Dr Anna Machin is an evolutionary anthropologist, writer and broadcaster. Her work is about the very nature of 'being human'.
She is world-renowned for her pioneering work exploring the science and anthropology of fatherhood and her cross-disciplinary interpretation of human love. She is regularly called upon to share her knowledge about human social relationships and behaviour with the media, public and policy makers. As one of the few visible female scientists in the media today she has brought her knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for the human sciences to the TV screen in two seasons of Married at First Sight (Channel 4), Meet the Humans (BBC Earth) and Kathy Burke: All Women. She is currently filming a series on parenting for Channel 4 and the anthropology of Myth for German television. Her first book for a general audience, “The Life of Dad” (Simon & Schuster), was published in June 2018 and is based on her decade of research work at the University of Oxford on fathering. She is currently writing her second book on human love which will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson. As an anthropologist, she combines hard science with an understanding of the influence of culture, politics and history to give a truly 360 view of our behaviour.
She is passionate about making her research relevant to the world and spends a considerable proportion of her time taking part in public engagement events and interpreting her research for a general audience. She has written for The New York Times, Aeon and Medium, is regularly asked to contribute to print and broadcast interviews and has appeared on, among others, BBC Radios 2 and 4, Sky News, BBC Breakfast and National Public Radio (USA) and in a diverse range of publications in the UK and internationally including The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Sens et Sante, Gala, SZ-Magasin, Marie Claire and Psychologies.
Anna began her research life as a primatologist working in zoos in both the UK and Europe. Following her MSc in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College, London she undertook a PhD at the University of Reading and joined Professor Robin Dunbar’s research group at Oxford in 2008 where she remained until 2020 when she left to pursue her public engagement and media work. She is fascinated by what makes humans behave the way they do and uses a full range of disciplines and techniques – from genetic analysis, behavioural science and brain scanning to experimental psychology, sociology and hormonal analysis - to find answers to questions such as:
How do dads bond with their babies?
What is a human family?
What motivates us to form long-lasting relationships?
Why do we need to be social?
How do developments in social media and AI influence our behaviour?
Her key areas of research are the science and anthropology of fatherhood, the human family in all its diversity, the human social network, romantic relationships and the influence of technological innovation on our behaviour and health.
Anna lives in Buckinghamshire, England with her husband, 2 daughters, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and 4 guinea pigs.