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Department of Archaeology



I completed my PhD in 2009: ‘Genomic imprinting and human cognition: parent-of-origin effects on behaviour’, at Cambridge in the Dept of Biological Anthropology.  


My particular interests are gene-environment interaction (especially epigenetics), evolutionary psychology and behavioural ecology (especially in the contexts of social cognition and the anthropology of the family). 

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Ragsdale, G. Epigenetic pathways from dietary fat to psychopathology, In: Vaschetto, L. M. ed.  Molecular Mechanisms in Nutritional Epigenetics, Springer International Publishing, In press.

Ragsdale, G. and Foley, R. A. 2022. Epigenetic adaptation to local ecologies as a first step toward cultural differentiation, Epigenetics, Evolution and Development, In: Vaschetto, L. M. ed. Epigenetics, Development, Ecology and Evolution, Springer International Publishing, pp. 215-232. 

Ragsdale, G. and Foley, R. A. 2018. Epigenetic influences on the evolution of human social cognition, In: di Paolo, L. D. di Vincenzo, F. and Almeida, A. eds. Evolution of Primate Cognition Springer International Publishing, pp. 163-179. 

Ragsdale, G. and Foley, R. A. 2012. Testing the imprinted brain: parent-of-origin effects on empathy and systemising. Evolution and Human Behaviour 33 (4): 402-410.  

Ragsdale, G. and Foley, R. A. 2011. A maternal influence on Theory of Mind mediated by executive function: differential parental influences on full and half-siblings. PLoS One 6 (8) published online 05 August 2011 (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023236). 

Fox, M., Sear, R., Beise, J., Ragsdale, G., Eckart, V. and Knapp, L. A. 2010. Grandma plays favourites: X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 22 (177): 567-573. 

Goos, L. M. and Ragsdale, G. 2007. ‘The influence of genomic imprinting on human cognition and behavior.’ In: J. Wilkins (ed) Genomic Imprinting New York: Landes Bioscience, pp. 71-88. 

Ragsdale, G. 2004. Grandmothering in Cambridgeshire, 1770-1861, Human Nature 15 (3): 301-317.

Teaching and Supervisions


Human Evolutionary Studies

Job Titles

Teaching Associate in Biological Anthropology
Dr Gillian Ragsdale

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology

Contact Details