Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


Dr Emily Emmott

Academic position: Lecturer (Teaching) in Biological Anthropology

Department: Anthropology

Email: emily.emmott@ucl.ac.uk

Website: Emily Emmott


Emily is 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, sitting at intersection of Life and Social Sciences. Her academic interests focus on extended and institutional child-rearing systems (such as parenting, grand-parenting, schooling and social care provisions) and its implications for health and wellbeing. Emily is particularly interested in the role of wider social support and how this influences parental behaviour and child and adolescent outcomes.

Research Projects:

Current research projects:

  • Adolescent Sociality Across Cultures: The social environment around us during our formative teenage years can have life-long implications for health and behaviour - but how this happens may be different between cultures. In this project, we are establishing a cross-cultural collaborative research programme on adolescent sociality, initially focusing on Japan and the UK. (Co-PIs: Emily Emmott, UCL, Masahito Morita, University of Tokyo. Funding: ESRC-AHRC) 
  • Maternal experiences of social support and infant feeding: We run multiple research projects investigating how the different types of support from different people are associated with breastfeeding outcomes, including the subjective experiences of infant feeding. (Key collaborators: Emily Emmott, Abigail Paige, Sarah Myers, UCL. Funding: European Human Behaviour and Evolution Society; British Academy; Leverhulme)
  • Raising a Child Without the Village? Social Support and Maternal Wellbeing in the Time of COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic creates a situation where support is more likely to be important for new mothers, but access to such support may be severely limited. This study will collect social network, support, and wellbeing data in the UK, capturing the impact of social distancing measures on maternal social support and wellbeing. (PI: Sarah Myers, Co-I: Emily Emmott. Funding: UCL SHS Strategic Initiatives Seed-Funding and BA Special Research Grants) 


Emily is the module lead for Biosocial Approaches to Childrearing (ANTH0158) based in UCL Anthropology. The primary aim of this course is to develop a holistic understanding of childrearing practices and systems across cultures, and explore how this may influence and interact with child and adolescent development. How do people and communities around the world raise their children, and why? Is there a ‘best practice’ of childrearing? What are the consequences of such childrearing practices, for both caregivers and children? Taking an interdisciplinary bio-social approach, this course builds on an evolutionary anthropological framework, examining both biological and socio-cultural pathways in childrearing and child/adolescent development. By the end of the course, students are expected to have developed a good understanding of the bio-social causes and consequences of childrearing practices.