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Born and raised in Philadelphia, Perloff was drafted into the United States Army to fight in the Philippines during World War II. Upon his return, Perloff graduated from Temple University in 1949, and his PhD in psychology from Ohio State University. Following postdoctoral work, he then taught industrial and consumer psychology at Purdue University. Much of his career was spent as professor of Business and Psychology at University of Pittsburgh.
In 1995, Perloff was a signatory of a collective statement titled "Mainstream Science on Intelligence", written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal as a favorable review of The Bell Curve.  Also in 1995, Perloff was named to an American Psychological Association task force that reviewed controversial issues in the study of race and intelligence, titled "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns." 
He has been President of the Association for Consumer Research and the American Psychological Association. For his APA presidential address in 1985, he gave a speech in praise of self-interest called "Self-Interest and Personal Responsibility Redux". It was printed in American Psychologist (vol. 42, 1987) and the journal called it "one of 50 classic articles published in the journal's previous 50 years." 
Janet T. Spence
|Robert Perloff elected APA President|
Datta L-E, and Perloff R. Improving Evaluations. 1979: SAGE Focus Editions. ISBN 0-8039-1240-4.
- Robert Perloff Profile via Temple University
- Former APA President Condemns APA for Barring Research via NARTH
- Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns
- de:Robert Perloff