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Department of Psychology

Social, Evolutionary & Affective Psychology

The research interests of the group focus on emotions, interpersonal relationships, and communication. Specific topics include: group membership, stereotypes & identification; the social transmission of culture; the perception of emotional states; aggression, fear & impulsivity; face processing; the functions of the amygdala; emotional memory; decision-making and precursors and mechanisms of mate choice. A wide variety of behavioural, psychophysiological and neuroimaging (e.g. EEG/ERP, fMRI, TMS) techniques are employed, and many group members take an evolutionary stance on their research activity. Our research has been funded by many sources including the ESRC, BBSRC, AFOSR and Nuffield Foundation.


Emeritus faculty:

Mr Jim Good

Prof David Over

Research students:

Nazire Duran

Jiawei Lui

Simone Tuttenburg

Diane Austry

Kristina Habjan

Linda Lidborg


Regular meetings:

North East Face and Person Perception Meeting (contact: Wiese)

North East Body Psychology Meeting (contact: Boothroyd)

Hosted conferences:

2012 European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association

Associated research projects

Hearing the Voice

Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions

The Nicaragua Television and Beauty Ideals Project

Research questions:

What are the visual cues and brain processes that enable us to perceive and identify emotions and personality traits expressed in facial and body postures and movements?

Why do body weight ideals vary?

What are the developmental and ultimate origins of facial attraction?

How do we recognise individual faces and how do we learn new facial identities?

Mental simulations of social thought and action: Trivial tasks or tools for transforming social policy?

How does our brain respond to visual reward cues and how can we control these neuromotivational responses?

How do people perceive risks and value benefits in decisions which affect their health or safety?

How can we reduce suicide risk in prisons?