The Behaviour and Evolution Research Group use evolutionary principles to guide our research on behaviour and cognition in a wide range of species. As psychologists, we are particularly interested in questions concerning welfare and wellbeing, the cognitive mechanisms underlying behaviour, and inter-individual (including inter-species) perception, communication, and interactions. Our group is world-leading in basic research on these topics, as well as the application of this research to real world problems, including conservation, captive animal welfare, and hormonal and chemosensory influences on relationships.
Behaviour and Evolution Research Group
Research on behaviour and evolution has been a distinctive feature of the Department for many years, and the group now has seven core members. Our research covers a broad range of topics across a wide range of species, including humans, nonhuman primates, elephants and birds. We have weekly meetings during semester, with both internal and external speakers.
Research is conducted off-site through collaborative links with research institutes and zoos elsewhere in the UK and Europe, Japan and the US, and also in field sites in Africa and South America. We are part of the Scottish Primate Research Group and were part of the consortium bid to fund the "Living Links to Human Evolution Research Centre" at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, where we conduct a number of projects. Our research has been funded by a wide variety of sources including the BBSRC, ESRC, the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust, the NC3Rs, and the European Commission.
We run a taught MSc in Evolution and Behaviour, and welcome PhD applications.
Members of the Behaviour and Evolution Research Group
Jim Anderson: social behaviour, environmental enrichment, learning and cognition in various species of nonhuman primates.
Hannah Buchanan-Smith: behaviour and ecology, comparative colour vision and welfare in non-human primates.
Christine Caldwell: social learning and cultural evolution in humans and nonhuman primates.
Phyllis Lee: behavioural development, reproductive strategies, social and life history evolution.
Tony Little: facial attractiveness, mate choice, evolutionary theory.
Craig Roberts: Mammalian olfactory communication, MHC-correlated mate choice, human facial attractiveness
Sarah Vick: social cognition, visual communication, primarily gaze and facial expressions.
Postgraduate students: Hayley Ash, Andre Barata, Yvonne Baur, Rebecca Brassey, Mary Cowan, Lesley Craig, Laura Hall, Kristen Knowles, Josh Lemin, Becky Leonardi, Juan David Leongomez, Viktoria Mileva, Adam Miligan, Blake Morton, Alice Murray, Malvika Narayana, Eoin O'Sullivan, Lizzie Webber, Rebecca Wyper
Honorary Research Fellows: Dr. Kay Farmer, Dr Victoria Fishlock, Dr Betsy Herrelko, Dr. Bethan Morgan, Dr. Liz Williamson