Interview with Dr. Lixing Sun
Dr. Lixing Sun
author of "The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World"
Dr. Lixing Sun, author of "The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World"
Dr. Lixing Sun's Website
Distinguished Research Professor, Animal Behavior, Ecology, & Evolution
Biological Sciences Department
“My primary writing interest lies in behavior, evolution, psychology, and economics, though I am interested in all branches of knowledge from natural science and social science to arts and humanities. With human nature and its social consequences as the general theme, my writing focuses on presenting new perspectives by connecting and synthesizing ideas from sciences to humanities, from historical events to current affairs, and from Western to Eastern cultures. My motto is “Connect, Synthesize, and Discover.”
HONORS & AWARDS
Distinguished Professor (research), Central Washington University (2020)
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Scholar of the Year Award (2016)
Distinguished Oversea Chinese Scholar: Chinese Academy of the Sciences (2005)
Central Washington University Students’ Natural Helper (1998)
Wilford A. Dence Award (SUNY) (1995).
Alexander Wetland Research Award (SUNY) (1993)
Excellence in Teaching Award (Zhejiang University) (1990)
Sun, L. 2023. Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 288 pp.
Li, J., L. Sun, & P. M. Kappeler (eds). 2020. Behavioral Ecology of the Tibetan Macaque. Berlin: Springer, 299 pp.
Sun, L. 2013. The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 336 pp.
Müller-Schwarze, D. & L. Sun. 2003. The Beaver: Natural History of a Wetlands Engineer. Cornell University Press, 190 pp.
Seng, H., L. Sun & H. Wang. 1989. The World of Animals (Volume IV): Mammals. Shanghai Education Publications, Shanghai, 218 pp.
The Book: "The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World"
ISBN: 0691198608Get the book
A natural history of cheating from selfish genes to lying politicians Nature is rife with cheating. Possums play possum, feigning death to cheat predators. Crows cry wolf to scare off rivals. Amphibians and reptiles are inveterate impostors. Even genes and cells cheat. The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars explores the evolution of cheating in the natural world, revealing how dishonesty has given rise to wondrous diversity. Blending cutting-edge science with a wealth of illuminating examples—from microscopic organisms to highly intelligent birds and mammals—Lixing Sun shows how cheating in nature relies on two basic rules. One is lying, by which cheaters exploit honest messages in communication signals and use them to serve their own interests. The other is deceiving, by which cheaters exploit the biases and loopholes in the sensory systems of other creatures. Sun demonstrates that cheating serves as a potent catalyst in the evolutionary arms race between the cheating and the cheated, resulting in a biological world teeming with complexity and beauty.
Brimming with insight and humor, The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars also looks at the prevalence of cheating in human society, identifying the kinds of cheating that spur innovation and cultural vitality and laying down a blueprint for combatting malicious cheating such as fake news and disinformation.