Clarkson professor wins award for paper on evolution and human behavior
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 3:04 pm

POTSDAM – Clarkson University Psychology Professor Andreas Wilke and UCLA Anthropology Professor Clark Barrett recently received the Margo Ings Wilson Award.

Each year the editors of Evolution and Human Behavior, the official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, present the award for the best paper published in Evolution and Human Behavior. It comes with an honorarium of $1,500.

Wilke and Barrett received the award for their paper titled "The hot hand phenomenon as a cognitive adaptation to clumped resources."

The "hot hand phenomenon" refers to the expectation of 'streaks' in sequences of hits and misses whose probabilities are, in fact, independent -- such as coin tosses or basketball shots.

Looking at the phenomenon, they proposed that it reflects an evolved human psychological assumption that items in the world come in clumps, and that hot hand, not randomness, is our evolved psychological default, as detecting sequential dependencies in natural environments is the basis for successful exploitation of resource patterns.

Wilke's general research at Clarkson revolves around human foraging cognition, but crosses into many disciplines. He joined the teaching staff at Clarkson in 2009. Before that, he was a predoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.