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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Lynda Boothroyd, BA MSc PhD

Personal web page

Professor in the Department of Psychology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43289
Room number: L72

(email at

Villages in rural Nicaragua have varying access to visual media, e.g. via satellite television.

Lynda Boothroyd is a Professor of Psychology at Durham University. She has spent 16 years researching human mate choice with a particular interest in facial masculinity. She has recently focused on body ideals in rural Nicaragua alongside experimental work both in the laboratory and in the field on the impacts of visual experience on body size preferences. You can find articles she has written for the public on her body image research at The Conversation.

She has a multidisciplinary approach to her research, incorporating perspectives from Evolutionary Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology and Biological Anthropology, and has incorporated a mixed-methods component in her current work.

 In addition, she is a trainer for ‘Succeed’– the UK edition of an international preventative body image programme – and has trained students at Durham and Newcastle in being peer leaders on this programme.

EHBEA logo

Lynda is currently Vice-President of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA) and is a regular at the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society meetings, as well as the UK's leading body image meeting, Appearance Matters.

Information for potential PhD and postdoc researchers

She is interested in supporting applications for PhDs or postdoctoral fellowships from researchers who want to pursue interdisciplinary projects addressing how sociocultural, psychological and bio-evolutionary factors influence our conceptions of attractiveness, body shape, or gender. She is also interested in supporting projects on body image interventions, particularly from a cross-cultural perspective.

Potential funding streams applicants should consider include the ESRC Nine-DTP stream for PhDs and postdoctoral fellows, the University's doctoral studentships, and the European Research Council's Marie Curie post-doctoral scheme.

Research Groups

Department of Psychology

Research Interests

  • Attraction
  • Body size preferences
  • Cross-cultural research, especially in subsistence populations
  • Cultural drivers of behaviour
  • Evolutionary Social and Developmental Psychology
  • Facial masculinity
  • Gender
  • Body image

Teaching Areas

  • Classic Papers in Applied Psychology

  • Human Evolutionary Psychology

  • Introduction to Psychology 2 (Social Psychology)

  • Social and Developmental Psychology

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Boothroyd, L.G. & Vukovic, J. (2019). Mate Preferences Across the Lifespan. In The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Behavioral Endocrinology. Welling, L.M. & Shackelford, T.K. Oxford University Press. 143-159.

Journal Article

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Evolution: The way in which evolution has shaped what kind of faces we are attracted to.
  • Perception / attractiveness: The way in which evolution has shaped what kind of faces we are attracted to.
  • Perception / attractiveness: The development of facial preferences in children and adults
  • Evolution: Family influences of puberty and sexual development.
  • Psychology: Family influences of puberty and sexual development.
  • Psychology: The relationship bewteen hormones (such as testosterone), behaviour and physical traits in men and women
  • Psychology: Cross-cultural influences on preferences for body size
  • Psychology: Body weight preferences and body image
  • Perception / attractiveness: Body weight preferences and body image


Indicators of Esteem

  • 2021: External examiner of doctoral degree - University of Pretoria:
  • 2019: External examiner of doctoral degree - Northumbria University :
  • 2018: Elected vice-president of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association:
  • 2017: Keynote speaker - PsyPAG 2017:
  • 2012: Conference organiser: EHBEA 2012: European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association

Selected Grants

  • 2021: Making Every Contact Count for the Health of Disabled People: Training the Social Workers of Today and Tomorrow in Physical Activity Promotion (£0.00 from National Institute for Health Research)
  • 2019: Establishing best practice in eating disorder prevention in rapidly developing populations (£96958.00 from Wellcome Trust)
  • 2018: Maternal mind-mindness: Transmission mechanisms and predicting development into early adulthood (£108209.00 from ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN))
  • 2013: Impact of media access and local ecology on beauty ideals in Nicaragua (£197663.00 from Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2010: Perceptions of facial attractiveness across development (£75326.79 from ESRC)
  • 2010: The experimental study of cultural transmission: When and who do people copy (£4400.00 from European Commission)
  • 2010: Visual Media Influence on Behaviour (£23401.17 from EOARD)
  • 2009: Pubertal testosterone as a predictor of adult male craniofacial dimorphism in humans (£1440.00 from The Nuffield Foundation)
  • 2004: FATHER ABSENCE AND CHILDHOOD (£28184.25 from ESRC)