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Dr Rebecca Owens


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Head of the School of Psychology

I earned a First Class BSc (Hons) in Psychology in 2009 and went on to start a part-time PhD in the same year. I completed my PhD in Evolutionary Psychology in 2016. I am now a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and the Associate Head of the School of Psychology (undergraduate provision).



Teaching and supervision

With my background in evolutionary psychology, I like to contribute to teaching this in our undergraduate provision where I can. I also lead a stage 3 optional module in Male Psychology. I supervise research projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate, and I currently have a number of PhD students. 

Research interests for potential research students

I am interested in supervising projects informed by an evolutionary perspective. There are three broad areas of research I am interested in:

Mating behaviours, preferences, and strategies: Sex differences in mating behaviours and preferences, costly signalling behaviours, including competitiveness, risk-taking, and the role of testosterone in such behaviours.

Male psychology: My PhD thesis took an evolutionary perspective on sex differences in competitiveness and risk-taking. This has led to an interest in male psychology, including the impact of gender roles on mental health and wellbeing, and the impact of so-called 'toxic masculinity' and 'gender blindness'.

Body image/identity and wellbeing: I am interested in the motivations for, and perceptions of those who engage in various body modifications. Body modifications vary widely in both form and quality, and I am interested in why there is such variation, and whether this contributes to wellbeing, and what they signal about an individual. I co-host a podcast called the Inking of Immunity Podcast with colleagues at the University of Alabama. This is a cross-disciplinary research project where we speak with other academics interested in body modifications.

Research

I bring an evolutionary perspective to all aspects of my work. My PhD research  involved taking an evolutionary perspective on competitiveness and risk taking behaviours. This involved considering the role of mating motivations and dominance striving, how such factors vary over the lifespan and are responsive to external cues in the environment, as well as the suggested biological underpinnings of such fluctuations of testosterone levels. This led me onto the area of Male Psychology generally.

Male Psychology is a relatively new area of research and involves considering and integrating biological and evolutionary perspectives on sex differences and similarities with the areas we typically consider, such as social and developmental, to better understand issues that primarily or exclusively affect men and boys. This often also uncovers areas relevant to people who are not male as well, which is also helpful!

I am also interested in body image and representation in terms of body modifications. I am interested in the motivations people have for engaging in various forms of body modifications and to different extents, and how this is perceived by people who are not familiar with the industry. Furthermore, I am interested in the impact that engagement in body modifications has on individual mental health and wellbeing, and whether this is sometimes seen as therapeutic.

Publications

Number of items: 41.

Article

Elliott, Ryan and Owens, Rebecca (2023) Barriers to Help Seeking in Men. Psychreg Journal of Psychology, 7 (2). ISSN 2515-138X

Owens, Rebecca, Filoromo, S. J., Landgraf, L. A., Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Deviance as an historical artefact: a scoping review of psychological studies of body modification. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10 (33). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2662-9992

Wignall, Liam, Portch, Emma, McCormack, Mark, Owens, Rebecca, Cascalheira, Cory, Attard-Johnson, Janice and Cole, Teri (2021) Changes in Sexual Desire and Behaviors among UK Young Adults During Social Lockdown Due to COVID-19. The Journal of Sex Research. ISSN 0022-4499

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

Farrelly, Daniel, Owens, Rebecca, Elliott, Hannah, Walden, Hannah and Wetherell, Mark (2015) The Effects of Being in a “New Relationship” on Levels of Testosterone in Men. Evolutionary Psychology, 13 (1). ISSN 1474-7049

Farrelly, Daniel, Owens, Rebecca, Elliott, Hannah, Walden, Hannah and Wetherell, Mark (2013) Competitors who choose to be red have higher testosterone levels. Psychological Science, 24 (10). ISSN 0956-7976

Book Section

Owens, Rebecca and Barry, John From Fetuses to Boys to Men: The Impact of Testosterone on Male Lifespan Development. In: The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health. Springer International Publishing, pp. 3-24. ISBN 978-3-030-04384-1

