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Dr Gillian Pepper

Assistant Professor

Department: Psychology

Gillian is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology within the Department of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University, where she is a member of the Healthy Living Lab, the Psychobiology, Stress & Wellbeing Research Group, the North East England Hoarding Research Group, and the Perception Evolution & Behaviour Lab (PEBL). She’s an active member of the International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health, supporting the society through her work on their conference programme committees (2018 & 2021). She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Newton’s Apple, a science policy charity, and is part of the UKRI Early Career Researcher Forum.

Prior to entering academia, Gillian spent a number of years working in science communication and science policy. This included roles as Policy and Project Manager, and later Director, of Newton’s Apple, then as a Communications Manager at the Department of Health. She has also worked as a Visiting Scholar with Public Health Newcastle and continues to collaborate with colleagues at Newcastle City Council. 

Gillian Pepper

Gillian’s research interests are centred on socioeconomic inequalities in health and wellbeing. She investigates how structural inequalities and features of human ecology affect behaviours which, subsequently, affect health and longevity. She uses evolutionary behavioural theory, and observational and experimental data to examine differences in temporal discounting, reproductive scheduling, social trust, health behaviour, and biomarkers of health and ageing. She is particularly interested in the effects of perceived uncontrollable mortality risks on health behaviour, and in understanding the effects of food insecurity.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • COVID-19: the relationship between perceptions of risk and behaviours during lockdown, Brown, R., Coventry, L., Pepper, G. 13 May 2021, In: Journal of Public Health
  • Telomeres as integrative markers of exposure to stress and adversity: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Pepper, G., Bateson, M., Nettle, D. Aug 2018, In: Royal Society Open Science
  • The behavioural constellation of deprivation: Causes and consequences, Pepper, G., Nettle, D. 11 Jan 2017, In: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • Cross-country relationships between life expectancy, intertemporal choice and age at first birth, Bulley, A., Pepper, G. Sep 2017, In: Evolution and Human Behavior
  • Out of control mortality matters: the effect of perceived uncontrollable mortality risk on a health-related decision, Pepper, G., Nettle, D. 26 Jun 2014, In: PeerJ

Richard Brown Investigating perceived uncontrollable mortality risk and socioeconomic differences in heath behaviours Start Date: 18/01/2021

  • Education PCAP
  • Psychology PhD
  • Psychology (Biology) MSc
  • Zoology BSc (Hons)


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