Dr Andrew McNiell is a senior lecturer in the department. He is a social psychologist the programme leader for BSc (Hons) psychology at Northumbria Universit

Tell us about your career history

I have been working at Northumbria University for 7 years. Arriving in 2013 to do a post-doc with Pam Briggs. After that I also did a couple of other post-doc positions with Lynne Coventry, then taking on a lecturer role at the university.

What got you interested in psychology?

I became interested in psychology to try and understand the strangeness of human behaviour. Specifically, I wanted to understand why such intelligent creatures can also behave irrationally at times.

What was the topic of your PhD?

My PhD was on how groups talked about being victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Exploring how people changed what they said about their experience and victimhood depending on the context of the situation and therefore how this is relevant to understanding why people claim to be victims of violent conflict.

What are your main areas of research now?

I still have a strong interest in intergroup conflict. Due to there being unfortunately so much between-group conflict in the world, this means I never lack any research material. Along with this, I also have a keep interest in how people use social media when communication about pandemics.

What one psychology book would you recommend?

While not in my research area, Oliver Sack’s book, “The man who mistook his wife for a hat” (1986) was a great read.

What advice would you give to students?

Read as much psychology literature as you can, however, be wary of popular psychology books.

What would you have liked to do if you had not followed your career in psychology?

I think I would have become a computer programmer.

Tell us about yourself….

I live in County Durham with my lovely wife, Lauren, and two boys, Ezra and Isaac [since writing this, Andrew and his wife have had a third son!]. I am an active member of my local church where I occasionally preach. I have also acquired a passion for baking since the coronavirus lockdown and you will often find me in the kitchen with my apron on. One of my favourite series of books is Jeeves and Wooster by P G Wodehouse. In terms of TV series, I love the Jack Ryan series.

Want to hear more from the Social Research Group? Head over to the Evolution and Social Interaction Research blog

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