About me

I am an evolutionary anthropologist working across disciplines in health and demography. I teach Evolutionary Medicine on the MSc in Medical Anthropology and Quantitative Methods using R, at the University of Oxford. I am also a student advisor at St Antony's College.

My research has largely focused on the impact of parental investment and early life conditions on the life history trajectories of individuals from various socioeconomic settings. I take a human behavioural ecology perspective to understanding variation in life history traits across individuals and populations. For instance, our recent paper reviews the literature on father absence and girls' pubertal development cross-culturally and shows that when looking further than WEIRD populations, the relationship is much less universal than previously thought.

I am also interested in people's reproductive decision-making processes. How do people decide when to have a(nother) baby? What trade-offs do they consider, and what compromises do they make? The decision to become a parent in very low fertility settings such as in Europe, is fraught with complicated compromises and intra-couple negotiation. I have received John Fell funding to conduct a pilot study on reproductive decision-making in the UK.

I am also currently conducting a longitudinal qualitative study on parents living with young babies during lockdown. See here for more details.

I am the secretary of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association. Please see our website for more information about joining EHBEA and attending our annual conference which is to be held in Krakow, Poland in March 2021.

https://twitter.com/PaulaJSheppard
https://lshtm.academia.edu/PaulaSheppard
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paula_Sheppard
https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=h_L7sRUAAAAJ&hl=en