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

Nautilus11 min readPsychology
The New Tech of Relationships: Three stories of our new alliance with technology.
Our relationship to technology and the benefits we reap from it depends on how much we make it our own. This realization has motivated me to contextualize the drumbeat we hear about the perils of technology, particularly social media: increased isola
Nautilus4 min readFood & Wine
5 Places Where People Slow Down Aging
Around the world, people are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. One area this is most visible is in the number of centenarians, or people living to the age of 100. In 1840, there were 90 centenarians in the United States—one for every 1
Nautilus7 min read
Are There Bacteria in Your Brain?: A surprising new result catches the attention of the neuroscience community.
Rosalinda Roberts had gotten used to seeing weird shapes in the brain. Over three decades of looking at brain tissue under an electron microscope, she’d regularly come across “unknown objects”—specks and blobs in her images that weren’t supposed to b