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Professor in Psychology, Durham University

I am interested in the evolution and development of social behaviours.  From the perspective of evolutionary psychology I want to discover more about the 'ultimate' reasons for our behaviours; what past selection pressures seem to have shaped our brains and our behaviours?  From a developmental perspective I'm interested in understanding how these 'adaptations' become instantiated across development.  The human brain is staggeringly complex and flexible and many of our behaviours are the result of our innate behavioural biases combining with our environment to produce our adult behaviours.

I'm interested in aspects of behaviour such as aggression, attraction and parenting, and in aspects of biology such as testosterone, the menstrual cycle and timing of puberty.

My primary research focus is in understanding the mechanisms and 'ultimate' drivers of physical attraction - what do we find attractive in others, and what do we desire to look like ourselves? I am conducting research into this topic using developmental approaches, cross-cultural comparisons, and experimental work in the laboratory.


  • 2019–present
    Professor in Psychology, Durham University


  • 2005 
    University of St Andrews, PhD Psychology