Dominic Johnson received a D.Phil. in evolutionary biology from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in political science from Geneva University. He draws on both disciplines in his work on the role of religion in the evolution of cooperative behavior, the role of evolutionary psychology in political decision-making, and how evolutionarily-based lessons from Nature can help us improve human security in the face of threats like climate change, natural disasters, and terrorism.
He is an Associate Professor at the University of Edinburgh and has published two books. Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions (Harvard University Press, 2004) argues that common psychological biases to maintain overly positive images of our capabilities, our control over events, and the future, play a key role in the causes of war. Failing to Win: Perceptions of Victory and Defeat in International Politics (Harvard University Press, 2006), with Dominic Tierney, examines how and why popular misperceptions commonly create undeserved victories or defeats in international wars and crises.