Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content
ReciteMe accessibility toolbar button

Dr Helen Driscoll

Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Psychology / Helen Driscoll
Expert for press contact

Principal Lecturer and Team Leader for Psychology

I am Principal Lecturer in Psychology with responsibility for our undergraduate provision. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Chartered Psychologist.

I graduated from Newcastle University in 2001 with first class honours and the Mary McKinnon Prize. I completed my PhD at Durham University and have experience in teaching in several North East universities.

I am an evolutionary psychologist and my research interests include sexuality and sexual behaviour, dark personality, adult play (related to a current project on reborn dolls) and higher education pedagogy (including interprofessional learning). I also have significant experience of programme design and development, and of higher education quality assurance and enhancement.

I am Chief External Examiner for Psychology at Birmingham City University.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on the undergraduate psychology courses. My specialisms are evolutionary psychology, individual differences and quantitative research methods.

On the undergraduate courses, I am module leader for the Stage 3 optional module Dark Personalities.

I also supervise research projects on the undergraduate and postgraduate project modules. I am Director of Studies for one PhD student conducting research on BDSM, and co-supervisor for another PhD student conducting research on perceptions of asexuality.

Research interests for potential research students

I am interested in supervising projects with an evolutionary psychology approach. In particular, I am interested in mate preferences, mating strategies, attractiveness, sexual behaviour, dark personalities (for example narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, sadism) and aggression and violence (including intimate partner violence).

I am also interested in supervising projects on adult play, related to a current project on reborn dolls.


My research interests are broadly within evolutionary psychology. My PhD applied an evolutionary approach to understanding sex differences in aggression and I have published in this area. My current research interests also include:

  • Sexuality and sexual behaviour: I am currently working on a funded project on women's experiences of non-exclusive sexuality and supervising two PhD projects in this area, one on BDSM, and one on perceptions of asexuality.
  • The Dark Triad personality (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy)
  • Pedagogical research (including interprofessional learning)
  • Adult play: I am currently working on a project examining reasons for ownership of reborn dolls.


Number of items: 5.


Scott, Lesley, Hardisty, Jessica, Cussons, Hannah, Davison, Kathryn, Driscoll, Helen, Powell, Suzanne and Sturrock, Andrew (2021) Exploring a collaborative approach to the involvement of patients, carers and the public in the initial education and training of healthcare professionals: A qualitative study of patient experiences. Health Expectations. ISSN 1369-7625

Owens, Rebecca, Driscoll, Helen and Farrelly, Daniel (2020) Variation in Women’s Mate Preferences Over the Development of a Monogamous Relationship Corresponds with Changes in Men’s Life History Strategy. Evolutionary Psychological Science. ISSN 2198-9885

Wignall, Liam and Driscoll, Helen (2020) Women's rationales and perspectives on "mostly" as a non-exclusive sexual identity label. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. ISSN 2329-0390

Conference or Workshop Item

Hayes, Catherine, Driscoll, Helen and Knowles, Michael (2016) Roll Up Roll Up: Showcasing Excellence and Sharing Best Practice in Programme Delivery across the Faculty of Applied Sciences. In: Learning and Teaching Festival, Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching, University of Sunderland Learning Enhancement Annual Conference, 24-26 Apr, University of Sunderland, UK.. (Submitted)

Owens, Rebecca, Driscoll, Helen, Farrelly, Daniel and Crawley, Rosalind (2015) Women Desire More Evidence of Commitment from a Partner as a Relationship Develops. In: Culture and Evolution Symposium, PsyPAG, 22-24 Jul 2015, Glasgow, UK.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Wed Nov 30 00:48:34 2022 GMT.
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Individual differences
  • Domestic abuse
  • Attractiveness, mate choice and body image
  • Sexual behaviour
  • The dark triad personality (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism)

Last updated 10 May 2021