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My PhD research adopts a psychobiosocial approach to explore the nature of between- and within-sex differences in human romantic jealousy. Romantic jealousy is defined as an emotional and behavioural response to the threatened loss or sharing of an intimate adult relationship to an interloper. On account of differential reproductive pressures facing males and females in our evolutionary past, it is alleged that males are more sensitive than females to cues of sexual infidelity due to the threat from cuckoldry while females are more sensitive than males to cues of emotional infidelity due to the threat of the loss of male resources required for parental investment.
While this evolutionary heritage is alleged to have shaped between-sex differences in romantic jealousy tendencies, since human behaviour is eminently flexible and situation-contingent, a full explanation of romantic jealousy would be incomplete without a consideration of proximal mediators. One such important mediator is an individual’s attachment orientation that emerges as a result of relationships with primary caregivers during early childhood and shapes the individual style with which we relate to significant others in our adult relationships.
This research programme will use the dynamic effects of the sex steroid hormone, testosterone (a) as an investigative tool to explore the intrinsic nature of between-sex differences in romantic jealousy and (b) to investigate the bidirectional effects of testosterone with the attachment system to explain within-sex differences in romantic jealousy.
After a career in the commercial sector, which included running my own packaging manufacturing company for a number of years, I began part-time study with The Open University in 2004 and graduated from University of Bristol with a BSc in Experimental Psychology in 2008. My third year project investigated the effect of negative life experience on lateralisation of emotional processing in middle-aged adults and was supervised by Dr Christine Mohr.
I completed an MSc in Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol in 2009 and my dissertation, supervised by Dr Brian Stollery, adopted qualitative methodology in order to investigate the nature of putative between-sex differences in romantic jealousy, the findings of which have helped illuminate my PhD research question.
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