Dr Julia Pearce
Reader in Social Psychology & Security Studies
- Associate Dean (Impact & Innovation)
- Deputy Head of the Department of War Studies and Director of Academic Staffing
Dr Julia Pearce is a social psychologist, whose research focuses on understanding and informing public responses to disasters and extreme events. She is especially interested in understanding the likely reactions, needs and appropriate communication strategies for groups who may be placed at particular risk during an emergency. The greater part of her research assesses psychological and behavioural responses to low-likelihood, high impact, extreme events such as chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) terrorism and marauding terrorist firearms attacks. This research has (i) challenged assumptions about public panic by providing evidence to suggest that under-response can be as problematic as over-response during a crisis, and (ii) demonstrated the importance of communicating with members of the public before, during and after extreme events.
During her time in the Department of War Studies Dr Pearce has contributed to nine collaborative multi-institution projects, including leading the communication measures work package on the 3-year EU FP7 Security funded PRIME project on the prevention, interdiction and mitigation of lone actor terrorism. She recently completed an 18-month project that was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 to provide real-time data to support the development of tailored public health guidance about the COVID-19 vaccine for ethnic minority groups in the UK. She is currently conducting research examining how risk perceptions and behavioural responses to health threats vary amongst different population groups under the auspices of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Dr Pearce is a Chartered Psychologist and an Honorary Public Health Academic Consultant at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). She is a member of several committees which provide advice to Government agencies, including as Deputy Chair of the Cabinet Office National Security Risk Assessment Behavioural Science Expert Group. During the COVID-19 pandemic she participated in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Ethnicity subgroup.
- Risk perception
- Risk and crisis communication
- Social Identity
- Health Security
- Community resilience
- Moral panic
- 4SSW1001 The Causes and Consequences of War (guest lecturer)
- 4SSW2020 BA1 Study Skills (module convenor)
- 6SSW0008 Disasters and Extreme Events (module convenor)
- 7SSWM048 The Social Dimensions of Terrorism (module convenor)
- 7SSWM053 Homegrown Radicalisation and Counter-Radicalisation in Western Europe and North America (guest lecturer)
For a full list of publications, please visit Julia's Research Portal page.