Department of Psychology


Photo of Professor Bridget Waller

Professor Bridget Waller

  • Qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD
  • Role Title: Professor of Evolutionary Psychology
  • Address: King Henry Building, King Henry 1st Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2DY
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6639
  • Email:
  • Department: Department of Psychology
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


I am the Director of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychologyand a Professor of Evolutionary Psychology. The overarching focus of my work is the evolution of social communication, and I am interested in how communication facilitates social interaction. I am particularly interested in human and non-human primate facial expression, and use species-specific modifications of FACS (Facial Action Coding System) to make anatomically based, systematic comparisons between species.

I completed my PhD in 2005, working on the Chimpanzee Facial Action Coding Scheme project (with Kim Bard, Lisa Parr, Sarah-Jane Vick and Marcia Smith Pasqualini). Prior to working at the University of Portsmouth I completed my Masters in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Liverpool, was a Research Assistant in Cognitive Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, and studied Zoology as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway University of London.

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach Biological Psychology, Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology (Unit Coordinator) and Key Ideas in Psychology.  I also supervise undergraduate dissertations on facial expression/emotion, social cognition, evolutionary psychology, primate behaviour and human-animal interaction, as well as MSc and PhD theses.


Comparative facial expression: Morphological and functional comparisons between humans and other primates species using modifications of the human Facial Action Coding System (FACS), such as chimpanzees, macaques, orangutans and hylobatids.

Macaque Cognition: Cognitive studies with zoo-housed macaques using touchscreen tasks to investigate their understanding of social signals (Owl and Monkey Haven, Isle of Wight)

Domestication and communication: Anatomically based analyses of domestic animal facial movements (using DogFACS and CatFACS).

Evolution and human communication: Functional, evolutionary based approaches to human facial expression as an adaptation to social living.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile