe Institute
Emergence of Inequality Working Group, February 2009
Dominance and Leveling in Primates and other Animals Working Group March 2008

Some of the behavioral discussion group Summer 2006

In 2003, the Institute launched a research program in the behavioral sciences. The program is supported by an endowment generously given to the Institute by George Cowan. As the Arthur Spiegel Endowed Research Professor at the Institute I coordinate this program.

Rationale. Many of the pressing contemporary challenges to human well being -- global warming, HIV-AIDS, terrorism--as well as many opportunities for enhanced well being--the alleviation of global poverty--are social in nature. Understanding these challenges and addressing them requires knowledge not only of the workings of the physical world but also of how people behave and how individual behaviors interact to produce aggregate social outcomes. By contrast to the immense contributions of physical science to human betterment, however, the contribution of the behavioral sciences appears paltry, and in any case inadequate to the contemporary challenges.

This inadequacy may be traced to many sources, one of which is that the various disciplines making up the behavioral sciences have for the most part pursued research agendas in isolation from one another despite substantial elements of common subject matter. Neuro-scientists, economists, psychologists, and evolutionary biologists, for example, all study the relationships between rewards and behaviors, but without a common framework of analysis (and with little interest or knowledge of the contributions of related disciplines.) Similarly, historians, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists seek to explain institutional and cultural change, with surprisingly little exchange of methods among the disciplines and virtually no attention to the possibility of applying models from physics, population genetics and other more distant fields.

Program. The program will support non-disciplinary research by visitors to the Institute, participants in workshops, post doctoral fellows and others.