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Joseph Henrich Anthropologist/ Economist

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 research foci include cultural learning, sociality, cooperation, decision-making, risk, fairness, social norms, folk biology, prestige, leadership and religion.

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


Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution (Tier 1)

UBC Killam Research Prize, 2010.

Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions bestowed by the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, 2009.

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (United States), 2004.

Relevant Publications

A. Norenzayan et al, "The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions," Behav. Brain. Sci. (forthcoming)

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

J. Henrich et al, "The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage," Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B., vol. 367, pp. 657-669, 2012.

J. Henrich et al, "Markets, religion, community size and the evolution of fairness and punishment," Science, vol. 327, pp. 1480-1484, 2010.

J. Henrich et al, "The weirdest people in the world?" Behav. Brain. Sci. vol. 33, no. 2-3, pp. 61-83, 2010.


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

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

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



Senior Fellow Institutions, Organizations & Growth


Harvard University


PhD (Anthropology) University of California at Los Angeles

MA (Anthropology) University of California at Los Angeles

BS (Aerospace Engineering) University of Notre Dame

BA (Anthropology) University of Notre Dame


United States

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