Dr Shelly Kemp

Shelly KempDr Shelly Kemp joined the Psychology Department in 2012 after graduating with her PhD at the University of Liverpool. She is the Programme Director for the Department and currently delivers the core modules Research Methods and Statistics and Biological Psychology, and option modules including Sport and Exercise Psychology. Dr Kemp completed her PCTHE in 2014 and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has chartered membership status in the BPS (CPsychol).

Her principal area of research is investigating the formation and breakdown of human relationships, particularly the social, psychological and biological effects of social pain and rejection. Shelly is interdisciplinary in her approach and has experience of using a range of methods including rating responses (Survey Monkey, Qualtrics), eye tracking, fMRI and other physiological changes (e.g. saliva cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate) in response to different stimuli and experimental contexts.

Shelly is very interested in how relationships and rejection can affect body image, but also how other relationships such as internet-based interactions can affect psychology.

Beyond the interest in social relationships, Shelly also has broader interests in the role of exercise on body esteem and how it can impact on other psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.

In addition to this she is interested in the biophysiological correlates of cognitive processes, such as insight and learning.

Email: shelly.kemp@buckingham.ac.uk

Publications and grants

Journal articles

  • Kemp, S.M. (In preparation). Cortisol and behavioural response to romantic rejection in speed-dating.
  • Kemp, S.M. (In preparation). The eyes of the beholden: human attractiveness is judged accurately based on sub-set stimuli.
  • Kemp, S.M. (In preparation). Sex differences in human visual attention to same- and opposite-sex face and body stimuli.
  • Hill, G. & Kemp, S.M. (Under Review). A review of the biophysiological correlates of human insight.
  • Platek, S.M. & Kemp, S.M., (2009). “Is family special to the brain? An event-related fMRI study of familiar, familial, and self-face recognition.” Neuropsychologia, 47 (3), 849-858.
  • Platek, S.M., Krill, A.L. & Kemp, S.M., (2008). “The neural basis of facial resemblance.” Neuroscience Letters, 437 (2), 76-81


  • Kemp, S.M., Hill, G. & Martin, A. (April 2014). “Romantic Rejection: Love hurts… Really?” Poster Presentation. European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association, April, Bristol.
  • Hill, G. & Kemp, S.M. (July 2013). “Everyday experiences of insight.” Poster Presentation. Psypag, Cardiff.
  • Hill, E. & Kemp, S.M. (July 2013). “Secure in God, satisfied with your body? The relationship between dimensions of attachment to God and body esteem.” Poster Presentation. Psypag, July, Lancaster.
  • Kemp, S.M. & Lycett, J.E. “Relative contributions of faces and bodies to perceived attractiveness: Analysis using eye tracking technology”, 5th European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Conference. Wroclaw, 2010.
  • Kemp, S.M. “Visual attention to regions of interest associated with physical attractiveness”, Nonverbal aspects of mate choice and courtship conference. Prague, 2009.
  • Kemp, S.M. “Are family special? An fMRI study into human kin recognition”, XIX Biennial Conference of the International Society for Human Ethology. Bologna, 2008.


  • Dennison Grant: £500 awarded in 2014
  • BBSRC Studentship Grant: £45,000 awarded 2007-2011
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