I have a variety of research interests, primarily based within evolutionary psychology. My areas of expertise span mate selection, attractiveness, competition over mates, suicide, sex ratios, and literature/popular culture.
Although I examined a wide assortment of research interests and have published on these topics, the following paragraphs contain descriptions of the focus for my current work.
1. Intrasexual Competition
My doctoral dissertation sparked my interest in intrasexual competition, especially in terms of competition for mating access and retention of acquired mates. Recently my students, collaborators, and I have published a series of papers that examine intrasexual competition from a variety of perspectives, including how one remembers particular details about potential rivals. We are also working towards creating a model of the interpersonal interactions that are involved in intrasexual competition.
2. Literary Representations of Female Mating Strategies
I have a continued interest in “Darwinian literary analysis,” which is the application of evolutionary principles to literary analysis. More recently, my collaborators and I are have been performing an ongoing thematic analysis of Harlequin Romance novels. Harlequin’s are primarily oriented towards women, with women authors, and contain many themes that could be explained using evolutionary theory. Hence, I argue that the reason Harlequins are so successful rests in part on their adherence to evolutionarily salient properties.
3. Bridging Evolutionary and Social Psychology Theory
Due to my interests in studying women’s mating strategies, I have begun to explore some of the previous findings, and associated assumptions that followed from canonical studies in evolutionary psychology. One area that my collaborators and I have recently examined is women’s receptivity to brief, sexual relationships. To explain the results, we relied upon both evolutionary and social theories and realised that although the literature suggests the two need to be mutually exclusive, this gap is not entirely necessary in all instances.
4. Competition in the University Classroom
Given that I spend a fair amount of my time in the university classroom, I have an interest in the scholarship of teaching. Previously, my collaborators and I conducted research on sex differences in attitudes towards competition in the classroom. Now we will turn to how it influences course and discipline selection.