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Personal profile

Research interests

My early research career was focused on conceptual work relating to the theoreisation of identity, at the boundaries of social psychology and sociology. My book Self & Social Change (2007) reflects these interests. My interests then shifted towards a more explicit emphasis on social issues, including class, consumption mental health and more lately, ecological crisis and climate change, especially the social and psychological dimensions. My book Ecological crisis, sustainability & the psychocial subject (2016) is a good example of my approach to these topics. I also work collaboratively with community groups and academic colleagues exploring these and related issues.

Supervisory Interests

I supervise PhD students on a range of topics broadly relating to identity, ecology, climate change, human-animal relations and mental health. I am especially interested in supervising students adopting qualitative methodological and critical theoretical approaches. Interdisciplinary projects are especially welcome. Recent/current projects I have supervised address the following:

  • Terror Management Theory approaches to climate change communication
  • Ethnography of place in the Anthropocene
  • Empirical application of social practice theory to no-fly holidays
  • Foucauldian analysis of ecotourism practices
  • Practices of contemporary fatherhood
  • Ethnography of mental health interventions in lifestyle TV 

Approach to teaching

My specialist teaching areas are social psychology, cultural and environmental psychology. I like to teach psychology as a subject that has direct personal relevance and make lots of links between topics and familiar experiences, everyday life, popular culture, art and literature. I like to bring different media (art, film, advertising) to illustrate ideas and concepts in psychology.

I like to teach psychology in a way that encourages students to stand back and contemplate the complexity of human life with a sense of open curiosity. I believe the value of psychology lies in encouraging us to see reality from new perspectives - this, for me, is the key to the change that happens in the process of learning, and to psychology's contribution to personal and social change more generally.

I think that good teaching involves more than the transfer of knowledge from active expert (lecturer) to passive recipient (lecturer). It also encompasses helping students to develop the capacity to look at the familiar and taken-for-granted in new ways - to gain confidence in using the tools of psychology to do so - the research skills, concepts, forms of argumentation and expression.

I do not adhere to the idea that there are strict boundaries between psychology and related subjects such as philosophy, sociology, biology and ecology. I draw on work from these disciplines as well as classic and contemporary work in psychology to make sense of core curriculum topics with students.

As an active academic and research psychologist, I am fortunate to be able to find many opportunities to bring my own research into teaching. In both 2014 and 2017 I received a University of Brighton Award for Excellence in Facilitating Learning, after being nominated by undergraduate psychology students.


  • BF Psychology
  • Critical psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Cultural psychology
  • Human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Psychosocial studies
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • HM Sociology
  • Psychosocial studies
  • Climate change
  • Ecology
  • Anthropocene
  • HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
  • speciesism
  • human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
  • Anthropogenic
  • Anthropocene
  • Climate change
  • GN Anthropology
  • human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene

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environment crisis Social Sciences
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Research Output 2002 2020

The kingdom of dogs: Understanding Pavlov’s experiments as human-animal relationships

Adams, M., 14 Jan 2020, In : Theory and Psychology. 30, 1, p. 121-141 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Active engagement with nature: outdoor adventure tourism, sustainability and wellbeing

Hanna, P., Wijesinghe, S., Paliatsos, I., Walker, C., Adams, M. & Kimbu, A., 6 Jun 2019, In : Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 27, 9, p. 1355-1373 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Indigenizing the Anthropocene? Specifying and situating multi-species encounters

Adams, M., 18 Nov 2019, In : International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
environment crisis
Social Sciences
social science

Mental health recovery and nature: how social and personal dynamics are important

Adams, M. & Morgan, J., 18 Jan 2018, In : Ecopsychology. 10, 1, p. 44-52 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
mental health
social relations
social benefits

Towards a critical psychology of human–animal relations

Adams, M., 25 Mar 2018, In : Social & Personality Psychology Compass. 12, 4, p. 1-14 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

critical psychology
social psychology

Activities 2012 2018

The Conversation (Publisher)

Matthew Adams (Reviewer)
10 Oct 2018

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

Climate change: trauma & transformations

Matthew Adams (Presenter)
22 Sep 2018

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

Anthropocene Psychology: Being human in a more-than-human world.

Matthew Adams (Presenter)
29 Sep 2017

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

The thrown away: Towards a manifesto of dispossession

Matthew Adams (Panel Chair)
1 Jun 20161 Jul 2017

Activity: External funding peer-review

Papers on Social Representation (Journal)

Matthew Adams (Editor), Susana Batel (Editor)
31 Mar 2016

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review