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Research Fellows Directory

Anthony Little

Dr Anthony Little

Research Fellow

Organisation

University of Stirling

Research summary

My research revolves around evolutionary approaches to face perception and I am examining the extent of agreement on the attractiveness of different face traits within individuals of the same culture (do different people from the UK agree?), between different human cultures (do people living in the UK agree with people living in Africa?), and even between humans and other species (do other primates prefer the same face traits as humans?).

While evolutionary theory proposes some traits may be more attractive than others it is obvious that not everyone likes the same traits. The philosopher David Hume wrote “each mind contemplates a different beauty” which represents this idea that we in fact do not agree on who is and who is not attractive. My research then is also examining potential sources of individual differences, studying, for example, whether we are attracted to people who look like ourselves and whether we take account of our own attractiveness when choosing a partner, as well as how such differences can be explained with evolutionary thinking.

Linking individual differences to particular aspects of facial appearance is important in helping to put beauty back into the eye of the beholder given most studies focus on agreement and my research is exciting and unique in this respect. In this way my research can also help in understanding human individuality and human behaviour in an evolutionary context, as well as documenting the similarities and differences between our own mental lives and those of other animals.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Evolutionary approaches to facial perception and attractiveness

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2010 - Sep 2013

Value: £307,197.14

Evolutionary approaches to facial perception and attractiveness

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2005 - Sep 2010

Value: £247,190.87

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