Prof Robert Ward

Professor in Psychology

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Overview

I am interested in adaptive perspectives on human social behaviour. 

Research

I am interested in evolutionary perspectives on human social behaviour. My research is mainly focised on facial appearance, and the face as part of a social signal system. We all know that humans are are quick to a fault to make judgements about others on the basis of mere appearance. But why are we are so willing to make these judgements, and what does facial appearance actually reveal about us? In my view, the most surprising from my research is that facial appearance, at least as captured in "passport-style" photographs, can actually allow some accurate social judgements.

 

Teaching and Supervision

I teach a module on Evolution and Human Social Behaviour. In my case, my teaching interests led to my research, rather than the other way round. After teaching this module for a few years, I found the material so fascinating that I changed my entire research programme.

Project supervision is currently along two lines, both related in my mind to adaptive perspectives on human social behaviour. The first is facial appearance and the judgements we draw from that, described further on my website. A new and developing line of research is about teamwork, and what separates effective from ineffective teams. 

 

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