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Dr Sally Palmer

Dr Sally Palmer

Lecturer in Education and Psychology


 01392 722874

 North Cloisters NC126


North Cloisters, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Sally (she/her) is a developmental social psychologist. She examines psychological mechanisms that help explain when and why children and adolescents act prosocially, and when they don't. Sally is particularly interested in understanding (1) when children and adolescents take action against bias-based bullying and (2) when children and adolescents take pro-environmental action.

Sally applies social and developmental theories of “intergroup processes” (e.g., group identity, ingroup/outgroup status, and intergroup norms) to investigate factors that influence children's and adolescents' attitudes, intentions and behaviours in contexts of social and environmental justice. 

Broadly, Sally is interested in how issues of social and environmental justice are understood across childhood and adolescence, and how they can be supported and developed within educational settings.


  • BSc Psychology (Hons), University of Kent (UK)
  • Masters by Research in Psychology, University of Kent (UK)
  • PhD (Psychology), University of Kent (UK)


  • 2020-current: Lecturer in Psychology and Education, School of Education, University of Exeter
  • 2018-2020: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Psychology, University of Exeter
  • 2015-2018: Lecturer in Developmental and Social Psychology, Department of Psychology and Human Development, UCL Institute of Education
  • 2014-2015: Teaching Fellow, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London

Research group links

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Research interests

Sally is interested in how a developing understanding of intergroup processes can shape children and adolescents' attitudes and behaviours in social and environmental contexts.

She examines when and why children and adolescents engage in prosocial action, and when they won't. Identifying these factors are necessary to inform and evaluate practical interventions. 

Sally values working closely with schools, young people and community groups to ensure her research has impact and meaning for those who work with young people.

Sally's current research interests include:

  • Intergroup bullying and the role of prosocial bystanders
  • Children and adolescents' pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours

Research networks

Affiliate member:

