Swansea University Research on the Incel Community
Mission statement - Who we are - Media interviews and articles - Previous research - Participate
What is the project?

The Swansea University Research on the Incel Community (SURIC) is a piece of research aimed at conducting empirical research to better understand the dynamics of the incel (involuntary celibate) community, and individuals who identify as incel.

Mission Statement
We are aware that members of the incel community are often skeptical about academic research and the agenda/motive of the research team. In an effort to be open about our position, we have the following "mission statement". As a research team we commit to:
  1. Base psychological findings around direct engagement with the incel community and individuals rather than linguistic analyses of internet posts
  2. Investigate incel beliefs and behaviour without sensationalising or demonising them.
  3. Not judge the entire community, or all incels, by the actions, behaviors, or views of the most extreme minority of incels
  4. Base our findings on the biggest sample of incel participants of any study
  5. Base our findings on a broader representation of the incel community including multiple definitions of incel identity (e.g., forum users and non-forum users, or people who only identify with the life circumstance).
  6. Use a data driven approach to investiate potential avenues for understanding incel beliefs and behaviour and to help address the problems associated with such beliefs and behaviour.
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Who we are

William Costello is a Ph.D. student of Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a member of Prof. David Buss’ Evolutionary Psychology lab. In 2021, William graduated with an MSc in Psychology, Culture and Evolution from Brunel University London, where his dissertation investigated the underlying psychology of incels (involuntary celibates). The first paper from this research is published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science. William has spoken about his research and the topic of incels on several podcasts and YouTube channels, including Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson, the Mikhaila Peterson podcast, the Sex and Psychology podcast, Triggernometry, and the Incel podcast with Naama Kates.

Dr Andrew G. Thomas is a senior lecturer in psychology at Swansea University who studies sex and relationships from an evolutionary perspective. He has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles (h-index = 9) on the topics of sexual harassment, sex differences, and mate preferences. His work on sexual harassment has been funded by the Welsh Government (VAWDASV) and UKRI (ESRC). Dr Thomas is a co-author on the paper Levels of Wellbeing Among Men who are Incel (involuntary celibate), which is published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science. Dr Thomas has a regular column (i>Darwin Does Dating) for Psychology Today, which has covered the topic of incels.

Dr Joe Whittaker is a lecturer in cyber threats at Swansea University. He studies “online radicalisation”, looking specifically at terrorists’ and extremists’ behaviours. His PhD created a database of Islamic State terrorists in the U.S. and he has five peer-reviewed journal articles (h-index = 6). He also researches the role of recommendation algorithms and has conducted this research in the context of incels online. He is a member of the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism's Transparency working group and the Christchurch Call’s Algorithms and Positive Interventions working group.

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Media interviews and articles

Interviews with William Costello

Interviews with Dr Andrew G. Thomas

Interviews with Dr Joe Whittaker

Blog posts/articles

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Previous research by the team
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Other relevant singlehood research
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Other relevant incel research
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Get paid to participate in our research into involuntary celibacy - click here.
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