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Department of Psychology

My research examines the cogntive and emotional processes that animate cooperation and conflict. 

Most recently, I have been investigating how implicit game theories, such as zero-sum mindset, underpin political polarization and intergroup hostility, inhibit trust and cooperation, and erode democratic and economic flourishing. This research is currently supervised by Dr. David Good and is supported by The ESRC project “Rebuilding Macroeconomics: Social Macroeconomics” in collaboration with Sir Paul Collier and Professor Dennis Snower. This work is also being applied in my capacity as a guest expert for BRIDGE (Building resilience to reduce polarisation and growing extremism) project for EFUS (European Forum for Urban Security) and for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).


My interest in how psychological processes can shape real-world realities first emerged from my background in journalism and media. This short career afforded me invaluable opportunities to work with organizations like CNN, TIME Inc., and Room to Read, and in countries across the globe. This career also impressed upon me the power of subjective interpretations and narratives to shape motivations and behaviors that shape our society. Before coming to Cambridge I studied social psychology as a post-baccalaureate scholar at UC Berkeley in the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Laboratory directed by Professor Iris Mauss and Professor Oliver John. Outside of academia, I am a certified conflict mediator in San Francisco, mediating disputes between police officers and citizens through the Department of Police Accountability. 


Earlier degrees:

UC Berkeley - Post-Baccalaureate in Psychology
University of Oxford - Master's Degree in the Study of Religions
University of Georgia - Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
University of Georgia - Bachelor of Arts in Religion


Research Topics of Interest: social status, trust, democracy, social cohesion, cooperation, conflict, stress, emotion regulation, implicit theories, cognitive complexity, hostile attribution bias

Research Methodologies: experimental methods, field interventions, psychometric scale development, multi-national surveys, behavioral economic games, geospatial data analysis, linguistic analysis


Key publications: 

Andrews Fearon, P. & Davidai, S. (2021). Is Status a Zero-Sum Game? Zero-sum beliefs about social hierarchies increase preferences for dominance but not prestige [Manuscript submitted for publication].

Savage, S., & Andrews Fearon, P. (2021). Increasing cognitive complexity and meta-awareness among at-risk youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to reduce risk of extremism and interethnic tension. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 27(2), 225–239. 

Andrews Fearon, P., Götz, F. M., Serapio-García, G., Good, D. (2021). Zero-Sum Mindset & Its Discontents. Rebuilding Macroecnomics: Social Macroeconomics Working Paper Series – SM-WP-2021-001.

Andrews Fearon, P., Götz, F. M., & Good, D. (2020). Pivotal moment for trust in science-don't waste it. Nature, 580(7804), 456-457.

Andrews Fearon, P., Boyd-MacMillan, E.M. (2016). Complexity Under Stress: Integrative Approaches to Overdetermined Vulnerabilities. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 3.

Boyd-MacMillan, E. M., Andrews Fearon, P., Ptolomey, A. M., & Mathieson, L. J. (2016). I SEE! Scotland: Tackling sectarianism and promoting community psychosocial health. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 53-78.

Other publications: 

Andrews Fearon, P., & Good, D., “Ground Zero” Public Finance Magazine, July, 2021.

Andrews Fearon, P., Boyd-MacMillan, E., DeMarinis, V. , Knerich, V., Nordendahl, M. “How to engage in meaningful research and policy collaborations” EFUS Publications, May, 2021

Andrews Fearon, P., “Fighting Fire with Fire? The Role of Counter Narratives” Peace Direct Publications: Peacebuilding and Violent Extremism, May 2017.

Andrews Fearon, P., “Why You May Care More About Education Than You Realize” Skoll World Forum, November 2014.

Teaching and Supervisions


Organisational Behaviour Supervisor – Management Studies Tripos -  2017

Research supervision: 

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos Research Dissertation Supervisor, 2017 - 2020

Other Professional Activities

GATES CAMBRIDGE, Co-Director of Learning for Purpose Program, 2018-2019
Directed leadership and professional development training for Gates Scholars

  • Organized series of speakers and panel discussions on the future of leadership, including topics such as “Decolonising Leadership” and “Gender and Leadership”
  • Organized skill-building workshops in R coding, negotiation, listening, user-centered design

EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Radicalisation Awareness Network, Expert Pool, 2018 – present

PEACE DIRECT, Guest expert for Research and Practice Symposium and written report: “Peacebuilding and Violent Extremism,” 2017

DPA (Department of Police Accountability), Conflict Mediator - Facilitating mediations between police officers and citizens, San Francisco, Calif., 2014 - 2017

CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR SCIENCE & POLICY, Academic consultant for policy interviews as part of CSaP network, 2015 – present


PhD student
Available for consultancy