Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology

Psychology University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Craig Roberts

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About me

About me

I have been in the Division of Psychology at Stirling since 2010. I was promoted to Professor in 2015. My research is focused on how odours influence human behaviour.

I serve on the European Science Foundation's College of Expert Reviewers (since 2018) and the UKRI Interdisciplinary Assessment College (since 2023). I was Deputy Chair of the General University Ethics Panel (2022-23), on the University Research Committee (2016-2019), and founded Stirling Crucible in 2014.

I was President of the International Society for Human Ethology between 2018-2021, following a term as Vice-President between 2014 and 2017.


Certificate in Professional Studies
University of Liverpool

PhD - Mechanics and Function of Territorial Behaviour in Klipspringer
University College London

BSc (First Class) Agricultural Zoology
University of Leeds

Event / Presentation

Lead Organiser, Royal Society Theo Murphy International Scientific Meeting…l-communication/
Competitively selected theme on Human Chemical Communication, and Guest Editor for special issue in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

Other Academic Activities

President, International Society for Human Ethology

Vice-President, International Society for Human Ethology

Trustee, International Society for Human Ethology

Professional membership

College of Expert Reviewers, European Science Foundation

Member, UKRI Interdisciplinary Assessment College

University Contribution

Deputy Chair, General University Ethics Panel

Academic Lead, Stirling Crucible

Research (4)

I originally trained as a zoologist, and my PhD was in in mammalian behavioural ecology at University College London. I did post-docs at the Institute of Zoology and the University of Newcastle. This work included phylogenetic analyses of horn evolution (paper in Behaviour) and carnivore diet (paper in Nature), but principally aimed to understand how odour communicates adaptive information between competitors and mates (papers in e.g. Behavioral Ecology, Nature Genetics), especially in laboratory and harvest mice.

For the past 15 years or so, I have worked exclusively on humans, based in Newcastle, Liverpool and (since 2010) the University of Stirling.

My research has been funded by UK Research Councils (ESRC, BBSRC), research charities (the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust) and industrial partners (Unilever R&D, Boots UK Ltd). I held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship between 2013 and 2014.

Current Research My research principally addresses three related but independent research areas:

Olfactory perception and communication. My research challenges the conventional view that olfaction is unimportant in humans, and instead can be an influential mechanism for cueing adaptive social behaviour.

Mate choice. What factors (including odour) determine partner choice? What are the benefits of choice, and what are the costs of not securing an ideal choice? I have made leading contributions, especially in trade-offs between ‘good’ and ‘complementary’ genes (e.g. major histocompatibility complex, MHC) and effects of hormonal fluctuation and hormonal contraception.

Applying evolutionary insights. Stimulated by potential applications of my own work in these areas, I have played a leading role in establishing and promoting the new field of applied evolutionary psychology.

PhD study: I am interested in supervising students in any of the above areas - please contact me by email. I currently have projects available in exploring the influence of odours in bonding within couples and on emotional contagion by odour.


How can we explain impairments in executive functioning? The role of chronic pain and social context during adolescence.
PI: Dr Line Caes
Funded by: The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Is there ill in the pill? Exploring social consequences of partner choice while using hormonal contraception
PI: Professor Craig Roberts
Funded by: The British Academy

Royal Society International Joint Project
PI: Professor Craig Roberts
Funded by: Royal Society

Consequences of Using Hormonal contraception during Partner Choice
PI: Professor Craig Roberts
Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council

Outputs (181)


Showing 100 of 181 — See all 181 outputs

Book Chapter

Roberts S (2023) Menstrual cycle variation in women’s mating psychology: Empirical evidence and theoretical considerations. In: Mogilski JK & Shakelford TK (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Romantic Relationships. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 643-674.

Book Chapter

Roberts S, Singleton FP, Culpepper PD, Sorokowski P, Sorokowska A & Havlicek J (2023) Handshaking and hand-smelling: on the potential role of handshake greeting in human olfactory communication.. In: Schaal B, Rekow D, Keller M & Damon F (eds.) Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 15. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 257-269.


Třebický V, Delplanque S, Ferdenzi C, Fink B, Jelinkova L, Patkova Z, Roberts SC, Roder S, Saxton TK, Schwambergova D, Sterbova Z, Třebická Fialova J & Havlíček J (2023) Cross-modal associations of human body odour attractiveness with facial and vocal attractiveness provide little support for the backup signals hypothesis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evolution and Human Behavior, 44 (1), pp. 19-29.


Roberts SC, Třebická Fialová J, Sorokowska A, Langford B, Sorokowski P, Třebický V & Havlíček J (2022) Emotional expression in human odour. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 4, Art. No.: e44.


Fiurašková K, Roberts SC, Kaňková Š, Hlaváčová J, Calda P & Havlíček J (2022) Oral contraceptive use during relationship formation and current relationship satisfaction: testing the congruency hypothesis in couples attending pregnancy and fertility clinics. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 135, Art. No.: 105451.

Book Chapter

Roberts SC (2021) Effect of birth control on women's preferences. In: Shackelford TK & Weekes-Shackelford V (eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Book Chapter

Havlicek J, Fialova J & Roberts SC (2017) Individual variation in body odor. In: Buettner A (ed.) The Springer Handbook of Odor. Cham: Springer, pp. 125-126.;

Conference Paper

Roberts SC & Eryaman F (2017) Mutual olfactory recognition between mother and child. XIII International Society for Human Ethology Congress, Stirling, UK, 01.08.2016-05.08.2016. Human Ethology Bulletin, 32 (1), pp. 42-52.;

Book Chapter

Roberts SC (2014) Evolutionary Psychology. In: Losos J (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies in Evolutionary Biology, Online. New York: Oxford University Press.


Roberts SC & Havlicek J (2013) Humans Are Dunnocks, not Peacocks: On Cause and Consequence of Variation in Human Mating Strategies. Commentary on: The Ape That Thought It Was a Peacock: Does Evolutionary Psychology Exaggerate Human Sex Differences?, Steve Stewart-Williams and Andrew G. Thomas, Psychological Inquiry Vol. 24 , Iss. 3, 2013, pp. 137-168. Psychological Inquiry, 24 (3), pp. 231-236.

Book Chapter

Roberts SC (2013) Oreotragus oreotragus Klipspringer. In: Kingdon J & Hoffmann M (eds.) Mammals of Africa. Volume 6: Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer and Bovids. London: Bloomsbury Natural History, pp. 472-476.

Book Chapter

Roberts SC (2012) Applying evolutionary psychology. In: Roberts S (ed.) Applied Evolutionary Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-4.

Book Chapter

Roberts SC (2012) Evolutionary psychology and perfume design. In: Roberts S (ed.) Applied Evolutionary Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 330-348.

Edited Book

Roberts SC (ed.) (2012) Applied Evolutionary Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Little A, Roberts SC, Jones BC & DeBruine LM (2012) The perception of attractiveness and trustworthiness in male faces affects hypothetical voting decisions differently in wartime and peacetime scenarios. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65 (10), pp. 2018-2032.

See all 181 outputs



PhD study: I am interested in supervising students in any of the above areas - please contact me by email. I currently have projects available in exploring the influence of odours in bonding within couples and on emotional contagion by odour.

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes