Emma Cohen

Emma Cohen is Fellow in Human Sciences at Wadham College and Associate Professor within the Institute of Human Sciences, University of Oxford.


Emma completed her PhD at Queen's University Belfast and has held positions at the Institute of Cognition and Culture (Queen’s) and the Research Group in Comparative Cognitive Anthropology at the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany) and Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, Netherlands).

Emma researches the evolution and psychology of social behaviour, including developmental and cross-cultural perspectives. All projects are collaborative within the context of the Social Body Lab, which she leads at University of Oxford. 

Current research examines how forms of collective movement and physical activity (broadly construed) build and benefit from social bonding and support among individuals. In both controlled laboratory and field settings, she explores effects – and underlying mechanisms - of joint movement on social bonding, cooperation and well-being, links between behavioural interdependence and social bonding, and performance effects of perceived social support. The work draws together fields of research across the social, behavioural, psychological and evolutionary sciences and is also relevant to a range of major public health concerns, including physical inactivity, loneliness and mental health.

In addition to fieldwork travel in Brazil, she is a keen cycle tourer and still enjoys a good hike across an Irish bog.