Research

Overview

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 primary area of expertise is women’s intrasexual competition for access to, and retention of, romantic partners. I have explored competition via survey methods, facial attractiveness ratings, and observational techniques. In the near future, I intend to expand my views on competition to incorporate rivalry for other limited resources, such as resources that might be important for child-rearing.

2. Literary Representations of Female Mating Strategies

I have a sustained interest in “Darwinian literary analysis,” which is the application of evolutionary principles to literary analysis.  I, and my colleagues, have extensively researched women’s mating interests using 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.

As part of this work, I have started to explore other ‘artifacts’ that provide information about human nature. For example, collaborators and I have investigated topics of women’s paintings, or studied evolutionary psychology via popular culture constructs such as television shows and song lyrics.

3. University Teaching in Online Environments

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly interested in exploring ways to improve the delivery of online courses, particularly with respect to creating learning communities where students actively participate in the course.