Department of Psychology

Dr Laura G.E.Smith

A Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology with particular expertise in socialization and radicalization processes, including the development of identification and trust

Laura Smith

Senior LecturerBSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, FHEA

10 West 4.33
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6827

Twitter (@lauragesmith)

Personal website


I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at the Department of Psychology, where I am Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies (Assessments). I am Principal Investigator on a project funded by the Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS) entitled, 'Predicting Online Radicalization', and I am a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow 2016-7.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Centre for War & Technology, a member of the Centre for Networks and Collective Behaviour, and a consulting editor for the British Journal of Social Psychology.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology (2004), my masters degree in social and organisational psychology (2005), and my PhD ('The impact of intragroup interaction on intergroup relations'; 2008) from the University of Exeter. Before coming to Bath in 2011, I gained experience as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and then later as a Lecturer at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

As both a social and organisational psychologist, I have research programmes in both domains that broadly investigate socialisation processes. My social-psychological research includes an established programme of research examining how new social movements and shared social identities emerge and evolve through social interaction, and the implications of this process for collective behaviour. I have a particular focus on hostile groups and radicalisation processes. My organisational research focuses on newcomer socialisation and professional transitions, such as the transition to leadership roles. In these large-scale, long-term longitudinal field projects, I investigate how employees develop a sense of identification and trust with their organisation and the various groups within it.

I specialize in research with small, interactive groups, analysis of interdependent data, and 'big' social media data. My work involves both longitudinal field work and laboratory experiments.

I have received funding for my research from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Australian Research Council (ARC). Media interest in my work has included ABC radio's Saturday AM programme.

Research interests

Organizational psychology:

  • Newcomer socialization and the development of identification and trust
  • Leadership transitions
  • Institutional logics
  • The psychological processes underlying personal and professional transitions

Social and political psychology:

  • The formation of new social movements, solidarity, and collective action
  • Social change
  • Online radicalization, and the formation of extreme groups
  • The formation of social identities and the development of norms for social behaviour
  • Proselytizing, religion and intergroup peace


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