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Perception Evolution and Behaviour

The Perception, Evolution, and Behaviour group investigates aggression, inequalities in health and ageing, interpersonal relationships, mating behaviours and preferences, movement, and social networks.

By taking an evolutionary perspective, the theme unites researchers in a multidisciplinary approach to ask not only about human behaviour, but also its functional foundations. In this endeavour, we draw ideas and expertise from cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, physiology, evolutionary biology, and animal behaviour. 

Projects and collaborations 

Perceived controllability of mortality risk & health behaviour

This project aims to understand how people assess health risks. In particular, to understand which risks to health and life are perceived to be within individual control, and which are not. Further, to investigate how perceived uncontrollable (extrinsic) mortality risks influence health behaviour, and what role this plays in health inequalities, given that income alters the extent to which people can control risks to their health and lives.

Food insecurity, physical & mental health

This project aims to understand how food insecurity affects people’s metabolic and mental health. This includes work to identify the behavioural and physiological pathways by which food insecurity leads to obesity in women, and addressing the question as to whether weight gain is an adaptive response to food shortage. It also includes work on the effects of hunger on attention, cognition, and perception, and the mental health consequences of food insecurity.

The effect of Instagram use on offline social relationships and personal wellbeing 

A key debate in both research and society is how our use of social media platforms affects our offline social relationships, are the effects positive, negative or a combination? This research, led by Professor Thomas Pollet, is specifically examining how the use of Instagram affects our offline social relationships and personal wellbeing, in particular loneliness. The research will explore the relationship between people’s usage of Instagram and their personal offline social networks in the context of the first year of University life, a period of high social change for many individuals.  

Smellbound: how do natural infant odours enchant parents?

Dr Tamsin Saxton holds a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to investigate the role of olfaction in the parent-infant relationship. Olfaction can have both an affective and an instrumental role within parent-infant interactions, and the research programme is investing parents’ experiences of their babies’ odours in caregiving and bonding, and the significance of individual differences in infant odour qualities.

Staff members

Group lead: Kris McCarty

Kris Mc Carty
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Dr Kris McCarty

Associate Professor

Psychology

Jeanne Bovet
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Dr Jeanne Bovet

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Merryn Constable
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Dr Merryn Constable

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Staff Placeholder
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Dr Faye Horsley

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Nick Neave Staffprofile Northumbriauniversity255
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Prof Nick Neave

Professor

Psychology

Amy Newman
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Dr Amy Newman

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Gillian Pepper
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Dr Gillian Pepper

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Thomas Pollet
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Prof Thomas Pollet

Professor

Psychology

Amanda Rotella
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Dr Amanda Rotella

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Elizabeth Renner
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Dr Elizabeth Renner

Lecturer

Psychology

Tamsin Saxton
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Prof Tamsin Saxton

Professor

Psychology

Martin Tovee
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Prof Martin Tovee

Professor

Psychology

Jose Yong
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Dr Jose Yong

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Student members


Research at Northumbria
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Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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Research Staff Profiles

Our students learn from the best – inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject, whose teaching is shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

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Upcoming events

ESREA Life History and Biography Network
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Towards Relational Public Services Conference 2024
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Advanced Clinical Practice: Addressing the challenges in Primary Care

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