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PhD projects

Human wildlife conflict, environmental sustainability, animal behaviour, identity and social belonging

Willing to speak to media

  • 533 Citations
  • 11 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile



Jackie obtained her first degree in Psychology from the University of Dundee. Her undergraduate dissertation was an exploration of SIT/SCT principles of identity, as applied to Scottish and English identity. This was later published in BJSP. She then went on to complete an MSc in Critical Social Psychology at Lancaster University. This expanded her knowledge of identity approaches within social psychology. She became particularly interested in discursive psychology during this time and upon completion of her MSc, she went to study for a PhD at Loughborough University, supervised by Professor Michael Billig. His book, Arguing and Thinking, had a profound influence upon the way that she hought about her chosen discipline. She completed her dissertation on identity and the BSE crisis in cattle, and from there was offered her first job as a Research Associate on a Leverhulme funded project about the impact of Scottish devolution upon notions of British, Scottish and English identity. Working with Professor Susan Condor and Professor David McCrone (Edinburgh University), this was a 5-year longitudinal project to monitor change in the population with respect to devolution. From here she was awarded her first lectureship at Lancaster University, in social psychology. She continued to research and publish work on identity.

More recently, she has become interested in conservation and lion reintroduction, and how social psychological models and concepts could be applied to this field. To improve my biological knowledge, she completed an MSc in Animal Behaviour, and took up a role with the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust as Director of Research. She has since published papers on conservation, reintroduction programmes, and identity. She is the lead author of the David Myers ‘Social Psychology’ textbook (European edition) which is now in its 2nd edition. In 2013 Jackie was approved as a member of the IUCN, SSC Conservation Planning and Specialist Group, who are a select group of experts responsible for conservation strategies throughout the world.  In 2016 she was nominated and elected onto the African Lion Working Group, representing the social sciences within the field of lion conservation.  She aims to continue championing the role of social sciences in conservation work, boradening the discipline to address this real-world problem, and apply theory and method to the study of human-animal relations and interactions.


Research Interests

Identity ; Conservation ; Social Psychology ; African Communities; Lion Reintroduction

Vision Statement


My research is based upon social psychological understandings of identity and how they guide behaviour. This has been studied in relation to national identity in the context of monarchy and national football. More recently I have applied social psychology theory and methods to wildlife (lion) conservation.   This research extends to the following inter-linked areas:

1) the design, implementation and assessment of an ex situ lion reintroduction model

2) in situ monitoring of existing wild lions - assessment of current populations, threats, human-wildlife conflict mitigation

3) protection and monitoring of biodiversity (including elephants, hyenas, deforestation/reforestation)

4) social development & education - designing and implementing interventions to derive incentives and benefits for local African communities and are affected by lions,  to protect and conserve lions.  These extend across the fields of literacy, conservation education and vocational skill training.

I have also applied the first social network analysis to the study of social cohesion within lion prides - vital to the management and understanding of pride behaviour.  My aim is to extend social psychological explanations for human behaviour to their relations with other species. By doing so, social psychology can contribute to global issues pertaining to environmental and conservation behavioural change.

Spotlight on Dr. Jackie Abell


I am currently the PGR Director and the MSc Course Director for Centre of Agroecology, Water & Resilience

Education/Academic qualification

MSc, Manchester Metropolitan University

30 Sep 201131 Aug 2013

Psychology, Doctorate, Loughborough University

31 Oct 200131 Jan 2000

MSc, Lancaster University

1 Sep 199531 Jul 1996

MA, University of Dundee

1 Oct 19911 Jun 1995

External positions

External PhD Supervisor, Nottingham Trent University

1 Sep 2018 → …

Director of Research, African Lion & Environmental Research Trust

31 Jul 201330 Jun 2018


  • BF Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Social Inclusion/Exclusion
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Behaviour and Attitude Change
  • human wildlife conflict
  • SF Animal culture
  • African Lions
  • Social Predators
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict /Coexistence
  • Reintroduction
  • Social networks
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • social psychology
  • Language
  • Communication
  • QH301 Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Environmental sustainability
  • L Education (General)
  • Literacy
  • Conservation Education
  • Developing Countries
  • Rural Communities
  • Problem-based learning
  • Pedagogy

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Research Output

  • 533 Citations
  • 11 h-Index
  • 28 Article
  • 4 Chapter
  • 3 Book
  • 1 Abstract

Evaluation of the use of psychometric scales to determine attitudes towards predators in human-wildlife interaction research

Whitehouse-Tedd, K., Abell, J. & Dunn, A., 19 May 2020, (Submitted) In : Conservation Biology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Social Psychology 3rd European Edition

    Abell, J., Sani, F. & Myers, D., 1 Jun 2020, (Accepted/In press) 3 ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    The Psychologists' Tree of Life: A Special Feature on Psychologists Working with Non-Human Animals. A Matter of Pride

    Abell, J., 1 Oct 2018, The Psychologist magazine, 31 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Open Access
  • An assessment of African lion Panthera leo sociality via social network analysis: prerelease monitoring for an ex situ reintroduction program

    Dunston, E., Abell, J., Doyle, R., Kirk, J., Hilley, V. B., Forsyth, A. & Jenkins, E., Jun 2017, In : Current Zoology. 63, 3, p. 301-311 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    40 Downloads (Pure)

    Does captivity influence territorial and hunting behaviour? Assessment for an ex-situ reintroduction program of African lions (Panthera leo)

    Dunston, E., Abell, J., Doyle, R., Duffy, D., Poynter, C., Kirk, J., Hilley, V., Forsyth, A., Jenkins, E., Mcallister, D. & Freire, R., Oct 2017, In : Mammal Review. 47, 4, p. 254-260 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    British Journal of Social Psychology (Journal)

    Jackie Abell (Associate Editor)
    1 Mar 2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    Social Psychology of Conservation and the Environment

    Jackie Abell (Speaker)
    13 Jul 202014 Aug 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventPublic Engagement Event

    Internal Reviewer

    Jackie Abell (Reviewer)
    1 Feb 2018

    Activity: OtherReviewer of proposals for funding

    Conserving Lions: Threats, Solutions & Social Networks

    Jackie Abell (Speaker)
    16 Nov 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Press / Media

    Lateral Magazine: The Pride of Africa

    Jackie Abell


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation in Zimbabwe

    Jackie Abell & James Bennett


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

    Can captive-bred lions contribute to saving the African lion?

    Jackie Abell


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Inside Track: taking steps towards a future for the African lion

    Jackie Abell


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Can captive-bred lions contribute to saving this vulnerable species?

    Jackie Abell


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    Wealth inequality and the super-rich: how talk about psychological concepts are used to legitimise extreme wealth

    Author: Carr, P., Apr 2019

    Supervisor: Goodman, S. (Supervisor), Jowett, A. (Supervisor) & Abell, J. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy