School of Psychology

World-leading research and teaching

Professor Robbie Sutton

Professor of Social Psychology

Director of Graduate Studies (Research)
Member of Undergraduate Outreach Team

Robbie Sutton


Research interests

I am interested in the social psychology of justice and (in)equality, including:

  • Just-world beliefs
    These refer to the extent to which people believe they, and others, receive the treatment and life outcomes they deserve.  These are related to psychological health, functioning, and a raft of social attitudes (for more information, see Hafer & Sutton, 2014; Sutton & Douglas, 2005; Sutton & Winnard, 2007; Sutton et al., 2008; Wu et al., 2013 in my publication list).  
  • Conspiracy beliefs
    I collaborate with Karen Douglas on conspiracy belief (see Douglas & Sutton, 2008, 2011, Sutton & Douglas, 2014.  Our work examines the psychological mechanisms that cause people to entertain such beliefs. 
  • Immanent justice reasoning
    I collaborate with Mitch Callan (University of Essex) on the why  people tend to perceive that a person's misfortune must be attributable to some prior misdeed of theirs, even when the two cannot be related (Callan et al., 2010, 2013, 2014).
  • Gender, sexism and inequality
    I have studied several aspects of gender inequality, including gendered fear of crime (Sutton & Farrall, 2005, 2008; Sutton, Robinson & Farrall, 2011), sexist intrusions on the autonomy of women during pregnancy (Murphy et al., 2011; Sutton, Douglas, & McClellan, 2011), and gender inequality in educational attainment (Hartley & Sutton, 2013).  

I am interested in social communicative approaches to these and other questions, such as intergroup relations (e.g., Douglas & Sutton, 2003, 2010; Sutton, Elder & Douglas, 2006).   A related interest is in environmental psychology.  

Key publications

  • Hopkins-Doyle, A., Sutton, R. M., Douglas, K. M., & Calogero, R. M. (in press). Flattering to deceive: Why people misunderstand Benevolent Sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi:10.1037/pspa0000135
  • Rutjens, B., Heine, S., Sutton, R. M., & van Harreveld, F. (2018). Attitudes towards science. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology57, 125-165. doi:10.1016/bs.aesp.2017.08.001
  • Cichocka, A. K., Górska, P., Jost, J., Sutton, R. M., & Bilewicz, M. (2018). What inverted U can do for your country: A curvilinear relationship between confidence in the social system and political engagement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology115(5), 883-902. doi:10.1037%2Fpspp0000168
  • Dawtry, R., Sutton, R. M., & Sibley, C. (2015). Why wealthier people think people are wealthier, and why it matters: From social sampling to redistributive attitudes. Psychological Science, 26(9), 1389-1400. doi:10.1177/0956797615586560
  • Callan, M. J., Sutton, R. M Harvey, A., & Dawtry, R. (2014). Immanent justice reasoning: Theory, research, and current directions. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology49, 105-161.


School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 26/11/2018