Professor Keon West

Staff details

Professor Keon West






keon.west (

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

Keon is an expert in intergroup social psychology, investigating how we treat people we see as different from ourselves.

Keon is a Professor of Social Psychology, the Director of Equalab, the President-Elect of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (founded 1936), and an editorial board member for the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Keon has received numerous international awards for his research, teaching, media engagement, and social activism. He has also appeared over 100 times as a psychological expert and presenter in a variety of international media including the BBC World Service, Radio 4, Channel 4 and the Guardian. He is especially well known for his research on prejudice, sexual orientation, and sexual health.

Have an urgent media request? Please contact Jo Wander: +44 (0)777 1760226

Academic qualifications

  • Doctorate (DPhil), Experimental Psychology, Oxford University 2010
  • BA, Psychology, Macalester 2006
  • BA, French and Francophone Studies, Macalester 2006

Research interests

Keon’s research has a strong focus on detecting and reducing bias between different groups of people, as well strategies to promote mental health and well-being among people belonging to minority groups. Key areas of current interest are listed below:

  • Prejudice
  • Sexual identity
  • Identity borders and definitions (e.g., who gets to identify as “English” or “gay”?)
  • Microaggressions
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Intergroup contact as a prejudice-reducing mechanism

Grants and awards

Funding overview:
Keon has received external grant funding from a many organisations to support his work including: the European Research Council, the Richard Benjamin Trust, and the Independent Social Research Fund.

Publications and research outputs


West, Keon; Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia; Brambilla, Marco and Bruckmüller, Susanne. 2023. Fragile Heterosexuality: A Cross-cultural Study Between Germany and Italy. Sexuality & Culture, 27(3), pp. 1044-1063. ISSN 1095-5143

Francis, Jacqueline and West, Keon. 2023. Physical Activity Message Framing and Ethnicity Before and During COVID-19. Health Communication, 38(11), pp. 2419-2429. ISSN 1041-0236

West, Keon. 2022. Threshold Resistance: Adding a Historical Perspective to Hodson’s (2021) Observations on the “Microaggressions Pushback”. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 18(4), pp. 727-732. ISSN 1745-6916

Media engagements

2019: BBC Radio 4 - I Can't Be Racist
Social psychologist Dr Keon West explores bias, unconscious and not, and the current trend in unconscious bias training.

2018: BBC World Service - The Benefits of Nakedness
Can being naked in public be good for you? Dr. Keon West explores the good and bad of shedding your clothes.

2019: Channel 4 - Naked Beach
Featuring social psychologist Dr Keon West and body image expert Natasha Devon, a new naked TV show is on a quest to make us feel better about our bodies.

2013: BBC World Service - Across Jamaica's gay divide.
Psychologist Dr Keon West assesses the campaigns for and against gay rights in Jamaica.

Current major research project:

What does it mean to be heterosexual?

Funding Body: European Research Council
Amount: €746,048
Duration: 5 years
Type: Starting Grant (StG), SH3, ERC-2017-STG

Researchers Involved:
Dr Keon West (Principal Investigator)
Dr Martha Guevara (Post-doctoral Research Fellow)