As a social psychologist, I am interested in the psychological drivers of human behavior. I conduct basic research with two paramount goals: to further knowledge and to promote human flourishing.

I believe that addressing the most pressing challenges of our times, such as social inequalities or climate change, will require unprecedented levels of cooperation and a better understanding of the basic psychological processes that can sustain such cooperation.

In my research I investigate questions such as:

Why do people often fail to cooperate even when it would benefit them to do so?

How can widespread cooperation be achieved without coercion?

Can we harness the power of collective action without conformity?

Can we build trust in institutions without reducing critical accountability?

Professional Education

  • PhD, University of Cambridge, Psychology (2022)
  • Diploma, University of California Berkeley (2017)
  • MSt, University of Oxford (2012)

Stanford Advisors

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Is Status a Zero-Sum Game? Zero-Sum Beliefs Increase People's Preference for Dominance but Not Prestige JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-GENERAL Andrews-Fearon, P., Davidai, S. 2023; 152 (2): 389-409


    Why do people often pursue social rank using coercive and potentially costly dominance-oriented strategies (grounded in fear and intimidation) rather than noncoercive prestige-oriented strategies (grounded in respect and admiration)? In 10 studies (N = 3,372, including a high-powered preregistered replication), we propose that people's beliefs about the nature of social hierarchies shape their preference for dominance strategies. Specifically, we find that zero-sum beliefs about social hierarchies-beliefs that one person's rise in social rank inevitably comes at others' expense-drive the preference for dominance-oriented, but not prestige-oriented, approaches to status. The more participants viewed social hierarchies as zero-sum, the more they were willing to use dominance tactics and the more interested they were in reading books about how to use such tactics. Moreover, we find evidence that zero-sum beliefs about social hierarchies causally increase the preference for dominance-oriented, but not prestige-oriented, strategies for gaining rank, and that both objective factors in the organizational environment and people's subjective interpretations of these environments can trigger this effect. We discuss implications for the intragroup and intergroup dynamics of attaining and retaining high social rank. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/xge0001282

    View details for Web of Science ID 000838266900001

    View details for PubMedID 35951376

  • Increasing Cognitive Complexity and Meta-Awareness Among At-Risk Youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina In Order To Reduce Risk of Extremism and Interethnic Tension PEACE AND CONFLICT-JOURNAL OF PEACE PSYCHOLOGY Savage, S., Fearon, P. 2021; 27 (2): 225-239

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pac0000557

    View details for Web of Science ID 000663932100013

  • Use newfound trust in science wisely NATURE Andrews Fearon, P., Gotz, F. M., Good, D. 2020; 580 (7804): 456
  • Complexity Under Stress Journal of Strategic Security Andrews Fearon, P., Boyd-MacMillan, E. 2016