“If the authors are right, or even in the vicinity of being right, it couldn’t be bigger,” says Stephen Stich, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who wasn’t involved in the work. “What they are offering to explain is the emergence of democratic institutions, of individualism in the West.”
In what may come as a surprise to freethinkers and nonconformists happily defying social conventions these days in New York City, Paris, Sydney and other centers of Western culture, Dr. Henrich and collegaues' study traces the origins of contemporary individualism to the powerful influence of the Catholic Church in Europe more than 1,000 years ago, during the Middle Ages. See below for a comprehensive list of media coverage on the published study in Science. If you are aware of coverage in another outlet not listed below, we welcome you to notify us! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.