Kathryn B. Francis PhD


About Me

I am a psychologist through and through but also an advocate of interdisciplinary research. I am currently a lecturer in psychology at Keele University where I lecture social/moral psychology and research methods/statistics. I am a member of the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) and the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP). My research interests span topics across moral and social psychology and I am always looking for opportunities to collaborate. Please get in touch if you are looking to collaborative on a project.

I have extensive experience disseminating my research for both academic and public audiences. I welcome opportunities to deliver lectures, talks, and seminars in several areas of social, cognitive, and moral psychology. Please see my previous talks for more info.


Moral Inconsistency: I research the way in which people make decisions in difficult and emotionally aversive situations. Over the past 5 years, I have found that moral decisions in text-based moral dilemmas differ to moral decisions simulated in Virtual Reality (VR) moral dilemmas. Having discovered this moral inconsistency, I am now working on several related projects. The ultimate aim of this research is 1) to examine judgment-behaviour discrepancies across different moral/ethical contexts, 2) to determine what factors contribute to moral inconsistencies in these contexts, and 3) to investigate the use of Virtual Reality (and other technologies) as valid and reliable tool(s) to examine complex social actions.

Morality and medicine: In 2018, I published a paper examining the moral judgments of professionally trained individuals (paramedics and fire fighters) after research emerged claiming that they hold strong moral principles (e.g., doctors are deontological while healthcare management are utilitarian). This work has resulted in two streams of research interests: 1) whether moral judgments change with experience working in 'helping professions' and 2) whether there is an empathy crisis in medical/healthcare professionals. The aim of this research is to contribute to our understanding of empathy in medical/helping professionals and the overarching moral principles that guide professional practises.

Morality and Food Choice: In this line of research, we are examining what moral motivations drive certain food choices e.g., vegan and vegetarian diets. With the number of vegans quadrupling since 2014 and increasing calls for climate action, this research is topical with many applications for health promotion, food product development, animal welfare, environmental conservation, food sustainability, and future policy. The ultimate aim of this research is to understand the moral beliefs (e.g., attitudes towards animals, carnistic beliefs), moral emotions (e.g., disgust, elevation) and cognitive defence mechanisms (e.g., rationalisation) adopted by several dietary groups which will help us to develop an understanding of how morality affects food choices.


2014 - 2017

Plymouth University, UK

PhD Psychology

2012 - 2014

Bangor University, UK

MSc Psychological Research


2009 - 2012

Bangor University, UK

BSc Psychology

First Class Honour