Catherine Salmon

Assoc Professor, Psychology

Office: Psychology, Larsen Hall #135

Phone: 909/748-8672



Current Research

My current work involves looking at several topics from an evolutionary perspective including: birth order and relationships with family and friends, the impact of prenatal testosterone exposure on interest in erotica or pornography and reproductive suppression and dieting.

Description of Research

My research interests, broadly defined, fall into two research programs, female sexuality and parental investment, which I have explored with a variety of methodologies, my hypotheses informed by an adaptationist perspective.

Much of my early work focused on the relevance of sex and birth order to kin relations. Birth order is not a feature encoded by nature but an environmental factor, an aspect of familial nurture. It is important in that birth order differences are the result of differences in parental investment and sibling competition shaping the strategies individual offspring employ in order to be successful in their own environment. Unlike many other researchers, I have focused on distinguishing between first middle and lastborns, demonstrating that middleborns perceive themselves (and are perceived by others) to be less invested in. As a result, they indicate greater valuation of non-kin ties as opposed to familial relationships.

My research program in female sexuality centers around two different research questions; the first concerns examining the appropriateness of the reproductive suppression model to studies of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. My work focuses on the hypothesis that the passion for thinness and the resultant dieting behavior observed among women in North American culture, and that is beginning to appear elsewhere, may be understood, in part, as the result of an ancestral evolved adaptation for exercising control over reproduction in human females. The other aspect of my research into female sexuality is that of female interest in explicit erotica, in particular homoerotic stories and movies. In a 2001 co-authored book, Don Symons and I discussed the nature of the written genre known as slash fiction. Slash stories focus on the romantic and sexual relationships between heterosexual males, fictional characters from television and film. We used unobtrusive measures to point out that slash, like romance novels, reveals something about female sexual psychology.

Courses Taught at Redlands

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Human Sexuality
  • Research in Evolutionary Psychology
  • The Psychology of the Sex Industry

Education/Degrees Held

  • PhD Psychology McMaster University 1997
  • BSc Biology McMaster University 1992

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Simon Fraser University 1999-2003

Major Honors and Grants Received

  • University of Redlands Faculty Grant: 2005-2006, 2007-2008
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship: 2001-2003
  • Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada) Post-Doctoral Fellowship: 1999-2001
  • Post-Doctoral Paper Award 1999 Human Behavior and Evolution Annual Meeting

Significant Publications, Presentations or Panels

Salmon, C., Figueredo, A.J., & Woodburn, L. (2009). "Life history strategy and disordered eating behavior. Evolutionary Psychology" (in press).

Salmon, C.A., Crawford, C.B., Dane, L., & Zuberbier, O. (2008) "Ancestral Mechanisms In Modern Environments: Impact of Competition and Stress on Body Image and Dieting Behavior." Human Nature, 19: 103-117.

Salmon, C., Crawford, C.B., & Walters, S. (2008). "Anorexic behavior, female competition, and stress: Developing the Female Competition Stress Test." Evolutionary Psychology, 6, 96-112.

¬†Salmon, C.A. (2008) "The World’s Oldest Profession: Evolutionary Insights into Prostitution." In Evolutionary Forensic Psychology (J. Duntley & T.K. Shackelford, eds.), Oxford University Press, pp. 121-135.

Salmon, C.A. (2008) "Heroes and Hos: Reflections of Male and Female Sexual Natures" In Foundaions of Evolutionary psychology: Ideas, issues, applications and findings (C. Crawford & D. Krebs, Eds.), Erlbaum, pp. 281-290.

Salmon, C.A. (2007) "Big Brothers and Little Sisters? Sex Selection and Birth Order." Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 15, supplement 1: 12-17.

Salmon, C.A. and Shackelford, T.K. (2007) "Family Relationships: An Evolutionary Perspective." Oxford University Press.

Salmon, C.A. (2005) "Parental Investment and Parent-offspring Conflict." In The Evolutionary Psychology Handbook (D. Buss, ed). New York: Wiley, pp. 506-527.

Salmon, C.A. & Clerc, S. (2005) "Ladies Love Wrestling, Too: Female Wrestling Fans Online." In Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling (N. Sammond ed). Duke University Press. Pp. 167-191.

Salmon, C.A. & Symons, D. (2004) "Slash Fiction and Human Mating Psychology." Journal of Sex Research 41(1): 94-100.

Salmon, C.A. (2003) "Birth Order and Relationships: Family, Friends and Sexual Partners." Human Nature 14(1): 73-88.

Crawford, C. & Salmon, C. (2002) "Psychopathology or Adaptation? Genetic and Evolutionary Perspectives." Neuroendocrinology Letters 23: 23-31.

Daly, M., Wilson, M., Salmon, C.A., Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, M., & Hasegawa, T. (2001) "Siblicide and Seniority." Homicide Studies 5(1): 30-45.

Salmon, C.A. & Symons, D. (2001) "Warrior Lovers: Erotica, Evolution and female sexuality." London: Orion Publishing (UK). (Yale University Press, USA; Japanese and Greek translations).

Salmon, C.A. (1999) "On the Impact of Sex and Birth Order on Contact with Kin." Human Nature 10(2): 183-197.

Salmon, C.A. (1998) "The Evocative Impact of Kin Terminology in Political Rhetoric." Politics and the Life Sciences 17(1): 51-57.

Salmon, C.A. & Daly, M. (1998) "The Impact of Birth Order on Familial Sentiment: Middleborns are Different." Evolution and Human Behavior 19(5): 299-312 .

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