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Steve Stewart-Williams

Steve Stewart-Williams
University of Nottingham Malaysia

About

55
Publications
90,680
Reads
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1,775
Citations
Citations since 2017
27 Research Items
848 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
Introduction
I’m a professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. My research focuses on the evolution of human sex differences and altruism. I also have a long-standing interest in the philosophical implications of evolutionary theory. My second book, The Ape That Understood the Universe, hit the shelves in 2018.
Additional affiliations
September 2015 - present
The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2008 - September 2015
Swansea University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2005 - December 2007
McMaster University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
January 2001 - March 2004
Massey University
Field of study
  • Psychology, Philosophy
January 1997 - January 2001
Massey University
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (55)
Article
Full-text available
Evolutionary principles suggest that there will be differences in the nature of altruism directed toward kin vs. nonkin. The present study sought to explore these differences. Participants were 295 undergraduate students who each completed a questionnaire about help exchanged with siblings, cousins, acquaintances or friends. For siblings, cousins a...
Article
Full-text available
This article looks at the evolution of sex differences in sexuality in human beings, and asks whether evolutionary psychology sometimes exaggerates these differences. According to a common understanding of sexual selection theory, females in most species invest more than males in their offspring and, as a result, males compete for as many mates as...
Book
Full-text available
The Ape that Understood the Universe is the story of the strangest animal in the world: the human animal. It opens with a question: How would an alien scientist view our species? What would it make of our sex differences, our sexual behavior, our child-rearing patterns, our moral codes, our religions, languages, and science? The book tackles these...
Article
Full-text available
We respond to El-Hout et al.’s commentary on our paper ‘Men, Women and STEM: Why the Differences and What Should Be Done?’. El-Hout et al. challenge several aspects of the position we present in the paper and outline their recent work on the concept of ‘masculine defaults’: a plausible contributor to the gender gaps found in some STEM fields. For t...
Article
Full-text available
Two studies (total N = 778) looked at (1) how people react to research finding a sex difference depending on whether the research puts men or women in a better light and (2) how well people can predict the average man and average woman's reactions. Participants read a fictional popular‐science article about fictional research finding either a male‐...
Preprint
Polygamous relationships are permitted in most traditional human societies and were likely a reoccurring feature of ancestral mating. Yet research on polygamous interest in cultures which prohibit non-monogamous marriage is sparse. Across two studies we examine polygamous interest in samples from the UK. In Study 1 (n = 393), modest interest was fo...
Article
Full-text available
We report a direct replication of our earlier study looking at how people react to research on sex differences depending on whether the research puts men or women in a better light. Three-hundred-and-three participants read a fictional popular-science article about fabricated research finding that women score higher on a desirable trait/lower on an...
Article
Full-text available
Sociosexuality and sexual compulsivity predict sex differences in voyeuristic interest in the population. In this study, we used a sample of 1113 participants from the UK (46% men) to consider whether sociosexuality and sexual compulsivity interacted to explain these sex differences and whether this relationship extended to the related domain of ex...
Article
Full-text available
It is premature to conclude that music is an adaptation. Given the danger of overextending the adaptationist mode of explanation, the default position should be the byproduct hypothesis, and it should take very strong evidence to drag us into the adaptationist camp. As yet, the evidence isn’t strong enough – and the proposed adaptationist explanati...
Preprint
Full-text available
[Now in print; published version here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348295173_Men_Women_and_STEM_Why_the_Differences_and_What_Should_Be_Done] It is a well-known and widely lamented fact that men outnumber women in a number of fields in STEM. The most commonly discussed explanations for the gender gaps are discrimination and socializatio...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has found that women at peak fertility show greater interest in extra-pair sex. However, recent replications have failed to detect this effect. In this study, we add to this ongoing debate by testing whether sociosexuality (the willingness to have sex in the absence of commitment) is higher in women who are at peak fertility. A sa...
Article
Full-text available
It is a well-known and widely lamented fact that men outnumber women in a number of fields in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). The most commonly discussed explanations for the gender gaps are discrimination and socialization, and the most common policy prescriptions target those ostensible causes. However, a great deal of evidence...
Book
Full-text available
Si può pensare un’etica al di fuori della religione? Quali sono le conseguenze della teoria darwiniana per l’esistenza umana? Come si può realizzare una società laica fondata sulla dignità e il rispetto?
Book
Full-text available
Come vedrebbe la nostra specie uno scienziato alieno? Come giudicherebbe le nostre differenze di genere, il nostro comportamento sessuale, i nostri modelli educativi, i nostri codici morali, le religioni, i linguaggi, la scienza?
Preprint
Full-text available
Two studies investigated: (1) how people react to research describing a sex difference, depending on whether that difference favours males or females; and (2) how accurately people can predict how the average man and woman will react. In Study 1, Western participants (N = 492) viewed a fictional popular-science article describing either a male-favo...
Article
Full-text available
Two studies investigated (1) how people react to research describing a sex difference, depending on whether that difference favours males or females, and (2) how accurately people can predict how the average man and woman will react. In Study 1, Western participants (N = 492) viewed a fictional popular‐science article describing either a male‐favou...
