Cultural evolutionary psychology talk

Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) plenary with introduction by Joe Henrich

Hi Lab,

At the beginning of this month I gave the HBES Plenary on “Cultural Evolutionary Psychology”. Having failed to anticipate my sleep-deprived state after the birth of my daughter in May, I was questioning my decision to accept the plenary. So I was pleased to see how popular it was with over 17k downloads:

You can check it out here:

Or download it along with the other talks here:

I was touched by Joe Henrich’s generous introduction.


The last decade has seen a convergence between genetic and cultural evolution in the human sciences. New research often uses formal theoretical approaches, describes common human psychology grounded in a “theory of human behavior”, and predicts and tests global and historical variation using improved statistical and empirical methods. To unify this work under a common framework, I’ll introduce the Cultural Brain and Collective Brain Hypotheses. I’ll explain how these hypotheses shed light on our understanding of intelligence, innovation, cooperation and the “paradox of diversity”. Finally, I’ll discuss ways we can move beyond WEIRD psychology in a global collaborative manner, strengthen the links between basic and applied policy research (if it doesn’t work in the real world, it doesn’t work at all), and discuss the importance of historical psychology.

Best wishes,