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Journal articles

McGuire L, Fry E, Palmer S, Faber N (In Press). Age-related differences in reasoning about the acceptability of eating animals. Social Development Abstract.
McGuire L, Palmer SB, Rutland A (In Press). Children’s and adolescents’ evaluations of peers who challenge their group: the role of gender norms and identity. Social Development
Yuksel AS, Palmer SB, Rutland A (In Press). Developmental Differences in Bystander Behavior towards Intergroup and Intragroup Exclusion. Developmental Psychology
Palmer SB, Filippou A, Argyri EK, Rutland A (In Press). Minority- and Majority-Status Bystander Reactions To, and Reasoning About, Intergroup Social Exclusion. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
McGuire L, Palmer S, Faber N (In Press). The development of speciesism: Age-related differences in the moral view of animals. Social Psychological and Personality Science
Palmer S, Hitti A, Abrams D, Cameron L, Sims R, Woodward B, Killen M (In Press). When to Intervene and Take a Stand:. Evaluating Bystander Roles in Intergroup Name-Calling Contexts. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology Abstract.
Palmer SB, Gönültaş S, Yüksel AŞ, Argyri EK, McGuire L, Killen M, Rutland A (2023). Challenging the exclusion of immigrant peers. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 47(1), 9-20. Abstract.
McGuire L, Marshall TE, Nilson MA, Palmer SB, Rutland A (2023). Indirect contact and adolescents' intentions as bystanders to LGBTQ+ microaggressions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 84
Gönültaş S, Ketzitzidou Argyri E, Yüksel AŞ, Palmer SB, McGuire L, Killen M, Rutland A (2022). British Adolescents Are More Likely Than Children to Support Bystanders Who Challenge Exclusion of Immigrant Peers. Front Psychol, 13 Abstract.  Author URL.
Yüksel AŞ, Palmer SB, Argyri EK, Rutland A (2022). When do bystanders get help from teachers or friends? Age and group membership matter when indirectly challenging social exclusion. Frontiers in Psychology, 13 Abstract.
Austin S, Lee F, Palmer SB (2021). A mixed methods exploration of ethnic identity and self-esteem among mixed-race adolescent girls. Educational and Child Psychology Abstract.
Wallrich L, Palmer SB, Rutland A (2021). Adolescents challenging discrimination: the benefits of a perspective-taking and action-planning intervention on self-efficacy. JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY & APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 31(5), 530-536.  Author URL.
McGuire L, Palmer S, Faber NS (2020). The development of speciesism: Age-related differences in the moral view of animals. Abstract.
Van de Vyver J, Leite AC, Abrams D, Palmer SB (2018). Brexit or Bremain? a person and social analysis of voting decisions in the EU referendum. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 28(2), 65-79. Abstract.
Palmer SB, Abbott N (2017). Bystander Responses to Bias‐Based Bullying in Schools: a Developmental Intergroup Approach. Child Development Perspectives, 12(1), 39-44. Abstract.
Palmer SB, Cameron L, Rutland A, Blake B (2017). Majority and minority ethnic status adolescents' bystander responses to racism in school. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 27(5), 374-380. Abstract.
Abrams D, Palmer SB, Van de Vyver J, Hayes D, Delaney K, Guarella S, Purewal K (2016). Adolescents' Judgments of Doubly Deviant Peers: Implications of Intergroup and Intragroup Dynamics for Disloyal and Overweight Group Members. Social Development, 26(2), 310-328. Abstract.
Mulvey KL, Palmer SB, Abrams D (2016). Race‐Based Humor and Peer Group Dynamics in Adolescence: Bystander Intervention and Social Exclusion. Child Development, 87(5), 1379-1391. Abstract.
Palmer SB, Rutland A, Cameron L (2015). The development of bystander intentions and social–moral reasoning about intergroup verbal aggression. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33(4), 419-433. Abstract.
Abrams D, Rutland A, Palmer SB, Purewal K (2014). Children's responses to social atypicality among group members – advantages of a contextualized social developmental account. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 32(3), 257-261. Abstract.
Abrams D, Palmer SB, Rutland A, Cameron L, Van de Vyver J (2014). Evaluations of and reasoning about normative and deviant ingroup and outgroup members: Development of the black sheep effect. Developmental Psychology, 50(1), 258-270.
Abrams D, Rutland A, Palmer SB, Pelletier J, Ferrell J, Lee S (2014). The role of cognitive abilities in children's inferences about social atypicality and peer exclusion and inclusion in intergroup contexts. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 32(3), 233-247. Abstract.
Palmer S, Rutland A (2011). Do children want skinny friends? the role of "weight" in children's friendship preferences and intergroup attitudes. Anales de Psicologia, 27, 698-707.


Rutland A, Palmer SB, Yuksel AS, Grutter J (2022). Social exclusion: the Interplay between morality and group processes. In Killen M, Smetana JG (Eds.) . Abstract.
Palmer SB, Mulvey KL, Rutland A (2021). Developmental differences in evaluations of and reactions to bullying among children and adolescents. In Smith PK, O'Higgins-Norman J (Eds.) Handbook of Bullying, Wiley-Blackwell.
Palmer SB, Mulvey KL, Rutland A (2021). Developmental differences in evaluations of, and reactions to, bullying among children and adolescents: a social reasoning developmental approach. In  (Ed) The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Bullying: a Comprehensive and International Review of Research and Intervention, 764-782.
Abrams D, Powell C, Palmer SB, Van de Vyver J (2017). Toward a Contextualized Social Developmental Account of Children's Group‐based Inclusion and Exclusion. In  (Ed) The Wiley Handbook of Group Processes in Children and Adolescents, Wiley, 124-143.
Abrams D, Powell C, Palmer S, Van de Vyver J (2017). Toward a contextualized social developmental account of children’s group-based inclusion and exclusion: the developmental model of subjective group dynamics. In Rutland A, Nesdale D, Spears Brown C (Eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Group Processes in Children and Adolescents, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 124-143.

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Sally teaches across the MSc Psychology Conversion programmes (Campus and Online).

She is module lead for ERPM006 - Cognitive and Developmental Psychology, and supervises MSc Research Projects.

Sally welcomes PhD applications related to social cognitive development (particularly the role of intergroup processes), social moral development, the development of prosocial behaviour in intergroup contexts, and reducing discrimination/promoting social justice in educational settings. 



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Stephanie Anne Janet Gibb
  • Ayse Sule Yuksel

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