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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Laura Cram

Laura Cram
Professor Laura Cram
Professor of European Politics and Director of NRLabs Neuropolitics Research
Room 2 02, Flat 2F2 18 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
0131 651 5571
Research Interests
European public policy, European Identity, Neuropolitics of identity, Neuropolitics of public policy, experimental research, fMRI studies, physiological studies, behavioural games, identity triggers, national identity, symbols, Brexit processes, Scotland and EU

Staff profile:

Laura has an established track-record of research on the European Union policy process and on European Union Identity. She held a Senior Fellowship on the UK in a Changing Europe programme from 2015-2016 and is currently a Research Leader on this programme. She has a particular interest in the neuropolitics of identity and the neuropolitics of public policy and was awarded a prestigious ESRC transformative research grant to extend her research into the field of neuropolitics.  She is exploring the insights this neuropolitical approach can offer into contemporary debates on the EU as part of her fellowship. Her lab, NRLabs neuropolitics research, uses experimental approaches, including fMRI brain scanning, survey experiments, behavioural games, face-emotion coding, eye-tracking, physiological hormone  testing and big data analysis to examine, for example, the meaning and effect of identity(ies) in multi-level polities.  She has previously held posts at the Universities of Strathclyde, Sheffield and Warwick.


MSc Human Cognitive Neuropsychology

PhD European Public Policy, University of Warwick.

MSc European Social Policy Analysis, Universities of Bath, Maynooth and Tilburg.

BA (Combined Honours), Modern Greek and Political Science, University of Birmingham.

Research Projects  and Research Group Activities:

Laura is Principal Investigator examining how insights from psychology, information science and cognitive neuroscience can help to explain poitical behaviour and policy processes. The importance of implicit identity is a particular interest. Her lab examines, for example, how exposure to everyday reminders of territorial belonging (eg. to state-related symbols on coins, driving licenses and mundane functional objects) or the presence of national identity triggers, such as flags, might shape public attitudes and behaviours. 

Current and recent projects include:

Economic and Social Research Council (L. Cram (PI), A. Moore (Co-I), Full Fact (partner)), Citizens' Expectations on Brexit Outcomes: 'Fact' Transmission and Persuasive Power in a Digital World 1 April 2017 - 30 September 2018. 

Economic and Social Research Council, Senior Fellow UK in a Changing Europe Programme (L Cram), 'The European Union in the Public Imagination: maximising the impact of transdisciplinary insights' I June 2015 - 31 Aug 2016.

Economic and Social Research Council, Transformative Research Grant (L Cram) ‘Physiology, Identity and Behaviour: A Neuropolitics Approach’ 1 Sep 2013 - 28 Feb 2015.

British Academy (L Cram (P.I.), S Patrikios and J Mitchell) 'The Impact of Subliminal Exposure to National Symbols on Attitudes to the Constitutional Status of Scotland', 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2014.

Economic and Social Research Council (L Cram (P.I.), J Mitchell & S Patrikios),’ Implicit Triggers, Identity(ies) and Attitudes to the European Union: An Experimental Approach’, December 2010 – 30 November 2011.

Selected Publications:

Clare Llewellyn and Laura Cram  ‘Brexit? Analyzing Opinion on the UK-EU Referendum within Twitter’ Tenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-16), 17-20 May 2016**.

Clare Llewellyn and Laura Cram and Adrian Favero  "Avoiding the Drunkard's Search: Investigating Collection Strategies for Building a Twitter Dataset"Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL2016), 19 -23 June 2016, Rutgers University, Newark. 

(2015) Stratos Patrikios and Laura Cram 'Better the devil you know: Threat effects and attachment to the European Union' Comparative European Politics advance online publication 19 January 2015; doi: 10.1057/cep.2014.54

(2014) with Stratos Patrikios, 'Visual Primes and EU Identity: Designing Experimental Research' in Kennet Lynggaard, Ian Manners and Karl Köfgren (eds) Research Methods in European Union Studies Basingstoke: Palgrave.

(2012) ‘Does the EU Need A Navel? Implicit and Explicit Identification with the European Union’ Journal of Common Market Studies. 50:1, 71-86

(2011) ‘The Importance of the Temporal Dimension: New Modes of Governance as a Tool of Government’, Journal of European Public Policy, 18:5, 636-653.

(2011) ‘In the Shadow of Hierarchy: Governance as a Tool of Government’ in Dehousse, R (ed) The ‘Community Method’: Obstinate or Obsolete London: Palgrave, 151-165

(2009) 'Identity and Integration Theory: Diversity as a Source of Integration' Nations and Nationalism, 15:1, 109-129. In L Cram (ed) themed section Identity, Integration Theory and the European Union

(2009) 'From integration by stealth to good governance? EU Social
Policy in Historical Perspective' in Verdun, A & Toemmel, I: Governance and Policy- Making in the European Union: Boulder,CO: Lynne Reinner

(2006) ‘Inventing the People: in Smismans, S (ed) Civil Society and Legitimate European Governance' Aldershot: Edward Elgar

(2001) ‘Imagining the Union: A Case of Banal Europeanism’ in Wallace, H (ed) Whose Europe: Interlocking Dimensions of Integration London: Macmillan

Knowledge Exchange:

Laura is committed to the wider dissemination of her academic work to policy-makers and to the wider public and this is a key part of her ESRC fellowship on the UK in a Changing Europe programme. She acts as 'Brexpert' for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. She is a regular media commentator. Recent reports on her group's work can be viewed on the BBC Daily Politics Show and as part of the BBC MindGames documentary She was Special Advisor to Scottish Parliament, European and External Relations Committee, on the Inquiry into the Impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on Scotland.  Dec 2009- June 2010 (( She also initiated and led the Strathclyde/BBC Mood of the Nation Quiz http (Laura Cram (P.I.), Stratos Patrikios and James Mitchell). Launched in collaboration with BBC Scotland, this attracted almost 10500 participants. It was widely disseminated on Facebook, twitter and the internet, and was featured on BBC Scotland Sunday Politics, 29 April 2012; BBC Scotland Daily Politics, 9 May 2012; BBC Daily Politics, 15 May 2012.


Laura convenes the honours level Neuropolitics class as well as contributing to the MSc level class International Politics of the European Union and to the Theory and Practice graduate class. 


Laura has supervised a wide range of PhDs. All of these have completed within the recommended 4 year registration period and many now occupy academic posts or public research positions. She is interested in supervising projects on: European identity; banal Europeanism; the neuropolitics of both identity and public policy; physiology, behaviour and identity; implicit identity triggers; experimental approaches to identity and public policy; EU social policy; EU civil society; EU public policy; EU governance and the EU policy process.