Richard Brown interviews me for The Psychologist

I was recently interviewed by one of my brilliant PhD students, Richard Brown. Richard enjoys writing and making videos about his research. He recently became a contributor at Psychology Today, and even won a prize in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Futures Student Essay Competition.

Here, you can read Richard’s interview with me for The Psychologist. We chat about the research I’ve been doing for the past decade or so – research which Richard is now moving forward as part of his PhD.

Measuring perceived uncontrollable mortality risk: poster, papers & video

I’m beginning to build a bank of resources to support people to use the measures of perceived control over mortality risk that Daniel Nettle and I developed some years ago (Pepper & Nettle, 2014). So far, these measures seem to be a good predictor of health behaviour and, in our data, they outperform the Multidemsional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), which is a commonly used measure examining a similar construct.

To get things started, I’ve created my first ever #BetterPoster (see here for more on the “Better Poster” concept) that gives a brief overview of the theory and evidence regarding the relationship between perceived uncontrollable mortality risk and health behaviour. I’m presenting this poster at EHBEA2021, and Richard Brown will be giving a talk on some of the evidence summarised in panel 4 of the poster below. The 2-minute audio recording that accompanies the poster can be downloaded here.

I’ve also created a 1-page guide to using the measure, which gives the question text and an at-a-glance summary of what the responses represent, with references for further details. You can download the guide here.

My #BetterPoster for EHBEA 2021 – a summary of the evidence so far on perceived uncontrollable mortality risk & health behaviour.

The poster above is embedded as an image, so the links don’t work. Here are the links to the key references:

Nettle (2010),

Pepper & Nettle (2014a),

Pepper & Nettle (2014b),

Brown, Coventry & Pepper (2021)

UPDATE! New video

Since I originally posted this, my fantastic PhD student, Richard Brown has created a video, explaining the findings of our paper in the Journal of Public Health. Richard’s creation won him the best talk prize at the Northumbria University Early Career Researchers’ conference, 2021.

ISEMPH 2021 – online meeting

I’m on the programme for the excellent International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health‘s annual meeting again this year. As usual, I expect the conference will be superb. However, things will be a little different this year, as the whole event will be virtual: https://isemph.org/ISEMPH-2021

Although I understand that many people are suffering from “Zoom fatigue”, an online conference offers a number of fresh advantages. It becomes easier for people from all over the world to participate without time, cost, or carbon footprint concerns becoming barriers. We can be innovative about our scheduling too. Having some pre-recorded talks and posters available in advance of the conference will mean more time to interact with each other on the day. More interaction can mean more ideas, more fun, and more potential for collaboration. Another advantage of having some pre-recorded talks: you can pause, rewind, and watch again! No more wondering if you’re asking a silly question because you didn’t quite hear something that was said earlier on in the talk. Equally, if the topic of the talk isn’t quite as you expected, you can stop watching without fear of disrupting others in the audience. This year’s meeting will enjoy all these advantages, plus some of the buzz of a live event with some live talks and Q&A sessions.

To really boost the interactivity of the conference, we’ll also be running our first ever Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health Grand Challenges! Conference delegates can sign up to work in virtual teams to address the big questions and challenges facing medicine and public health today, with topics ranging from ageing to tuberculosis. The aim of these events is to encourage new connections and collaborations, and to spark innovation in the EMPH community. Check out the ISEMPH-2021 website for further details: https://isemph.org/Grand-Challenges-2021

Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona.
Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona

New maps: Cross-country relationships between life expectancy, intertemporal choice and age at first birth

In one of my previous posts, I presented some interactive maps, made using Google Fusion Tables, to support a paper on Cross-country relationships between life expectancy, intertemporal choice and age at first birth, written with my collaborator, Adam Bulley. However, Google have since … Continue reading

New book out now!

Applied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues

AEA Book Cover

This book has been published as the first of a series, Advances in the Evolutionary Analysis of Human Behaviour, edited by Rebecca Sear. The series is intended “to promote the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association tenets of rigour, integration and pluralism by producing a series of methodologically rigorous books with a pluralistic theme in the human behavioral sciences.”

This volume was edited by Mhairi Gibson and David Lawson. I am proud to have made my contribution, along with with Daniel Nettle:

Chapter 10Socioeconomic Disparities in Health Behaviour: An Evolutionary Perspective.

Video: Being there (talk at the ESRC Festival)

Being there: a brief visit to a neighbourhood induces the social attitudes of that neighbourhood

Here is a video of one my recent talks as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science event, “Using social sciences to tackle the toxicity of urban life”. The video just gives footage of me talking, so you will need to download the slides as a PDF here: beingtherepresentationslides.pdf.

The publication associated with this presentation can be found at: https://peerj.com/articles/236/