Dr Christopher Watkins

Senior Lecturer

School School of Social and Health Sciences

Department Division of Psychology

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8646

Biography

I commenced my funded PhD in October 2010 (University of Aberdeen, supervised by Professor Benedict Jones), gained my lectureship in September 2012 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2017. I have published 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers, which includes 17 first-authored papers, 8 papers independent of PhD team, 4 sole-authored papers and 4 student-authored papers as PI (WoS statistics, 05/19: h index = 13, citations = 410, most cited paper = 59 citations). I have also published 6 book chapters and 1 magazine article and delivered 8 peer-reviewed conference papers, 1 invited talk and 16 conference posters. My research has attracted funding from The Carnegie Trust, The Experimental Psychology Society, Human Behavior and Evolution Society and the European Human Behavior and Evolution Association.

I am primarily interested in social judgements of faces and voices, in order to understand social interactions with possible romantic partners and associates. My work has attracted media attention with over 130 articles in international outlets and news media, including ScienceAPS Observer, The Atlantic, BBC, New York Post, The Times, The Australian, Hindustan Times and South China Morning Post. I have consolidated evidence from my recent research in a book chapter (Facial Displays of Leaders, Palgrave), and I am Section Editor for The Encyclopaedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science (Springer). My TEDx talk can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtPv1wuFJYI 

Prospective MbR/PhD students can visit my website (https://www.relationship-lab.com/) or contact me directly if they wish to discuss potential research opportunities.

Programme Leader: BSc Psychology and Counselling (NSS 2018 "Overall satisfaction" = 100%)

https://www.abertay.ac.uk/course-search/undergraduate/psychology-and-counselling

Current teaching:

PSY401 Human Evolutionary Psychology (Module Leader); PSY207 Philosophy of Science, Mind and Self (Module Leader); SPS404: Student-Negotiated Learning (Module Leader). 

I have been nominated for three and co-won one Student Led Teaching Award since commencing my post at Abertay.

Current PG Supervision: Jordan Sculley 

Project supervision and mentoring are important parts of my teaching. To date, I have supervised 61 students and/or funded Research Assistants (including 2 PhD and 4 MbR students) and have also supervised several volunteer RA's under the School's Research Volunteer Scheme. Supervision has generated 5 research outputs to date (2 papers and 3 international conference posters). Please contact me if you are interested in carrying out postgraduate research on a relevant project under my supervision.

Peer-reviewed papers published as PI/Corresponding author with student co-authors:

James, E., Jenkins, S. & Watkins, C. D. (2018). Negative effects of makeup use on perceptions of leadership ability across two ethnicities. Perception, 47, 540-549.

Watkins, C. D., Nicholls, M. J., Batres, C., Xiao, D., Talamas, S. & Perrett, D. I. (2017). Own attractiveness and perceived relationship quality shape sensitivity in women's memory for other men on the attractiveness dimension. Cognition, 163, 146-154.

Cowan, M. L., Watkins, C. D., Fraccaro, P. J., Feinberg, D. R. & Little, A. C. (2016). It's the way he tells them (and who is listening): Men's dominance is positively correlated with their preference for jokes told by dominant-sounding men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 97-104.

What pulls us closer toward some people over others? Why do we look up to certain people (even if briefly) at the expense of others?

I am interested in how humans agree and differ in their judgements of attractiveness and whether our romantic preferences and sexuality provide a window into our evolutionary history. I am also interested in whether problems related to competition and cooperation faced by humans over evolutionary history have shaped our social judgements of others today. To date, most of this work has been conducted using computer graphic techniques inspired by Sir Francis Galton, which enables you to manipulate facial characteristics in order to test whether such manipulations have a corresponding effect on our first impression judgements of other people (e.g. by manufacturing two different versions of the same individual). My reserach interests bridge perspectives from cognitive, biological and social psychology with evolutionary biology, anthropology and zoology.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in collaboration or in conducting a postgraduate project under my supervision.

Selected peer-reviewed publications (full list of 30 peer-reviewed publications at www.relationship-lab.com/publications.html and https://rke.abertay.ac.uk/en/persons/christopher-d-watkins)

Watkins, C. D., Leongomez, J. D., Bovet, J., Zelazniewicz, A., Korbmacher, M., Correa Varella, M. A., Fernandez, A. M., Wagstaff, D. & Bolgan, S. (2019). National income inequality predicts cultural variation in mouth to mouth kissing. Scientific Reports, 9: 6698.

Watkins, C. D. (2017). Creativity compensates for low physical attractiveness when individuals assess the attractiveness of social and romantic partners. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 160995.

Watkins, C. D., Nicholls, M. J., Batres, C., Xiao, D., Talamas, S. & Perrett, D. I. (2017). Own attractiveness and perceived relationship quality shape sensitivity in women's memory for other men on the attractiveness dimension. Cognition, 163, 146-154.

Watkins, C. D. & Jones, B. C. (2016). Competition-related factors directly influence preferences for facial cues of dominance in allies. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70, 2071-2079.

Cowan, M. L., Watkins, C. D., Fraccaro, P. J., Feinberg, D. R. & Little, A. C. (2016). It's the way he tells them (and who is listening): Men's dominance is positively correlated with their preference for jokes told by dominant-sounding men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 97-104.

