Dr Christopher Watkins

Senior Lecturer

School School of Applied Sciences

Department Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences

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 am Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, External Examiner for The Open University (2020-2023), Editorial Board Member for Archives of Sexual Behavior, and previously Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports and Section Editor for The Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science (Springer).

 

I am primarily interested in social judgements based on physical cues (e.g., face and voice), in the context of romantic, cooperative, and competitive interactions. I have published over 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers (19 first-authored), which have attracted media attention with 200 articles in international outlets (e.g., Science, Nature, British Medical Journal, New Scientist, The Atlantic, BBC, New York Post, The Times, The Australian, Hindustan Times, South China Morning Post). I have attracted funding (The Carnegie Trust, The British Psychological Society, The Experimental Psychology Society, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, European Human Behavior and Evolution Association) and awards over my academic career thus far (Norfolk Scholar, 2004; Sixth Century Studentship, 2009-2012; Ig Nobel Prize for Economics, 2020).

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I was Programme Leader (2016-2021) for our accredited BSc in Psychology and Counselling (NSS Overall satisfaction 2018-2020 = 100%; 93.3%; 93.75%), and have been nominated for three and co-won one Student Led Teaching Award since commencing my post. I have supervised over 70 students to date, including 6 postgraduates, generating five peer-reviewed papers and ten international conference outputs.

Current teaching:

Postgraduate supervision (Jordan Sculley); PSY410 Honours Project Module (Median = 6 supervisees p/a); PSY311 Human Evolution: Sex, Cognition, and Culture (Module Leader); PSY207 Philosophy of Science, Mind and Self (Module Leader); PSY103: Evidence-based thinking (Contributor).

Interests

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? In both cases, do we do this before we know anything substantive about the individual in question?

Scientists can study both the extent to which we share similar first impression judgements of others, and how and why we may differ in these judgements in a systematic rather than random manner. I am interested in these questions and the extent to which our sexual, cooperative, and competitive inclinations provide a window into our evolutionary history. Most of my work thus far has focussed on individual differences in social judgements of faces and voices (dominance and attractiveness judgements), drawing on perspectives from cognitive, biological, and social psychology, alongside anthropology, and zoology. Furthering our understanding of these issues can shed light on the psychological processes involved at different stages of various personal and social relationships, in ways that may energize them (positively or negatively) over time. Prospective collaborators or postgraduate students can contact me directly or visit my website (https://www.relationship-lab.com/).

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Meet the rest of the team

Dr Lynn Wright

Dr Lynn Wright

Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences | Senior Lecturer

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Mr Darren Phillips

Mr Darren Phillips

Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences | Lecturer

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