Prof Tom Dickins


Prof Tom Dickins
NameProf Tom Dickins
Job titleProfessor of Behavioural Science
Research institute
Primary appointmentPsychology
Email addresst.dickins@mdx.ac.uk
ORCIDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5788-0948
Contact categoryResearcher

Biography

Biography

Tom was born in Liverpool, many moons ago, and raised variously in Merseyside and ever so briefly in Canada. At 18 years he ventured to London to complete a BSc (Hons) Psychological Sciences (CNAA) degree at the Polytechnic of East London. From there to UCL and Imperial College London to take an MSc in History and Philosophy of Science. A three year hiatus commenced, mostly taken up working for the Liverpool Institute of Higher Education, and then a PhD at Sheffield. This last developed a theoretical model for the evolution of symbolic communication.

Since all of that youthful activity Tom has worked at the universities of Greenwich, London Guildhall, Nottingham Trent, East London and Middlesex. He has been in post at Middlesex since September 2012 as professor of behavioural science. Tom has also achieved a PG Cert in Ecological Survey Techniques from Oxford, to augment field skills.

To learn more: https://tomdickins.net/

Teaching

Module leader for PSY3055 Evolutionary Approaches to Behaviour

Lectures for PSY2008 Contemporary Issues in Psychology

Occasional lectures for various undergraduate and MSc modules in Psychology, and also Natural Sciences.

Final year project supervision; MSc thesis supervision.

Animal Behaviour and Ecology Field Trip lead.

Science in Context seminar series for the postgraduate research student training portfolio.

Employment

Education and qualifications

BSc (Hons) Psychological Sciences
Polytechnic of East London
MSc History and Philosophy of Science
University and Imperial Colleges, London
PhD Evolutionary Psychology
University of Sheffield
PGCE Ecological Survey Techiques
University of Oxford

Grants

Prizes and Awards

Evidence to public body

External activities

Research outputs

Sibling aggression between Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridacyla) chicks

Mead, A. and Dickins, T. 2023. Sibling aggression between Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridacyla) chicks. Journal of the Lundy Field Society. 8, pp. 87-98.

The role of information in evolutionary biology

Dickins, T. 2023. The role of information in evolutionary biology. Acta Biotheoretica. 71 (3). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10441-023-09468-4

Evolutionary biology: Contemporary and historical reflections upon core theory

Dickins, T. and Dickins, B. (ed.) 2023. Evolutionary biology: Contemporary and historical reflections upon core theory. Cham, Switzerland. Springer.

Gull-human interactions in an urban population of Herring Gulls Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus

Beasley, E. and Dickins, T. 2023. Gull-human interactions in an urban population of Herring Gulls Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus. Bird Study. 70 (1-2), pp. 55-58. https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2023.2166458

Why is greater income inequality associated with lower life satisfaction and poorer health? Evidence from the European Quality of Life Survey, 2012

Nettle, D. and Dickins, T. 2022. Why is greater income inequality associated with lower life satisfaction and poorer health? Evidence from the European Quality of Life Survey, 2012. The Social Science Journal. https://doi.org/10.1080/03623319.2022.2117888

Global sex differences in hygiene norms and their relation to sex equality

Eriksson, K., Dickins, T. and Strimling, P. 2022. Global sex differences in hygiene norms and their relation to sex equality. PLOS Global Public Health. 2 (6), pp. 1-17.

Lessons from behaviorism: the problem of construct-led science

Dickins, T. and Rahman, Q. 2022. Lessons from behaviorism: the problem of construct-led science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X2100008X

Measuring heritability: why bother?

Shuker, D. and Dickins, T. 2022. Measuring heritability: why bother? Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X21001606

Adult Kittiwake expelling chick from nesting ledge

Mead, A., Neller, K., Horrod-Wilson, W. and Dickins, T. 2021. Adult Kittiwake expelling chick from nesting ledge. British Birds. 114 (12), pp. 766-766.

The modern synthesis: Evolution and the organization of information

Dickins, T. 2021. The modern synthesis: Evolution and the organization of information. Springer.

Humans discriminate individual large-billed crows and individual cats by their respective vocalizations

Schalz, S., Meekings, S. and Dickins, T. 2021. Humans discriminate individual large-billed crows and individual cats by their respective vocalizations. International Journal of Comparative Psychology. 34, pp. 1-12.

Ecological psychology, radical enactivism and behavior: an evolutionary perspective

Dickins, T. 2021. Ecological psychology, radical enactivism and behavior: an evolutionary perspective. Behavior and Philosophy. 49, pp. 1-23.

