Principal Lecturer and Team Leader for Psychology
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.
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)
- Evolutionary psychology
- Quantitative research methods
- Individual differences
- Domestic abuse
- Attractiveness, mate choice and body image
- Sexual behaviour
- The dark triad personality (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism)