Joseph Henrich

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Joseph Henrich
Born (1968-09-06) 6 September 1968 (age 52)
NationalityCanadian[citation needed]
Occupationprofessor of human evolutionary biology
Known forThe Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species, and Making us Smarter

Joseph Henrich (born 1968) is a Canadian[failed verification] professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and Chair of the department.[1] Henrich was a professor of psychology and economics at the University of British Columbia. He is interested in the question of how humans evolved from "being a relatively unremarkable primate a few million years ago to the most successful species on the globe", and how culture affected our genetic development.[2]


Henrich holds bachelor degrees in anthropology and aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame, earned in 1991. From 1991 to 1993, he worked as a Test and Evaluation Systems Engineer for General Electric Aerospace (sold to Martin Marietta in 1993) in Springfield, Virginia. In 1995, he earned a master's degree and four years later, a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

From 2002 to 2007, Henrich was on the faculty of Emory University in the Department of Anthropology.[3] He became then the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution at the University of British Columbia, where he was a professor in the departments of psychology and economics. In 2015, he was named Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.


Henrich's research areas include cultural learning, the evolution of cooperation, social stratification, prestige, and the evolution of economic decision-making and religious beliefs. He advocates the idea that polygamy is harmful for society[4] because monogamy reduces male-male competition. Henrich's research shows that in psychological testing, people with a Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic background—the WEIRD people—are not representative of humans in general in many psychological tests.[5]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Henrich, Joseph; Bowles, Samuel; Boyd, Robert; Camerer, Colin; Fehr, Ernst; Gintis, Herbert (2004). Foundations of human sociality: economic experiments and ethnographic evidence from fifteen small-scale societies. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199262052.
  • Henrich, Joseph; Henrich, Natalie (2007). Why humans cooperate. Oxford.
  • Henrich, Joseph; Ensminger, Jean (2014). Experimenting with social norms. Russell Sage Foundation Press.
  • Henrich, Joseph (2016). The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species, and Making us Smarter. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691166858.
  • Henrich, Joseph (2020). The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374173227.


  1. ^ Joseph Henrich, HEB, Harvard University
  2. ^ Joseph Henrich: Guiding Questions
  3. ^ Joseph Henrich Archived 2015-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, University of British Columbia Faculty profile.
  4. ^ Markus Schär (4 December 2018). "Anthropologe Joseph Henrich: «Es schadet dem Zusammenleben, wenn Männer mehrere Frauen haben dürfen" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  5. ^ Henrich, Joseph; Heine, Steven J.; Norenzayan, Ara (2010). "The weirdest people in the world?". Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 33 (2–3): 61–83. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X. PMID 20550733.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]

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