Tim Phillips (PhD, 2007)

Research Interests

The existence of altruism or selfless behaviour is a problem of Darwinian biology which predicts competition between individual organisms in the 'struggle for existence'. I am studying whether human altruism towards non-kin may have evolved as a result of sexual selection. I have developed a psychometric scale to measure mate preference towards altruistic traits as a step towards testing for the effects of sexual selection on altruistic traits. The scale has been used to test for sex differences in mate preference, whether mate choice on the basis of altruistic traits is occurring and whether such mate preferences show signs of heritability using a twin study design. I have also studied two forms of human altruistic behaviour - public donations to charity and voluntary activity on behalf of others.