Human Universals

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For those elements, patterns, traits, and institutions that are common to all human cultures worldwide, but may be shared with non-humans, see Cultural universals.
Human Universals
Human Universals-Donald Brown.gif
Cover of the first edition
Author Donald Brown
Country United States
Language English
Subject Cultural anthropology
Publisher McGraw Hill
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 220
ISBN 0-87722-841-8
OCLC 22860694

Human Universals is a book by Donald Brown, an American professor of anthropology (emeritus) who worked at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was published by McGraw Hill in 1991. Brown says human universals, "comprise those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exception."


According to Brown, there are hundreds of universals unique to humans.[1][2]


He is quoted at length by Steven Pinker in an appendix to The Blank Slate (2002), where Pinker cites some of the hundreds of universals listed by Brown. However, Pinker's universals are not unique to humans.


  1. ^ Brown, Donald E. (1991). Human Universals. New York City: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-87722-841-8. 
  2. ^ As quoted by Pinker


  • George P. Murdock in Linton, The Science of Man in the World Crisis (1945)
  • Murdock's concepts were updated by Donald E. Brown, Human Universals (1991)

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