Researchers at UCD


Michael O'Connell

Associate Professor

School Of Psychology
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168499


1985-1989 BA (Ist class Hons, Graduate Psychology Prize) Psychology and Sociology, Trinity College, Dublin University
M.Sc in Social Psychology, with Distinction, from the London School of Economics
1993-1996 Ph.D (The Public Perception of Crime) awarded, Trinity College, Dublin University
1991:1993 Research Fellow: Brunel University, West London
1993:1999 Lecturer in Social Psychology, Department of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin University
1999: 2005 Lecturer in Social Psychology, Department of Psychology, UCD, Dublin
2005:Present Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, UCD, Dublin


Honours and Awards

Year: 1997.
Title: Guest editor, Irish Criminal Law Journal
Year: 1989.
Title: Graduate Psychology Prize - Trinity College Dublin


Employer: University College Dublin.
Position: Lecturer in Social Psychology
Employer: Trinity College Dublin
Position: Lecturer in Social Psychology
Employer: Brunel University
Position: Research Fellow


Year 1996 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject:
Year 1998 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: H.Dip.Stats Subject: Statistics
Year 1989 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: BA Subject:
Year 1991 Institution: London School of Economics & Political Science, UK
Qualification: MSc Subject:



Moran, A. P., and O'Connell, M.; (2006) Timeless Wisdom: What Irish Proverbs Tell Us About Ourselves. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Available Online [Details]
Michael O'Connell; (2003) Right-Wing Ireland ? The Rise of Populism in Ireland and Europe. Dublin: The Liffey Press. Dublin: Liffey Press. [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2001) Changed Utterly: Ireland and the New Irish Psyche. Dublin: The Liffey Press. Available Online [Details]
MacLachlan, M. & O'Connell, M.; (2000) Cultivating Pluralism: Psychological, Social & Cultural Perspectives on a changing Ireland. Dublin: Oak Tree Press. [Details]
Ivana Bacik, Michael O'Connell; (1998) Crime and poverty in Ireland. Dublin: Round Hall, Sweet and Maxwell. [Details]

