My main research interests are around socioeconomic differences in attitudes and behaviours, and their relationship to inequalities in health and ageing. I use observational and experimental data to examine differences in health behaviours, reproductive scheduling, social trust and biomarkers of ageing.
My current role
I am currently working with Daniel Nettle and Melissa Bateson, in their COMSTAR lab – an exciting new ERC-funded project in the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution at Newcastle University. I also work with Newton’s Apple, as a member of their board of Trustees.
After studying as an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool, I won an Interdisciplinary Bridging Award in order to continue my undergraduate research on morning sickness. I then went on to gain experience in science policy and communication. I undertook work experience with the BBC Specialist Factual Unit (TV), and with BBC Focus Magazine. I worked for Newton’s Apple as a Policy and Project Manager and later as their Director. I spent 2 years working as a Communications Manager at the Department of Health, while I completed my MSc in Evolutionary Psychology at Brunel University. I was awarded my PhD in behavioural sciences from the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University in 2015. I went on to work as a visiting postdoctoral scholar with the Newcastle City Council Public Health Team, then joined the Newcastle Institute of Health and Society, where I spent a 2015 working as a postdoc in the Health Psychology group with Vera Araujo-Soares.
Selected recent publications:
- McAllister, L.S., Pepper, G.V., Virgo, S. & Coall, D. A. (2016) The Evolved Psychological Mechanisms of Fertility Motivation: Hunting for Causation in a Sea of Correlation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B [PDF]
- Pepper, G.V. & Nettle, D. (2014) Out of control mortality matters: the effect of perceived uncontrollable mortality risk on a health-related decision. PeerJ 2:e459 [PDF]
- Schroeder, K.B., Pepper, G.V. & Nettle, D. (2014) Local norms of cheating and the cultural evolution of crime and punishment: a study of two urban neighbourhoods. PeerJ 2:e450 [Link]
- Pepper, G. V. & Nettle, D. (2014) Perceived extrinsic mortality risk and health behaviour: Testing a behavioural ecological model. Human Nature, 25(3) [Preprint] [Article]
- Nettle, D., Pepper G.V., Jobling, R. et al. (2014) Being there: A brief visit to a neighbourhood induces the social attitudes of that neighbourhood. PeerJ. 2: e236 [Link]
- Pepper, G. V. & Nettle, D. (2014). Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviour: An evolutionary perspective. In D. W. Lawson & M. Gibson (Eds.), Applied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues. Springer. [View]
- Pepper, G. V. & Nettle, D. (2013) Death and the time of your life: experiences of close bereavement are associated with steeper financial future discounting and earlier reproduction. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 34(6): 433-439 [Link] [Poster]
- More on the publications page.
Some of my academic experience:
- Guest Lecturing at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Guest Lecturing for the School of Psychology at the University of Liverpool.
- Postdoctoral researcher at the Newcastle University Institute of Health and Society.
- Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar with the Newcastle City Council Public Health Team.
- Guest Lecturing for the Combined Honours School at Newcastle University.
- Teaching & demonstrating for the School of Biology and the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University.
- Supervision of undergraduate project students and postgraduate research students in the Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences, the School of Psychology, and Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering.
- Local Champion for the Evidence Information Service.
- Trustee, Newton’s Apple Foundation.
- Science Communication and Outreach Activities including science engagement events in secondary schools and the British Science Festival Event, “The Big Society? Interactive Psychology Games”
- More, including my non-academic experience, on the experience page.
I’ve peer reviewed manuscripts for a range of journals including:
- Evolution and Human Behaviour
- Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Human Nature
- Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
- Personality and Individual Differences
- PLoS ONE
I’ve peer reviewed grant applications for:
- The Economic and Social Research Council
- The Royal Academy of Engineering (Ingenious public engagement grant review)
I have received funding from a number of sources:
- Arizona State University Center for Evolution and Medicine travel grant (2015)
- Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences Intern Scholarship Scheme (2014)
- Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences travel grant (2014)
- Newcastle University institute of Neuroscience postgraduate studentship (2011-2014)
- University of Liverpool Interdisciplinary Bridging Award (2005)