Dario Maestripieri

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Dario Maestripieri
Born 1964
Residence USA
Nationality Italian
Fields Ethology, Primatology, Biological Anthropology, Biological Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology
Institutions University of Chicago
Alma mater Università di Roma La Sapienza, Italy

Dario Maestripieri (born 1964) is an Italian behavioral biologist who is known for his research and writings about biological aspects of behavior in nonhuman primates and humans. He is currently a Professor of Comparative Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, and Neurobiology at The University of Chicago.


Maestripieri obtained a laurea in Biology in 1987 and a doctorate in Psychobiology in 1992 from the Università di Roma La Sapienza, in Italy. After spending one year as a Visiting Researcher at the Sub-department of Animal Behaviour of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., he moved to Emory University in Atlanta, U.S.A., where he worked at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center from 1992 to 1999. He has been a Professor at the University of Chicago since 1999.[1]


Maestripieri conducts research with rhesus macaques at the Caribbean Primate Research Center of the University of Puerto Rico as well as research with human subjects at the University of Chicago. His studies of nonhuman primates have addressed topics such as aggression and dominance, affiliation and social bonding, communication and cognition, mating and reproduction, and parenting and development.[2][3][4][5] Some of his work has elucidated the neuroendocrine regulation of primate behavior while other research has investigated its evolutionary significance. Human research conducted in Maestripieri’s laboratory at the University of Chicago has focused on three different areas: parent-child relationships, attachment, and socio-emotional development; neuroendocrine regulation of social processes and stress reactivity; evolutionary psychology and neuroeconomics.[6][7]

Maestripieri has published six books, several popular science essays, and over 175 scientific articles. His books provide an illustration of his intellectual interests. Evolutionary Theory and Primate Behavior includes a collection of essays illustrating evolutionary analyses of major aspects of primate socioecology and behavior including feeding, social, and reproductive strategies. In Primate Psychology, Maestripieri integrates human and nonhuman primate research on many aspects of social behavior, development, communication and cognition. In Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World, he highlights the many parallels between the social behavior of rhesus macaques and human beings and explains them using evolutionary and economic cost-benefit analyses. He also suggests that complex political intelligence evolved in highly competitive primate societies played a role in the evolution of the human brain and human intelligence, as well as in our ecological success on this planet. Maternal Effects in Mammals is an edited collection of theoretical and empirical essays addressing the role of nongenetic maternal influences on phenotypic evolution in many species of mammals. In Animal Personalities: Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution, research on individual differences in behavior and reactivity to the environment in many animals and humans is discussed and integrated from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. In Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships, Maestripieri illustrates how evolutionary and comparative studies, along with economic cost-benefit analyses of behavior, can explain why people behave the way they do in everyday social situations and in the negotiation of their personal and business relationships.


Dario Maestripieri was awarded the B. Grassi Prize as the Best Young Zoologist from the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Italy in 1989, the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association in 2000[8][9] and a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2001. He has been elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science for sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to the integrative study of animal behavior.[10]

Facebook comments[edit]

On October 14, 2012, while at the Society for Neuroscience's annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, he made a post to his personal Facebook page about the unattractiveness of the female attendees, which drew criticism after it was made public.[11][12][13]

Selected works[edit]


  • Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships (2012) Basic Books
  • Animal Personalities: Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution (2012), with Claudio Carere, The University of Chicago Press
  • Maternal Effects in Mammals (2009), with Jill Mateo, The University of Chicago Press
  • Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World (2007) The University of Chicago Press
  • Primate Psychology (2003) Harvard University Press
  • Evolutionary Theory and Primate Behavior (2002), with Peter Kappeler, Springer


  • Maestripieri, D. (2010). Platt, M.; Ghazanfar, A., eds. "Neurobiology of social behavior". Primate Neuroethology (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 359–384. 
  • Sapienza, P.; Zingales, L.; Maestripieri, D. (2009). "Gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choices are affected by testosterone". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 106 (36): 15268–15273. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907352106. PMC 2741240. PMID 19706398. 
  • Roney, JR.; Hanson, KN.; Durante, KM.; Maestripieri, D. (2006). "Reading men's faces: Women's mate attractiveness judgments track men's testosterone and interest in infants". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 273: 2169–2175. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3569. 
  • Maestripieri, D.; Roney, JR. (2005). "Primate copulation calls and post-copulatory female choice". Behavioral Ecology 16: 106–113. doi:10.1093/beheco/arh120. 
  • Maestripieri, D. (2005). "Early experience affects the intergenerational transmission of infant abuse in rhesus monkeys". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 102: 9726–9729. doi:10.1073/pnas.0504122102. 
  • Maestripieri, D.; Zehr, JL. (1998). "Maternal responsiveness increases during pregnancy and after estrogen treatment in macaques". Hormones and Behavior 34: 223–230. doi:10.1006/hbeh.1998.1470. 
  • Maestripieri, D. (1995). "First steps in the macaque world: Do rhesus mothers encourage their infants' independent locomotion?". Animal Behaviour 49: 1541–1549. doi:10.1016/0003-3472(95)90075-6. 
  • Maestripieri, D. (1993). "Vigilance costs of allogrooming in macaque mothers". The American Naturalist 141: 744–753. doi:10.1086/285503. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dario Maestripieri: Biography. American Psychologist, 55: 1274-1276, 2000.
  2. ^ "Maestripieri compares abusive monkeys and humans.". The Emory Report. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "A primatologist discovers the social factors responsible for maternal infanticide.". Scientific American. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Cross-disciplinary perspectives on attachment processes.". Association for Psychological Science Observer. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "An architectural tour of the mind.". Association for Psychological Science Observer. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Our inner monkey: biologist Dario Maestripieri studies the differences that separate man from man, monkey from monkey.". The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Popular Science: Two University of Chicago professors shed some light on the animal in all of us.". Chicago Weekly. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "APA announces 2000 winners.". American Psychological Association Monitor. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "American Psychological Association awards professor’s behavioral research.". The University of Chicago Chronicle. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Four Chicago professors elected to the AAAS.". The University of Chicago Chronicle. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Biologist Ruffles Feathers on Facebook by the Scientist
  12. ^ The danger of pointing out bad behavior: retribution (and the community’s role in preventing it). by Scientific American
  13. ^ A Facebook Furor by Science Careers Blog

External links[edit]