Book Chapters

O'Connell, M., Winston, N.; (2006) 'Changing attitudes towards minorities in Ireland (Chapter one)' In: J. Garry, N. Hardiman, D. Payne (eds). Irish Social and Political Attitudes. Liverpool: University of Liverpool. , pp.4-19 Available Online [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2002) 'The portrayal of crime in the media: Does it matter ?' In: P. O'Mahony (eds). Criminal Justice in Ireland. Dublin: IPA. , pp.245-267 Available Online [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2002) 'Assessment of the crime rate in Ireland: Issues and considerations' In: P. O'Mahony (eds). Criminal Justice in Ireland. Dublin: IPA. , pp.116-133 Available Online [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2002) 'Social Psychological Principles: the Group Inside the Person' In: R. Fuller, J. Santos (eds). Human Factors for Highway Engineers. London: Pergamon. , pp.201-215 Available Online [Details]
Casey, S. & M. O'Connell,; (2000) 'Pain and prejudice: Assessing the experience of racism in Ireland' In: in M. MacLachlan & M. OConnell (Eds.), Dublin: Oak Tree Press (eds). Cultivating Pluralism: Psychological, Social & Cultural Perspectives on a changing Ireland. Dublin: Oak Tree Press. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Brandon, A.; O'Connell, M.F. (2017) 'Same Crime: Different Punishment? Investigating Sentencing Disparities Between Irish and Non-Irish Nationals in the Irish Criminal Justice System'. British Journal of Criminology, . [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, Michael (2017) 'The power of cognitive ability in explaining educational test performance, relative to other ostensible contenders'. Intelligence, . [DOI] [Details]
Harrington, B.; O'Connell, M. (2016) 'Video games as virtual teachers: Prosocial video game use by children and adolescents from different socioeconomic groups is associated with increased empathy and prosocial behaviour'. Computers in Human Behavior, 63 :650-658. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
O'Féich, P; O'Connell, M (2015) 'Changes in Roman Catholic Beliefs and Practices in Ireland between 1981 and 2008 and the Emergence of the Liberal Catholic'. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 30 (2):231-247. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
McTiernan, K; O'Connell, M (2015) 'An interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring the lived experience of individuals dying from terminal cancer in Ireland'. Palliative and Supportive Care, 13 (3):641-651. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
O'Riordan, C; O'Connell, M (2014) 'Predicting adult involvement in crime: Personality measures are significant, socio-economic measures are not'. Personality and Individual Differences, 68 :98-101. [DOI] [Details]
Cheevers, C.; O'Connell, M. (2013) 'Developing an Index of Well-Being for Nine-Year-Old Irish Children'. Child Indicators Research, 6 (2):213-236. [DOI] [Details]
Gerber, SJ,O'Connell, M (2012) 'Protective processes: the function of young people's implicit theories of crime in offending behaviour'. Psychology, Crime and Law, 18 :781-795. [DOI] [Details]
Sinnamon, S., Moran, A., and O'Connell, M.; (2012) 'Flow among musicians: Measuring peak experiences of student performers'. Journal of Research in Music Education, 60 (1):6-25. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Freeney, Y; O'Connell, M (2012) 'The predictors of the intention to leave school early among a representative sample of Irish second-level students'. British Educational Research Journal, 38 (4):557-574. [DOI] [Details]
Freeney, Y. and O'Connell, M.; (2011) 'The intention to leave education early among Irish Junior Certificate Students: Variation by school'. Irish Educational Studies, 30 (3):305-321. [Details]
O'Connell, M. and Sheikh, H.; (2011) ''Big Five' personality dimensions and social attainment: Evidence from beyond the campus'. Personality and Individual Differences, 50 :828-833. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2011) 'How do high-skilled natives view high-skilled immigrants? A test of trade theory predictions'. European Journal of Political Economy, 27 (2):230-240. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Freeney, Y. and O'Connell, M.; (2010) 'Wait for it: Delay-discounting and academic performance among an Irish adolescent sample'. Learning and Individual Differences, 20 :231-236. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, M. and Synnott, J.; (2009) 'A position of influence: Variation in offender identification rates by location in a lineup'. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 6 :139-149. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, M. and Sheikh, H.; (2009) 'Non-cognitive abilities and early school dropout: longitudinal evidence from NELS'. Educational Studies, 35 (4):475-479. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Meade, S. and O'Connell, M.; (2008) 'Complex and contradictory accounts: The Social Representations of immigrants and ethnic minorities held by Irish Teenagers'. Translocations: Migration and Social Change, 4 (1):70-85. [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Sheikh, H.; (2008) 'Achievement-related attitudes and the fate of "at-risk" groups in society'. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29 :508-521. [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Sheikh, H.; (2007) 'Growth in career earnings and the role of achievement-related traits'. Journal of Economic Psychology, 28 :590-605. [Details]
O'Connell, M; (2005) 'Economic forces and anti-immigrant attitudes in Western Europe: a paradox in search of an explanation'. Patterns of Prejudice, 39 :60-74. [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, M; (2004) 'Fairly satisfied: Economic equality, wealth and satisfaction'. Journal of Economic Psychology, 25 :297-305. [DOI] [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2003) 'Anti-social capital: Civic values versus economic equality in the EU'. European Sociological Review, 19 (3):241-248. Available Online [Details]
Leddy, J. & O'Connell, M.; (2002) 'The prevalence, nature and psychological correlates of bullying in Irish prisons'. LEGAL AND CRIMINOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 7 :131-140. [Details]
Curry, P; O'Connell, MF; ; (2000) 'Post-materialist values and political preference: Some unlikely findings from Northern Ireland'. European Journal of Political Research, 37 (1):19-30. [Details]
OConnell, M.; (1999) 'Is Irish public opinion towards crime distorted by media bias?'. European Journal of Communication, 14 :191-212. [Details]
Casey, S. & O'Connell, M.; (1999) 'The influence of consequentiality on perceptions of crime seriousness'. LEGAL AND CRIMINOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 4 :265-271. [Details]
O'Connell, M., Invernizzi, F. & Fuller, R.; (1998) 'Newspaper readership and the perception of crime: Testing an assumed relationship through a triangulation of methods'. LEGAL AND CRIMINOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 3 :29-57. [Details]
Houghton, S., O'Connell, M. & O'Flaherty, A.; (1998) 'The use of the Child Depression Inventory in an Irish context'. IRISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY, 19 :313-331. [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (1997) 'The raw and the cooked - two types of public opinion'. PSR (Papers on Social Representations, Textes sur les representations sociales), 6 :37-49. Available Online [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Whelan, A.T.; (1997) 'The public perception of crime prevalence, newspaper readership and mean world attitudes'. LEGAL AND CRIMINOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 1 :179-195. [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Whelan, A.T.; (1996) 'Taking wrongs seriously: The public perceptions of crime seriousness'. BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY, 36 :299-318. [Details]

