Accessibility statement

Rob Jenkins



Cognitive psychologist

  • BSc (Hons) Cognitive Science, University of Westminster
  • PhD Psychology, University College London


  • 2013-present Reader, then Professor, Department of Psychology, University of York
  • 2006-2013 Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow
  • 2004-2006 Scientist, MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge



I am a cognitive psychologist. I use experimental methods and data analysis to examine problems in practical ethics.


Anthropogenic risk. Many of the most pressing problems facing humanity are human caused. I am interested in general principles of decision making and behaviour that expose humanity to these risks, especially extinction risks such as nuclear war, engineered pathogens, and unaligned AI.

Mind perception. Ethical consideration of others (humans, robots, rocks) often depends on whether or not we view them as conscious beings. My research examines cues that inform these judgements in everyday life.


  • 2022--2024 FTX Foundation. Cognitive Hazards
  • 2020--2021 Leverhulme Trust RF-2020-448\10. Systematic review of weekday effects
  • 2019--2020 British Academy MD19\190023. Weekly fluctuations in decision making and behaviour
  • 2018--2021 Leverhulme Trust RPG-2019-085. Face detection by humans


  • Psychonomic Society prize (best paper)
  • BPS Cognitive Section prize (best paper)
  • RSE/Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane medal for Physical Sciences
  • Joseph Lister Award for Science Communication

Available PhD research projects

I welcome PhD enquiries, particularly in the area of anthropogenic risk.


Selected publications

  • Zhou, X., & Jenkins, R. (2022). Face-evoked thoughts. Cognition, 218, 104955.
  • Will, P., Merritt, E., Jenkins, R., & Kingstone, A. (2021). The Medusa effect reveals levels of mind perception in pictures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (32), e2106640118.
  • Jenkins, R., Dowsett, A. J., & Burton, A. M. (2018). How many faces do people know? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 285(1888), 20181319.
  • Jenkins, R., White, D., Van Montfort, X., & Burton, A. M. (2011). Variability in photos of the same face. Cognition, 121(3), 313-323.

Full publications list

See Google Scholar or the York Research Database



  • Advanced Module: Human Risk
  • Advanced Module: Cognitive Anomalies, Decision Making, and Democracy (CADMAD)

External activities


  • 2002-present Member, Experimental Psychology Society (EPS)
  • 2013-2018 Member, Global Young Academy (GYA)

photo of Rob Jenkins

Contact details

Rob Jenkins
Department of Psychology
Room PS/E/106

Tel: 01904 323144