Contact Details


Role: Fellow and Tutor in Experimental Psychology; Professor of Social Psychology

Photo of Shelley McKeown Jones


I am Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Experimental Psychology and Tutorial Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall. 

I joined the University of Oxford in 2024, following previous roles at the University of Bristol, Leiden University College, and the University of Hertfordshire. I hold a PhD (2012) and BSc (2008) in Social Psychology from the University of Ulster.

My research focuses primarily on understanding and improving intergroup relations in conflict and divided societies. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), and an Honorary Professor at the University of Bristol. 

Research Interests

Influenced by my time spent growing up in Northern Ireland, my research centres around understanding how to promote better intergroup relations, particularly for youth growing up in deeply divided societies. I use a combination of survey, observational, behavioural, and experimental methods to tackle both basic and applied research questions. I am particularly interested in collaborative field research that applies social psychological theory to shape practice on the ground. My core research areas include: 

  • Segregation: Examining how and why individuals from different religious, racial and ethnic groups interact in everyday life spaces.
  • Intergroup contact: Understanding how intergroup contact can be used to reduce prejudice and promote wider individual and societal benefits in conflict and divided societies. 
  • Positive societal engagement: Understanding under what conditions individuals engage in pro-social and collective behaviours to promote stronger community relations and build peace.

Selected Publications

The following is a list of indicative publications. Please see my Department of Experimental Psychology page for a full list of publications. 

Vezzali, L. Pagliaro, S., Di Bernardo, G.A., McKeown, S. Cocco, V.M. (2023). Solidarity Across Group Lines: Secondary Transfer Effect of Intergroup Contact, Perceived Moral Distance, and Collective Action. European Journal of Social Psychology, 53, 450-470.

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,

Dixon, J. & McKeown, S. (2021). Negative contact, collective action, and social change: Critical reflections, technological advances, and new directions. Journal of Social Issues. DOI: 10.1111/josi.12429

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.

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.

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. Doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2019.01.010

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. Doi: 10.1111/bjso.12257

McKeown, S. & Dixon, J. (2017). The ‘contact hypothesis’: Critical reflections and future directions. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11. Doi: 10.1111/spc3.12295

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. Doi: 10.1002/casp.2316

McKeown, S., Cairns, E., Stringer, M. & Rae., G. (2012). Micro-ecological behaviour and intergroup contact. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 340-358. Doi:10.1080/00224545.2011.614647. 

McKeown, S., & Cairns, E. (2012). Peace-programmes in Northern Ireland. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 4, 69 – 75. 

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. Doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02080.