School of Psychology

World-leading research and teaching

Professor Robbie Sutton

Professor of Social Psychology
Director of Graduate Studies (Research)
Undergraduate Outreach Team
Postgraduate Progression Monitoring Lead

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

  • Hartley, B.L., & Sutton, R.M. (2013). A stereotype threat account of boys’ academic underachievement. Child Development, 84, 1716-1733.
  • Jeffries, C.H., Hornsey, M.J., Sutton, R.M., Douglas, K.M., & Bain, P. (2012). The David and Goliath principle: Cultural ideological and attitudinal underpinnings of the normative protection of low-status groups from criticism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1053-1065.
  • Callan, M.J., Sutton, R.M., & Dovale, C. (2010). When deserving translates into causing: The effect of cognitive load on immanent justice reasoning. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 1097-1100.
  • Sutton, R. M., Douglas, K. M.,  Wilkin, K., Elder, T. J., Cole, J. M., & Stathi, S.  (2008). Justice for whom, exactly?  Beliefs in justice for the self and various others.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 528-541.




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

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Last Updated: 23/03/2018