Christopher Watkins
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Personal profile

Personal profile

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, and Head of Division in May 2022. I am Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, External Examiner for The Open University (2020-2023), and Editorial Board Member for Archives of Sexual Behavior.

I am primarily interested in social judgements based on physical characteristics (e.g., face and voice), and what these findings suggest about our orientation toward others in various social and personal relationships. I have published 35 peer-reviewed scientific papers (20 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).


I am Head of the Division of Psychology and Forensic Sciences. 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). School of Applied Sciences Research Seminar Series Organizer.

Research 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 (

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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