Robert Plomin

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Robert Plomin
Born Robert Plomin
1948 (age 69–70)
Chicago, Illinois, US
Citizenship American
Fields Psychology, behavioral genetics
Institutions University of Colorado at Boulder, Pennsylvania State University, King's College London
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Doctoral advisor Arnold H. Buss
Known for Twins Early Development Study
Notable awards Dobzhansky Memorial Award (2002; Behavior Genetics Association), William James Fellow Award (2004; Association for Psychological Science)

Robert J. Plomin (born 1948) is an American psychologist best known for his work in twin studies and behavior genetics. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Plomin as the 71st most cited psychologist of the 20th century.[1]


Plomin earned a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in psychology in 1974 from the University of Texas at Austin under personality psychologist Arnold Buss. He then worked at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. From 1986 until 1994 he worked at Pennsylvania State University, studying elderly twins reared apart and twins reared together to study aging and is currently at the Institute of Psychiatry (King's College London). He has been president of the Behavior Genetics Association, which in 2002 awarded him the Dobzhansky Memorial Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Scholarship in Behavior Genetics. He was awarded the William James Fellow Award by the Association for Psychological Science in 2004[2] and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Intelligence Research.[3] Plomin was ranked among the 100 most eminent psychologists in the history of science.[1]


Plomin has shown the importance of non-shared environment, a term that he coined to refer to the environmental reasons why children growing up in the same family are so different. In addition, he has shown that many environmental measures in psychology show genetic influence and that genetic factors can mediate associations between environmental measures and developmental outcomes.

Plomin currently conducts the Twins Early Development Study of all twins born in England from 1994 to 1996, focusing on developmental delays in early childhood, their association with behavioural problems and educational attainment.[4]

In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence",[5] an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on issues related to intelligence research following the publication of the book The Bell Curve.

His most recent books are Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era (Washington, DC: APA Books, 2003) and Behavioral Genetics (6th edition, New York: Worth Publishers, 2012).


  • Behavioral Genetics: A Primer, together with John C. DeFries, Gerald E. McClearn, WH Freeman & Co, 1989, ISBN 978-0716720560
  • Separate Lives: Why Siblings Are So Different, together with Judy Dunn, Basic Books, 1992, ISBN 978-0465076895
  • Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era, together with John C. DeFries, Peter McGuffin, Ian W. Craig, American Psychological Association, 2002, ISBN 978-1557989260
  • The Relationship Code: Deciphering Genetic and Social Influences on Adolescent Development (Adolescent Lives), together with David Reiss, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, E. Mavis Hetherington, Harvard University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0674011267
  • Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence, together with John C. DeFries, Stephen A. Petrill, John K. Hewitt, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0195157475
  • Nature And Nurture: An Introduction To Human Behavioral Genetics, Wadsworth Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-0534651121
  • Nature and Nurture during Infancy and Early Childhood, together with John C. DeFries, David Fulker, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0521034241
  • Behavioral Genetics, together with John C. DeFries, Peter McGuffin, Gerald E. McClearn, Worth Publishers; 5th edition, 2008, ISBN 978-1429205771
  • Behavioral Genetics, together with John C. DeFries, Valerie S Knopik, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Worth Publishers; 6th edition, 2012, ISBN 978-1429242158


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. "2004-2005 William James Fellow Award: Robert Plomin". Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved October 20, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "2011 Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Intelligence Research". ISIR. 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ghosh, Pallab (8 August 2000). Genius of genes. BBC News
  5. Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.

External links