Joe Henrich

Joseph Henrich is the Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology and the Chair of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. 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.

Henrich holds bachelor's 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. 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. 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. He arrived at Harvard in 2015.

His research focuses on evolutionary approaches to psychology, decision-making and culture, and includes topics related to cultural learning, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, human sociality, prestige, leadership, large-scale cooperation, religion and the emergence of complex human institutions. Methodologically, he integrates ethnographic tools from anthropology with experimental techniques drawn from psychology and economics.

Professor Henrich has published two books: The Secret of Our Success: How culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species and making us smarter (2015) and The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (2020).