Research News



June 2011 - Splitting juries into small groups increases juror participation



June 2010 - Facial Expression in Archaeological Artefacts


A collaborative study with archaeologist Dr. Alice Samson has just been published in Current Anthropology. Early Europeans who landed on the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola, had a negative interpretation of the bared teeth faces that adorned material culture created by the native Taino people. Chroniclers interpreted the motif as a ferocious animal's snarl or a skull's grimace, signs of the heathen islanders' aggression. But by comparing the motif to teeth-baring in human smiles, and similar expressions in other primates (such as chimpanzees and rhesus macaques), we proposed that the depictions signify submission and benign intent.  The study was covered in Science, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and various international media outlets.



August 2008 - Facial Muscles and Universal Facial Expression


Our study of variation in human facial muscles was recently published in Emotion.  In collaboration with Anne Burrows, we found that facial muscles vary from person to person (some people have muscles that others don't have, and vice versa) but that we all have a core set of muscles that are necessary in order to produce the 6 basic, universal facial expressions (happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, fear and surprise).  This paper was covered in NatureNews, The Daily Telegraph, The BBC World Service and other media outlets.























Dr. Bridget M. Waller


Senior lecturer in Psychology

University of Portsmouth, UK