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Friends, rivals and ‘face-offs’ | Christopher Watkins | TEDxAbertayUniversity

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Published on Mar 4, 2016

Cooperation and aggression seem to be at opposite ends of a behavioural spectrum. However, both these prosocial and antisocial behaviours may have been closely intertwined in the evolution of our species, shaping the manner in which humans appraise social conflicts, even in modern environments where harm from violence has declined (on average). Focussing primarily on my own research on ‘first-impression’ judgements of dominance from the face and voice, I will explore the science of rivalry and its potential biological basis. I will argue that understanding our unconscious evaluations of others on key trait-dimensions such as dominance is still important for understanding behaviour within social and political groups such as the modern organization.

Dr Christopher Watkins joined Abertay University in 2012 after completing his PhD at the University of Aberdeen. He is interested in how we evaluate others based on facial and vocal cues and using this knowledge to understand how our romantic feelings and preferences work and how we make snap-judgements about potential rivals such as their dominance and trustworthiness. His work merges cognitive and social psychology with theory from evolutionary biology and anthropology. He has presented his work at many international conferences, has 24 peer-reviewed publications and has attracted media attention from national outlets and international magazines such as Nature and Science.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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