Maria Sophia Heering

Research Assistant
 Maria Sophia Heering


I have received my PhD in Social and Political Psychology at the University of Kent in 2022. During my PhD I have been involved in a research assistantship (2020-2021) working for a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation about the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on social cohesion within the UK. Prior to moving to the UK I have studied Psychology of Marketing and Communication at La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) with a semester abroad, at the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherlands). 

I am currently a research assistant at the University of Kent, working on a project focusing on cybersecurity within the transportation sector. 

Research interests

As a social psychologist I am particularly interested in group dynamics and more specifically in ingroup and inter-group power dynamics, social deviance and in social and political protest. During my PhD I have specifically focused on support and legitimization of hackers as authority challenging actors. 

My main areas of interest lay between Social Psychology and Politics. My core interests involve the study of belief systems and ideologies and their effects on in-group and inter-group relationships specifically in terms of power dynamics and hierarchy enhancing/attenuating dynamics. I am also interested in the study of how natural and built environments shape us as individuals and in how we can promote more environmentally sustainable behaviours. Overall, I like to be involved in projects that have an applied focus. 


I have been an Associate Lecturer, holding Seminars in:

SP620 The Social Psychology of the Individual
SP619 The Social Psychology of Groups
SP529 Personality

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