Robert Plomin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Plomin
Plomin in 2018
Robert Plomin

1948 (age 75–76)
Alma materDePaul University (BA)
University of Texas at Austin (PhD)
Known forTwins Early Development Study
SpouseJudith Dunn
AwardsDobzhansky Memorial Award (2002; Behavior Genetics Association), William James Fellow Award (2004; Association for Psychological Science), Lifetime Achievement Award (2011; International Society for Intelligence Research)
Scientific career
FieldsPsychology, behavioral genetics
InstitutionsUniversity of Colorado at Boulder, Pennsylvania State University, King's College London
Doctoral advisorArnold H. Buss

Robert Joseph Plomin CBE FBA (born 1948) is an American/British psychologist and geneticist 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] He is the author of several books on genetics and psychology.


Plomin was born in Chicago to a family of Polish-German extraction.[2] He graduated high school from DePaul University Academy in Chicago, he then 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 H. Buss.[3] He then worked at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 1986 until 1994 he worked at Pennsylvania State University, studying elderly twins reared apart and twins reared together to study aging and since 1994 has been at the Institute of Psychiatry (King's College London). He has been president of the Behavior Genetics Association.

In 1987 Plomin married Judith Dunn, a British psychologist and academic.[4]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2002, the Behavior Genetics Association 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 and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Intelligence Research.[5][6] In 2017, Plomin received the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.[7] Plomin was ranked among the 100 most eminent psychologists in the history of science.[1] In 2005, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for humanities and social sciences.[4]

Plomin was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to scientific research.[8]


Plomin has argued for the importance of non-shared environment, a term that he coined to refer to the idiosyncratic environmental factors that reduce the similarity of individuals raised in the same family environment.[9]

As of 2000, Plomin conducted 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.[10]


  • Behavioral Genetics: A Primer, together with John C. DeFries, Gerald E. McClearn, WH Freeman & Co, 1989, ISBN 978-0-7167-2056-0
  • Separate Lives: Why Siblings Are So Different, together with Judy Dunn, Basic Books, 1992, ISBN 978-0-465-07689-5
  • Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era, together with John C. DeFries, Peter McGuffin, Ian W. Craig, American Psychological Association, 2002, ISBN 978-1-55798-926-0
  • 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 978-0-674-01126-7
  • Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence, together with John C. DeFries, Stephen A. Petrill, John K. Hewitt, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-19-515747-5
  • Nature And Nurture: An Introduction To Human Behavioral Genetics, Wadsworth Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-0-534-65112-1
  • Nature and Nurture during Infancy and Early Childhood, together with John C. DeFries, David Fulker, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-521-03424-1
  • Behavioral Genetics, together with John C. DeFries, Peter McGuffin, Gerald E. McClearn, Worth Publishers; 5th edition, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4292-0577-1
  • Behavioral Genetics, together with John C. DeFries, Valerie S Knopik, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Worth Publishers; 6th edition, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4292-4215-8
  • G Is for Genes, together with Kathryn Ashbury, Wiley Blackwell; 2013, ISBN 978-1-118-48281-0
  • Behavioral Genetics, together with John C. DeFries, Valerie S Knopik, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Worth Publishers; 7th edition, 2016, ISBN 978-1-4641-7605-0
  • Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Penguin Books Ltd., 2018, ISBN 978-0-241-28207-6


  1. ^ a b Haggbloom, Steven J.; Warnick, Renee; Warnick, Jason E.; Jones, Vinessa K.; Yarbrough, Gary L.; Russell, Tenea M.; Borecky, Chris M.; McGahhey, Reagan; Powell, John L. III; Beavers, Jamie; Monte, Emmanuelle (2002). "The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century". Review of General Psychology. 6 (2): 139–152. CiteSeerX doi:10.1037/1089-2680.6.2.139. ISSN 1089-2680. S2CID 145668721.
  2. ^ "Nature versus Nurture: Human personality".
  3. ^ "Dr. Robert Plomin, Psychology's Outstanding Alumnus". College of Liberal Arts. 1969-12-31. Retrieved 2024-02-16.
  4. ^ a b "PLOMIN, Prof. Robert". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  5. ^ "2004-2005 William James Fellow Award: Robert Plomin". Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  6. ^ "2011 Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Intelligence Research". ISIR. 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  7. ^ "APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions". APA. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  8. ^ "No. 63918". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2022. p. N10.
  9. ^ Plomin, Robert; Daniels, Denise (1987). "Why are children in the same family so different from one another?". International Journal of Epidemiology. 40 (3): 563–582. doi:10.1093/ije/dyq148. ISSN 1464-3685. PMC 3147063. PMID 21807642.
  10. ^ Ghosh, Pallab (8 August 2000). Genius of genes. BBC News

External links[edit]