The British Academy awards Postdoctoral Fellowship to Psychology postdoctoral researcher

Psychology researcher Dr Drew Altschul receives Postdoctoral Fellowship from distinguished British Academy

The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences is proud to announce that Dr Drew Altschul has been awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by The British Academy for his research on the evolutionary origins of assertiveness within social hierarchies.


I am honoured and delighted to be awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by The British Academy, and I look forward to working with the Academy especially in pursuing my long term interests in the co-evolution of behaviour and cognition. Hierarchical social organizations have been a part of our lives and our distant ancestors’ lives for millions of years, and it is crucial to understand how living with social disparity has shaped how we think and act.

Dr Drew AltschulPostdoctoral Researcher, Psychology
Drew Altschul

The three-year award enables outstanding early career scholars to strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a university environment. The primary emphasis is on completing a significant piece of publishable research, giving award holders a base on which to build a successful academic career.

Congratulations to Drew for receiving this outstanding fellowship.

The British Academy – Postdoctoral Fellowship Announcement

Exploring evolutionary origins of assertiveness within social hierarchies

Drew’s research will explore the evolutional origins of assertiveness, a trait aligned with social dominance behaviours. Dominance hierarchies are a fundamental form of social organization and play a central role in the lives of many animal species, including primates. Hierarchies are still relevant in humans, as they support social and economic inequalities, and human personality contains assertiveness.

However, despite the similarities between human and non-human primates' social hierarchies and personality structures, and their wide-spread use in the literature, it has not been established that personality traits and social hierarchies function in the same way across humans and other primates.

Through a combination of psychometric, cohort analysis, and experimental work, this project aims to determine the aspects of social dominance (such as behaviours and resources) to which assertiveness is related, and recommend when, if ever, it is appropriate to view animal studies of social dominance as being relevant to humans.

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme

Founded in 1901, The British Academy is an independent fellowship of world-leading scholars and researchers, a funding body that supports new research nationally and internationally, and a forum for debate and engagement – a voice that champions the humanities and social sciences.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme is the The British Academy’s flagship programme of awards for early-career academics based at universities throughout the UK.

I congratulate each of our new postdoctoral fellows for their hard-earned success in this competitive scheme.

Hetan ShahChief Executive of The British Academy

The British Academy awarded postdoctoral fellowships to 36 outstanding early-career researchers in the United Kingdom, supporting new research in the humanities and social sciences.


The British Academy

Related links

Psychology at the University of Edinburgh