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Psychology Postgraduate Studies

Elaine Kinsella Web Name: Elaine Kinsella

Present Position: PhD Student
Qualifications:  MSc Occupational Psychology from John Moores University, Liverpool; BSc Psychology (First Class Honours) from Queen's University, Belfast








Postal Address: Department of Psychology  Computer Science Building, Room CS2-045 
University of Limerick, Castletroy, Co. Limerick, Ireland 

Telephone: 00353 (0) 61233353


Linked-In Profile:


Doctoral Supervisors: Dr. Timothy D. Ritchie & Dr. Eric R. Igou



I graduated with First Class Honours in Psychology (BSc) from Queen's University, Belfast in 2005. The following year I successfully graduated with an MSc degree in Occupational Psychology at John Moore's University, Liverpool. I took up the role of Occupational Psychologist at Personnel Decisions International (PDI), a global human resources consultancy firm, in London at the beginning of 2007. I joined the University of Limerick in September 2009 as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Timothy D. Ritchie and Dr. Eric R. Igou.

Research Area & Interests: Heroism, inspiration, influential people, self-regulation


Research Summary:

The prevalence of the concept of heroes suggests that it is of psychological importance to humankind (Sullivan & Venter, 2005). Recently, 66% of adults sampled across twenty-five countries admitted to having at least one hero (Kinsella, Ritchie, & Igou, 2010). Most young people have a hero (Bromnick & Swallow, 1999). Heroism, however, remains a mostly unexplored topic of psychology (Blau, Franco & Zimbardo, 2009; Becker & Eagly, 2004; Sullivan & Venter, 2005). With the prominence of economic changes, environmental disasters and political scandals, people are seeking out and celebrating sources of positive influence - oftentimes in the form of heroes. To reflect the spirit of the times, my doctoral research focuses on the prototypical characteristics and psychological functions provided by heroes. My latest projects focus on examining specific psychological functions of heroes (e.g., inspiring people) in lab and applied settings. I am interested in examining ways of using heroes as a psychological resource for people experiencing threats to their psychological well-being.


Research Groups:

Self-regulation Research Group

Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab (09/2009 - 11/2010)


Courses Taught

Practical Psychology 1 (PS4042), Practical Psychology 2 (PS4052), Psychology of Everyday Life (PS4031), Psychology and Social Issues (PS4032)


Professional Membership

European Association of Social Psychology (EASP)

British Psychological Psychology (BPS)

BPS Division of Occupational Psychology

Social Psychology and Personality Society (SPSP)




Kinsella. E. L. (2005). Explicit and Implicit Anti-Fat Bias Among Secondary Students

and University Students. BSc Thesis (supervised by Dr. John Kremer, graded with First Class Honour)

Kinsella. E. L. (2007). The Social Networks of Researchers: Bridging Structural

Holes to Facilitate Progress in Academic Fields. MSc Thesis (sponsored by

SHL Group Ltd.).



Academic Publications

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., and Igou, E. R. (2011). Conceptions of heroes: A prototype

approach. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., and Igou, E. R. (2011). The psychological and social functions

of heroes. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, University of

Limerick, Ireland. 

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., and Igou, E. R. (2011). A conceptual review of heroes.

Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland.


Kinsella, E. L., and Ritchie, T. D. (2011). Social heroism at work: Prosocial and aggressive

whistleblowing. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland.


Conference Presentations


Kinsella, E.L., Ritchie, T.D. & Igou, E.R. (2012, January). Superman, Mother Teresa &

Mom: What psychosocial functions are provided by our heroes? Poster accepted for presentation at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, California.


Kinsella, E.L., Ritchie, T.D. & Igou, E.R. (2011, September). The psychological and

social functions of heroes. Presentation at the BPS Social Psychology Section conference, Cambridge, UK. 

Kinsella, E.L., Ritchie, T.D. & Igou, E.R. (2011, September). Conceptions of heroes: A

prototype approach. Invited speaker at social psychological seminar, hosted by the Department of Psychology, UL.

Kinsella, E.L., Ritchie, T.D. & Igou, E.R. (2011, August). Conceptions of heroes: A

prototype approach. Presentation at the 13th ESCON Transfer of

Knowledge Conference, Sligo, Ireland.

Kinsella, E.L., Ritchie, T.D. & Igou, E.R. (2011). The characteristics of persons of

influence: A look at heroes, role-models and leaders. Poster session presented at the 16th Annual General Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden.

Kinsella, E. L., Ritchie, T. D., and Igou, E. R. (2010). Essential features and

psychological functions of heroes. Poster session presented at the Annual BPS Conference (Northern Ireland division). Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.


Kinsella. E. L. (2008). Social networks: Improving the flow of information and

knowledge through your organisation. Presentation to the Board of Directors at

Personnel Decisions International Corporation. 

Kinsella. E. L. (2007). The Social networks of researchers: Bridging structural holes to

facilitate progress in academic fields. Presentation of research findings and

implications to the research department at SHL Group Ltd., UK.

Kinsella, E. L. and Kremer, J. (2005). Explicit and implicit anti-fat bias among

secondary students and university students. Presented at the Psychological Society of Ireland 27th Annual Students' Congress (2005) and abstract published in The Irish Psychologist, 31.



Additional Qualifications and Experience

Member of Department of Psychology (UL) Ethics Board

SPSS, AMOS, Ucinet 6, MediaLab v2008, Direct RTTM

Postgraduate degree modules in Advanced Analysis for Psychology

UL Social Science Research Methods and Statistics 2-week programme

BPS Level A and B Certificates in Psychometric Testing

Counselling Skills (12-week course)

Facilitation  Skills Training (1 Day workshop)

Co-Chair13th European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) Transfer of Knowledge Conference in Sligo, Ireland, 24-28 August 2011 



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