Ryan McKay

Ryan McKay

Professor, Professor of Psychology

  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Personal profile


Research Interests

I’m interested in how we form and revise our beliefs about ourselves and the world, and in how this process can derail to produce “pathologies of belief”, ranging from bizarre delusions in clinical settings, to “collective delusions” where thousands or millions of people adopt poorly evidenced beliefs. I also dabble in some other topics, for instance I have some recent projects on swearing (both in the sense of profanity and in the sense of solemn vows).



I grew up in a small town in Western Australia. I studied undergraduate psychology at UWA in Perth and completed my PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney. I did postdoctoral work in Boston (Tufts University), Belfast (Queen’s University), Zürich (University of Zürich) and Oxford (University of Oxford). I also worked for a while as a clinical neuropsychologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London, and as a lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, New South Wales. I’ve been at Royal Holloway since 2010, where I head up the Morality and Beliefs Lab (MaB-Lab).

I'm also a member of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC).


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or