Professor Shelley McKeown Jones

Professor of Social Psychology


  • Intergroup contact
  • Segregation
  • Prejudice reduction
  • Positive youth development
  • Large-scale survey data analysis
  • Secondary data analysis

Biography and research interests

I am a social psychologist whose research focuses broadly on understanding how to improve intergroup relations in diverse and conflict settings using quantitative methods. I am particularly interested in applying social psychological theories to shape policy and practice in education and beyond. Influenced by my time spent growing up in Northern Ireland, my research centres around several key areas:

  • Segregation: Examining how and why individuals from different religious, racial and ethnic groups interact in everyday life spaces.
  • Reducing prejudice: Understanding how various forms of intergroup contact can be used to reduce prejudice towards stigmatised groups.
  • Pro-social behaviour and empathy: Understanding under what conditions conflict affected youth engage in pro-social behaviours, and to what extent empathy plays a role in promoting peace.
  • Identity: Based on social identity theory, investigating how identity strength and identity processes influence intergroup attitudes and intergroup relations.

I primarily use large-scale primary and secondary quantitative datasets in my research and have received funding primarily from the ESRC to carry out my research. I am currently leading on the ESRC-funded Shared Spaces Project.

I have published numerous articles, a book and an edited volume, and have received BPS and APA awards for my research.

Resources and Websites

Diversity Effect Project Website:

The Changing Landscape Project Website:

Shared Space Teacher Toolkit:

Shared Space Project:

Shared Spaces Project:


I have won over £1million of research income since 2014. This includes sustained RCUK income in highly competitive funding calls; in 2016 I was awarded an ESRC Future Leaders Grant (£150K), in 2017 an ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) grant (£157K), and in 2020 an ESRC Standard Grant (£634K).

Current Grants

  • 2021-2023 Understanding participation in ‘non-normative’ collective action: A case study of the destruction of a public statue associated with historical racism. £9,964.76, BA/Leverhulme Small grants award, Co-Investigator
  • 2021-2024 Shared Spaces: The How, When, and Why of Adolescent Intergroup Interactions. £634,748, ESRC Standard Grant, Principal Investigator
  • 2020-2021 Felt understanding: promoting intergroup relations in Northern Ireland. £9,810, BA/Leverhulme Small grants award, Principal Investigator

Past Grants

  • 2018-2019 Shared space: changing teacher practice, children’s attitudes and influencing policy nationally and internationally through the use of a teacher toolkit. £13,996, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: Project, Co-Investigator
  • 2017-2020 The changing landscape: diverse friendships and the effects of contextual diversity on youth outcomes, £157,152, ESRC Secondary Data analysis Initiative, Principal Investigator
  • 2017-2018 The diversity effect: intergroup interactions and the impact of diversity on young people's attitudes and academics, £150,036, ESRC Future Research Leaders, Principal Investigator
  • 2015-2017 Altruism Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting, £9,935, BA/Leverhulme Small grants award, Co-Investigator
  • 2015-2016 Altruism Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting, £9,915, Richard Benjamin Trust, Co-Principal Investigator


I have published over 30 journal articles in international peer-reviewed journals, a co-edited special issue, a co-edited a book, 11 book chapters in edited volumes and a monograph. A full and up to date list of my publications can be found here.