Data and context

Dickins, T. 2021. Data and context. Biosemiotics. 14 (3), pp. 633-642. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12304-021-09454-8

The Life-cycle of artificial contexts

Augusto, J. and Dickins, T. 2021. The Life-cycle of artificial contexts. Modeling and Using Context. 4 (Sp Iss), pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.21494/ISTE.OP.2021.0685

A reply to fairness, generosity and conditionality in the welfare system: the case of UK disability benefits by Ellioy Johnson and Daniel Nettle: inequality and existential threat

Dickins, T. 2021. A reply to fairness, generosity and conditionality in the welfare system: the case of UK disability benefits by Ellioy Johnson and Daniel Nettle: inequality and existential threat. Global Discourse: An interdisciplinary journal of current affairs. https://doi.org/10.1332/204378920X16067940365026

Hygiene norms across 56 nations are predicted by self-control values and disease threat

Eriksson, K., Dickins, T. and Strimling, P. 2021. Hygiene norms across 56 nations are predicted by self-control values and disease threat. Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology. 2, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cresp.2021.100013

A not-so proximate account of cleansing behavior

Sigger, J. and Dickins, T. 2021. A not-so proximate account of cleansing behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 44. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X20000564

Food shopping under risk and uncertainty

Dickins, T. and Schalz, S. 2020. Food shopping under risk and uncertainty. Learning and Motivation. 72, pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lmot.2020.101681

Humans discriminate individual zebra finches by their song

Schalz, S. and Dickins, T. 2021. Humans discriminate individual zebra finches by their song. Biolinguistics. 14 (SI), pp. 130-144.

Ancestral primacy of same-sex sexual behaviour does not explain its stable prevalence in modern populations

Dickins, T. and Rahman, Q. 2020. Ancestral primacy of same-sex sexual behaviour does not explain its stable prevalence in modern populations. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 4 (6), pp. 782-783. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1187-5

Stashing behaviour in a Herring Gull

Dickins, T. and Thompson, M. 2020. Stashing behaviour in a Herring Gull. British Birds. 113 (4), pp. 235-235.

Avian communities of Lundy 2008-2016

Dickins, T. and Twigger, L. 2020. Avian communities of Lundy 2008-2016. Journal of the Lundy Field Society. 7, pp. 163-180.

Conflation and refutation: Book review of T. Uller and K. N. Laland. eds. 2019. Evolutionary causation: biological and philosophical Reflections. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 352: pp. ISBN: 978‐0‐262‐03992‐5. $60.00/£50.00

Dickins, T. 2020. Conflation and refutation: Book review of T. Uller and K. N. Laland. eds. 2019. Evolutionary causation: biological and philosophical Reflections. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 352: pp. ISBN: 978‐0‐262‐03992‐5. $60.00/£50.00. Evolution. 74 (2), pp. 508-514. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13916

Applying PCT to hand hygiene

Sigger, J. and Dickins, T. 2019. Applying PCT to hand hygiene. Annual Meeting (IAPCT). University of Manchester, UK 11 - 13 Sep 2019 International Association for Perceptual Control Theory. pp. 8-8

The ecology of cooperation: considerations for litter research

Gellard, C., Dickins, T. and Coulson, M. 2019. The ecology of cooperation: considerations for litter research. Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality. 3 (1), pp. 38-50.

Selfish-gene theory and levels of selection

Dickins, T. 2018. Selfish-gene theory and levels of selection. in: Callan, H. (ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology Wiley. pp. 1-11

Pragmatic considerations and social benefits: an analysis of engagement with a fly-tipping reduction project

Dickins, T. 2018. Pragmatic considerations and social benefits: an analysis of engagement with a fly-tipping reduction project. Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality. 2 (1), pp. 37-47.

Clutch size in Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) on Lundy

Dickins, T., Neller, K. and Spencer, R. 2018. Clutch size in Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) on Lundy. Journal of the Lundy Field Society. 6, pp. 35-54.

Bird communities in the buffer lands of Epping Forest

Dickins, T. and Froud, A. 2017. Bird communities in the buffer lands of Epping Forest. Essex Naturalist. (34), pp. 154-164.

General intelligence does not help us understand cognitive evolution

Shuker, D., Barrett, L., Dickins, T., Scott-Phillips, T. and Barton, R. 2017. General intelligence does not help us understand cognitive evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 40. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X16001771

Kleptoparasitism in gulls Laridae at an urban and a coastal foraging environment: an assessment of ecological predictors

Spencer, R., Russell, Y., Dickins, B. and Dickins, T. 2017. Kleptoparasitism in gulls Laridae at an urban and a coastal foraging environment: an assessment of ecological predictors. Bird Study. 64 (1), pp. 12-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2016.1249821

Average clutch size for a Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colony on Lundy

Dickins, T. 2016. Average clutch size for a Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colony on Lundy. Devon Birds. 69 (1), pp. 7-13.