Fruhen, L. S., Watkins, C. D. & Jones, B. C. (2015). Perceptions of facial attractiveness, dominance and trustworthiness predict managerial pay awards in experimental tasks. Leadership Quarterly, 26, 1005-1016.

Watkins, C. D., DeBruine, L. M., Feinberg, D. R. & Jones, B. C. (2013). A sex difference in the context-sensitivity of dominance perceptions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(5): 366-372.

Watkins, C. D., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M. & Feinberg, D. R. (2012). Cues to the sex ratio of the local population influence women’s preferences for facial symmetry. Animal Behaviour, 83(2): 545-553.

Watkins, C. D., Quist, M., Smith, F. G., DeBruine, L. M. & Jones, B. C. (2012). Individual differences in women’s perceptions of other women’s dominance. European Journal of Personality, 26(1): 79-86.

Watkins, C. D., DeBruine, L. M., Smith, F. G., Jones, B. C., Vukovic, J. & Fraccaro, P. J. (2011). Like father, like self: Emotional closeness to father predicts women's preferences for self resemblance in opposite-sex faces. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32(1): 70-75.

More Information

Knowledge Exchange

(all KE activity listed below are oral presentations unless otherwise indicated)

Sculley, J., Watkins, C. D. & Ritchie, K. L. (2019). Initial experimental evidence that the ability to choose between items alters attraction to familiar versus novel persons in different ways for men and women. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference (Pre-conference on Psychology of Media and Technology), Portland, Oregon (February 2019). *Poster*

Watkins, C. D. & Leitch, A. (2018). If the shoe fits? Using sexual selection theories to examine potential between-women and within-women differences in their responses to high heels. International Society for Human Ethology Biennial Conference, Santiago, Chile (August/September 2018).

Sculley, J., Watkins, C. D. & Ritchie, K. L. (2018). The Coolidge Effect and Online Dating: Primed choice of both potential dates and resources directly reduces the attractiveness of familiar faces. International Society for Human Ethology Biennial Conference, Santiago, Chile (September 2018). *Poster*

Watkins, C. D., Leongomez, J. D., Bovet, J., Zelazniewicz, A., Korbmacher, M., Correa Varella, M. A., Fernandez, A. M., Wagstaff, D. & Bolgan, S. (2018). Do national health and wealth predict attitudes toward, and use of mouth-to-mouth kissing in romantic relationships? International Society for Human Ethology Biennial Conference, Santiago, Chile (September 2018). *Poster*

Watkins, C.D., Nicholls, M., Batres, C., Xiao, D., Talamas, S. & Perrett, D.I. (2017). Own attractiveness and perceived relationship quality shape women's memory for other men on the attractiveness dimension. Human Behaviour and Evolution Society, Boise, Idaho (June 2017).

Cowan, M. L., Watkins, C. D., Fraccaro, P. J., Feinberg, D. R. & Little, A. C. (2015). It's the way he tells them: Men's dominance is positively correlated with their preference for jokes told by dominant-sounding men. PTNCE, Poznan, Poland (September 2015).

Watkins, C. D., DeBruine, L. M., Little, A. C. & Jones, B. C. (2015). Social support influences preferences for feminine facial cues in potential social partners. EHBEA, Helsinki, Finland (Poster Presentation, March/April 2015).

Hegarty, L., Tadden-Paterson, C. & Watkins, C. D. (2015). What you see is what you get? The Dark Triad and sex differences in impression management in online dating. British Psychological Society Undergraduate Conference (Scottish Branch), University of Strathclyde, March 2015.

Watkins, C. D. (2014). The Face of Dundee. Public Lecture, Dundee Science Festival, Abertay University (November 2014).

Tilley, E. B., Cunningham, C. L. & Watkins, C. D. (2014). Do romantic partners impose additional costs than other social partners? PTNCE, Wroclaw, Poland (Poster Presentation, October 2014).

Watkins, C. D., DeBruine, L. M., Little, A. C., Feinberg, D. R. & Jones, B. C. (2014). Priming concerns about pathogen threat versus resource scarcity: Dissociable effects on women's perceptions of men's attractiveness and dominance. PTNCE, Wroclaw, Poland (October 2014).

Watkins, C. D., DeBruine, L. M., Feinberg, D. R. & Jones, B. C. (2014). A sex difference in the context sensitivity of dominance perceptions. Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Natal, Brazil (August 2014, Chair of session on Aggression and Homicide).

Watkins, C. D. (2013). Take me out? The science of love, sex and attraction. Public Lecture, Dundee Science Festival, Abertay University (November 2013).

Watkins, C. D. (2013). Competition and social perception of faces. Invited talk, Behavior and Evolution Research Group, University of Stirling.

Watkins, C. D. & Jones, B. C. (2012). Priming men with different contest outcomes modulates their dominance perceptions. Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Watkins, C. D., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M. & Feinberg, D. R. (2011). Cues to the sex ratio of the local population influence women's preferenecs for facial symmetry. Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Montpellier, France.

Watkins, C. D., Quist, M. C., Smith, F. G., DeBruine, L. M. & Jones, B. C. (2011). Individual differences in women's perceptions of other women's dominance. Evolutionary and Biological Approaches to Behaviour Research Group, Abertay University, Scotland.

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