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Social Research

The Social Research sub-group investigates intrapersonal, interpersonal and intergroup processes.

This group’s research includes processes of gender identification, the personal characteristics associated with and the psychological consequences of conspiracy theories, the emotional and behavioural consequences of hate crime and sexual objectification, and the factors that contribute to the development of intergroup discrimination and conflict.

Assessing and alleviating victim blaming in hate crime cases 

Funded by the British Academy, this interdisciplinary research investigates how a belief in a ‘just world’ (e.g., good people get good things) may increase the tendency to blame victims of anti-LGB+ hate crime. Collaborating with Professor Mark Walters (Sussex University), Dr Jenny Paterson and Lisa Hall (Senior Research Assistant) assess if the belief in a just world influences victim blaming and how experimentally manipulating just world beliefs may reduce such victim blaming tendencies. Furthermore, working with LGB+ charities, the project aims to raise awareness of victim blaming within hate crimes and develop possible ways to help victims of hate crimes. 

Social networks, conspiracy beliefs, social identification and psychological well-being 

This collaborative projects assesses the role of social networks and social identity processes in relation to conspiracy theories. This project assesses the role of social networks in influencing people’s belief in conspiracy theories. It also investigates how social identity processes may influence psychological well-being in people who believe in conspiracy theories. 

Psychological responses to discrimination 

Across a series of studies, we are investigating the psychological responses to discrimination. We have assessed the emotional responses to sexual objectification, and how these may influence the response that is undertaken. We are also investigating the influence of discrimination on psychological well-being, and the role of social identification on these processes. 

Exploring and addressing medical conspiracy theories  

This three-year funded PhD studentship involves researching the consequences of medical conspiracy theories, and their impact on health and wellbeing. The studentship will explore the key social and emotional elements of belief in medical conspiracy theories. This PhD studentship is being undertaken by Anna Maughan. It is being supervised by Dr Daniel Jolley, Dr Lee Shepherd and Professor Nick Neave

Other collaborations 

We are also working on other collaborative projects: 

Implicitand Explicit Language Attitudes and Accent Discrimination in England

Group members


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