An equitable marriage: a focal study of a barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest on Lundy

Dickins, T. 2016. An equitable marriage: a focal study of a barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest on Lundy. Journal of the Lundy Field Society. 5, pp. 89-100.

Evolution and prenatal development: an evolutionary perspective

Coall, D., Callan, A., Dickins, T. and Chisholm, J. 2015. Evolution and prenatal development: an evolutionary perspective. in: Lerner, R. and Lamb, M. (ed.) Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science: Volume 3 Socioemotional Processes Wiley. pp. 57-105

The gradual extinction of transferred avoidance stimulus functions

Garcia-Guerrero, S., Dickins, T. and Dickins, D. 2014. The gradual extinction of transferred avoidance stimulus functions. Psychological Record. 64 (3), pp. 581-599. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0062-7

Why does relative deprivation affect mental health? The role of justice, trust and social rank in psychological wellbeing and paranoid ideation

Wickham, S., Shryane, N., Lyons, M., Dickins, T. and Bentall, R. 2014. Why does relative deprivation affect mental health? The role of justice, trust and social rank in psychological wellbeing and paranoid ideation. Journal of Public Mental Health. 13 (2), pp. 114-126. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-06-2013-0049

Science in the wild

Dickins, T. 2014. Science in the wild. The Psychologist. 27 (5), pp. 332-333.

The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal

Scott-Phillips, T., Laland, K., Shuker, D., Dickins, T. and West, S. 2014. The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal. Evolution. 68 (5), pp. 1231-1243. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12332

Differences in aggression and nest behavior between herring gulls (Larus argentatus) and lesser black-backer gulls (Larus fuscus) on Lundy

Spencer, R. and Dickins, T. 2014. Differences in aggression and nest behavior between herring gulls (Larus argentatus) and lesser black-backer gulls (Larus fuscus) on Lundy. Journal of the Lundy Field Society. 4, pp. 85-104.

Epigenetic adaptations: a reply to Suter, Boffelli and Martin

Dickins, T. and Rahman, Q. 2013. Epigenetic adaptations: a reply to Suter, Boffelli and Martin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 280 (1771), pp. 20131820-20131820. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.1820

Evolution, development and learning - a nested hierarchy?

Dickins, T. and Levy, J. 2001. Evolution, development and learning - a nested hierarchy? in: Correctionist models of learning and evolution: the 6th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop Springer. pp. 263-270

Is empirical imagination a constraint on adaptationist theory construction? (Commentary)

Dickins, T. and Dickins, D. 2002. Is empirical imagination a constraint on adaptationist theory construction? (Commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 25 (4), pp. 515-516. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X02320090

What can evolutionary psychology tell us about cognitive architecture?

Dickins, T. 2003. What can evolutionary psychology tell us about cognitive architecture? History and Philosophy of Psychology. 5 (1), pp. 1-16.

General Symbol Machines: The first stage in the evolution of symbolic communication

Dickins, T. 2003. General Symbol Machines: The first stage in the evolution of symbolic communication. Evolutionary Psychology.

On sociosexual cognitive architecture (commentary)

Dickins, T. 2005. On sociosexual cognitive architecture (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 28 (2), pp. 280-281. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X05280056

Can there ever be a non-specific adaptation? A response to Simon J. Hampton.

Dickins, T. 2005. Can there ever be a non-specific adaptation? A response to Simon J. Hampton. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 35 (3), pp. 329-340. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5914.2005.00275.x

The self-reported importance of olfaction during human mate choice

Sergeant, M., Davies, M., Dickins, T. and Griffiths, M. 2005. The self-reported importance of olfaction during human mate choice. Sexualities, Evolution and Gender. 7 (3). https://doi.org/10.1080/14616660500173685

The phylogeny and ontogeny of adaptations (commentary)

Dickins, T. 2006. The phylogeny and ontogeny of adaptations (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 29 (3), pp. 283-284. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X06279068

Evolutionary health psychology

Dickins, T. 2006. Evolutionary health psychology. Health Psychology Update. 15 (1), pp. 4-10.

