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The Secret of Our Success

Event Details

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location

 Sept 29, 2016

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Isabel Bader Theatre,
93 Charles St. W.
Toronto, ON

In partnership with: unnamed-120x199 Massey College and CIFAR have partnered to create an annual talk by a distinguished CIFAR Fellow that explores an important aspect at the nexus between science, research, and society


The 2nd annual CIFAR Massey Talk featured a lecture by Joseph Henrich, CIFAR senior fellow and professor of  human evolutionary biology at Harvard University. Henrich shared insights from his book The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter.

The Secret of Our Success

Drawing on lessons from history, mathematical models, and lab experiments with humans and primates, Henrich explained how humanity’s evolutionary advantage has not been our individual capacity for intelligence, but rather the collective cultural knowledge we have accumulated over generations. He shared how genes and culture evolved together, with cultural adaptations feeding back to affect physical traits, and explained what this process means for how today’s technological advancements might affect future evolution.

Professor Henrich’s lecture was followed by a panel discussion led by Junior Fellows of Massey College.

About the Book


“Mind-stretching. . . . Henrich’s book will take you on a prodigious journey through human nature and society.” — Alun Anderson, New Scientist

“Henrich posits a unique approach to understanding human behavior, not in purely evolutionary terms, but as a process of cultural evolution.” — Library Journal

MASSEY TALK   Past event

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