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Staff Profile

Dr Melanie Dawn Douglass

Senior Lecturer; Programme Lead – BSc Psychology with Counselling; BSc Psychology with Child Development; BSc Forensic Psychology

I completed my undergraduate degree at McMaster University, specialising in animal behaviour and evolutionary psychology. I then studied for a Master's degree at the University of Toronto, investigating the factors that predicted severity of violent recidivism in a sample of offenders with mental disorders. I completed my PhD at Glasgow Caledonian University, investigating the individuals factors involved in confession decisions. My primary research interest is in the underlying evolutionary and biological mechanisms that influence behaviour in interpersonal interactions, particularly within forensic contexts.


  • PSY8202M - Doctoral Thesis I
  • PSY7002M - Research Paper
  • 3PY 400 - Research Paper
  • 3PY 415 - Theoretical Perspectives of Offending Behaviour
  • 3PY407 - Investigative Psycholoy
  • PSY5005M - Advanced Topics in Brain & Behaviour
  • PSY4003M - Biological Bases of Behaviour
  • PSY3002M - Core Academic Skills


I have previously conducted research on mate preference and parental care behaviour, aggression, domestic abuse, and the individual factors involved in true and false confessions. I am currently undertaking research investigating factors that affect crime severity ratings and predictors of bystander behaviour


I am willing to supervise projects in the following areas:

  • Aggressive behaviour;
  • Bystander interventions;
  • Confession decisions and investigative interviewing;
  • Domestic Abuse

I have particular expertise in the areas of evolutionary psychobiology and forensic psychology.

Selected Grants:

Co-Investigator (with Dr Kelly Stockdale & Dr Kevin Ralston, York St John University): Evaluating the Serious Organised Crime Divert Programme, Northumbria Police

Professional Activities

Reviewer for:

Law and Human Behaviour

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Frontiers

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, Oxford University Press



American Psychological Association

International Society for Research on Aggression


N8 Policing Research Partnership


Book Chapters

Douglass, M. D. & Carter, G. L. K. F. (In Press). Prostitution. Chapter for Morgan, R. D. (ed), The Sage Encyclopedia of Criminal Psychology. Sage.

Douglass, M. D. (2018). Ecology of parental investment. In T Shackelford & V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. New York:  Springer International Publishing.

Douglass, M. D. (2017). Confession Decisions. In B. Baker (Ed.), The European Association of Psychology and Law: Factbook II. London:  EAPL.

Nussbaum, D., Bass, S.L.S. & Douglass, M.D. (2013) Neuropsychiatry Intersects the Forensic System: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Chapter for Bloom, H., & Schneider, The Hon. Mr. Justice R. (eds), Law and Mental Disorder: A Comprehensive and Practical Approach (LMD). Irwin Law & Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.


Douglass, M. D., Hillyard, S., & Macklin, A. (2022). Sexual Offending: The impact of the juxtaposition between social constructions and evidence-based approaches. Journal Forensic Psychology, Research and Practise, 1-25. DOI: 10.1080/24732850.2022.2054392

Macklin, A, Noret, N., Douglass, M. D., Hillyard, S., Dudley, J. (2021). Does knowledge matter: The relationship between awareness of sexual violence and bystander self-efficacy. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 39(4), 1-15.

Douglass, M. D., D'Aguanno, S., & Jones, S. (2020). Women as Active Agents: Female Perpetrators of Sexual Harassment and Domestic Abuse. Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences, 14(1), 32-39. DOI: 10.1037/ebs0000171

Douglass, M. D., Bain, S. A., Cooke, D. J., & McCarthy, P. (2019). The role of Self-Esteem and Locus-of-Control in Determining Confession Outcomes. Personal and Individual Differences, 147, 292-296. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2019.05.006

Nussbaum, D., Macheacheran, M., Douglass, M. D., Watson, M., Daoud, S. L. S. B., Ilie, G. DeKeseredy, W., S. (2019). Modeling of Forensic Population Current Crime Severity, Based on Past Crime Severity. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 37, 5-42.

Carter, G. L. K. F. & Douglass, M. D. (2018). The ageing Narcissus Just a myth? Narcissism moderates the age-loneliness relationship in older age. Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology.


Stockdale, K., Ralson, K., Douglass, M. D., Wild, S., & Sweeny, R. (2019). Evaluation of the Northumbria Police's Serious Organised Crime Divert (SOC) Programme (funded by Home Office).

Gilchrist, L., Landale, S., & Douglass, M. D. (2016). Reducing risk of child abuse: An effectiveness trial of a positive parenting intervention in a domestic abuse population. Submitted to Scottish Government.

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