My area of expertise is evolutionary psychology. Currently my research is concerned with the differences in mating strategies within and between the sexes. This includes environmental and social factors which contribute to this variance and whether mating preferences themselves are reactive to environmental changes over short term periods.

My secondary interest is that of cyber-psychology and online interaction; particularly how one represents oneself using internet avatars and aliases.

  • BSc (Hons), Psychology, Cardiff University
  • PhD, Psychology, Swansea University

Areas of Expertise

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Sex Differences
  • Attractiveness
  • Mating Strategies

Publications

  1. Stewart-Williams, S., Thomas, A. The ape that thought it was a peacock: Does evolutionary psychology exaggerate sex differences? Psychological Inquiry 24 137 168
  2. Stewart-Williams, S., Thomas, A. The ape that kicked the hornet's nest: Response to commentaries on "The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock" Psychological Inquiry 24 248 271
  3. Crewther, B., Thomas, A., Stewart-Williams, S., Kilduff, L., Cook, C., Kilduff, L. Is salivary cortisol moderating the relationship between salivary testosterone and hand-grip strength in healthy men? European Journal of Sport Science 17 2 188 194
  4. Stewart-Williams, S., Butler, C., Thomas, A. Sexual History and Present Attractiveness: People Want a Mate With a Bit of a Past, But Not Too Much The Journal of Sex Research 54 9 1097 1105
  5. Thomas, A., Johansen, M. Inside out: Avatars as an indirect measure of ideal body self-presentation in females Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace 6 3

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Teaching

  • PSA113 Biological Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to biological psychology and the influence of the biological approach on the wider discipline of psychology. Through a series of lectures and tutorials this module will consider the structure and function of the brain and central nervous system and how they underpin human behaviour. The importance of understanding the role of hormones and neurotransmitters on physiology and behaviour as well as the biological basis of individual differences will be covered. These fundamental elements will be explored through by key topics such as emotions, motivated behaviour, language, sleep, learning and memory, and schizophrenia. The importance of understanding evolutionary psychology and gene environment interactions will also be integrated throughout the module.

  • PSY113 Biological Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to biological psychology and the influence of the biological approach on the wider discipline of psychology. Through a series of lectures and tutorials this module will consider the structure and function of the brain and central nervous system and how they underpin human behavior. The importance of understanding the role of hormones and neurotransmitters on physiology and behavior as well as the biological basis of individual differences will be covered. These fundamental elements will be explored through key topics such as emotions, motivated behavior, language, sleep, learning and memory, and schizophrenia. The importance of understanding evolutionary psychology and gene environment interactions will also be integrated throughout the module.

  • PSY213 Brain and Behaviour

    The module provides an in depth look at the complex relationship between brain function (from the level of single neurons through to whole brain systems) and behaviour (of humans and other animals). The module will provide a grounding in the basic principles of learning theory and how these are applied in psychology and neuroscience research. We will explore how the brain responds and adapts to the external environment, the how genes and environment interact and the impact this has on brain function and behaviour in the context of stress, obesity, pain and motivation and emotion. We will also look at how recreational drugs affect the brain and what the consequences of drug taking are for human behaviour.

  • PSY311 Psychology Work Placement Module (Single honours)

    This module starts with a 5-day intensive employability boot camp covering the key skills that are essential in the work place (Self-management, business and customer awareness, team-working, communication, problem solving & psychological literacy). Following this, a work-placement (70+ hours) will be undertaken which can be spread-out over a number of weeks (e.g., one day per week) or over a shorter time period (alternative working patterns can be made in agreement with the module leader). Approximately twenty pre-sourced placements will be available for students within local public, private and 3rd sector companies or within the university. Information about these placements will be circulated to the module application deadline. Students will then indicate their top 5 placement options as part of their application. There will also be the opportunity for students to self-source a placement for this module. Eligibility/selection criteria for the module: Students must apply to be part of this module. The application includes: 1. A supporting statement explaining why they would like to take part in this module, what they hope to gain from it, and what their placement choices are (300-500 words). 2. A Curriculum Vitae In order for applications to be considered, students must have completed the Bronze level of the Swansea Employability award (Students who have yet to complete the Bronze level of the Swansea Employability Award can do so here: https://myuni.swan.ac.uk/employability/swansea-employability-award-overview/ by the end of June) and must have an acceptable attendance record throughout their degree (if mitigating circumstances have affected your attendance, this will be considered during selection). Successful applicants will be matched with one of their top 5 chosen placements where possible. If this is not possible, module leaders will work with the applicant to identify the best placement for them (with their career goals in mind) from the remaining choices available. Alternatively, the student will still be able to self-source a placement should they desire.

  • PSY315 Psychology Work Placement Module (Joint honours)

    This module starts with a 5-day intensive employability boot camp covering the key skills that are essential in the work place (Self-management, business and customer awareness, team-working, communication, problem solving & psychological literacy). Following this, a work-placement (35 hours) will be undertaken which can be spread-out over a number of weeks (e.g., one day per week) or over a shorter time period (alternative working patterns can be made in agreement with the module leader). Approximately twenty pre-sourced placements will be available for students within local public, private and 3rd sector companies or within the university. Information about these placements will be circulated to the module application deadline. Students will then indicate their top 5 placement options as part of their application. There will also be the opportunity for students to self-source a placement for this module. Eligibility/selection criteria for the module: Students must apply to be part of this module. The application includes: 1. A supporting statement explaining why they would like to take part in this module, what they hope to gain from it, and what their placement choices are (300-500 words). 2. A Curriculum Vitae In order for applications to be considered, students must have completed the Bronze level of the Swansea Employability award (Students who have yet to complete the Bronze level of the Swansea Employability Award can do so here: https://myuni.swan.ac.uk/employability/swansea-employability-award-overview/ by the end of June) and must have an acceptable attendance record throughout their degree (if mitigating circumstances have affected your attendance, this will be considered during selection). Successful applicants will be matched with one of their top 5 chosen placements where possible. If this is not possible, module leaders will work with the applicant to identify the best placement for them (with their career goals in mind) from the remaining choices available. Alternatively, the student will still be able to self-source a placement should they desire.

  • PSY319 Final Year Independent Research Project

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. The research topic is decided in conjunction with supervisors and Research topics. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  • PSY325 Independent Research Project - Joint Honours

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society.

Supervision

  • Understanding and reducing harassment – Insights from an evolutionary psychological theory of risk-taking. (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Jason Davies
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Alex Jones