Professor Keon West

Staff details

Position Professor
Department Psychology
Email keon.west (
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 3103
Professor Keon West

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

Teaching and Supervision

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

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

West, Keon and Kukawska, Eliza. 2022. Good nudes and bad nudes: How naturism, casual stripping, and sexting predict social physique anxiety and body appreciation. Sexuality & Culture, 26(6), pp. 2151-2170. ISSN 1095-5143

Greenland, Katy; West, Keon and van Laar, Colette. 2022. Definitional boundaries of discrimination: Tools for deciding what constitutes discrimination (and what doesn't). Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 52(10), pp. 945-964. ISSN 0021-9029

Hotchin, Victoria and West, Keon. 2022. Open to Contact? Increased State Openness Can Lead to Greater Interest in Contact With Diverse Groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 48(8), pp. 1177-1190. ISSN 0146-1672

Wallrich, Lukas; West, Keon and Rutland, Adam. 2022. Valuing diversity: an undervalued mediator of intergroup contact. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(1), pp. 160-173. ISSN 0046-2772

West, Keon and Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia. 2022. When cisgender, heterosexual men feel attracted to transgender women: Sexuality-norm violations lead to compensatory anti-gay prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 69(13), pp. 2267-2285. ISSN 0091-8369

West, Keon; Greenland, Katy; van Laar, Colette and Barnoth, Ditte. 2022. It's only discrimination when they do it to us: When White men use ingroup-serving double standards in definitional boundaries of discrimination. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(4), pp. 735-747. ISSN 0046-2772

West, Keon; Greenland, Katy and van Laar, Colette. 2021. Implicit racism, colour blindness, and narrow definitions of discrimination: Why some White people prefer ‘All Lives Matter’ to ‘Black Lives Matter'. British Journal of Social Psychology, 60(4), pp. 1136-1153. ISSN 0144-6665

Wallrich, Lukas; West, Keon and Rutland, Adam. 2021. Civic understanding mediates of the effect of educational tracks on voting intentions in German schools. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 20(2), pp. 84-102. ISSN 2047-1734

West, Keon; Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia; Morton, Thomas and Greenland, Katy. 2021. Fragile Heterosexuality. Social Psychology, 52(3), pp. 143-161. ISSN 1864-9335

Hotchin, Victoria and West, Keon. 2021. Reflecting on nostalgic, positive, and novel experiences increases state Openness. Journal of Personality, 89(2), pp. 258-275. ISSN 0022-3506

Bowman, Jonathan and West, Keon. 2021. Brexit: The influence of motivation to respond without prejudice, willingness to disagree, and attitudes to immigration. British Journal of Social Psychology, 60(1), pp. 222-247. ISSN 0144-6665

Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia and West, Keon. 2021. Masculinity threat: understanding why Jamaican men report more anti-gay prejudice than Jamaican women. Journal of Gender Studies, 30(3), pp. 292-305. ISSN 0958-9236

West, Keon. 2021. I feel better naked: Communal naked activity increases body appreciation by reducing social physique anxiety. Journal of Sex Research, 58(8), pp. 958-966. ISSN 0022-4499

West, Keon. 2020. A nudity-based intervention to improve body image, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. International Journal of Happiness and Development, 6(2), pp. 162-172.

West, Keon. 2020. Beyond Homophobia: Refreshing Perspectives on a Well-Worn Topic. Social and Economic Studies, 69(1-2), ISSN 0037-7651

Wallrich, Lukas; West, Keon and Rutland, Adam. 2020. Painting All Foreigners With One Brush? How the Salience of Muslims and Refugees Shapes Judgements. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 8(1), pp. 246-265. ISSN 2195-3325

Eaton, Asia A.; Saunders, Jessica F.; Jacobson, Ryan K. and West, Keon. 2020. How Gender and Race Stereotypes Impact the Advancement of Scholars in STEM: Professors’ Biased Evaluations of Physics and Biology Post-doctoral Candidates. Sex Roles, 82(3-4), pp. 127-141. ISSN 0360-0025

Banton, Olivia; West, Keon and Kinney, Ellie. 2020. The surprising politics of anti-immigrant prejudice: How political conservatism moderates the effect of immigrant race and religion on infrahumanisation judgements. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(1), pp. 157-170. ISSN 0144-6665

West, Keon. 2020. Does Contact Matter?: The Relative Importance of Contact in Predicting Anti-Gay Prejudice in Jamaica. Journal of Homosexuality, 67(4), pp. 468-488. ISSN 0091-8369

West, Keon. 2020. Interethnic bias in willingness to engage in casual sex versus committed relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 57(4), pp. 409-420. ISSN 0022-4499

Banton, Olivia and West, Keon. 2020. Gendered Perceptions of Sexual Abuse: Investigating the Effect of Offender, Victim and Observer Gender on the Perceived Seriousness of Child Sexual Abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 29(3), pp. 247-262. ISSN 1053-8712

West, Keon. 2019. Testing hypersensitive responses: Ethnic minorities are not more sensitive to microaggressions, they just experience them more frequently. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(11), pp. 1619-1632. ISSN 0146-1672

West, Keon and Eaton, Asia. 2019. Prejudiced and unaware of it: Evidence for the Dunning-Kruger model in the domains of racism and sexism. Personality and Individual Differences, 146, pp. 111-119. ISSN 0191-8869

