I have been an evolutionary biologist since the fall of 1965 when I first learned that natural selection is the key to understanding life and that it favors traits that give individuals an advantage (in producing surviving offspring). Spring of 1966 I learned Hamilton’s kinship theory, which extended one’s self-interest to include not only one’s own offspring but also those of relatives, each devalued by the appropriate degree of relatedness.
I was eager to contribute to building social theory based on natural selection, because a scientific system of social theory must, by logic be based on natural selection, and getting the foundations correct would have important implications for understanding our own psyches and social systems. A general system of logic that applies to all creatures also vastly extends the range of relevant evidence.
I then published a series of papers on social topics: reciprocal altruism (1971), parental investment and sexual selection (1972), the sex ratio (1973), parent-offspring conflict (1974), kinship and sex ratio in the social insects (1976), summarized in my book on social evolution (1985). All of these papers can be downloaded from my ‘bibliography’ and a link to the book can be found under ‘books’.
I devoted 1990 to 2005 to mastering genetics, in particular,
selfish genetic elements, which typically are harmful to the organism as a whole but spread through within-individual genetic conflict. They infect all known organisms, including ourselves and come in many different forms. This entire subject is reviewed in my book with Austin Burt (2006), a link to which can be found under ‘books’ and various papers on the subject can also be found in my ‘bibliography’.
Finally, I have recently attempted to master the scientific literature on self-deception and to sketch out some of the many applications of the resulting view. Links to this book are found here on the front page. Links to earlier papers on the subject can be found in the ‘publications’.http://roberttrivers.com/Robert_Trive...