Introducing Moral Foundations Theory

Psychologists (and wider society) are becoming increasingly aware that we make political decisions using intuitions – non-conscious gut feelings – rather than through rational debate and consideration of evidence. In this post, I want to outline one influential theory that helps us to explain how and why we do this: moral foundations theory.

Four Steps to Real Prison Reform

The BBC Panorama documentary on HMP Northumberland, which aired on 13th February 2017, told a story that has been known by criminologists and forensic psychologists for a long time. First, our prisons are overcrowded, underfunded, and there aren’t enough staff to maintain effective control. Added into that now, though, was the detrimental effect that the… Read More »

A Concentric Model of “Fake News”

There’s been a lot of talk recently about so-called fake news. In this post, I want to explore what fake news is, what it isn’t, and what this phenomenon reveals about our psychology in relation to how we take in information from the media.

The Psychology of UKIP Support?

“Support for UKIP is just a protest vote”, and “UKIP voters are just extreme Tories” are common sentiments in mainstream political commentary, but are these ideas reflected in academic evidence about support for Britain’s fastest-growing political movement? 

Considering the Whole-Life Tariff

Channel 4’s recent ‘Lifers’ documentary has bought the issue of whole-life tariffs to the forefront of people’s minds.  To the more conservative members of society, this sentencing option gives judges the power to permanently lock up some of the most dangerous people (at least, those who have committed the most heinous crimes).  However, to those with… Read More »

Desistance Theory: A Brief Introduction

Desistance theory is a criminological phenomenon which describes how criminal offenders stop their offending behaviour.  It is particularly pertinent in terms of conceptualising offender rehabilitation and the career of a criminal, as well as having practical applications for probation workers working with convicted criminals in the community.