FUNDED PHD STUDENTSHIP: Family influences on partner choice

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship within the Evolution, Perception and Behaviour Research Group at Northumbria University.

Deadline: 31 March 2015

Although we know increasing amounts about how individuals differ in what they find attractive in a partner, researchers usually approach this question by focussing on individual preferences. However, people choose their partner within a complex cultural and social network, and in particular their parents and family may play a significant role. Indeed, evolutionary theory predicts that people should be concerned with the partner choice of their family members because of its direct influence on the propagation of their genes through grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives. In addition, cross-culturally and historically, parents have regulated their offspring’s partner choice through arranged marriages and other practices. The research programme therefore investigates how an adult’s perceptions of what is attractive, and who constitutes a good partner, might be shaped by direct and indirect influences from their family.

The project will combine experimental and correlational designs to understand how we might see family influences reflected in people’s choice of partner. The studies will examine judgements of attractiveness, and link people’s preferences to their family experiences. The candidate will work within the Department’s Evolution, Perception and Behaviour Research Group, and may wish to benefit in particular from the Group’s expertise and measurement techniques related to the perception of faces, body, and movement.

The full-time studentship provides full support for tuition fees, and an annual tax-free stipend at RCUK rates (for 2015/16 this is £14,057 p.a.)

More information is available here