Department of Psychology

Identities in Social and Digital Contexts

Our research focuses on the importance of identity processes for issues such as coping, help seeking, health and illness, which are usually dealt with through a narrower focus on behaviour change. As well as identifying how identity processes are implicated in intergroup relations, playing a key role in dealing with intergroup conflict, our research also examines the significance of group, collective or shared identities – not only individual identity processes.

We employ a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, with particular expertise in cutting edge research on social media practices and digital identities.

Funded projects

Current research

  • Hidden and stigmatised identities
  • How identities are managed and negotiated through transitions over time
  • Social inclusion and exclusion; Othering processes
  • The negotiation gender identities on- and offline, including masculine and feminine identities and young people’s alcohol consumption; masculinity and pain; gender and revenge porn.
  • The formation and maintenance of digital identities
  • Empathy, trust and secrecy in online contexts: cyber security
  • Loneliness as an experience and an identity and its management
  • Privacy, self-disclosure and the emergence of online support communities on social media
  • Disclosing self-harm and managing spoiled identities
  • The role of identification processes in the public understanding of risk
  • Leadership and social influence processes
  • Community-based participatory research processes
  • The effects of Identity-based social network structures in online interaction
  • The mobilisation of identity in political rhetoric

Related groups

Selected recent publications

Blackwood, L. , Terry, D. and Duck, J., 2015. When believing in the union is (not) enough: The role of threat and norms in intentions to act on union legitimacy and efficacy beliefs. Australian Journal of Psychology , 67 (2), pp. 65-74.

Blackwood, L. , Hopkins, N. and Reicher, S., 2015. 'Flying while Muslim': Citizenship and Misrecognition in the Airport. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3 (2), pp. 148-170.

Blackwood, L. , Hopkins, N. and Reicher, S., 2015.From theorizing radicalization to surveillance practices: Muslims in the cross hairs of scrutiny. Political Psychology

Connor, P., Harris, E., Guy, S., Fernando, J., Shank, D., Kurz, T. R., Bain, P. , & Kashima, Y., (2016, Forthcoming). Interpersonal communication about climate change: How messages change when communicated through simulated online social networks. Climatic Change.

Griffin , C., Szmigin, I., Bengry-Howell, A., Hackley, C. and Mistral, W. 2013. Inhabiting the contradictions: Hypersexual femininity and the culture of intoxication among young women in the UK. Feminism and Psychology. 23(2), 184-206.

Lyons, A. C., Goodwin, I., McCreanor, T. and Griffin, C., 2015. Social networking and young adults’ drinking practices: Innovative qualitative methods for health behavior research. Health Psychology , 34 (4), pp. 293-302.

McGarty, C., Thomas, E. F., Lala, G., Smith, L. G. E. and Bliuc, A.-M., 2014.New technologies, new identities and the growth of mass opposition in the ‘Arab Spring’. Political Psychology, 35 (6), pp. 725-740.

Smith, L.G.E., Thomas, E.F. and McGarty, C. 2015. “We must change the way we want to see in the world”: Integrating norms and identities through social interaction. Political Psychology, 36(5), doi: 10.1111/pops.12180.

Smith , L.G.E., Gavin, J. and Sharp, E. 2015. Social identify formation during the emergence of the occupy movement. Political Psychology, 45, pp. 818-832.

Williams, H. T. P., McMurray, J. R., Kurz, T. & Lambert, F., (2015). Network analysis reveals open forums and echo chambers in social media discussions of climate change. Global Environmental Change, 32, 126-138.