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- Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group (SENRG) Research Group
MA MSc DPhil
- RelNet Project Manager
My research focuses on the evolution of human social organisation.
Social relationships have been essential for survival and reproduction throughout human evolution. I have explored the impact of brain organisation on social cognition as well as mechanisms for sustaining social relationships over long distances. My research provides insight into cultural and brain evolution in humans and has implications for enhancing community cohesion in the present day.
I have used fossil human anatomy and living primate data to investigate the amount of brain tissue available for processing a complex social world, particularly in Neanderthals and modern humans. I also continue to use data from recent hunter-gatherers and the archaeological record to inform and test model predictions about the ways that social networks can remain connected when they are dispersed over large areas.
I am currently working on three strands of research: (i) singing, well-being and group cohesion, (ii) possible links between individual genetic differences and how individuals typically think and behave in social situations, and (iii) mathematical models of social network cohesion in hunter-gatherers that can be tested against the archaeological record.
The God Allusion : Individual Variation in Agency Detection, Mentalizing and Schizotypy and Their Association with Religious Beliefs and Behaviors.
Wlodarski R. and Pearce E., (2016), Hum Nat, 27, 160 - 172
Group music performance causes elevated pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers.
Weinstein D. et al, (2016), Evol Hum Behav, 37, 152 - 158
Higher-order mentalising and executive functioning
Launay J. et al, (2015), Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 6 - 14
The ice-breaker effect: singing mediates fast social bonding.
Pearce E. et al, (2015), R Soc Open Sci, 2
Using obsidian transfer distances to explore social network maintenance in late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers.
Pearce E. and Moutsiou T., (2014), J Anthropol Archaeol, 36, 12 - 20