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Robert Boyd Evolutionary Anthropology

Robert Boyd is an evolutionary anthropologist whose research is focused on the evolutionary psychology of the mechanisms that give rise to, and shape human culture, and how these mechanisms interact with population dynamic processes to shape human cultural variation. He uses a combination of mathematical modelling, laboratory experiments, and ethnographic fieldwork to address these questions.


Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, 2005-2006.

Invited fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2001-2002.

J. I. Staley Prize for Culture and the Evolutionary Process, 1989.

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 1988-1989.

Relevant Publications

M. Derex and R Boyd, "The foundations of the human cultural niche," Nat. Commun., vol. 6, pp. 8398, 2015.

R. Boyd et al, "The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., vol. 108, pp. 10918–10925, 2011.

S. Mathew and R. Boyd, "Punishment sustains large-scale cooperation in prestate warfare," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., vol. 108, pp. 11375–11380, 2011.

C. Perrault et al, "A Bayesian Approach to the Evolution of Social Learning," Evol. Hum. Behav., vol. 33, pp. 449–459, Dec. 2011.

M. Kline and R. Boyd, "Population size predicts technological complexity in Oceania", Proc. R. Soc. B, vol. 277, pp. 2559-2564, 2010.


P. J . Richerson and R. Boyd, Not by Genes Alone: How culture transformed human evolution, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. (Translated into Korean and Italian)

J. Henrich et al, The Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic experiments and ethnographic evidence from fifteen small-scale societies, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

R. Boyd, and P. J. Richerson, Culture and the Evolutionary Process, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.



Advisor Institutions, Organizations & Growth


Arizona State UniversitySchool of Human Evolution and Social Change


PhD (Ecology) University of California, Davis


United States

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