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Professor in the Department of Psychology+44 (0) 191 33 43289
Fellow of the Durham Research Methods Centre
Fellow in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing+44 (0) 191 33 43289


Villages in rural Nicaragua have varying access to visual media, e.g. via satellite television.

Lynda Boothroyd is a Professor of Psychology at Durham University. Her research focuses on Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural understandings of interpersonal attraction and sexual selection. She has recently focused on body ideals in rural Nicaragua alongside experimental work both in the laboratory and in the field on the impacts of visual experience on body size preferences.

Lynda engages in science communication in relation to her research both on body image and on issues around sex and gender, including BBC short films and articles at The Conversation.

She has a multidisciplinary approach to her research, incorporating perspectives from Evolutionary Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology and Biological Anthropology, and has incorporated a mixed-methods component in her current work.

 In addition, she is a trainer for ‘Succeed’– the UK edition of an international preventative body image programme – and has trained students at Durham and Newcastle in being peer leaders on this programme.

Information for potential PhD and postdoc researchers

She is interested in supporting applications for PhDs or postdoctoral fellowships from researchers who want to pursue interdisciplinary projects addressing how sociocultural, psychological and bio-evolutionary factors influence our conceptions of attractiveness, body shape, or gender. She is also interested in supporting projects on body image interventions, particularly from a cross-cultural perspective.

Potential funding streams applicants should consider include the ESRC Nine-DTP stream for PhDs and postdoctoral fellows, the University's doctoral studentships, and the European Research Council's Marie Curie post-doctoral scheme.

Research interests

  • Attraction
  • Body size preferences
  • Cross-cultural research, especially in subsistence populations
  • Cultural drivers of behaviour
  • Evolutionary Social and Developmental Psychology
  • Facial masculinity
  • Gender
  • Body image

Esteem Indicators

  • 2021: External examiner of doctoral degree - University of Pretoria:
  • 2019: External examiner of doctoral degree - Northumbria University:
  • 2018: Elected vice-president of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association:
  • 2017: Keynote speaker - PsyPAG 2017:
  • 2012: Conference organiser: EHBEA 2012: European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students