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Michèle Birtel

Dr Michèle Denise Birtel is a Lecturer in Social Psychology. Michèle obtained her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Kent (UK) and her Diploma in Psychology from the University of Mannheim (Germany). She has previously held positions at the Universities of Surrey, Manchester, Oxford, Aberdeen and Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. She is a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
 
Michèle's research has a cross-disciplinary focus, integrating theories and methods from the sub-disciplines of social, cognitive, and clinical psychology. She aims to make an impact through experience in industry, and national and international collaborations with schools, charities, treatment centres, NHS, universities.
 
Research groups: She is a member of the Social Psychology Research Group, Applied Psychology Research Group and the Diversity Research Group at the University of Greenwich.
 
PhD students: Michèle is interested in supervising PhD students with a strong interest in her research areas.
 
Teaching: social psychology, intergroup relations, mental health, research methods and statistics.
 
Posts previously held
2014-17: University of Surrey, Lecturer in Social Psychology, and Equality and Diversity Consultant
2012-14: University of Manchester, Lecturer in Social Psychology
2012: University of Oxford, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Social Psychology
2008-11: University of Kent, Doctoral Researcher in Social Psychology and Associate Lecturer in Statistics

2016: University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor's International Scholar Award 2017 (unable to take)
2012: Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) Dissertation Award finalist
2011: Associate Lecturer Award 2009/10, University of Kent
2004: Certificate for Best Intermediate Diploma, University of Mannheim
Michèle specialises in intergroup relations and health. In particular, she is interested in the relations between majority and minority groups (for example regarding ethnicity, mental health, sexual orientation), and the impact of intergroup conflict on health. 
For more detailed information, please visit Michèle's website:

Funded research projects

2016: Association of Commonwealth Universities Gender Programme Workshop Grant (PI), £1000 Career advancement and development of women 
2016: University of Surrey Faculty Research Support Fund (PI), £5400
Enhancing learners' performance.
2014: Erasmus, University of Surrey, €835
Travel grant to visit the University of Milano-Bicocca.
2014: Bayer (Co-I), £144,560
An exploration of patient opinions and psychological impact of 
different management strategies in the treatment of age-related 
macular degeneration (POPPIES). 
2013: University of Manchester Research Institute (PI), £13,000
Time to join forces: An interdisciplinary approach to fighting stigma. 
2013: Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, £2,000
Interdisciplinarity in attitude research. 
2013: University of Manchester School Research Fund, £420
Course: Structural Equation Modelling using Mplus. 
2011: Experimental Psychology Society Grindley Grant, £500
for Conference Attendance. 
2010: Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group Annual Conference Bursary, £100.
2016: Association of Commonwealth Universities Gender Programme Workshop Grant (PI), £1000
2008: PhD Studentship, University of Kent, £39,820.

Journal Articles

Birtel, M. D., Wood, L., & Kempa, N. J. (2017). Stigma and social support in substance abuse: Implications for mental health and well-being. Psychiatry Research, 252, 1-8.

Ali, S., Ogden, J., & Birtel, M. D. (2017). Building a dual identity as an immigrant in the UK: Eritreans' search for freedom and a sense of balance. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-18.

Visintin, E. P., Birtel, M. D., & Crisp, R. J. (2017). The role of multicultural and colorblind ideologies and typicality in imagined contact interventions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 59, 1-8.

Birtel M. D., & Crisp, R. J. (2015). Psychotherapy and social change: Utilizing principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to help develop new prejudice-reduction interventions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:1771.

Parks, S., Birtel, M. D., & Crisp, R. J. (2014). Evidence that a brief meditation exercise can reduce prejudice toward homeless people. Social Psychology, 45, 458-465.

Wood, L., Birtel, M. D., Alsawy, S., Pyle, M., & Morrison, A. (2014). Public perceptions of stigma towards people with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. Psychiatry Research, 220, 604-608.

Crisp, R. J., & Birtel, M. D. (2014). Reducing prejudice through mental imagery: Notes on replication, interpretation and generalization. Psychological Science, 25, 840-841.

Birtel, M. D., & Crisp, R. J. (2012). Imagining intergroup contact is more cognitively difficult for people higher in intergroup anxiety but this does not detract from its effectiveness. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15, 744-761. 

