Calvin Cochran

Lecturer in the Quantitative Reasoning Program


My research focuses on evolutionary game theory models of human behavior. Of particular interest to me are Lewis signaling games, models of how agents might arrive at a linguistic convention without explicit prior agreement. I use analytical, experimental, and simulation-based techniques to investigate how a host of cognitively diverse species could develop a rudimentary language in such a setting. Also of interest to me are Nash bargaining game models of resource division, particularly as a how-possible explanation for the evolution of fairness and equity (or lack thereof). As a mathematician who uses techniques from economics to model phenomena of interest to philosophers, I am a fan of interdisciplinary research in general and encourage my students and colleagues to reach across the academic aisle as they push forward the boundaries of knowledge.


I currently have the privilege of teaching QR 140 (Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning), QR/Stat 150 (Introduction to Data Literacy: Everyday Applications), and Stat 160 (Fundamentals of Statistics). These courses give students an essential mathematical foundation for future classes, help them appreciate the ubiquity of math across fields and in their own lives, and heighten their ability to think critically about the world and quantitative claims regarding it. Math anxiety gnaws at millions of people around the world, and my classes are designed to make the subject approachable, practical, and rewarding so that students might integrate mathematics into their future careers and daily lives.

Professional Interests

I think it necessary and enjoyable to keep up with the latest advances in pedagogical techniques. Novel active learning activities, assessment methods, and other teaching strategies are researched constantly, and I enjoy cherry picking the ones I think would work well in my courses. I also enjoy attending conferences on pedagogy and have a particular interest in reducing student stress, promoting critical thinking, and facilitating the success of first-generation students.

Personal Interests

If asked to summarize me in five words, most of my friends would say, "he likes Pokemon too much." I play the Pokemon trading card game competitively and Pokemon GO casually. I also enjoy ultimate frisbee, dogs, and board games of all kinds.

Current and upcoming courses

  • This course is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to digest, critique, and express every-day statistics and to use statistical thinking to answer questions in their own lives. Students will be exposed to and produce descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency & spread, as well as common visual representations of data. The bulk of the class will be devoted to giving students the tools needed to analyze and critique statistical claims, including an understanding of the dangers of confounding variables and bias, the advantages and limitations of various study designs and statistical inference, and how to carefully read and parse claims which attempt to use numbers to sway their audience. The class will examine this material in authentic contexts such as political polling, medical decision making, online dating, and personal finance. This course is primarily aimed at students whose majors do not require mathematics or statistics. (QR 150 and STAT 150 are cross-listed courses.)