I joined theDurham University full-time in 2001, following a successful career in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. I continue to work with a number of leading FMCG brands, delivering applied research projects and an award-winning style of teaching that fuse academic rigour with real-world business practice.
An evolutionary psychologist, I am interested in consumer interactions with the products and services of everyday life, and with the marketing of those products and services. There are two distinct streams to this work. The first investigates how consumers respond – psychologically and physiologically – to the shopping environment and the ways in which those largely unconscious responses are shaped by the brain’s evolutionary heritage. The second and more controversial stream focuses on the so-called ‘dark side’ of consumer behaviour, exploring the evolutionary origins of a range of potentially problematic consumption practices such as counterfeiting, compulsive buying, shoplifting, and participation in deviant leisure activities. A recurrent theme throughout both streams of work, however, has been the specific issue of psychological sex differences and the biological bases of female and male consumer choice variations.
I contribute to a number of modules in consumer psychology across the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate portfolios, as well as in the Department of Psychology. Externally, in addition to recent projects with brands such as Samsung, Jack Daniels, Vodafone, NEXT and Urban Decay, I work with organisations such as AASCB International, the Chartered Association of Business Schools and the UK National Commission for UNESCO. I am also currently External Examiner for behavioural sciences at Warwick Business School.
All work and no play, as they say… Away from all things academic, I am a border collie lover (amazing dogs, believe me), a self-confessed fan of the television series Doctor Who (it’s brilliant, watch it), and an avid follower of Chelsea Ladies Football Club (seriously, way better than the men). I also enjoy walking, punk music and old horror movies.