  1. Huang, F., & McKeown, S. (accepted). Examining the Association between Family Environment and Adolescent Delinquent Behaviours in China. Journal of Family and Child Studies.
  2. McKeown, S., Sagherian-Dickey, T.M., Kwong, J., & Charlesford, J.C. (2022).  Putting theory into peaceful practice: insights and reflections on the process of co-producing a school-based intergroup relations intervention with teachers. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Advance online publication.
  3. McKeown, S. & Taylor, L.T. (2022). Perceived teacher support, collective efficacy in school and constructive engagement amongst youth in a conflict-affected society. Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology 29, 85–96.
  4. Taylor, L.K., & McKeown, S. (2021). Adolescent outgroup helping, collective action, and political activism in a setting of protracted conflict. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 85, 34-46.
  5. Dixon, J. & McKeown, S. (2021). Negative contact, collective action, and social change: Critical reflections, technological advances, and new directions.Journal of Social Issues.
  6. Cavdar, D., McKeown, S. & Rose, J. (2021). Mental Health Outcomes of Ethnic Identity and Acculturation Among British-born Children of Immigrants from Turkey. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.
  7. Orchard, J. Williams, A., Christopher, K., McKeown, S., Jackson-Royal, R., Wright, K., Wan. S. & Davids, N. (2021). Knowledge Exchange, Intergroup Relations and ‘Sharing Space’: A Community of Enquiry for the Professional Development of Teachers of Religion and Worldviews. British Journal of Religious Education.
  8. Vezzali, L., McKeown, S., MacCauley, P.,Stathi, S., Di Bernardo, G. A., Cadamuro, A., Cozzolino, V. & Trifiletti, E. (2020). May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor: The Hunger Games and the Fight for a More Equal Society. (Negative) Media Vicarious Contact and Collective Action. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Early online view.
  9. Marinucci, M., Maunder, R., Sanchez, K., Thai, M., McKeown, S., Turner, R.N. & Stevenson, C. (2020). Intergroup Contact Across the Lifespan. Journal of Social Issues.
  10. Haji, R., McKeown, S., Matthews, A., & Platten, S. (2020). (De)humanization and (Dis)trust: Representations of Muslims in UK Newspapers Following the 7/7 London Bombings. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Advanced online publication.
  11. Taylor, L.K., O’Driscoll, D., Dautel, J., & McKeown, S. (2020). Empathy to action: Child and adolescent outgroup attitudes and prosocial behaviors in a setting of intergroup conflict. Social Development, 29(2), 461-477. 
  12. Di Bernardo, G. A., Vezzali, L., Stathi, S., McKeown, S., Cocco, V. M., Dixon, J., & Saguy, T. (2019). Fostering social change among advantaged and disadvantaged group members: Integrating intergroup contact and social identity perspectives on collective action. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. (published online)
  13. Taylor, L.K., & McKeown, S. (2019). Does violence beget violence? The role of family ethnic socialisation and intergroup bias among youth in a setting of protracted intergroup conflict. International Journal of Behavioural Development (online) 
  14. Choma, B. & McKeown, S. (2019).  Introduction to Intergroup Contact and Collective Action: Integrative Perspectives. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology. Online.
  15. Urbanska, K. McKeown, S. & Taylor, L.K. (2019). From injustice to action: The role of empathy and perceived fairness to address inequality via victim compensation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 82, 129-140.
  16. Williams, A., McKeown, S., Orchard, J. & Wright, K. (2019). Promoting positive community relations: what can RE learn from social psychology and the Shared Space project? Journal of Beliefs and Values, 40, 215-227.
  17. Lu, T. & McKeown, S. (2018). The effects of empathy, perceived injustice and group identity on altruistic preferences: Towards compensation or punishment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 48, 683-691.
  18. McKeown, S., & Taylor, L.K. (2018). Perceived peer and school norm effects on youth antisocial and prosocial behaviours through intergroup contact in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Social Psychology, 57, 652-665.
  19. McKeown, S. & Dixon, J. (2017). The ‘contact hypothesis’: Critical reflections and future directions. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11.
  20. McKeown, S., Psaltis, C., (2017). Intergroup contact and the mediating role of intergroup trust on outgroup evaluation and future contact intentions in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 23, 392-404.
  21. McKeown, S., & Taylor, L.K. (2017). Beyond the irony of intergroup contact: The effects of contact and threat on political participation and support for political violence in Northern Ireland. Group Dynamics, Theory, Research, and Practice, 21, 234-244.
  22. McKeown, S., & Taylor, L.K. (2017). Intergroup Contact and Peacebuilding: Promoting Youth Civic Engagement in Northern Ireland. Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Online.
  23. McKeown, S., Williams, A., & Pauker, K. (2017). Stories that move them: Changing children’s behaviour toward diverse peers. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 381-387.
  24. Smeekes, A, McKeown, S., & Psaltis, C. (2017). Endorsing narratives under threat: maintaining perceived collective continuity through the protective power of ingroup narratives in Northern Ireland and Cyprus. Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Online.
  25. McKeown, S., Stringer, M., & Cairns, E. (2015). Classroom segregation: where do students sit and what does it mean for intergroup relations? British Educational Research Journal, 42, 40-55.
  26. McKeown, S (2014). Perceptions of a superordinate identity in Northern Ireland. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 20, 505-515.
  27. Gurney, D., McKeown, S., Churchyard, J. & Howlett, N. (2013). Believe it or not: Exploring the relationship between dogmatism and openness within non-religious samples. Personality and Individual differences, 55, 8, 936-940.
  28. McKeown, S., Cairns, E. & Stringer, M (2012). Is shared space really shared? Journal of shared space, Community relations council Northern Ireland, 12, 83-93.
  29. McKeown, S., Cairns, E., Stringer, M. & Rae., G. (2012). Micro-ecological behaviour and intergroup contact. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 340-358.
  30. McKeown, S., & Cairns, E. (2012). Peace-programmes in Northern Ireland. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 4, 69 – 75.
  31. Orr, R., McKeown, S., Cairns, E., & Stringer, M. (2012). Examining non-racial segregation: a micro ecological approach. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 4, 717-723.


