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Relationships 2: Fatherhood

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Anna Machin

PhD (Archaeology), MSc (Evolutionary Anthropology), BA(Hons) Anthropology and English

Academic Visitor


 Research Summary

My research focuses upon the psychology, cognition and neurobiology of human social relationships.   I am interested in how individuals maintain their closest relationships and why people might differ in their desire and ability to do this.   I have a particular interest in long term romantic relationships and the father-infant relationship.

My research covers a number of areas and utilises a number of experimental techniques:

  • The evolution of the kinship system from a cognitive perspective (fMRI, online and lab-based)
  • The role for the endogenous opioid system in the maintenance of human relationships at the dyadic and group level (PET): In Collaboration with Aalto University, Finland.
  • Post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in fathers
  • The pharmacogenetics of human prosocial behaviour: In collaboration with Dr Eiluned Pearce.
  • The biology and psychology of new fatherhood (Lab and field-based): In collaboration with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

My research is funded by the European Research Council and the British Academy.

Recent Publications

Nummenmaa, L., Tuominen, L., Dunbar, R., Hirvonen, J., Manninen, S., Helin S., Machin, A., Hari, R., Jääskeläinen, I. P. & Sams, M. (in press). Reinforcing Social Bonds by Touching Modulates Endogenous µ-opioid System Activity in Humans NeuroImage

Pearce, E., Launay, J., Machin A. J. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (in press).  Is group singing special? Health, well-being and social bonds in community-based adult education classes Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

Machin, A. J. (2016).  The Transition to Fatherhood. NCT Perspectives 30.

Machin, A. J. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2015). Is kinship a schema? Exploring the evolutionary origins of kinship Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology 36

Machin, A. J. & Fisher, D. (2015). Why does engaging with families in maternal and infant care make such a positive difference? International Journal for Birth & Parenting Education 3:19-23.

Machin, A. J. (2015). Mind the Gap: The Expectation and Reality of Involved Fatherhood Fathering 13:36-59.

Dunbar, R. I. M. & Machin, A. J. (2014). Sex Differences in Relationship Breakdown and Reconciliation Journal of Evolutionary Psychology

Machin, A. J. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2014). The brain opioid theory of social attachment: a review of the evidence in R.I.M. Dunbar, C. Gamble & J.A.J. Gowlett (eds.) Lucy to Language: Benchmark Papers Oxford University Press, Oxford pp.181-213.

Carney, J., Dunbar, R., Machin, A., Dávid-Barrett, T. & Mauro Silva, J. (2014).  Social Psychology and the Comic-Book Superhero: A Darwinian Approach Philosophy & Literature 38:A195-A215.

Machin, A. J. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2013). Sex and Gender as Factors in Romantic Partnerships and Best Friendships Journal of Relationships Research 4:e8.

Machin, A. J. & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2011). The brain opioid theory of social attachment: a review of the evidence Behaviour 148: 985-1025.

Machin, A. J. (2010). Human Fatherhood: A multidisciplinary perspective Social Psychological Review. 12:1-23


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Recent Publications

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