Joseph Henrich

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Joseph Henrich is an anthropologist. He is the chairman of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology of Harvard University and a professor of the department.[1] Henrich 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/ Martin Marietta, Springfield, VA. 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 2002-07 Henrich was on the faculty at 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.


His research areas include: cultural learning, the evolution of cooperation, social stratification, prestige and the evolution of economic decision-making and religious beliefs. He indicates that polygamy is harmful for society;[4] 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 a subgroup, not representative of humans at large, and outliers in many test situations.[5]

In 2018, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung described Henrich as one of the most exciting anthropologists of today.[4]


  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. ^ a b Markus Schär (December 4, 2018). "Anthropologe Joseph Henrich: «Es schadet dem Zusammenleben, wenn Männer mehrere Frauen haben dürfen" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved December 4, 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.

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.

External links[edit]