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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Jonathon Mcphetres

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology

Contact Dr Jonathon Mcphetres


Prior to Joining Durham University, I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at MIT and the University of Regina.

Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology, University of Rochester, 2019
M.A. in Social-Personality Psychology, University of Rochester, 2017
M.A. in Experimental Psychology, University of Texas (Permian Basin), 2014

Research Profile

I have interests in two main research areas: understanding science scepticism and using biological models to understand social behaviours and higher levels cognitions.

1. Understanding and overcoming science scepticism

In this area, I’m primarily interested in understanding who rejects science and why and trying to develop effective interventions to overcome that scepticism. I’ve studied things like genetically modified foods, the relation between science and religion, misinformation, and how the experience of awe can promote greater interest in science.

2. Connecting social and biological models

I’m also interested in understanding whether higher-order social and cognitive functions can be connected to basic biological processes. In this research, I study things like the emotional and physiological processes of goosebumps and the chemical processes involved in reasoning, decision-making, and information evaluation.

Research Groups

Department of Psychology

Research Interests

  • Emotion
  • Proteomics
  • Pseudoscience and misinformation
  • Psychophysiology
  • Religion
  • Science communication
  • Systems Biology


Journal Article

  • McPhetres, J., Rutjens, B.T. Weinstein & N. & Brisson, J.A. (2019). Modifying attitudes about modified foods: increased knowledge leads to more positive attitudes. Journal of Environmental Psychology
  • McPhetres, J. (2019). Oh, the things you don’t know: Awe promotes awareness of knowledge gaps and science interest. Cognition & Emotion
  • McPhetres, J. & Zuckerman, M. (2018). Religiosity predicts negative attitudes towards science and lower levels of science literacy. PLOS One

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • McPhetres, J. (2019). Are you scared of GMOs? Scientific American