Chapter
Full-text available
Sociobiological approaches have made great inroads into psychological science over the last few decades. This hasn’t come without a fight. One of the main fronts on which the battle has been fought is the origins of human sex differences. Evolutionary psychologists have made a strong case that many basic sex differences in our species have an evolu...
Book
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Evolutionary Biology - The Ape that Understood the Universe - by Steve Stewart-Williams
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Mate choice involves trading-off several preferences. Research on this process tends to examine mate preference prioritization in homogenous samples using a small number of traits and thus provide little insight into whether prioritization patterns reflect a universal human nature. This study examined whether prioritization patterns, an...
Preprint
Full-text available
We are all going to die and we all know it. We have our first glimmerings of this unpleasant fact in early childhood, and we live with it for the rest of our lives. Sometimes it sits at the forefront of our attention; other times it lurks in the background--but it’s always there somewhere, casting a dark shadow across our hopes for meaning and perm...
Preprint
Sociobiological approaches have made great inroads into psychological science over the last few decades. This hasn’t come without a fight. One of the main fronts on which the battle has been fought is the origins of human sex differences. Evolutionary psychologists have made a strong case that many basic sex differences in our species have an evolu...
Chapter
Full-text available
Chapter
Full-text available
We are all going to die and we all know it. We have our first glimmerings of this unpleasant fact in early childhood, and we live with it for the rest of our lives. Sometimes it sits at the forefront of our attention; other times it lurks in the background--but it’s always there somewhere, casting a dark shadow across our hopes for meaning and perm...
Article
Full-text available
The ratio of index to ring finger length (2D:4D) is used as a proxy for prenatal sex hormone exposure. It has been hypothesised to correlate with religiosity, though no published research has explored this possibility. Here, we initially examined 2D:4D in relation to self-reported religious affiliation and questionnaire measures of general religios...
Article
The ratio of index to ring finger length (2D:4D) is used as a proxy for prenatal sex hormone exposure. It has been hypothesised to correlate with religiosity, though no published research has explored this possibility. Here, we initially examined 2D:4D in relation to self-reported religious affiliation and questionnaire measures of general religios...
Article
Full-text available
One of the great challenges for evolutionary psychology has been to explain within-sex individual variation in mating behaviour. Several lines of evidence suggest that some of this variation stems from an adaptation for facultatively increasing or decreasing long- and short-term mating inclinations in response to circumstances. It remains unclear,...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to explore how people's sexual history affects their attractiveness. Using an Internet survey, 188 participants rated their willingness to engage in a relationship with a hypothetical individual with a specified number of past sexual partners, ranging from 0 to 60+. The effect of past partner number was very large. Average...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined the moderating effect of cortisol (C) on the relationship between testosterone (T) and hand-grip strength (HGS) in healthy young men. Sixty-five males were monitored for salivary T, C and HGS before and 15 min after a short bout (5 × 6-s trials) of sprint cycling exercise. Sprint exercise promoted (p < .05) positive changes in T...
Article
Full-text available
This article looks at the origins of human morality, and examines the contributions of both biological evolution and cultural evolution. Biological evolution may help explain certain categories of moral behavior (such as altruism), as well as certain morally relevant capacities (such as empathy). Cultural evolution may explain how different moral s...
Article
Full-text available
The relative lengths of the index and ring fingers (2D:4D), as well as the directional asymmetry between the right and left hands [D(R–L)], are putative measures of prenatal sex hormone exposure. The 2D:4D ratio has been associated with a number of personality traits including neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience. Th...
Chapter
Full-text available
My grandmother died when I was fourteen. It didn’t come out of the blue; she’d been teetering on the edge of life for several months, and I don’t think anyone was in any doubt about where things were headed. For some time, she’d been too unwell to live alone in her little flat, so she’d moved into my aunt and uncle’s house—a large house in a small...
Chapter
Full-text available
This article looks at the origins of human morality, and examines the contributions of both biological evolution and cultural evolution. Biological evolution may help explain certain categories of moral behavior (such as altruism), as well as certain morally relevant capacities (such as empathy). Cultural evolution may explain how different moral s...
Book
Full-text available
Czy religia i nuka są skazane na konflikt? Czy można wierzyć w Boga i w pełni akceptować wszystkie wnioski wypływające z teorii ewolucji (i na odwrót)? Czy w świetle odkryć współczesnej biologii - i innych nauk - człowiek nadal jest "ukoronowaniem stworzenia", a życiu ludzkiemu przysługuje "przyrodzona świętość"? Czy bez Boga nie ma moralności, a ż...
Article
Full-text available
We respond to the commentaries on our target article, The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock. We start with specific issues raised by the article. These relate to the magnitude of human sex differences; the evolution and relative importance of pair bonding, paternal care, and polygyny in our species; and the distinction between the males-compete/fem...
Data
Full-text available
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection revolutionized biology and our understanding of the origin and diversity of life. In Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew, Steve Stewart-Williams unleashes the theory and addresses its implications for theology, ethics, philosophy, a...