Aggression, empathy and sexual orientation in males

Sergeant, M., Dickins, T., Davies, M. and Griffiths, M. 2006. Aggression, empathy and sexual orientation in males. Personality and Individual Differences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.07.002

Synthesis in the human evolutionary behavioural sciences

Sear, R., Lawson, D. and Dickins, T. 2007. Synthesis in the human evolutionary behavioural sciences. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1556/JEP.2007.1019

Designed calibration: naturally selected flexibility, not non-genetic inheritance (commentary)

Dickins, T. and Dickins, B. 2007. Designed calibration: naturally selected flexibility, not non-genetic inheritance (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 30 (4), pp. 368-369. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X07002269

Mind the gap(s)? in theory, method and data: Re-examining Kanazawa (2006)

Dickins, T., Sear, R. and Wells, A. 2007. Mind the gap(s)? in theory, method and data: Re-examining Kanazawa (2006). Journal of Health Psychology. 12 (2), pp. 167-178. https://doi.org/10.1348/135910707X174339

Social dominance and sexual orientation

Dickins, T. and Sergeant, M. 2008. Social dominance and sexual orientation. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 6 (1), pp. 57-71. https://doi.org/10.1556/JEP.2008.1003

Mother Nature's tolerant ways: why non-genetic inheritance has nothing to do with evolution

Dickins, T. and Dickins, B. 2008. Mother Nature's tolerant ways: why non-genetic inheritance has nothing to do with evolution. New Ideas in Psychology. 26 (1), pp. 41-54. https://doi.org/10.101/j.newideapsych.2007.03.004

Patterns of physical and psychological development in future teenage mothers

Nettle, D., Dickins, T., Coall, D. and De Mornay Davies, P. 2013. Patterns of physical and psychological development in future teenage mothers. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. 2013 (1), pp. 187-196. https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eot016

Reciprocal causation and the proximate–ultimate distinction

Dickins, T. and Barton, R. 2012. Reciprocal causation and the proximate–ultimate distinction. Biology and Philosophy. 28 (5), pp. 747-756. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-012-9345-z

Two more things for consideration: sexual orientation and conduct disorder (commentary)

Dickins, T. and Sergeant, M. 2009. Two more things for consideration: sexual orientation and conduct disorder (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X09990252

Birthweight and paternal involvement predict early reproduction in British women: evidence from the National Child Development Study

Nettle, D., Coall, D. and Dickins, T. 2009. Birthweight and paternal involvement predict early reproduction in British women: evidence from the National Child Development Study. American Journal of Human Biology. 22 (2), pp. 172-179. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20970

Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science

Dickins, T. and Donovan, M. 2012. Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science. HE Academy STEM Conference. London, UK 12 - 13 Apr 2012 12-13 April 2012

Changes in art: market forces or evolution? A response to Colin Martindale

Dickins, T. 2009. Changes in art: market forces or evolution? A response to Colin Martindale. Empirical Studies of the Arts. 27 (2), pp. 159-165. https://doi.org/10.2190/EM.27.2.g

Teenage pregnancy in the United Kingdom: a behavioral ecological perspective

Dickins, T., Johns, S. and Chipman, A. 2012. Teenage pregnancy in the United Kingdom: a behavioral ecological perspective. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology. 6 (3), pp. 344-359.

The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution

Dickins, T. and Rahman, Q. 2012. The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 279 (1740), pp. 2913-2921. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0273

The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution

Dickins, T. and Rahman, Q. 2012. The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution. Proceedings B: Biological Sciences. 279 (1740), pp. 2913-2921. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0273

Early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy in British women

Nettle, D., Coall, D. and Dickins, T. 2011. Early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy in British women. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 278 (1712), pp. 1721-1727. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.1726

Sex-related invariance across cultures in an online role-playing game

Levene, R. and Dickins, T. 2008. Sex-related invariance across cultures in an online role-playing game. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. 6 (2), pp. 141-148.

Is this conjectural phenotypic dichotomy a plausible outcome of genomic imprinting? (commentary)

Dickins, B., Dickins, D. and Dickins, T. 2008. Is this conjectural phenotypic dichotomy a plausible outcome of genomic imprinting? (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 31 (3), pp. 267-268. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X08004287

Psychology, biology and the market place: response to John Radford’s 'Psychology in its place'

Dickins, T. 2008. Psychology, biology and the market place: response to John Radford’s 'Psychology in its place'. Psychology Teaching Review. 14 (2), pp. 17-20.

Social constructionism as cognitive science

Dickins, T. 2004. Social constructionism as cognitive science. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 34 (4), pp. 333-352. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5914.2004.00253.x

Symbols, Stimulus Equivalence and the Origins of Language

Dickins, T. and Dickins, D. 2001. Symbols, Stimulus Equivalence and the Origins of Language. Behavior and Philosophy. 29, pp. 221-244.
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