Conference or Workshop Item

Graham, Yitka, Rees, Robyn, McBride, Sam and Owens, Rebecca (2024) Como abordamos las cuestiones de genero para maximar la perdida de peso? In: Sociedad Argentina de Cirugia de la Obesidad, Enfermedad Metabolica y otras Relacionadas con la Obesidad (SACO) 7th Congreso Argention, 20-22 Mar 2024, Hotel Costa Galana, Mar Del Plata, Argentina. (Unpublished)

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)

Thesis

Owens, Rebecca (2017) The Role of Life History Variables in Male Competitive Behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Video

Owens, Rebecca (2023) QUEEN OF BOHEMIA - THE LEGACY OF AIMÉE CROCKER. [Video]

Owens, Rebecca (2023) In the Minds of Men. [Video] (In Press)

Owens, Rebecca (2023) Danny Dyer: How to be a Man. [Video] (In Press)

Owens, Rebecca (2022) Dr Rebecca Owens: Evolutionary Psychology and Masculinity. [Video]

Owens, Rebecca (2021) #528 Rebecca Owens: Sex Differences in Mating Behavior, Male Psychology, and Body Modifications. [Video]

Audio

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 22. "The Embodied Experience of the Tattooer" with Dustin Kiskaddon. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 23. Connecting the Dots Between Tattooing & Acupuncture w/ Douglas Wingate. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 24. "Patterns of Life" documentary filmmakers Jitske Kramer & Sophie Brouwer. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 25. Tattoos & Healing w/ Art Therapists Simone Alter-Muri & Sarah Nangeroni. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 26. Mel Lefebvre Talks Care & Community Under Capitalism. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2023) Inking of Immunity Episode 27. Tricia Allen: Anthropologist, Researcher, Tattooist. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 10. Maya Sialuk, "We have to be decolonized, but so do you" (pt. 1). [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 11. Maya Sialuk pt. 2: The Myths Behind the Markings. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 12. David Lane on Tattoo Workers & Tattooing Under Capitalism. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 13. What are the ethics of studying tattoos? with Lars Krutak. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 14. Viren Swami on Tattooing and Body Image. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 15. Tattoos (& Discrimination) in the Workplace w/ Dr. Andrew Timming. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 16. Dr. Colin Zestcott: "All Research is Me-Search". [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 17. Scalping & Tattoo Removal in Early America with Dr. Mairin Odle. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 19. Lane Wilcken on the Spirituality of Batok Tattooing. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 20. Who Owns Your Tattoo? with IP Scholar Dr. Marie Hadley. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 21. Dr. Alexandra Zidenberg on Tattoos & Perceived Professionalism. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 5. Archaeologist Benoît Robitaille talks pre-electric tattoo technology of the Pacific. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 6. Art Historian Matt Lodder on Why Tattooing Will Always be Subversive. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 7. Dr. Matt Lodder: Do tattoos have fixed meanings? [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 8. Indigenous Tattoo Revival with Dion Kaszas. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2022) Inking of Immunity Episode 9. Beverly Yuen Thompson talks Tattooed Women & Academics in Ink. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2021) Inking of Immunity Episode 4. Anne Austin talks tattooed Egyptian mummies. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2021) Inking of Immunity Podcast Episode 1. New Podcast about Tattoo Research by Tattoo Researchers. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2021) Inking of Immunity Podcast Episode 2. Aaron Deter-Wolf talks Ancient Ink and tattoo archaeology. [Audio]

Owens, Rebecca, Lynn, C. D. and Smetana, M. R. A. (2021) Inking of Immunity Podcast Episode 3. Gemma Angel talks about her experience with preserved tattoos. [Audio]

This list was generated on Tue Apr 16 13:03:15 2024 BST.
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Male psychology
  • The role of testosterone
  • Tattoos and body modifications
  • Sex differences

Last updated 14 March 2024