Pete Trimmer is a behavioural scientist who works as a senior teaching fellow at the University of Wawrick. His research, almost exclusively theoretical, focuses on the evolution of learning, decision-making, and physiological processes. In this conversation, we talk about a wide range of topics: how Pete became a world-class croquet player (former World No. 3), how he got into academia, how he overcame maths anxiety to become a mathematical biologist, and his work on ecological rationality.
BJKS Podcast is a podcast about neuroscience, psychology, and anything vaguely related, hosted by Benjamin James Kuper-Smith. New conversations every other Friday. You can find the podcast on all podcasting platforms (e.g., Spotify, Apple/Google Podcasts, etc.).
0:00:04: Pete Trimmer, former world-class croquet player
0:15:01: Combining outside activities with work
0:22:14: Pete's path from industry to academia
0:30:30: How to reduce time marking exams by almost 50%
0:36:41: How Pete overcame maths anxiety in school
0:52:21: Start discussing ecological rationality
1:00:17: Do we still need to argue against expected utility theory?
1:07:33: Are we just adding lists of if-statements to theories?
1:09:40: Tinbergen's 4 whys
1:14:17: When is an evolutionary theory a useful theory?
Kipling, R. (1902/2011). Just so stories. Penguin Classics.
Niven, J. E., Anderson, J. C., & Laughlin, S. B. (2007). Fly photoreceptors demonstrate energy-information trade-offs in neural coding. PLoS Biology.
Strang, Gilbert's (free) course on linear algebra: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-06sc-linear-algebra-fall-2011/
Tinbergen, N. (1963). On aims and methods of ethology. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie.
Tinbergen's 4 whys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinbergen%27s_four_questions
Trimmer, P. C. (2013). Optimal behaviour can violate the principle of regularity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Trimmer, P. C. (2016). Optimistic and realistic perspectives on cognitive biases. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.
Trimmer, Pete's blog post about beating better players at croquet: https://www.croquet.org.uk/?p=members/players/tactics/BeatBetter
Trimmer, Pete's cover of the thinking croquet player: https://bit.ly/3pXaFNq