Jerome H. Barkow

Emeritus Professor


Related information

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 and in cultural transmission. He has conducted field research in West Africa, Nova Scotia, and Indonesia. Barkow’s publications span more than 47 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.  His current projects include editing a book on evolution and the media, and research (with psychologist collaborators) on the implications for cultural transmission of what we pay attention to when we go to the movies. The connecting theme of his publications is that our evolved psychology underlies human society and culture. In addition to his Dalhousie appointment, Barkow is an Honorary Professor in the Institute for Cognition and Culture, School of History and Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Selected publications

  • 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.