Other Journals

Harrington, B., Bramham, J., & O¿Connell, M. (2015) 'The developmental course of the empathy-altruism hypothesis: the relationship between the development of children¿s empathic concern and altruistic behaviours' Cork Journal of Applied Psychology :14-26. [Details]
O'Connell, M., and Moran, A.; (2008) 'Irish proverbs - what they really say about us' Irish Roots 65 :8-9. Available Online [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Kirwan, G.; (2001) 'Crime victimisation in Dublin revisited' Irish Criminal Law Journal 11 (2) :10-133. [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (2000) 'The volume of crime in Ireland - Crime surveys and official figures' Irish Criminal Law Journal 10 (2) :7-11. [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (1997) 'Guest editor's foreword' Irish Criminal Law Journal :2-3. [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (1997) 'Crime and poverty in Ireland: An analysis of the association between community deprivation, District Court appearance and sentence severity' Irish Criminal Law Journal 7 (1) :4-32. [Details]
O'Connell, M. & Whelan, A.T.; (1994) 'Crime victimisation in Dublin' Irish Criminal Law Journal 4 (1) :85-112. [Details]

Conference Publications

S. Cromie, D.W. Forrest, A.G. Gallagher, M. O'Connell, J. Quigley, H.V. Smith, K.J. Tierney and T.J. Timble; Fifth European Congress of Psychology Abstracts Fifth European Congress of Psychology, 1997 UCD, Dublin, [Details]
Egan, A., Moran, A., Hennessy, E., O'Connell, M.; (2005) Evaluating a learning skills intervention for First Year students in University College, Dublin European Conference on Educational Research , 05-AUG-05 - 09-AUG-05 [Details]
Egan, A., Moran, A., Hennessy, E., O'Connell, M.; (2005) Evaluating a learning skills intervention for First Year students in University College, Dublin European Conference on Educational Research , 05-AUG-05 - 09-AUG-05 [Details]
Egan, A., Moran, A., Hennessy, E., O'Connell, M.; (2005) The design, implementation and evaluation of a learning skills intervention for First Year Psychology students European Conference on Educational Research , 05-SEP-05 - 10-SEP-05 [Details]
Egan, A., Moran, A., Hennessy, E., and O'Connell, M.; (2004) The design, implementation and evaluation of a critical thinking programme for Psychology students 35th Annual Conference of The Psychological Society of Ireland Cork, , 18-NOV-04 [Details]

Published Reports

O'Friel, E; O'Connell, M; Foody, M; O'Higgins Norman, J (2018) Sibling Bullying. ABC, National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, DCU, Dublin. [Details]
Freeney, Y. and O'Connell, M.; (2009) Psychological, Economic and Academic Predictors of the Intention to Leave School Early among a Sample of Irish Students. Combat Poverty Agency, Dublin. Available Online [Details]


Corbett, C., OConnell, M. & Simon, F.; (1998) The deterrence of high speed driving: A criminological perspective. Berkshire: Reports [Details]
O'Connell, M.; (1998) Victims and Sentencing. Dublin: Reports [Details]


Research Interests

Social psychology including attitudes
Widespread beliefs and intergroup relations
Psychological Aspects of Wealth and Poverty
Political psychology
Psychological aspects of the criminal justice system and the public perception of crime

Research Projects

Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : Racism and Criminal Justice: Investigating the Impact of Implicit Racism on Irish Punitive Attitudes
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-16 / 30-SEP-17
Sponsor : Combat Poverty Agency
Title : The Influence of Educational-Related Beliefs on Persistence versus Drop-Out from Secondary School.
Start Date / End Date : 01-AUG-08 / 30-SEP-09
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : The influence of educational related beliefs in persistence versus drop out from secondary school
Start Date / End Date : 26-MAY-08 / 01-DEC-09
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Assessing the Public Understanding and Experience of Crime
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAR-01 / 30-SEP-01
Sponsor : Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
Title : The European Social Survey, Second Round
Start Date / End Date : 01-JAN-05 / 31-DEC-05
Sponsor : RTE
Title : Images of disability in the media
Start Date / End Date : 01-SEP-98 / 31-AUG-02
Sponsor : RTE
Title : Images of disability in the media and the public's perception of it
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-00 / 30-SEP-02

Recent Postgraduates

  • Padraig O'Feich, PhD successfully defended in Viva, August 2016
  • Brian Harrington M.Litt, (2013-2015)
  • Carly Cheevers PhD, Ad Astra Scholar (2011-2014)
  • Arjan Gjonaj, PhD (2007-2011)
  • Eileen Doyle Walsh, PhD (2003-2006), jointly supervised with Dr Eilis Hennessy


Teaching Philosophy

Effective lectures enable understanding for students by identifying historic roots of an issue, demonstrating application of a theory, are based on 'real-life' examples, are frequently updated, structured into meaningful chunks, explicated with local and national examples, and grounded in my research where possible.

