BA PhD DSc (Hons)
Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Psychology
- ERC Advanced Investigator
My research is concerned with trying to understand the behavioural, cognitive and neuroendocrinological mechanisms that underpin social bonding in primates (in general) and humans (in particular). Understanding these mechanisms, and the functions that relationships serve, will give us insights how humans have managed to create large scale societies using a form of psychological that is evolutionarily adapted to very small scale societies, and why these mechanisms are less than perfect in the modern world. This has implications for the design of social networking sites as well as mobile technology. We use conventional behavioural and cognitive experimental approaches, combined with network analysis, agent based modelling, comparative studies of primate brain evolution, neuroimaging and neuroendocrinology to explore explicit and implicit processes at both the dyadic and the group level. An important feature of our behavioural studies has been the constraints that time places on an individual’s ability to manage their relationships, and the cognitive tricks used to overcome these.
Stability of the personal relationship networks in a longitudinal study of middle school students.
Escribano D. et al, (2023), Sci Rep, 13
Four errors and a fallacy: pitfalls for the unwary in comparative brain analyses.
Dunbar RIM. and Shultz S., (2023), Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc, 98, 1278 - 1309
Fractal structure of human and primate social networks optimizes information flow
West BJ. et al, (2023), Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 479
The stability of transient relationships.
Hidd VV. et al, (2023), Sci Rep, 13
Only empathy-related traits, not being mimicked or endorphin release, influence social closeness and prosocial behavior.
Rauchbauer B. et al, (2023), Sci Rep, 13