Michèle Birtel

Dr Michèle Birtel Dipl.-Psych. PhD FHEA CPsychol AFBPsS IFRD

Associate Professor of Social Psychology and Programme Leader PhD of School of Human Sciences

Key details

Dr Michèle Birtel
Dipl.-Psych. PhD FHEA CPsychol AFBPsS IFRD

Associate Professor of Social Psychology and Programme Leader PhD of School of Human Sciences

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 an interdisciplinary 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.

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

Responsibilities within the university

  • Programme Leader PhD of School of Human Sciences (Psychology, Sports Science, Public Health, Social Work)
  • Module Lead
  • Personal Tutor
  • Outreach activities


  • Co-Founder and Leader of Contact Research Group UK
  • Editorial Board member for peer-reviewed journals
  • Review Panel Board member for scientific conferences
  • Reviewer for scientific journals
  • External examiner for PhD theses
  • Full member of scientific professional organisations 
  • International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors

Research / Scholarly interests

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:

Recent publications


Vezzali, Loris , Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio, Birtel, Michèle D., Stathi, Sofia , Brambilla, Marco (2019), Outgroup morality perceptions mediate secondary transfer effects from direct and extended contact: Evidence from majority and minority members. SAGE. In: , , , . SAGE, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 23 (7) . pp. 1066-1084 ISSN: 1368-4302 (Print), 1461-7188 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430219879223).

Ahmed, Sehar , Birtel, Michèle D., Pyle, Melissa, Morrison, Anthony P. (2019), Stigma towards psychosis: cross-cultural differences in prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination in White British and South Asians. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 30 (2) . pp. 199-213 ISSN: 1052-9284 (Print), 1099-1298 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2437).

Vezzali, Loris , Birtel, Michèle D., Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio, Stathi, Sofia , Crisp, Richard John , Cadamuro, Alessia , Visintin, Emilio Paolo (2019), Don’t hurt my outgroup friend: A multifaceted form of imagined contact promotes intentions to counteract bullying. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 23 (5) . pp. 643-663 ISSN: 1368-4302 (Print), 1461-7188 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430219852404).

Birtel, Michèle D. , Reimer, Nils, Wölfer, Ralf, Hewstone, Miles (2019), Change in school ethnic diversity and intergroup relations: The transition from segregated elementary to mixed secondary school for majority and minority students. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, European Journal of Social Psychology, 50 (1) . pp. 160-176 ISSN: 0046-2772 (Print), 1099-0992 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2609) NB Item availability restricted.

Birtel, Michèle D. , Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio, Stathi, Sofia, Crisp, Richard J. , Cadamuro, Alessia , Vezzali, Loris (2019), Imagining contact reduces prejudice in pre-school children. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Social Development, 28 (4) . pp. 1054-1073 ISSN: 0961-205X (Print), 1467-9507 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12374).

Mirza, Aisha , Birtel, Michele D., Pyle, Melissa, Morrison, Anthony (2019), Cultural differences in psychosis: The role of causal beliefs and stigma in White British and South Asians. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50 (3) . pp. 441-459 ISSN: 0022-0221 (Print), 1552-5422 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022118820168).

Birtel, Michèle D. , Vezzali, Loris, Stathi, Sofia (2018), Extended contact and affective factors: A review and suggestions for future research. Cises Srl. In: , , , . Cises Srl, Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 25 (2) . pp. 213-238 ISSN: 1972-6325 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.4473/TPM25.2.4).

Huggett, Charlotte , Birtel, Michèle D., Awenat, Yvonne F., Fleming, Paul , Wilkes, Sophie , Williams, Shirley , Haddock, Gillian (2018), A qualitative study: experiences of stigma by people with mental health problems. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 91 (3) 2044-8341 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/papt.12167).

Ali, Safa , Ogden, Jane, Birtel, Michèle D. (2017), Building a dual identity as an immigrant in the UK: Eritreans’ search for freedom and a sense of balance. Taylor & Francis. In: , , , . Taylor & Francis, Ethnic and Racial Studies . pp. 1-18 ISSN: 0141-9870 (Print), 1466-4356 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2017.1384555).

Visintin, Emilio Paolo , Birtel, Michèle Denise, Crisp, Richard J. (2017), The role of multicultural and colorblind ideologies and typicality in imagined contact interventions. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 59 . pp. 1-8 ISSN: 0147-1767 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2017.04.010).

Birtel, Michèle , Wood, Lisa, Kempa, Nancy J. (2017), Stigma and social support in substance abuse: Implications for mental health and well-being. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Psychiatry Research, 252 . pp. 1-8 ISSN: 0165-1781 (Print), 1872-7123 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.097).

Birtel, Michèle D. and , Crisp, Richard J. (2015), Psychotherapy and social change: Utilizing principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to help develop new prejudice-reduction interventions. Frontiers Media. In: , , , . Frontiers Media, Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1771 1664-1078 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01771).

Wood, Lisa , Birtel, Michele, Alsawy, Sarah, Pyle, Melissa , Morrison, Anthony (2014), Public perceptions of stigma towards people with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Psychiatry Research, 220 (1-2) . pp. 604-608 ISSN: 0165-1781 (Print), 1872-7123 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.012).

Birtel, Michèle and , (2014), "You may say I'm a dreamer": Michèle Birtel looks at using psychotherapeutic techniques to fight prejudice and stigma. The British Pschological Society. In: , , , . The British Pschological Society, The Psychologist, 27 (5) . pp. 340-343 (doi: http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-27/edition-5/you-may-say-im-dreamer).

Crisp, Richard J. and , Birtel, Michèle D. (2014), Reducing prejudice through mental imagery: Notes on replication, interpretation, and generalization. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Psychological Science, 25 (3) . pp. 840-841 ISSN: 0956-7976 (Print), 1467-9280 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613520169).

Parks, Stefania , Birtel, Michèle D., Crisp, Richard J. (2014), Evidence that a brief meditation exercise can reduce prejudice toward homeless people. Hogrefe. In: , , , . Hogrefe, Social Psychology, 45 (6) . pp. 458-465 ISSN: 1864-9335 (Print), 2151-2590 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000212) NB Item availability restricted.

Birtel, Michèle D. and , Crisp, Richard J. (2012), "Treating" prejudice: An exposure-therapy approach to reducing negative reactions toward stigmatized groups. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Psychological Science, 23 (11) . pp. 1379-1386 ISSN: 0956-7976 (Print), 1467-9280 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612443838).

Birtel, Michèle D. and , Crisp, Richard J. (2012), Imagining intergroup contact is more cognitively difficult for people higher in intergroup anxiety but this does not detract from its effectiveness. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15 (6) . pp. 744-761 ISSN: 1368-4302 (Print), 1461-7188 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430212443867).

Crisp, Richard J. , Birtel, Michèle D., Meleady, Rose (2011), Mental simulations of social thought and action. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20 (4) . pp. 261-264 ISSN: 0963-7214 (Print), 1467-8721 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721411413762).

Book section

Stathi, Sofia , Turner, Rhiannon N., West, Keon, Birtel, Michèle D. (2012), Using mental imagery to promote positive intergroup relations. Nova Science Publishers. In: , , In: Dale W. Russell, Cristel Antonia Russell (eds.), The psychology of prejudice: Interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary issue. Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, NY . pp. 235-250 . ISBN: 9781620816066 (doi: ).