Our Faculty

Joyce F. Benenson

Professor of Psychology

Contact Information

617 735-9707

Office Hours

Office: Cardinal Cushing Library, Room G02

Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.; Fridays, 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.


Ph.D., Harvard University; B.S., Duke University


I came to Emmanuel in 2005 after working at large universities, because I wanted to work more closely with students. I love my teaching and research and have co-authored research projects with over 15 undergraduates. After graduation, my Emmanuel students have continued onto graduate programs in School Psychology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Counseling Psychology, Public Health, Law, Peace and War Studies, Nursing, Biobehavioral Health and Campus Ministry.

Courses I Teach

  • PSYCH2303 Child and Adolescent Psychology
  • PSYCH2304 Adulthood and Aging
  • PSYCH2801 Methods and Statistics I
  • PSYCH2802 Methods and Statistics II
  • FYS1101 War: What is it good for?
  • FYS 1101: The Animal Within Us

Publications + Presentations

Warriors and Worriers: The Survival of the Sexes

Joyce F. Benenson (Author), Henry Markovits (Contributor)
Hardcover: 288 pages; Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (February 5, 2014)

  • Benenson, J. F., Kuhn, M., Ryan, P. J., Ferranti, A. J., Blondin, R., Shea, M., Charpentier, C., Thompson, M. E., & Wrangham, R. W. (in press). Human Males appear more Prepared than Females to Resolve Conflicts with Same-sex Peers. Human Nature.
  • Benenson, J. F., Markovits, H., & Wrangham, R. W. (2014). Rank influences human sex differences in dyadic cooperation. Current Biology.
  • Benenson, J. F. with H. Markovits (2014). Warriors and worriers: The survival of the sexes. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Belle, D., & Benenson, J. F. (2013). Children's social networks and children's well-being. In Ben-Arieh, A., Casas, F., Frones, I., & Korbin, J. E. (Eds.). Handbook of children's well-being. New York: Springer.
  • Benenson, J. F. (2013). The development of human female competition: Allies and adversaries. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: B, 368.
  • Benenson, J., F. Markovits, H., Hultgren, B., Nguyen, T., Bullock, G., & Wrangham, R. W. (2013). Social Exclusion: More important to human females than males. PLoS One, 8(2): e55851.
  • Benenson, J. F., Quinn, A., & Stella, S. (2012). Boys affiliate more than girls with a same-sex peer. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 587-593.
  • Benenson, J. F., Tennyson, R., & Wrangham, R. W. (2011). Male more than female infants imitate propulsive motion. Cognition, 121, 262-267.
  • Benenson, J. F., Markovits, H., Emery Thompson, M., & Wrangham, R. W. (2011). Social exclusion threatens adult females more than males. Psychological Science, 22, 538-544.
  • Markovits, H., & Benenson, J. F. (2010). Males outperform females in translating social relations into spatial positions. Cognition, 117, 332-340.
  • Benenson, J. F., Rivard, R., & Markovits, H. (2010). Food availability differentially influences young males' and females' cognitive process in accordance with sexual selection theory. Biology Letters, 6, 250-252.
  • Benenson, J. F. (2009). Dominating versus eliminating the competition: Sex differences in human intrasexual aggression. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 268-269.
  • Benenson, J. F., Markovits, H., Emery Thompson, M., & Wrangham, R. W. (2009). Strength determines coalitional strategies in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276, 2589-2595.
  • Benenson, J. F., Markovits, H., Fitzgerald, C., Geoffroy, D., Fleming, J., Kahlenberg, S., & Wrangham, R. W. (2009). Males' greater tolerance of same-sex peers. Psychological Science, 20, 184-190.
  • Benenson, J. F., Hodgson, L., Heath, S., & Welsh, P. J. (2008). Human sex differences in the use of social ostracism as a competitive tactic. International Journal of Primatology, 29, 1019-1035.
  • Benenson, J. F., Antonellis, T. J., Cotton, B. J., Noddin, K. E., & Campbell, K. A. (2008). Sex differences in children's use of coalitions to obtain scarce resources. Animal Behaviour, 76, 497-505.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Duke University and a Doctorate in psychology from Harvard University. I have taught in Canada and England and arrived at Emmanuel in the fall of 2005.

Currently, I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. I am a member of the Association for Psychological Science, the Developmental Psychology section of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES), and the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD).

Research Focus

My research interests lie in understanding the biological and ecological factors that influence cooperation and competition between human beings. I examine the influence of age, sex, kinship, social structure, dominance status, and familiarity on degree of cooperation and competition that occurs between individuals ranging in age from newborns through middle adulthood. Much of the theory behind my research stems from findings from research on humans' closest genetic relatives, Pan troglodytes (chimpanzees) and Pan paniscus (bonobos). I collaborate with researchers who study non-human primates in the department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University where I am an Associate Member. I employ methods drawn from the fields of animal behavior, evolutionary biology, cognition, economics, anthropology, neuroscience, sociology, and developmental psychology. Recently, I have conducted research in Uganda to examine the cross-cultural generalizability of my findings. I encourage students interested in working on my research projects to contact me early in their careers at Emmanuel College. 

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