John Kerr

Public attitudes towards scientific controversies.


John has taken circuitous route to doctoral research.  Following an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, he has worked in laboratory, publishing and communications roles in New Zealand and the UK, picking up a Master's degree in science communication along the way. His most recent work as a Senior Media Advisor at the Science Media Centre stoked his interest in how people think about scientific issues and spurred his return to study in 2016.


BSc(Hons), Otago; MSciComm, Otago

Research Interests

Social psychology, controversial science, media, attitudes towards science, climate change, genetic modification


Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2018). Perceptions of scientific consensus do not predict later beliefs about the reality of climate change: A test of the gateway belief model using cross-lagged panel analysis. Journal of Environmental Psychology59, 107-110.

Kerr, J. R., & Wilson, M. S. (2018). Changes in perceived scientific consensus shift beliefs about climate change and GM food safetyPLOS ONE, 13(7), e0200295.

Kerr, J. R., & Davis, L. S. (2011). Benzylpiperazine in New Zealand: brief history and current implicationsJournal of the Royal Society of New Zealand41(1), 155-164.

Goulton, C. S., Patten, A. R., Kerr, J. R., & Kerr, S. (2010). Pharmacological preconditioning with GYKI 52466: a prophylactic approach to neuroprotectionFrontiers in neuroscience4, 54.

Leitch, B., Shevtsova, O., & Kerr, J. R. (2009).  Selective reduction in synaptic proteins involved in vesicle docking and signalling at synapses in the ataxic mutant mouse stargazer.  Journal of Comparative Neurology,  512(1), 52-73.

PhD topic

Public attitudes towards scientific controversies