Nautilus

Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power

Cailin O’Connor—a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician—may not enjoy tense situations, but they fascinate her. Last year, in a Huffington Post article titled “Game Theory and The Walking Dead,” she wrote that the zombie show’s “plot lines are rich with strategic tension.” She goes on to analyze three of what she calls “the most strategically compelling scenes,” and seems to relish in the fact that the characters—since they so often die—aren’t great game theorists. (Game theory, as she sometimes has to remind her students at the University of California, Irvine, isn’t really about games, but about predicting rational behavior.)

Recently, she’s brought this sort of scrutiny on the behavior of her fellow academics. In a recent paper, she analyzes how they strategically cooperate and bargain at a time when, in most scientific fields, published work is most often co-authored, and how power discrepancies can affect these collaborations—between grad students and professors, say, or between men and women, or between whites and people of color (or, indeed, combinations of these).

In the paper, co-authored with Justin Bruner, a philosopher

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus3 min readPsychology
Announcing a New Science Magazine from Yale
Open any newspaper, on-screen or off, and you’ll find that scientific controversy underlies many of the day’s most hotly debated issues. The arguments surrounding genetically modified organisms, the threat of artificial intelligence to human existenc
Nautilus8 min read
Pick the Statistic You Want to Be: Understanding the odds lets you play with them.
A woman named Ann Hodges was at her home in Sylacauga, Alabama, one day in 1954, napping on the couch under a big quilt, when a hunk of black rock crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the thigh. With that (unlucky) burst from the sky, she becam
Nautilus4 min readPsychology
Can a Wandering Mind Make You Neurotic?
I have two children, and they are a study in contrasts: My son works at a gym designing and building rock-climbing walls; In his spare time, he climbs them. My daughter is a Ph.D. student in immunology; In her spare time, she writes novels. My son is