Enhancement of Teaching

Consistent Commitment Every academic year since I joined UCD in 1999, I have taught a full three modules alone, plus taken a maximum cohort of final-year project students to supervise. This has consistently placed me in the top 10% of teaching loads in the School of Psychology as confirmed by teaching load assessments. The class sizes have all been at large end of their particular category This level of consistent experience inevitably enhances the routine lecturing skills of an academic. Reflection on Lecturer Feedback (or Fresher is better). A simple but effective method I have used for improving my lecture delivery and increasing my own confidence in that delivery is to commit 10 minutes directly after each lecture to writing a memo to self of how I felt the lecture had been received. In particular, unexpectedly positive and negative responses to a particular lecture are noted for future reference. Then, in the first six weeks during the summer following the exam period, I engage in a rolling programme of lecture improvements and updating. Because I have a substantial annual teaching load, it is very questionable to suppose that I can accurately recall the reception of each individual lecture from a distance of five or six months. Having brief notes taken fresh after each lecture saves a huge amount of time at a later stage. I have taken relevant courses offered by the Teaching Development Unit/ Centre for Teaching and Learning in UCD to enhance my knowledge.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

1. I was Chair of the Modularization committee 2004-2005; the committee evolved that year into the Teaching and Learning Committee. 2. I was Examinations Coordinator for the School of Psychology from 2000/01 continuously through to 2008/09, and successfully managed the simultaneous running of two exam systems in 2005/06 to 2008/09, and kept the external examiners up-to-date with, and supportive of, these changes. 3. In November 2007, in response to curriculum change and related queries from my colleagues, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to the School of Psychology on the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of student assessment, in particular the traditional exam structure versus written assignments or essays. 4. In September 2008, I was formally asked by the Staff Meeting of the School of Psychology to review all the module assessments currently in use by members of the School. 5. Asked to complete an analysis of teaching and supervision workload by the Head of School in August, 2011. Draft report submitted to Head on August 24th, 2011 and brought to subsequent staff meeting for review. 6. In the light of comments made by the external examiners at our Board meeting in May 2012 on the extension of anonymous marking to assignments and essays, I brought a formal proposal to the Staff meeting in September 2012 for instituting a policy of anonymity across virtually all submitted undergraduate work. 7. The School of Psychology is unique in the College of Human Sciences in having a compulsory capstone empirical research project for all BA psychology programme students. I was asked to look at the running when I took over as Coordinator of Projects to examine and bring forward proposals to streamline some of the elements of the Research project while maintaining its critical pedagogical demands on students.

Developing as a Teacher

I welcomed the introduction of university-wide uniform student feedback surveys, and was confident that the care I put into lecture preparation and delivery would be recognised in this system. As the feedback survey indicate (see above) I have significantly more positive feedback and higher average response rates in my student feedback, than the average in the School of Psychology, and Psychology in turn is significantly higher on both indices than for the average of the College of Human Sciences. Prior to the formal university-wide system of student feedback, I had always used my own feedback form developed in my first year of teaching, and which proved both an effective way of obtaining feedback from large classes, that could be easily input to Excel and assessed. I have sought to keep my lecture content fresh, and to intersperse my lecture overheads, particularly for my large introductory class, with short but frequent audio-visual clips from Youtube, or psychologists¿ labs. I have also tried to make the theme of each lecture relevant by starting each lecture with a chunk of a relevant downloaded piece of contemporary music. I was a committee member on the Psychology student-staff committee resolving students' problems and concerns.

Innovation & Leadership


Internal Collaborators

Prof. Aidan Moran, School of Psychology, UCD

Dr. Yseult Freeney, School of Psychology, UCD 

External Collaborators

Hammad Sheikh, New School for Social Research, New York

Anthony Whelan, (formerly) School of Law, Trinity College, Dublin University