Researcher biography

Since graduating in 1999 I have published over 130 papers, and in 2018 I was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Scientists in Australia. A problem that I have examined throughout my career is: "Why do people resist apparently reasonable messages?" I focus on the psychology of how feelings of mistrust and threat can lead people to reject messages. These insights are then translated into concrete and do-able strategies for overcoming defensiveness. Specific examples include ARC-funded research on (1) why people embrace or resist scientific messages about climate change, vaccination, evolution, and so forth, (2) how people respond to gestures of reconciliation from transgressor groups (particularly apologies), and (3) what drives defensiveness in the face of group criticism and recommendations for change.