Elected: 2002
Discipline: Biomedical and Cognitive Sciences
Professor Richard Byrne

Emeritus Professor

Richard Byrne is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of St Andrews, where he has worked since 1976 after completing has MA and PhD at the University of Cambridge. Byrne’s research has ranged over animals as diverse as domestic pigs, woodpeckers, people and elephants, but he is chiefly known for the study of non-human primate cognition and its use in reconstructing the evolution of the human mind. His own theory of the evolutionary origin of advanced cognitive abilities in humans was published in Evolving Insight, Oxford University Press 2016. He has personally carried out observational fieldwork on gorillas, chimpanzees and baboons in Africa, and supervised studies of all other major taxonomic groups of primates. He received the British Psychology Society’s Book Prize in 1997 for The Thinking Ape (OUP 1995), and was awarded the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.