Dr Rick O'Gorman

Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Dr Rick O'Gorman
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872128

  • Location

    4.712, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    By appt.



Dr Rick O'Gorman initially studied psychology for his BSc at University College Cork, Ireland. He then completed an MA at University College Dublin on non-verbal behaviour in 1996. After a brief sojourn for fieldwork in the Gambia,hecommenced a PhD at the State University of New York, Binghamton, in the US. His PhD examined social norms from an evolutionary perspective, working with David Sloan Wilson. After completing his PhD in 2003,Dr Rick O'Gormanmoved to Essex to work with Marco Perugini on implicit attitudes, before moving to the University of Kent to work with Mark van Vugt on leadership. He joined the psychology group at Sheffield Hallam University as a lecturer in 2007 before moving to our Department in August 2009.


  • BSc

  • PGCE

  • MA

  • PhD

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Evolutionary psychology

Pro-social behaviour

Social norms

Leadership and group functioning

Intergroup conflict

Computer modelling of social phenomenon

Applications of social cognition techniques to evolutionary questions

Teaching and supervision

  • Discovering Psychology: The Science Behind Human Behaviour (PS111)

  • Research Methods in Psychology (PS114)

  • Preparing for University Psychology (PS116)

  • Introduction to Personal Development and Employability (PS117)

  • Enhancing employability and career planning (PS417)

  • Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology (PS490)

  • Advanced employability skills and career progression (PS492)

  • MSc Psychology Research Project (PS900)

  • Special Topics in Social Psychology (PS933)

  • Research Project (MSc) (PS934)


Journal articles (17)

Webb, ALM., Hibbard, PB. and O'Gorman, R., (2018). Natural variation in female reproductive hormones does not affect contrast sensitivity.. Royal Society Open Science. 5 (2), 171566-171566

O’Gorman, R. and Roberts, R., (2017). Distinguishing Family from Friends. Human Nature. 28 (3), 323-343

Bode, NWF., Miller, J., O'Gorman, R. and Codling, EA., (2015). Increased costs reduce reciprocal helping behaviour of humans in a virtual evacuation experiment. Scientific Reports. 5 (1), creators-O=27Gorman=3ARick=3A=3A

O'Gorman, R., (2014). Homogeneity of mind can yield heterogeneity in behavior producing emergent collaboration in groups. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 37 (03), 267-268

Barkow, JH., O'Gorman, R. and Rendell, L., (2012). Are the new mass media subverting cultural transmission?. Review of General Psychology. 16 (2), 121-133

Perugini, M., Conner, M. and O'Gorman, R., (2011). Automatic activation of individual differences: A test of the gatekeeper model in the domain of spontaneous helping. European Journal of Personality. 25 (6), 465-476

O'Gorman, R., Henrich, J. and Van Vugt, M., (2009). Constraining free riding in public goods games: designated solitary punishers can sustain human cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 276 (1655), 323-329

O'Gorman, R., Sheldon, KM. and Wilson, DS., (2008). For the good of the group? Exploring group-level evolutionary adaptations using multilevel selection theory.. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice. 12 (1), 17-26

O'Gorman, R., Wilson, DS. and Miller, RR., (2008). An evolved cognitive bias for social norms. Evolution and Human Behavior. 29 (2), 71-78

Wilson, DS., Van Vugt, M. and O'Gorman, R., (2008). Multilevel selection theory and major evolutionary transitions: Implications for psychological science. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 17 (1), 6-9

Richetin, J., Perugini, M., Prestwich, A. and O'Gorman, R., (2007). The IAT as a predictor of food choice: The case of fruits versus snacks. International Journal of Psychology. 42 (3), 166-173

Perugini, M., O'Gorman, R. and Prestwich, A., (2007). An ontological test of the IAT self-activation can increase predictive validity. Experimental Psychology. 54 (2), 134-147

Conner, MT., Perugini, M., O'Gorman, R., Ayres, K. and Prestwich, A., (2007). Relations Between Implicit and Explicit Measures of Attitudes and Measures of Behavior: Evidence of Moderation by Individual Difference Variables. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 33 (12), 1727-1740

Eldakar, OT., Wilson, DS. and O'Gorman, R., (2006). Emotions and actions associated with altruistic helping and punishment. Evolutionary Psychology. 4 (1), 274-286

O'Gorman, R., Wilson, DS. and Miller, RR., (2005). Altruistic punishing and helping differ in sensitivity to relatedness, friendship, and future interactions. Evolution and Human Behavior. 26 (5), 375-387

Wilson, DS. and O’Gorman, R., (2003). Emotions and actions associated with norm-breaking events. Human Nature. 14 (3), 277-304

O'Gorman, R., (1999). Sex Differences in Spatial Abilities: An Evolutionary Explanation. The Irish Journal of Psychology. 20 (2-4), 95-106

Book chapters (5)

O'Gorman, R. and Silke, A., (2015). Terrorism as Altruism: An Evolutionary Model for Understanding Terrorist Psychology. In: Evolutionary Perspectives on Terrorism and Political Violence. Editors: Taylor, M., Pease, K. and Roach, J., . Taylor & Francis Group. 149- 163. 978-1-13-877458-2

Barkow, JH., O'Gorman, R. and Rendell, L., (2013). Cultural transmission. In: Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. Editors: McGee, RJ. and Warms, RL., . Sage. 154- 158

O'Gorman, R., (2010). The Evolutionary Logic of Terrorism: understanding why terrorism is an inevitable human strategy in conflict. In: The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism. Editors: Silke, A., . Routledge. 62- 75. 9780415558396

O'Gorman, R., (2010). The evolutionary logic of terrorism: Understanding why terrorism is an inevitable human strategy in conflict. In: The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism. 62- 75. 0203840267

Van Vugt, M., Johnson, DDP., Kaiser, RB. and O'Gorman, R., (2008). Evolution and the Social Psychology of Leadership: The Mismatch Hypothesis. In: Leadership at the Crossroads (Vol 1 Leadership and Psychology). Editors: Hoyt, CL., Goethals, GR. and Forsyth, DR., . Praeger. 262- 282. 978-0-275-99760-1

Conferences (3)

Webb, ALM., Hibbard, PB. and O'Gorman, R., (2017). The Effect of Emotional Expression on the Luminance Contrast of Faces

Webb, A., Hibbard, P. and O'Gorman, R., (2015). Variation in female reproductive hormones does not affect contrast sensitivity

Ayres, K., Conner, M., Perugini, M., O'Gorman, R. and Prestwich, A., (2008). Moderators of implicit/explicit attitudes and eating behaviour

Grants and funding


EOARD via Queens University Belfast

EOARD (European Office of Aerospace Research and Development)

The Experimental Study of Cultural Transmission: When and who do people copy?

EOARD (European Office of Aerospace Research and Development)

+44 (0) 1206 872128


4.712, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

By appt.