Professor Ryan McKay

Personal profile


Research Interests

I'm interested in how we form and revise beliefs. Does God exist? Are genetically modified foods safe to eat? Will I live a long life? Did Trump collude with the Russians? Our beliefs about these and many other questions seem to be biased in certain ways – and in extreme cases we may adopt bizarre delusional beliefs about realityMy research aims to uncover the psychological, social and evolutionary causes and consequences of these biases.



I grew up in a small town in Western Australia. I studied undergraduate psychology at the University of Western Australia in Perth and obtained my PhD from 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.


For information about my lab, the Royal Holloway Morality and Beliefs Lab (MaB-Lab), please click here.


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