Manuela Barreto

Centre Academic


I studied Work and Organizational Psychology at the University of Porto, Portugal, where I graduated in 1995. In 2000, I obtained a PhD in Social Psychology at the Free University, Amsterdam, funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship. I then worked at Leiden University, also in the Netherlands, where I became an Associate Professor and received the early career prize of the Dutch Psychology Association. I then felt the urge to go home, so in 2008 I joined the Centre for Social Research and Intervention, in Lisbon, as a full time researcher, after which I came to the University of Exeter, in 2011, as a Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology.

At Exeter, I have led one of the themes of Exeter’s interdisciplinary (HASS) research strategy in the social sciences and humanities, sat on the University’s Athena Swan Working Group, and am the current Head of the Psychology Department. Beyond Exeter, I have served on the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology (2011-2017) of which I was also President (2014-2017).

I have a good sense of how it is to work in different contexts and conditions, and a deep commitment to diversity and the support of those who live and work in conditions less privileged than my own.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the interplay between identity, social disadvantage, social relations, and wellbeing. For example, I am interested in understanding how people’s sense of identity can affect their relationships with others and what role stigma plays in this process. I am also interested in how we might be able to facilitate a strong sense of belonging among those who are most at risk of isolation and in the process through which this might facilitate healthy lives. A concrete line of work I am currently developing that brings together all of these interests involves transgender populations and gender identity services.

Methodologically, my expertise lies predominantly in quantitative methods (experiments, cross-sectional, and longitudinal surveys) and behavioural observations (to examine dynamics of actual social interactions), but I am also interested in using, and learning about, other methods such as qualitative methods and social network analysis.

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