UCL Anthropology


Emily Emmott

Emily Emmott

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1482
Room: 231
Web: https://emilyemmott.wixsite.com/home
Twitter: @Emily_Emmott

PhD Anthropology, UCL
MSc Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford
BSc Human Sciences, UCL

Teaching Fellow in Biological Anthropology

I am a Human Behavioural Ecologist, broadly defined as an evolutionary social scientist interested in how the social and physical environment (or ecology) influences human development and behaviour. Human Behavioural Ecology is a sub-discipline of Biological Anthropology. 

My academic interests are around extended and institutional child-rearing systems (such as parenting, grand-parenting, schooling and social care provisions) and child/adolescent development. I have research experience working in academia, charities and the public sector, as well as teaching research methods and human behavioural ecology. I am a mixed method researcher with specialism in complex data analysis - such as surveys, censuses and cohort studies.

I am part of the Human Evolutionary Ecology Group at UCL Anthropology.


I currently teach the following courses at UCL Anthropology:

  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology (BSc)
  • Methods and Techniques in Biological Anthropology (BSc)
  • Being Human (BSc)
  • Advanced Human Evolution: Applied Evolutionary Anthropology (MSc)

In addition, I have taught the following courses:

  • Human Behavioural Ecology (BSc & MSc)
  • Human Behavioural Ecology of Hunter-Gatherers (BSc)
  • Behavioural Ecology and Socio-biology (BSc)
  • Evolution and Human Behaviour (BSc)

I supervise BSc, MSc and PhD projects at UCL Anthropology. Please feel free to contact me for supervision enquiries.

Research Interests

My research expertise surround extended and institutional childrearing in the UK, and how different aspects of the childrearing system influences children and young people's developmental outcomes.

Humans evolved as cooperative breeders, where children are raised collectively by many caregivers (parents, step-parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, and more). In my research, I investigate the nature and consequences of such collective childrearing in the UK with focus on non-maternal caregivers, including immediate kin, extended kin, and institutional support (such as educational institutions and children's social care). I take an interdisciplinary approach to my research, building on a human behavioural ecological framework.

Topics of interest:

  • Social support
  • Alloparenting (non-parental caregiving)
  • Parental investment (e.g., breastfeeding)
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Participation / Action Research
  • Children’s social care / child welfare

UK Dataset expertise:

  • Millennium Cohort Study
  • Children Looked After Census
  • Children in Need Census
  • School Census

Research Projects

Current projects

  • Maternal experiences of social support and infant feeding (Co-PIs: Emily Emmott; Abigail Paige, LSHTM; Sarah Myers, UCL Anthropology. Workshop funding: European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association).
  • Understanding engagement between health and social care services for managing vulnerable children (PI: Jenny Woodman, UCL IoE. Funders: Association of Medical Sciences and Wellcome Trust)

Past projects

  • A Time of Change? Harmonising the meaning of ‘adolescence’ between young people and health researchers (PI: Emily Emmott. Funders: UCL Grand Challenges)
  • Allomaternal care and child outcomes in the UK (PhD Supervisor: Ruth Mace, UCL Anthropology. Funders: ESRC, MRC, ERC)
  • I am also in process of setting up a cross-cultural study on adolescent social networks and behaviour (with focus on Japan & the UK). Please contact me if you would like more information.

Select Publications

  1. Emmott, E H, M Jay, & J Woodman (preprint) Cohort Profile: Children in Need Census (CIN) records of vulnerable children in England. OSF Preprints DOI:10.31219/osf.io/z5rqc
  2. Emmott, E H & R Mace (preprint) Why the son-bias in paternal caregiving? Exploring sex-differences in the associations between paternal investments and child outcomes in England OSF Preprints DOI:10.31219/osf.io/q6fpx
  3. Vaghi, F & E H Emmott (2018) Teen Views on Adolescence. Findings from a One Day Workshop. University College London: London [Available online: https://tinyurl.com/yctcxbxb ]
  4. Children’s Commissioner’s Office [lead author] (2017) Stability Index for Children in Care.  Phase 1: Technical Information. [Available online: https://tinyurl.com/y9cr42lc ]
  5. Ilona P, D Ayre & E H Emmott (2016) The Damage of Debt: The Impact of Money Worries on Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being The Children’s Society: London [Available online: https://tinyurl.com/ydhccl2a ]
  6. Emmott, E H & R Mace (2015) Practical support from fathers and grandmothers is associated with lower levels of breastfeeding initiation and duration in the UK Millennium Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 10:7:e0133547
  7. Emmott, E H & R Mace (2014) Direct investment by stepfathers can mitigate effects on educational outcomes but does not improve behavioural difficulties. Evolution and Human Behavior 35:5:438-444