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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Lynda Boothroyd, BA MSc PhD

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

Contact Professor Lynda Boothroyd

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

Lynda Boothroyd is Professor of Psychology, and Director of Research in Psychology at Durham University. She has spent 16 years researching both human lifehistory theory and interpersonal attraction 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. 

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
  • Evolutionary Social and Developmental Psychology
  • Facial masculinity
  • Father absence theory
  • 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

  • Thornborrow, Tracey, Onwuegbusi, Tochukwu, Mohamed, Sophie, Boothroyd, Lynda G. & Tovée, Martin J. (2020). Muscles and the Media: A Natural Experiment Across Cultures in Men’s Body Image. Frontiers in Psychology 11: 495.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Jucker, J.-L., Thornborrow, T. Barton, R., Burt, D.M. Evans, E.H. Jamieson, M. & Tovee, M.J. (2020). Television Consumption Drives Perceptions of Female Body Attractiveness in a Population Undergoing Technological Transition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
  • Kant, R. M. Naina, Wong-Chung, Agnes, Evans, Elizabeth H., Stanton, Elaine C. & Boothroyd, Lynda G. (2019). The Impact of a Dissonance-Based Eating Disorders Intervention on Implicit Attitudes to Thinness in Women of Diverse Sexual Orientations. Frontiers in Psychology 10: 2611.
  • Thornborrow, T., Jucker, J.-L., Boothroyd, L.G. & Tovée, M.J. (2018). Investigating the link between television viewing and men’s preferences for female body size and shape in rural Nicaragua. Evolution and Human Behavior 39(5): 538-546.
  • Kuay, Hue San, Tiffin, Paul A., Boothroyd, Lynda G., Towl, Graham J. & Centifanti, Luna C. M. (2017). A New Trait-Based Model of Child-to-Parent Aggression. Adolescent Research Review 2(3): 199-211.
  • Boothroyd, Lynda G. & Cross, Catharine P. (2017). Father absence and gendered traits in sons and daughters. PLOS ONE 12(7): e0179954.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Gray, A.W., Headland, T.W., Uehara, R.T., Waynforth, D., Burt, D.M. & Pound, N. (2017). Male facial appearance and offspring mortality in two traditional societies. PLoS One 12(1): e0169181.
  • Jucker, J. L., Thornborrow, T., Beierholm, U., Burt, D. M., Barton, R. A., Evans, E. H., Jamieson, M. & Boothroyd, L. G. (2017). Nutritional status and the influence of TV consumption on female body size ideals in populations recently exposed to the media. Scientific Reports 7(1): 8438.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Jucker, J.L., Thornborrow, T., Jamieson, M.A., Burt, D.M., Barton, R.A., Evans, E.H. & Tovée, M. J. (2016). Television exposure predicts body size ideals in rural Nicaragua. British Journal of Psychology 107(4): 752-767.
  • Boothroyd, L.G. & Cross, C.P. (2016). The Impact of Parenthood on Physical Aggression: Evidence from criminal data. Aggressive Behavior 42(6): 577-584.
  • Vukovic, J., Boothroyd, L.G., Meins, E. & Burt, D.M. (2015). Concurrent parent–child relationship quality is associated with an imprinting-like effect in children’s facial preferences. Evolution and Human Behavior 36(4): 331-336.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Meins, E., Vukovic, J. & Burt, D.M. (2014). Developmental changes in children's facial preferences. Evolution and Human Behavior 35(5): 376-383.
  • Mo, J., Cheung, Kate W. K., Gledhill, Lucinda J., Pollet, Thomas V., Boothroyd, Lynda G. & Tovée, Martin J. (2014). Perceptions of Female Body Size and Shape in China, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Cross-Cultural Research 48(1): 78-103.
  • Evans, E.H., Tovee, M.T., Boothroyd, L.G. & Drewett, R. (2013). Body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes in 7 to 11-year-old girls: testing a sociocultural model. Body Image 10(1): 8-15.
  • Scott, I.M.L., Clark, A.P., Boothroyd, L.G. & Penton-Voak, I.S. (2013). Do men’s faces really signal heritable immunocompetence? Behavioral Ecology 24(3): 579-589.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Craig, P.S., Crossman, R.J. & Perrett, D.I. (2013). Father absence and age at first birth in a western sample. American Journal of Human Biology 25(3): 366–369.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Scott, I., Gray, A.W., Coombes, C. & Pound, N. (2013). Male Facial Masculinity as a Cue to Health Outcomes. Evolutionary Psychology 11(5): 1044-1058.
  • Boothroyd, L.G., Tovée, M.T. & Pollett, T. (2012). Visual Diet versus Associative Learning as Mechanisms of Change in Body Size Preferences. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48691.

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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