  1. McKeown, S., Haji, R., Ferguson, N. (2016). Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory: Contemporary and World-Wide Perspectives. Springer:US.
  2. McKeown, S. (2013). Identity, segregation and peace-building in Northern Ireland: A social psychological perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters

  1. Burns, S., Blaylock, D., Taylor, L.K., & McKeown, S. (2020). Sense and Sensitivities: Researching Children and Young People’s Identity and Social Attitudes in a Divided Society. In Yacar, Y., Ulug, M., & Moss, S. Fieldwork in Conflict Settings (pp.233-258). Springer Peace Psychology Book Series.
  2. McKeown, S., Haji, R., Bryant, J, dela Paz, E., & Flothmann, C.(2020). (De)humanization of Muslim Immigrants: Newspaper discourse and public responses during the UK 2015 general election. In Sinnott, J.D., & Rabin, J.S. The Psychology of Political Behavior in a Time of Change (pp.575-579). Springer.
  3. McKeown, S., Williams, A., Sagherian-Dickey, T. & Kucaba, K. (2019). A new agenda for examining interethnic interactions amongst youth in diverse settings. InTitzmann, P.F. & Jugert, P. Youth in multicultural societies: New directions for future research and interventions (pp. 292-312). London, UK: Routledge/Psychology Press.
  4. McKeown. S., Cavdar, D. & Taylor, L.K.(2019). Youth identity, peace and conflict: insights from conflict and diverse settings. In Balvin, N. & Christie, D.J.:Children and Peace: From Research to Action (pp.183-202). SpringerPeace Psychology Book Series.
  5. Cohrs, J.C., Vollhardt, J.R. & McKeown, S. (2018). Intergroup Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation. In C.J. Hewer & E. Lyons (Eds.), Political psychology: A social psychological approach. Oxford: BPS Wiley.
  6. Taylor, L.K. & McKeown, S. (2017). Youths’ peacebuilding potential: Intergroup contact and civic participation amongst a post-accord generation in Northern Ireland. In K. Niven, S. Lewis, & C. Kagan (Eds.). Making a difference with psychology. London, UK: Richard Benjamin Trust.
  7. McKeown, S. (2016). Integrated education in Northern Ireland: Education for peace? In: M. Seedat, S. Suffla & D.J. Christie (Eds.) Enlarging the Scope of Peace Psychology: African and World- Regional Contributions. Springer: US.
  8. Ferguson, N. & McKeown, S. (2016). Social Identity Theory and Intergroup Conflict in Northern Ireland. In S. McKeown, R. Haji, & N. Ferguson, N. (Eds), Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory: Contemporary and World-Wide Perspectives, (pp. 215-227). Springer:US.
  9. McKeown, S., & Christie, D. (2016). Social psychology and peace. In: O. Richmond, S. Pogodda & J. Ramovic, Dimensions of Peace: Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace. Palgrave: London.
  10. Ferguson, N., Muldoon, O., & McKeown, S. (2014). Group Identity and Political Violence in Northern Ireland. In: P. Nesbitt-Larking, C. Kinnvall & T.Capelos, The Palgrave Handbook of Global Political Psychology. London: Palgrave.
  11. McKeown, S. (2013). Social Psychology and peacebuilding. In R. MacGinty (Ed.) Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding (pp. 117-131). Routledge: NY.


My teaching philosophy centres around supporting students to develop into independent and critical thinkers through developing inquiry-based and research-oriented approaches to teaching and learning. In my 11 years of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels I have developed and utilised a wide range of innovative teaching methods. At Bristol, I primarily teach on social psychology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also supervise student research projects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Professional activities

I am a Chartered Psychologist with the BPS and a member of several psychology organisations. I have held strategic leadership positions in the discipline including as Chair of the BPS Social Psychology Section and Co-Chair of the International Network of Peace Psychologists. I have also served on several committees including as Governing Council Member of the International Society of Political Psychology and as member of the BPS Undergraduate Education Committee.  

I am currently an Associate Editor for two journals (British Journal of Social Psychology, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology), an editorial board member for the Journal of Community and Applied Psychology and an elected member of the UKRI peer review college.

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Professor Shelley McKeown Jones
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