I am an evolutionary biologist fascinated by how we navigate our technological world.
I am part of the Ecology & Evolution Research group in the School of BEES at University of New South Wales.
My research generally explores the innate differences between males and females and how the environment, both social and ecological, modifies these differences. Often, changes in the sex ratio or density of the competitors or mates that are available for each individual can have dramatic consequences for evolution. It is this difference that determines the strength of sexual selection is and how it shapes traits and behaviours.
The majority of my research uses spiders and crickets to examine the traits that successfully ensure males are able to navigate their environment to find mates and defend these mates from rivals. Interestingly, I found that contests are often solved by more than physical size alone, with factors such as the quality of the female or prior residency having enormous effects.
But the most interesting is the effect that previous experience has on how individuals perform in the future. This experience effect is something that I have begun to explore in humans and I think may hold the key to understanding why we love to play video games and gender differences in gaming preferences.
If you’re interested in more of my research, you can find greater information about it here and you can fin more about scientific research on video games here.
Mods can be a powerful tool to make a societal statement, yet often they are used to gain more control over a game. The new GTA5 rape mod sits somewhere in between. Is it a statement about the removal of power? Or to make female gamers uncomfortable.
Traversing virtual worlds is time consuming, leading many to feel that it's a waste of time. But online games provide unique social environments for some since they allow them to better manage their social interactions.
Zombies are more popular than ever. Despite this, there is a limit to the immersion one can feel when playing zombie games. IRL Shooter is changing this by producing a live-action first person Zombie shooter. Will our video game training prepare us?
Perspective is everything--this is especially true when it comes to racism. A new study shows that when individuals are placed in a virtual avatar that differs from their natural skin color, amazing behavioral changes can happen.
In this article, I use an evolutionary approach to examine how cooperative behaviour in video games can lead to postitive real-world social interactions, even when the games are considered violent.
Video games are often blamed for violence in children, teens and adults. I discuss the concept of aggression from an evolutionary perspective and highlight why video games are no more a concern than anything else.