Cultural group selection

Henrich, J.Human Cooperation: The Hunter-Gatherer Puzzle.” Current Biology 28, no. 19 (2018): R1143-R1145. Publisher's Version
Muthukrishna, Michael, Max Doebeli, Maciej Chudek, and Joseph Henrich. “The Cultural Brain Hypothesis: How culture drives brain expansion, sociality, and life history.” PLOS Computational Biology 14, no. 11 (2018): e1006504. Online Version
Purzycki, B. G., J. Henrich, C. Apicella, Q. Atkinson, A. Baimel, E. Cohen, R. A. McNamara, A. K. Willard, D. Xygalatas, and A. Norenzayan. “The evolution of religion and morality: A synthesis of ethnographic and experimental evidence from eight societies.” Religion, Brain and Behavior 8, no. 2 (2018): 101-132. Online Access
Muthukrishna, M., P. Francois, S. Pourahmadi, and J. Henrich. “Corrupting Cooperation and How Anti-Corruption Strategies May Backfire.” Nature Human Behaviour 1, no. 0138 (2017). Publisher's Version
McNamara, R. A., and J. Henrich. “Jesus vs. the Ancestors: How specific religious beliefs shape prosociality on Yasawa Island, Fiji.” Religion, Brain and Behavior 8, no. 2 (2017): 185-204. Online Version
Bauer, M., C. Blattman, J. Chytilova, J. Henrich, E. Miguel, and T. Mitts.Can War Foster Cooperation?Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, no. 3 (2016): 249–274. Online Version PDF
McNamara, Rita Anne, and Joseph Henrich. “Kin and Kinship Psychology both influence cooperative coordination in Yasawa, Fiji.” Evolution and Human Behavior (2016): 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.09.004. Online Version PDF
Muthukrishna, Michael, and Joseph Henrich. “Innovation in the Collective Brain.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371, no. 1690 (2016): doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0192. Online Version PDF
Barrett, H. Clark, Alex Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel M.T. Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, et al.Small-Scale Societies Exhibit Fundamental Variation in the Role of Intentions in Moral Judgment.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 133, no. 17 (2016): 4688–4693. Online Version with Supplemental Materials
Purzycki, Benjamin Grant, Coren Apicella, Quentin D. Atkinson, Emma Cohen, Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K. Willard, Dimitris Xygalatas, Ara Norenzayan, and Joseph Henrich. “Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality.” Nature 530, no. 7590 (2016): 327–330. Online Version with Supplementary Materials
Moya, Cristina, and Joseph Henrich. “Culture–gene coevolutionary psychology: cultural learning, language, and ethnic psychology.” Current Opinion in Psychology 8 (2016): 112-118. PDF
Henrich, J., and R. Boyd. “How evolved psychological mechanisms empower cultural group selection.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39 (2016): doi: 10.1017/S0140525X15000138. Online Version PDF
Broesch, T., P. Rochat, K. Olah, J. Broesch, and J. Henrich. “Similarities and differences in maternal responsiveness in three societies: Evidence from Fiji, Kenya and US.” Child Development 87, no. 3 (2016): 700-11. Full Online Version PDF
Norenzayan, A., A. F. Shariff, W. M. Gervais, A. Willard, R. McNamara, E. Slingerland, and J. Henrich. “The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39 (2016): 1-19. Online Version
McNamara, Rita Anne, Ara Norenzayan, and Joseph Henrich. “Supernatural punishment, in-group biases, and material insecurity: Experiments and Ethnography from Yasawa, Fiji.” Religion, Brain & Behavior 6, no. 1 (2016): 34-55. Online Version PDF
Henrich, Joseph, Maciej Chudek, and Robert Boyd. “The Big Man Mechanism: how prestige fosters cooperation and creates prosocial leaders.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 370, no. 1683 (2015). PDF
Henrich, J.Culture and social behavior.” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 3 (2015): 84-89. PDF
Fessler, D. M. T., H. C. Barret, M. Kanovsky, S. Stich, C. Holbrook, J. Henrich, A. H. Bolyanatz, et al.Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven societies.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282 (2015): 20150907. Online Access PDF
The Secret of Our Success: How culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species, and making us smart
Henrich, Joseph. The Secret of Our Success: How culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species, and making us smart. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often unable to solve basic problems, like obtaining food, building shelters or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced innovative technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into environments across the globe. What has enabled us to dominate such a vast range of environments, more than any other species? The Secret of Our Success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective brains—in the ability of human groups to socially interconnect and to learn from one another.

Drawing insights from lost European explorers, clever chimpanzees, hunter-gatherers, neuroscientists, ancient bones, and the human genome, Joseph Henrich demonstrates how our collective brains have propelled our species’ genetic evolution, and shaped our biology. Our early capacities for learning from others produced many innovations, such as fire, cooking, water containers, plant knowledge and projectile weapons, which in turn drove the expansion of our brains and altered our physiology, anatomy and psychology in crucial ways. Further on, some collective brains generated and recombined powerful concepts, such as the lever, wheel, screw and writing. Henrich shows how our genetics and biology are inextricably interwoven with cultural evolution, and that this unique culture-gene interaction has propelled our species on a unique evolutionary trajectory.

Tracking clues from our ancient past to the present, The Secret of Our Success explores how our cultural and social natures produce a collective intelligence that explains both our species striking uniqueness and odd peculiarities.

Visit the book website here.

Salali, Gul Deniz, Myriam Juda, and Joseph Henrich. “Transmission and development of costly punishment in children.” Evolution and Human Behavior 36 (2015): 86-94.Abstract

Evolutionary theorists argue that cultural evolution has harnessed various aspects of our evolved psychology to create a variety of different mechanisms for sustaining social norms, including those related to large-scale cooperation. One of these mechanisms, costly punishment, has emerged in experiments as an effective means to sustain cooperation in some societies. If this view is correct, individuals' willingness to engage in the costly punishment of norm violators should be culturally transmittable, and applicable to both prosocial and anti-social behaviors (to any social norm). Since much existing work shows that norm-based prosocial behavior in experiments develops substantially during early and middle childhood, we tested 245 3- to 8-year olds in a simplified third party punishment game to investigate whether children would imitate a model's decision to punish, at a personal cost, both unequal and equal offers. Our study showed that children, regardless of their age, imitate the costly punishment of both equal and unequal offers, and the rates of imitation increase (not decrease) with age. However, only older children imitate not-punishing for both equal and unequal offers. These findings highlight the potential role of cultural transmission in the stabilization or de-stabilization of costly punishment in a population.