Jerome H. Barkow

Emeritus Professor


Related information

  • CV [PDF - 403 kB]

Mailing Address: 
Room 1128, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2


  • BA, CUNY
  • MA, PhD, Chicago

Research interests

Jerome H. Barkow is a sociocultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests in evolution and human nature, cultural transmission, and astrobiology. He has conducted field research in West Africa, Nova Scotia, and Indonesia (but not yet on exoplanets). Barkow’s publications span more than 53 years and cover topics ranging from the influence of Islam on Nigerian women, to advice for SETI about what kinds of intelligence are possible in the light of evolutionary biology, to an analysis of the topics we gossip about, to why the Bugis of Indonesia know more about cuisine than child nutrition. The connecting theme of his publications is that our evolved psychology underlies human society and culture. In addition to his Dalhousie appointment, Barkow has been an Honorary Professor in the Institute for Cognition and Culture, School of History and Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligences (METI International).

Selected publications       

·         2020. The Psychology of Extraterrestrials: The New Frontier? In The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior (pp. 507-513). Lance Workman, Will Reader, and Jerome H. Barkow, eds. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

·         2014.  Prestige and the ongoing process of culture revision. Cheng, Joey T., Jessica L. Tracy, and Cameron Anderson, eds. In The Psychology of Social Status (pp. 29-46). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-0867-7_2

·         2013. Evolution, altruism and ethnocentrism among extraterrestrials: a thought experiment. In Extraterrestrial Altruism, The Frontiers Collection, pp. 35-46. Douglas A. Vakoch, ed.  DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-37750-1_3, _. Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

    2012  First author, with Rick O’Gorman and Luke Rendell. Are the new mass media subverting cultural transmission? Review of General Psychology 16(2):121-133.

    2006 Sometimes the bus does wait. In Missing the Revolution: Darwinism for Social Scientists, pp. 3-59. J.H. Barkow, ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

    2001 (First author, with seven other authors) Social competition, social intelligence, and why the Bugis know more about cooking than about nutrition. In The Origins of Human Social Institutions. W.G. Runciman, ed. Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 110, pp. 119-147. London: British Academy.

    1992  Beneath new culture is old psychology.  In The Adapted Mind.  Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, pp. 627-637. J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides, and J. Tooby, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press.

    1989  Darwin, Sex, and Status: Biological Approaches to Mind and Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.