Robert Trivers

trivers robert_500wProfessor, Anthropology and Biological Sciences

Robert Trivers has spent his career studying social theory in all organisms. His theories regarding parental investment, reciprocal altruism, the sex ratio at birth and parent-offspring conflict have been very influential in a number of fields. In 2006 he published (with Austin Burt) the first book reviewing all cases of internal genetic conflict in all species (except bacteria and viruses).

In 2007, he won the Crafoord Prize. In 2011 he published a book giving the first scientific theory for why we practice self-deception - in the U.S., The Folly of Fools: the Logic of Deceit and Self-deception in Human Life (NYC, Basic). This book has now appeared in German and is being translated into seven other languages. For his full bibliography, with links to all his published papers, go to

The Jamaican Symmetry Project
Dr. Trivers' project is documenting interesting relationships between the degree of bodily asymmetry in humans, as well as the 2nd to 4th digit ratio, and a variety of other traits. This work began in 1996 on rural Jamaican children and is one of the longest-running longitudinal studies of these variables in humans. He has published 16 papers from this project, one of which (Brown et al 2005) was later shown to be completely fraudulent (Trivers et al 2009). For all references to this work (with pdf’s) as well as an account of the unfortunate effects of revealing such fraud at Rutgers University, see his website:

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