Book
Full-text available
Hem evrim kuramını benimseyip hem de Tanrı’ya inanabilir misiniz? İnsanlar diğer hayvanlardan üstün mü, yoksa bu düşünce sadece bir insan önyargısı mı? Evrim bize yaşamın amacının ne olduğunu söylüyor mu, yoksa yaşamın nihai bir amacı olmadığını mı ima ediyor? Evrim, ahlaki bakımdan neyin doğru, neyin yanlış olduğunu gösteriyor mu, yoksa son tahlil...
Book
Full-text available
Se la rivoluzione copernicana fa venir meno la centralità della Terra rispetto alla vastità dell'universo, l'evoluzionismo darwiniano cambia la posizione dell'uomo, ponendolo all'interno di un più ampio processo di selezione naturale. Di fronte a questa presa d'atto, la nozione di dio risulta priva di significato e non più necessaria per dare un se...
Book
Full-text available
If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice? Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what...
Chapter
The natures of the various emotions are considered, in nonhuman animals as well as in our own species. Particular attention is directed to animal models of human emotions that are used to assess the potential impacts of clinical treatments on behavior but can also be advanced as evidence of potential welfare problems in captive animals. The differe...
Article
Full-text available
Women who have been sexually coerced by an intimate partner experience many negative health consequences. Recent research has focused on predicting this sexual coercion. In two studies, we investigated the relationship between men’s use of partner-directed insults and sexually coercive behaviors in the context of intimate relationships. Study 1 sec...
Article
Full-text available
Inclusive fitness theory provides a compelling explanation for the evolution of altruism among kin. However, a completely satisfactory account of non-kin altruism is still lacking. The present study compared the level of altruism found among siblings with that found among friends and mates and sought to reconcile the findings with an evolutionary e...
Article
Full-text available
Men sometimes insult their intimate partners and these insults predict intimate partner violence. No research has investigated the function of men's partner-directed insults. We hypothesize that men's part-ner-directed insults are designed to retain their long-term mate and, therefore, that men's use of partner-directed insults will covary with oth...
Article
Full-text available
Men sometimes insult their intimate partners and these insults predict intimate partner violence. No research has investigated the function of men’s partner-directed insults. We hypothesize that men’s partner-directed insults are designed to retain their long-term mate and, therefore, that men’s use of partner-directed insults will covary with othe...
Article
Full-text available
Women who are verbally abused by their intimate male partners suffer serious mental health consequences and often experience physical violence in their relationship. Despite the importance of studying verbal abuse, no previous research has investigated the specific content of the insults men use to derogate their partners. We present the developmen...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to investigate deficits in recognition, recall, and prospective memory among Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, and to ascertain whether task difficulty and disease severity moderate these deficits. Comparisons were made between 41 nondemented PD participants, divided into early-stage and advanced-stage groups, and 41...
Article
Full-text available
In the present study, we investigated age-related decline in face recognition memory and whether this decline is moderated by the age of the target faces and by the number of faces that the participant must learn (memory load). Thirty-two participants in each of three age groups (18-39 years, 60-75 years, and 76-96 years) completed a face recogniti...
Article
Full-text available
This article starts from the assumption that there are various innate contributions to our view of the world and explores the epistemological implications that follow from this. Specifically, it explores the idea that if certain components of our worldview have an evolutionary origin, this implies that these aspects accurately depict the world. The...
Article
Full-text available
In this commentary, I consider Schmitt's cross-cultural investigation of sociosexuality from a comparative perspective. I argue that such a perspective lends support to an evolutionary explanation of a number of Schmitt's findings, including universal sex differences in sociosexuality and the sensitivity of mating behavior to contextual variables s...
Article
Full-text available
This article outlines and assesses the main theories of the placebo effect and suggests how they might sit together in a larger model of placebo etiology. Among the approaches considered are expectancy theory, emotional change theory, classical conditioning, and the biological approach. Although these are sometimes assumed to be competing models, i...
Article
Full-text available
The authors review the literature on the 2 main models of the placebo effect: expectancy theory and classical conditioning. A path is suggested to dissolving the theoretical impasse that has long plagued this issue. The key is to make a clear distinction between 2 questions: What factors shape placebo effects? and What learning mediates the placebo...
Article
Full-text available
In this reply, the authors explore several issues raised by I. Kirsch (2004) concerning their original article (S. Stewart-Williams & J. Podd, 2004), which dealt with the roles of expectancy and classical condi-tioning in the placebo effect. The only notable disagreement concerns a definitional issue, namely, Stewart-Williams and Podd's claim that...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to investigate how the gender of aggressor, target, and observer influences the perception and evaluation of aggression. One hundred seventy-one university students (predominantly White) read 1 of 8 vignettes that described an aggressive act. The aggressor–target gender combinations and the aggressive act were varied....

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Projects (2)
Archived project
MSc project completed at Swansea University, which aimed to examine whether differential exposure to prenatal sex hormones may be predictive of certain belief types and aspects of personality. In particular, the research investigated associations between 2D:4D, locus of control and neuroticism, and beliefs in religion, conspiracy theories, superstitions, and the paranormal.