Arran Davis

Arran Davis

DPhil Student

Wolfson College

Twitter: @Arran_Davis

General scientific interests

Broadly, and like my fellow researchers at ICEA, I am interested in using evolutionary theory to understand human behaviour. In the past I have studied the cultural activities that lead to bonded, cooperative relationships among humans. For my DPhil (PhD) I am interested in the effects of social relationships on human health and well-being. I have conducted experimental, observational, and 'big data' studies to interrogate these effects scientifically. Specifically, I have focused on how social support and cohesion can reduce perceptions of pain and fatigue while enhancing performance during exercise. Outside of academia, sports are an important part of my life; I competed in track and field (javelin throw) for both Oxford University and South Dakota State University, where I was an NCAA Division I Track & Field Academic All-American.

Previous Education

Master of Science (MSc) in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford (2014) with Distinction
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in global studies and Spanish, South Dakota State University (2012) with Honors College Distinction
Winona Cotter High School (2007) with Honors


Clarendon Scholarship for DPhil Studies - University of Oxford (2014)
Dr. Nicola Knight Dissertation Prize in Quantitative Methods - Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (2014)
Schultz-Werth Award for outstanding undergraduate research - South Dakota State University (2012)
Division 1 Track & Field Academic All-American (3rd Team) - Capital One Academic All-America (2012)


Davis, A. and Cohen, C. (In press). The Effects of Social Support on Strenuous Physical Exercise.

Davis, A. and Taylor, J. (In press). Social Cohesion. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology.

Davis, A., Taylor, J. & Cohen, E. (2016). How the buzz of dancing and sports bond us together. Aeon.

Davis, A., Taylor, J., & Cohen, E. (2015). Social Bonds and Exercise: Evidence for a Reciprocal Relationship. PLoS ONE 10(8), e0136705. 


Davis, A. (2017, November). Faster with friends: a ‘big data’ and observational study of parkrun. Poster presented at the Human Diversity and Adaptation Meeting. Oxford, United Kingdom.

Davis, A., Mac Carron, P., Cohen, E. (2017, April). Buffering effects of social cohesion and support during exercise. Plenary talk presented at the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Conference. Paris, France.

Taylor, J. and Davis, A. (2016, June). Social Bonds and Exercise: Evidence for a Reciprocal Relationship. Talk presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.

Davis, A., Taylor, J., & Cohen E. (2015, March). Bonds, sweat and peers: the effects of group exercise on cooperation and performance. Poster presented at the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Conference. Helsinki, Finland.


List of site pages