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Craig Harper

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr. Craig Harper is an Associate Professor within NTU Psychology, and the Associate Course Leader for the MSc Forensic Psychology course. He teaches across several modules, including:

  • Politics, Ideology, and Moral Psychology (Year 3; Module Leader)
  • The Psychology of Sexual Offending (Year 3)
  • Psychology of Criminal Behaviour (Year 3; Module Leader)
  • Explanations of Crime (MSc Forensic Psychology / Forensic Mental Health)

Craig also supervises project students at both undergraduate and postgraduate taught levels, and supports doctoral students studying for PhD and DPsych qualifications.

Career overview

Craig has an extensive background in research, working in NHS mental health research and audit roles before entering academia full-time.

In 2016 he worked briefly as a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of East London. Prior to this, he was as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Lincoln while completing his PhD on how people form and express attitudes towards sexual offenders from a dual-process cognitive perspective.

Craig joined NTU in September 2016 as a Lecturer. He progressed to Senior Lecturer in 2018, before being promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2022.

Research areas

Craig is principally interested in the psychological mechanisms that underpin decision-making about politically controversial issues. His primary research area is related to how people form attitudes to atypical sexuality, and how these attitudes interact with specific stimuli and lead to outcome judgements (e.g., policy preferences around sentencing, risk assessments, etc).

In his PhD research, Craig found evidence for several heuristic-based processes (e.g., availability, representativeness, and affect) guiding attitudes towards individuals with sexual convictions, and continues to examine these processes in more detail. More recently, he has been involved in developing more conceptual ideas about the psychological roots of people’s views about sexual offenders. This work has been undertaken with Prof. Todd Hogue and Dr. Ross Bartels (University of Lincoln, UK), and Prof. Andrew Harris (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA). This work encompasses newer forms of sexual offending, including image-based sexual abuse (a project conducted with Dr. Dean Fido; University of Derby, UK).

Related to this earlier work, Craig has become involved in exploring multiple topics in the area of atypical sexuality, which are principally focused on exploring the psychological characteristics and experiences of people who own sex/love dolls, and non-offending individuals who are attracted to children. In each of these cases, Craig's research seeks to understand the experiences and behaviours of these groups in a scientific way, and counteract some of the misrepresentations that are often present within media depictions of these individuals. In all of this work, the ultimate aim is to develop evidence-based ways of working with and communicating about people with atypical sexualities, and to assist them in living happily and safely.

An emergent strand is based around political psychology and ideological symmetries between 'conservatives' and 'liberals'. Craig has an interest in political decision-making, and has conducted research about how these groups behave similarly in relation to fake news judgements, and perceptions of so-called 'microaggressions'.

External activity

Craig is a member of the Heterodox Academy - an international organisation that is committed to viewpoint and intellectual diversity and on university campuses. He is also a member of the advisory council for Prostasia Foundation.

Sponsors and collaborators

Craig's research has been funded internally by Nottingham Trent University, and by external organisations such as:

  • National Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (NOTA)
  • Church of England
  • Prostasia Foundation
  • The William A. Percy Foundation for Social and Historical Studies

Hs work is conducted with external collaborators, such as:

  • Prof. Todd Hogue (University of Lincoln, UK)
  • Dr. Dean Fido (University of Derby, UK)
  • Dr. Ross Bartels (University of Lincoln, UK)
  • Dr. Gilian Tenbergen (State University of New York at Oswego, USA)
  • Dr. Andrew Harris (University of Massachusetts at Lowell, USA)
  • Dr. Liam Satchell (University of Winchester, UK)
  • Dr. Brandon Sparks (Kingston University, UK)

Press expertise

Craig can comment on topics such as:

  • Sexual crime
  • Paedophilia
  • Sex dolls
  • Political ideology
  • Fake news