Cooperation, Cancer, and Conmen with Dr. Athena Aktipis

In Episode Six of Season Two Dr. Athena Aktipis from the Department of Psychology at the Arizona State University joins us to chat about cooperation from a cellular to human scale. Athena shares with us how the five principles of cooperation can be applied across systems, how cancer represents a breakdown of this multicellular cooperation, and how a need based transfer system is an optimal cooperation and generosity strategy. What is cooperation and can any action be altruistic? Do we need bad people to have cooperation? What can zombies tell us about cooperation and psychology? All this and much more in Cooperation, Cancer, and Conmen with Dr. Athena Aktipis!


Aktipis, A. (in press) Evolution in the Flesh:Cancer and the Transformation of Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting

Zombified Podcast with Dr. Athena Aktipis


Aktipis, A., de Aguiar, R., Flaherty, A., Iyer, P., Sonkoi, D., & Cronk, L. (2016). Cooperation in an uncertain world: For the maasai of east africa, need-based transfers outperform account-keeping in volatile environments. Human Ecology, 44(3), 353-364.

Aktipis, A. (2016). Principles of cooperation across systems: From human sharing to multicellularity and cancer. Evolutionary Applications, 9(1), 17-36.