Birtel, M. D., & Crisp, R. J. (2012). "Treating" prejudice: An exposure therapy approach to reducing negative reactions to stigmatized groups. Psychological Science, 23, 1379-1386. 

Crisp, R. J., Birtel, M. D., & Meleady, R. (2011). Mental simulations of social thought and action: Trivial tasks or tools for transforming social policy? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 261-264. 

Other Publications

Birtel, M.D., 2014. 'You may say I'm a dreamer': Using psychotherapeutic techniques to fight prejudice and stigma. The Psychologist, 27, pp. 340-343.

Book Chapters

Stathi, S., Crisp, R.J., Turner, R. N., West, K. and Birtel, M.D., 2012. Using mental imagery to promote positive intergroup relations. In: Russell, D.W. and Russell, C.A. ed. The psychology of prejudice: Interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary issues. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 235-250.

Browse our publications database

Invited Talks

Birtel, M. D. (2017, November). Intergroup relations and health. Launch of the Diversity Interest Group. University of Greenwich. [poster]

Birtel, M. D. (2017, September). The Stigma of Mental Illness and How to Challenge it. Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Birtel, M. D. (2017, April). Tackling Stigma through Mental Simulation, Exposure-Therapy Approach, and Mindfulness Meditation. ESRC Youth Mental Health Seminar, University of Greenwich.

Birtel, M. D. (2016, September). Carer Experiences of Mental Health Stigma. Time to Join Forces to Fight Stigma Conference, Manchester.

Birtel, M. D. (2015, February). Prejudice-Interventions: Mental Simulation, Exposure-Therapy Approach, and Mindfulness Meditation. University of Surrey, Brain and Behaviour Research Group.

Birtel, M. D. (2014, December). Prejudice-Interventions: Mental Simulation, Exposure-Therapy Approach, and Mindfulness Meditation. University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Psychology.

Birtel, M. D. (2014, December). Prejudice-Interventions: Mental Simulation, Exposure-Therapy Approach, and Mindfulness Meditation. University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Psychology.

Birtel, M. D. (2014, March). Challenging stigma: A social psychological perspective. University of Manchester Research Institute.

Birtel, M. D. (2013, July). Reducing mental health stigma: Can social contact improve perceptions? University of Manchester, Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research.

Birtel, M. D. (2013, February). Preparation is everything: Indirect contact as a first step to promote tolerance.  University of St Andrews, Social Psychology Research Group.

Birtel, M. D. (2013, February). Preparation is everything: Mental simulation as a first step in prejudice-reduction interventions. University of Manchester, School of Psychological Sciences.

Birtel, M. D. (2012, August). "Treating prejudice": An exposure therapy approach of imagined contact.  University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry.

Birtel, M. D. (2011, February). Cognitive processes of imagined intergroup contact. University of Kent, Cognitive Psychology Research Group.  

Oral / Poster Conference Presentations

Birtel, M. D. (2017, July). Stigma and social support in substance abuse: Implications for mental health and well-being. European Association of Social Psychology General Meeting, Granada. [poster]

Birtel, M. D. (2016, April). Stigma and Social Support in Substance Abuse. Mental Health Clinical Academic Group Conference, Guildford.

Birtel, M. D. (2011, July). Moderators of imagined intergroup contact. European Association of Social Psychology General Meeting, Stockholm.

Birtel, M. D. (2011, May). Imagined intergroup contact is a compensatory tool for the high-anxious. PhD Meeting in Social and Organizational Psychology, Lisbon.

Birtel, M. D. (2010, September). Anxiety as a moderator of imagined contact. British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference, Winchester.

Birtel, M. D. (2010, September). Imagined contact compensates negative experiences with outgroups. Postgraduate Research Symposium, University of Kent.

Birtel, M. D. (2010, September). Imagined contact compensates for the negative effects of intergroup anxiety. Social Cognition Network and Training Scheme Consultation Seminar, Canterbury. [poster]

Birtel, M. D. (2010, July). The compensatory power of imagined intergroup contact. Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group Conference, Sheffield.

Birtel, M. D. (2009, September). Imagined contact boosts interaction quality for high-anxious individuals, but at cognitive cost. British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference, Sheffield. [poster

Birtel, M. D. (2009, February). Impacts of imagined contact on executive functioning after interracial interaction. International Graduate College Compact Colloquium, Oppurg.

Browse our publications database