Joseph Henrich



  • Senior Fellow
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


  • Harvard University
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology


  • United States


PhD (Anthropology), University of California, Los Angeles
MA (Anthropology), University of California, Los Angeles
BS (Aerospace Engineering), University of Notre Dame
BA (Anthropology), University of Notre Dame


Joseph Henrich’s theoretical work explores how natural selection has shaped human learning and psychology, how this in turn influences cultural evolutionary processes, and how the interaction of genes and culture open up new evolutionary vistas.

His areas of focus include cultural learning, sociality, co-operation, decision-making, risk, fairness, social norms, folk biology, prestige, leadership and religion.

Methodologically, Henrich’s empirical work synthesizes in-depth quantitative ethnography with experimental and analytical tools drawn from behavioural economics and psychology. He has performed long-term fieldwork studying both children and adults in the Peruvian Amazon, rural Chile and villages in Fiji.


Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution

UBC Killam Research Prize

Human Behavior and Evolution Society’s Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (United States)

Relevant Publications

Norenzayan, A. et al. "The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions." Behav. Brain. Sci. 39 (2016): e1.

Bauer, M. et al. "War’s Enduring Effects on the Development of Egalitarian Motivations and In-group Biases." ‎Psychol. Sci. 25, no. 1 (2013): 47–57.

Henrich, J. et al. "The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage." Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 367 (2012): 657–69.

Henrich, J. et al. "Markets, religion, community size and the evolution of fairness and punishment." Science 327 (2010): 1480–1484.

Henrich, J. et al. "The weirdest people in the world?" Behav. Brain. Sci. 33, no. 2–3 (2010): 61–83.

Henrich, J. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.

Henrich, N., and J. Henrich. Why Humans Cooperate: A cultural and evolutionary explanation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Ensminger, J., and J. Henrich. Experimenting with Social Norms: Fairness and Punishment in Cross-Cultural Perspective. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2014.


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