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Dr Catarina Thomson

MPsych PhD

Senior Lecturer in Security and Strategic Studies


01392 725595

My background is in clinical psychology and international relations. My approach to security studies incorporates political psychology and domestic factors to understand the strategic behaviour of state and non-state actors in times of international conflict. I have researched the formation of public preferences regarding the use of different coercive foreign policies, as well as the role public preferences play in the dynamics of civil, inter-state conflicts, humanitarian interventions and terrorism. I have also examined how warring parties’ concern with international legitimacy can improve the treatment of prisoners of war in times of civil conflict.

I am keen on building links between academia and the policy community, and have worked as a consultant for National Security Innovations (NSI) in the United States. In 2014 I was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders early career grant (£176,030.67) to pursue a project titled  ‘Constraints on the Design of Security Policy: Insights from Audience Costs Theory and Security and Defence Elites in the United Kingdom’. In this three-year multi-methods project I examine how security policy is developed in the United Kingdom, and suggest areas for improvement.

Research supervision

I am happy to consider supervision on projects related to my areas of expertise and interest, particularly employing quantitative and experimental methods. Of particular interest would be dissertations pertaining to coercive foreign policies and political psychology.


Texas A&M University, College Station, USA (2007-2012) PhD in Political Science. Fields: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Political Psychology, Experimental Methods.

Dr. Jose Horwitz Barak Psychiatric Institute, Santiago, Chile (2005-2006) Two-year post-baccalaureate program leading to accreditation in Clinical Psychology. College of Clinical Psychology Reg. 3144.

Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile (2003-2004) Masters in Clinical Psychology. Masters awarded with highest honours, ranked first of 86 students.

Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile (1999-2002) B.A., Psychology.

Research Grants and Awards:

University of Exeter ADR Strategic Fund (2014) for collaborative project “What is Peace Worth? Decision-making and the Relocation of Out-Group Populations in Times of Crises.”

Future Research Leaders grant
(ES/L010879/1), Economic and Social Research Council £176,030 (Oct 1 2014-Sept 30 2017) for project “Constraints on the Design of Security Policy: Insights from Audience Costs Theory and Security and Defence Elites in the United Kingdom.”

Excellence in Teaching Award
. Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University (Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

Doctoral Dissertation Grant, National Science Foundation (SES-1123291) (2011).

Texas A&M University Dissertation Fellowship (2011-2012).

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