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Individuals, Identities and Cultures Research Cluster

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Research theme: Health and Wellbeing

School: School of Social Sciences


The Individuals, Identities and Cultures Research Cluster is comprised of three research groups: Person Perception, Cyberpsychology and Groups, Identities and Health. Our research is funded from many sources including the ESRC, NHS, British Academy, the Kone Foundation and we work with academic partners around the globe.

The wide-ranging scope of the cluster allows us to bring to bear a range of psychological approaches and methods to examine how mental processes shape and are shaped by social life. At the micro-level, we study how individuals’ perceptions have evolved over time to capture and respond to social stimuli and to facilitate meaningful interactions. Our research further shows that these social interactions are shaped by the environment in which they occur, such that the physical spaces of neighbourhoods or the virtual forums of the internet allow us to communicate, engage and cooperate with others. At the macro-level we also study how and when this collective behaviour can help us cope with adversity and to transform the social, political and cultural worlds in which we live.

In part, our work delves into the darker side of human perception and behaviour, showing how cognitive processes can lead to prejudice, how digital technology can facilitate addiction and crime, and how social dynamics can marginalise and exclude vulnerable populations. However, this work serves to inform agencies and organisations who seek to improve public health and wellbeing by showing how cognitive and social processes can be harnessed to increase security, reduce inequality and to promote solidarity and social inclusion.

More details on each of the research groups in this cluster can be found below.