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.
Quantifying gender preferences in human social interactions using a large cellphone dataset
Ghosh A. et al, (2019), EPJ Data Science, 8
Cross-cultural similarity in relationship-specific social touching.
Suvilehto JT. et al, (2019), Proc Biol Sci, 286
Exploring the links between dispositions, romantic relationships, support networks and community inclusion in men and women.
Pearce E. et al, (2019), PLoS One, 14
The structural and functional brain networks that support human social networks.
Noonan MP. et al, (2018), Behav Brain Res, 355, 12 - 23
Associations between neurochemical receptor genes, 2D:4D, impulsivity and relationship quality.
Pearce E. et al, (2018), Biol Lett, 14