» Dr. Robert Trivers
Presidential Fellow in Biology and Evolutionary Psychology

Biography

Robert Trivers is an evolutionary biologist who concentrates on social theory based on natural selection, and on evolutionary genetics—the twin backbones of biology. Early work concentrated on reciprocal altruism, the evolution of sex differences, the sex ratio at birth, parent-offspring conflict, kinship and sex ratio in social insects and the theory that self-deception evolves in the service of deceit. Later he showed that systems of female choice naturally evolve with a bias toward daughters.

He then devoted fifteen years of his life (with Austin Burt) to reviewing the vast topic of selfish genetic elements in all species (except bacteria and viruses). These are genes that do not benefit the individual with the genes but spread because they reproduce faster within the individual.

He recently published in 2011 Deceit and Self-deception—Fooling Yourself the Better to Fool Others (UK); The Folly of Fools (US). It is now translated into eleven languages, including Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese and is regarded as the definitive treatment of the subject. In 2015 he published a personal memoir—Wild Life: Adventures of an Evolutionary Biologist—translated into Spanish and soon Polish.

Trivers currently lectures to the general public on all aspects of deceit and self-deception—including personal, business and societal. He lectures on the evolutionary biology of homosexuality and trans-sexuality and on explaining the genetic logic of "honor" killing, this according to a theory on the socio-genetic effects of frequent first cousin marriages.