Photo of Christopher Watkins

Christopher Watkins

Senior Lecturer

  • 524 Citations
  • 15 h-Index

Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

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. I have published 32 peer-reviewed scientific papers, which includes 19/4 first-/sole-authored papers, 10 papers independent of PhD team, with 5 student-authored papers as PI (WoS statistics, 03/20: h index = 14, citations = 457, most cited paper = 63 citations). I have also published 6 book chapters, 8 peer-reviewed conference papers, and delivered 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 136 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: 

Prospective MbR/PhD students can visit my website ( or contact me directly if they wish to discuss potential research opportunities.


Programme Leader: BSc Psychology and Counselling (NSS "Overall satisfaction" = 100% in 2018 and 93.3% in 2019)

Current teaching:

PSY401 Human Evolutionary Psychology (Module Leader); PSY207 Philosophy of Science, Mind and Self (Module Leader); PSY410 Honours Project Module (Median = 6 supervisees p/a); PSY404: Mental Health and Ageing; PSY103: Evidence-based thinking. 

Current PG Supervision: Jordan Sculley 

I have been nominated for three and co-won one Student Led Teaching Award since commencing my post at Abertay. I am Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and External Examiner for The Open University (2020-2023).

Project supervision and mentoring are important parts of my teaching. To date, I have supervised 67 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 and working with students as PI has so far generated 4 peer-reviewed papers (Cowan et al., 2016; James et al., 2018; Watkins et al., 2019, 2017) and 8 peer-reviewed international conference outputs (Sculley et al., 2019, 2018; Tilley et al., 2014; Watkins & Leitch, 2018; Watkins et al., 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015).

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?

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.

I am interested in hearing from potential collaborators or Postgraduate students in this area.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Christopher Watkins is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Open Access
  • 26 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • Kissing

    Watkins, C. D., 12 Feb 2019, Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. Shackelford, T. K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. A. (eds.). Living edition ed. Springer, 3 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

    National income inequality predicts cultural variation in mouth to mouth kissing

    Watkins, C. D., Leongómez, J. D., Bovet, J., Zelazniewicz, A., Korbmacher, M., Correa Varella, M. A., Fernandez, A. M., Wagstaff, D. & Bolgan, S., 30 Apr 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 9 p., 6698.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 32 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • Thesis

    Cooperation, reminiscence and repeated interviews of suspects

    Author: Scott, L., Aug 2016

    Supervisor: Watkins, C. D. (Supervisor) & La Rooy, D. J. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters by Research


    Examining the efficacy of joint investigative interview training through analysing the quality of interview conducted with role-play actors

    Author: Nicol, A., 14 Aug 2017

    Supervisor: Watkins, C. D. (Supervisor), Woolnough, P. (Supervisor), La Rooy, D. J. (Supervisor) & Gabbert, F. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Personality, appearance and temporal responses to potential romantic partners

    Author: Evans, G., Aug 2016

    Supervisor: Watkins, C. D. (Supervisor) & Wright, L. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters by Research