Mark V. Flinn is a biomedical anthropologist, specializing in childhood stress, family relationships and health. His research includes a longitudinal 30-year study of child health in a rural community on the Caribbean island of Dominica. This study is the first of its kind to monitor stress hormones in a naturalistic setting.
Flinn is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Flinn earned his PhD in anthropology in 1983 at Northwestern University under the supervision of Napoleon Chagnon. He then joined the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan mentored by Richard D. Alexander, followed by a postdoc in the Museum of Natural History where he was influenced by William D. Hamilton. In 1987, he took up a professorship at the University of Missouri and initiated a longitudinal research project in the community of Bwa Mawego, Dominica, studying what events in children's everyday lives cause physiological stress response. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study monitors levels of cortisol and other hormones from saliva samples collected from children and their families several times a day in concert with data on health, growth, psychological development, and family relationships. Publications from this research are widely cited (Google scholar). In 2018, he moved to Baylor University as professor of biomedical anthropology.
In 2012, Flinn was elected as a lifetime Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science. Between 2013 and 2015, he was president of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society.