Research Interests

Comparative facial expression: Morphological and functional comparisons between humans and other primates species using modifications of the human Facial Action Coding System (FACS), such as chimpanzees, macaques, orangutans and hylobatids.

Macaque Cognition: Cognitive studies with zoo-housed macaques using touchscreen tasks to investigate their understanding of social signals (Owl and Monkey Haven, Isle of Wight)

Domestication and communication: Anatomically based analyses of domestic animal facial movements (e.g. using DogFACS and CatFACS).

Evolution and human communication: Functional, evolutionary based approaches to human facial expression as an adaptation to social living.


I am the Director of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology and Professor of Evolutionary Psychology. The overarching focus of my work is the evolution of social communication, and I am interested in how communication facilitates social interaction. I am particularly interested in human and non-human primate facial expression, and use species-specific modifications of FACS (Facial Action Coding System) to make anatomically based, systematic comparisons between species.

I completed my PhD in 2005, working on the Chimpanzee Facial Action Coding Scheme project (with Kim Bard, Lisa Parr, Sarah-Jane Vick and Marcia Smith Pasqualini). Prior to working at the University of Portsmouth I completed my Masters in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Liverpool, was a Research Assistant in Cognitive Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, and studied Zoology as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway University of London.

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