Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology
London School of Economics and Political Science

I am a social psychologist interested in the mechanisms underlying our human sensitivity to power, status, and group membership: their origins, interactions, and manifestation in societal context.

LAB & supervision

At the LSE's Department of Psychological & Behavioural Science, I am building up a community of researchers working with me in investigating the psychology of poverty, inequality, and intergroup relations.


I am accepting applications for PhD students to commence September 2018. As I see the PhD student-adviser relationship as collaborative, I would particularly welcome applications from students who would like to work on topics within my research programme. Themes of interest in the coming years are:

  1. The link between socioeconomic status and decision-making, including:
    1. The impact of resource scarcity and/or low relative social status on cognitive and/or self-regulatory processes;
    2. The link between socioeconomic status and prejudice, trust and social relations;
    3. Psychological antecedents and consequences of rising levels of economic inequality in industrialised countries.
  2. The political psychology of intergroup relations, including:
    1. The role of innate cognition for basic relational forms (i.e. dominance, equality, communality, proportionality) in shaping sociopolitical attitudes and behaviours;
    2. Understanding the rise of political populism, the extreme right, and anti-immigrant sentiment through a social dominance theory framework;
    3. The psychology of the spread, acceptance and challenge of ideologies and narratives (discourse) legitimising societal relations. 

I would be happy to supervise students using experimental, survey and panel data methods, and am keen to use more longitudinal and multilevel analytical techniques. I can also support students using qualitative methods as a secondary approach, or to be second supervisor for a student using qualitative methods as a primary approach.

I will be supervising MSc dissertations in the Lent and Summer Terms 2017-18, and look forward to hearing from Masters students whose research interests broadly align with my own.

current lab members

Jessica Rea Research Associate

Jessica has been managing the evidence review of poverty & decision-making for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and is now focused on writing it up into several journal articles, as well as advancing her own research on mental health and psychosocial well-being among people dealing with homelessness and low socioeconomic status. Jess holds a BA in Psychology and Industrial & Organisational Psychology from the University of South Africa and a MSc in Applied Social Psychology from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is currently finishing a PhD in Psychology.

Swarna Suresh Tyagi Research Assistant (remote)
Swarna Tyagi.png

Swarna is currently providing research support in the lab on projects investigating the psychology of poverty and perceptions of economic inequality. She is a recent Masters student at the LSE with an MSc. in Organisational and Social Psychology and a B.A. in Economics from University of Madras (India). At present, Swarna is an Academic Associate at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (India), wherein she assists the faculty in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management Department in their ongoing research projects. She has volunteering experience as an LSE Student Mentor and has previously worked with Teach For India and is keenly interested in working in the social sphere with a primary focus in Organisational Development and Change. 

Denise Baron Research Assistant

Denise is a former research assistant in the lab who continues to collaborate on research on economic inequality. In 2016, Denise led a team of research assistants working on perceptions of economic inequality for a series of studies funded by the Tobin Project, while also conducting data collection and analysis for our studies of the psychology of scarcity and low social status. Denise holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and an MSc in Social & Public Communication from the LSE. She has previously worked as a political strategist in the United States, and her Masters dissertation investigated the phenomenon of ‘nationalistic nostalgia’ among UK voters in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Currently working in communications for political parties and the LSE PBS Department, Denise is interested in pursuing a career at the interface of psychology, policy-making and social issues.  

Meherunissa Hamid Research Assistant (remote)

Meherunissa has been supporting the evidence review of poverty & decision-making for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and is now providing ad hoc research support on our poverty research, having recently taken up the position of Programme Manager - Childhood TB (Global Fund grant) - at the Global Health Directorate, Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. Meherunissa holds a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Newcastle, and two Masters degrees, one in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases and one in Public Health in Developing Countries, both from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Jimena Sanchez MSc Supervisee

Jimena is a Licentiate in Political Science from the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After 4 years of work experience in her country, at the local government and in policy related- think tanks, she became a student at the MSc in Social and Public Communication at LSE. As part of her master's dissertation, she conducted a lab study to analyse the role of low socioeconomic status in cognitive performance and evaluate the potential psychological benefits associated to self-identify social status in group terms. At the present, Jimena continues working on this common project and is interested in pursuing a career applying a psychological and behavioural approach to the design and implementation of policies with special focus on the reduction of poverty and inequality.

Former Lab Members

Philip Havmose MSc Supervisee

Philip worked on lab studies investigating the impact of resource scarcity on construal level and temporal discounting, building on his dissertation for the LSE MSc in Social & Public Communication. Philip holds a BSc in psychology from the University of Southern Denmark, where he also worked as a research assistant for the PsychMeasure research group. Following his Master’s degree, Philip conducted a six-month internship with the UN World Food Programme in Myanmar. In the long run, Philip is planning to pursue a career combining psychology, public health and communication.

Rabia Yavuz Summer Intern

As a summer intern, Rabia supported the analysis of surveys for our studies of perceptions of economic inequality, originally funded by the Tobin Project. Before joining the lab, Rabia was a summer research assistant in Utrecht University's ERCOMER (The Netherlands), and in the PAMER Research Center in Uskudar University (Turkey), where she published an article entitled, “Creating shopping malls as postcolonial spaces through leisure time discourses: the example of shopping malls in Istanbul”. Rabia is currently completing a BA with double major (Psychology & Sociology) and a minor (Turkish Language & Literature) at Istanbul Sehir University, and is working a teaching assistant for Assistant Professor Reyyan Bilge at Sehir University, Turkey. She is working toward further study in the field of social psychology, and can be reached at

Natasha Ann Brigham Research Assistant

Natasha worked as a research assistant on the evidence review of poverty & decision-making for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She holds BA in Psychology from Aalborg University, an MA in Psychology from the University of Copenhagen, and an MSc in Social & Cultural Psychology from the LSE, and is currently a Project Manager with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues - UK.


I am also affiliated with the Social and Intergroup Relations Lab (SIRL) at the University of Oslo.