Bowman, Jonathan and West, Keon. 2019. Prime and prejudice: Brief stereotypical media representations can increase prejudicial attitudes and behaviour towards people with schizophrenia. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 29(3), pp. 167-177. ISSN 1052-9284

Hotchin, Victoria and West, Keon. 2018. Openness and Intellect Differentially Predict Right-Wing Authoritarianism. Personality and Individual Differences, 124, pp. 117-123. ISSN 0191-8869

West, Keon. 2018. Naked and Unashamed: Investigations and Applications of the Effects of Naturist Activities on Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 19(3), pp. 677-697. ISSN 1389-4978

West, Keon. 2018. Understanding and reducing sexual prejudice in Jamaica: Theoretical and practical insights from a severely anti-gay society. The Journal of Sex Research (Annual Review of Sex Research Special Issue), 55(4-5), pp. 472-485. ISSN 0022-4499

West, Keon and Lloyd, Joda. 2017. The role of labelling bias in the portrayals of acts of 'terrorism': representations of Muslims versus non-Muslims. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 37(2), pp. 211-222. ISSN 1360-2004

West, Keon; Hotchin, Victoria and Chantelle, Wood. 2017. Imagined contact can be more effective for participants with stronger initial prejudices. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(5), pp. 282-292. ISSN 0021-9029

Taschler, Miriam and West, Keon. 2017. Contact with Counter-Stereotypical Women Predicts Less Sexism, Less Rape Myth Acceptance, Less Intention to Rape (in Men) and Less Projected Enjoyment of Rape (in Women). Sex Roles, 76(7-8), pp. 473-484. ISSN 0360-0025

West, Keon and Greenland, Katie. 2016. Beware of ‘reducing prejudice’: Imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 46(10), pp. 583-592. ISSN 0021-9029

West, Keon. 2016. Jamaica, Three Years Later: Effects of Intensified Pro-Gay Activism on Severe Prejudice Against Lesbians and Gay Men. The Journal of Sex Research, 53(9), pp. 1107-1117. ISSN 0022-4499

West, Keon. 2016. Sexual restrictions beyond anti-gay prejudice: Anal sex, oral sex, masculinity and sexual prejudice in Jamaica. International Journal of Sexual Health, 28(4), pp. 278-285. ISSN 1931-7611

West, Keon; Turner, Rhiannon and Levita, Liat. 2015. Applying imagined contact to improve physiological responses in anticipation of intergroup interactions and the perceived quality of these interactions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(8), 425 - 436. ISSN 0021-9029

West, Keon; Husnu, Shenel and Lipps, Garth. 2015. Imagined contact works in high-prejudice contexts: Investigating imagined contact’s effects on anti-gay prejudice in Cyprus and Jamaica. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 12(1), pp. 60-69. ISSN 1868-9884

West, Keon; Hewstone, Miles and Lolliot, Simon. 2014. Intergroup Contact and Prejudice Against People With Schizophrenia. The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(3), pp. 217-232. ISSN 0022-4545

West, Keon and Cowell, Noel. 2014. Predictors of Prejudice Against Lesbians and Gay Men in Jamaica. The Journal of Sex Research, 52(3), pp. 296-305. ISSN 0022-4499

West, Keon and Turner, Rhiannon. 2014. Using extended contact to improve physiological responses and behavior toward people with schizophrenia. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50, pp. 57-64. ISSN 00221031

Turner, Rhiannon N.; West, Keon and Christie, Zara. 2013. Out-group trust, intergroup anxiety, and out-group attitude as mediators of the effect of imagined intergroup contact on intergroup behavioral tendencies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, E196-E205. ISSN 00219029

Evans-Lacko, S.; Malcolm, E.; West, Keon; Rose, D.; London, J.; Rusch, N.; Little, K.; Henderson, C. and Thornicroft, G.. 2013. Influence of Time to Change's social marketing interventions on stigma in England 2009-2011. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 202(s55), s77-s88. ISSN 0007-1250

West, Keon and Bruckmüller, Susanne. 2013. Nice and easy does it: How perceptual fluency moderates the effectiveness of imagined contact. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(2), pp. 254-262. ISSN 00221031

Turner, R. N. and West, Keon. 2012. Behavioural consequences of imagining intergroup contact with stigmatized outgroups. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15(2), pp. 193-202. ISSN 1368-4302

West, Keon and Hewstone, Miles. 2012. Culture and contact in the promotion and reduction of anti-gay prejudice: evidence from Jamaica and Britain. Journal of homosexuality, 59(1), pp. 44-66. ISSN 1540-3602

West, Keon and Hewstone, Miles. 2011. Relatively Socially Acceptable Prejudice Within and Between Societies. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22(3), pp. 269-282. ISSN 10529284

West, Keon; Holmes, Emily A. and Hewstone, M.. 2011. Enhancing imagined contact to reduce prejudice against people with schizophrenia. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 14(3), pp. 407-428. ISSN 1368-4302

West, Keon. 2011. Book Review: H. Giles, S. Reid, and J. Harwood (Eds.) The Dynamics of Intergroup Communication New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2010. 344 pp. IBSN 978-1-4331-0398-8 (hardcover), 978-1-4331-0397-1 (paperback). Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 30(2), pp. 240-243. ISSN 0261-927X

West, Keon; Hewstone, Miles and Holmes, Emily A.. 2010. Rethinking 'Mental Health Stigma'. The European Journal of Public Health, 20(2), pp. 131-132. ISSN 1101-1262

Further profile content

Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups

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.

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.

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)

Articles related to Professor Keon West