J. Philippe Rushton was born in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, in 1943. His father was a building contractor; his mother was French and gave him his middle name. They then emigrated to South Africa and later to Canada so he went to school in several places. Rushton returned to England and earned a BSc in psychology from Birkbeck, University of London in 1970 and in 1973 received his PhD from the London School of Economics for work on altruism in children. He then moved to the University of Oxford for a one-year post-doc to continue his research on personality development in children. After that he returned to Canada where he taught at York University from 1974-1976 and the University of Toronto until 1977. He then moved to the University of Western Ontario where he was made a full professor in 1985. Rushton then received a DSc from the University of London in 1992.
Rushton’s research interest was altruism. Why people help others poses a challenge for theories of human development and evolution. His early work focused on the social learning of generosity in 7- to 11-year-old children. After writing a book, Altruism, Socialization, and Society, 1980, examining the influence of the family, the educational system, and the mass media, he broadened his approach to include sociobiology and behavioral genetics. Rushton then carried out twin studies using the University of London Twin Register in the U.K. and found that individual differences in empathy and nurturance are about 50% heritable. So are individual differences in aggression and crime. Some of these differences are mediated by testosterone.
More controversial was his work on race differences. In new studies and reviews of the world literature, he consistently found that East Asians and their descendants average a larger brain size, greater intelligence, more sexual restraint, slower rates of maturation, and greater law abidingness and social organisation than do Europeans and their descendants who average higher scores on these dimensions than do Africans and their descendants. To explain this pattern he proposed a gene-based evolutionary theory. His book, Race, Evolution, and Behavior reviews the theory and many of the data sets.
See also his book’s homepage: Charles Darwin Research.org
Credits to University of Western Ontario
Published: 19 March 2014
Last update: 14 August 2015