Cumulative cultural evolution

Schulz, J, J Beauchamp, D Bahrami-Rad, and J Henrich. “The church, intensive kinship, and global psychological variation.” Science 366, no. 707 (2019): 1-12. Data PDF
Bhui, R., M. Chudek, and J. Henrich. “How exploitation launched human cooperation.” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73, no. 78 (2019): 1-14. Online Version PDF Supplementary Materials
Muthukrishna, M, and J Henrich. “A problem in theory.” Nature Human Behavior (2019). Link to PDF
McNamara, R. A., A. K. Willard, A. Norenzayan, and J. Henrich. “Weighing Outcome vs. Intent Across Societies: How cultural models of mind shape moral reasoning.” Cognition 182 (2019): 95-108. Online version
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, Benjamin Grant, Joseph Henrich, and Ara Norenzayan, ed. The Evolution of Religion and Morality. Religion, Brain and Behavior. Vol. 8. Religion, Brain Behavior, 2018. Access Special Issue Online
Henrich, Joseph. “High Fidelity.” Science 356, no. 6340 (2017): 810. Publisher's Version
Henrich, J., and C. Tennie. “Cultural Evolution in Chimpanzees and Humans.” In Chimpanzees and Human Evolution, edited by M. Muller, R. Wrangham, and D. Pilbeam, 645-702. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. Book link PDF
Henrich, Joseph, Robert Boyd, Maxime Derex, Michelle A. Kline, Alex Mesoudi, Michael Muthukrishna, Adam T. Powell, Stephen J. Shennan, and Mark G. Thomas. “Understanding cumulative cultural evolution.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 113, no. 44 (2016): E6724-E6725. Online Version
McKerracher, L., M. Collard, and J. Henrich. “Food Aversions and Cravings during Pregnancy on Yasawa Island, Fiji.” Human Nature 27, no. 3 (2016): 296-315. Online Version with Supplemental Materials 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
Moya, Cristina, and Joseph Henrich. “Culture–gene coevolutionary psychology: cultural learning, language, and ethnic psychology.” Current Opinion in Psychology 8 (2016): 112-118. PDF
Muthukrishna, Michael, Thomas Joshua Henry Morgan, and Joseph Henrich. “The When and Who of Social Learning and Conformist Transmission.” Evolution and Human Behavior 37, no. 1 (2016): 10-20. 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). Publisher's Version 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.

Muthukrishna, Michael, Ben W Shulman, Vlad Vasilescu, and Joseph Henrich. “Sociality influences cultural complexity.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281, no. 1774 (2014): 20132511. PDF
Boyd, R., P. J. Richerson, J. Henrich, and J. Lupp. “The Cultural Evolution of Technology: Facts and theories.” In Cultural Evolution: Society, Language, and Religion, edited by P. J. Richerson and M. H. Christiansen. Vol. 12. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.
Chudek, M., Patricia E Brosseau‐Liard, Susan Birch, and J. Henrich. “Culture-gene coevolutionary theory and children’s selective social learning.” In Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us, edited by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Susan A Gelman, 181. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Kline, M. A., R. Boyd, and J. Henrich. “Teaching and the Life History of Cultural Transmission in Fijian Villages.” Human Nature-an Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective 24, no. 4 (2013): 351-374.Abstract

Much existing literature in anthropology suggests that teaching is rare in non-Western societies, and that cultural transmission is mostly vertical (parent-to-offspring). However, applications of evolutionary theory to humans predict both teaching and non-vertical transmission of culturally learned skills, behaviors, and knowledge should be common cross-culturally. Here, we review this body of theory to derive predictions about when teaching and non-vertical transmission should be adaptive, and thus more likely to be observed empirically. Using three interviews conducted with rural Fijian populations, we find that parents are more likely to teach than are other kin types, high-skill and highly valued domains are more likely to be taught, and oblique transmission is associated with high-skill domains, which are learned later in life. Finally, we conclude that the apparent conflict between theory and empirical evidence is due to a mismatch of theoretical hypotheses and empirical claims across disciplines, and we reconcile theory with the existing literature in light of our results.