Dr Nikhila Mahadevan completed her BA in Psychology, English Literature, and Mass Communication (with distinction) at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, India and her MSc in Psychology (with distinction) at the University of Essex. She then worked in Social and Market Research and Consultancy as a Research Executive and Brand Consultant. 

She completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Dr Aiden Gregg and Prof. Constantine Sedikides. After undertaking postdoctoral research fellow positions at the University of Southampton and Birmingham City University, she joined the University of Roehampton as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in 2017. She became a Senior Lecturer in 2019.

Nikhila's research interests lie primarily in the area of self and identity. Her work has been published in leading academic journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Personality and Individual Differences, and Behavior Research Methods. She has been awarded internal and external grant funding, including from the John Templeton Foundation (USA).



Professional affiliations

European Association for Social Psychology (EASP)

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)


I currently teach on the following modules: 

  • Self & Identity (Year 3; Module Convenor)
  • Organisational Psychology (Year 3)
  • Individual Differences and Psychometrics (Year 2)
  • Social and Developmental Psychology (Year 2)

I also co-convene the Final-Year Research Project module, act as Personal Tutor, and supervise final-year dissertation projects.

Research interests

My research is located in the area of social and personality psychology with links to evolutionary psychology. In essence, I study the self in social contexts. A core area of my research involves developing and empirically testing a novel theory of self-regard called hierometer theory. Hierometer theory examines the psychological mechanism of self-regard through a socio-evolutionary lens. It posits that self-regard plays a key role in helping people to navigate social hierarchies, by tracking their level of social status, and motivating appropriate status-seeking behaviour.     

Other areas I am interested in include: social status and inequality, social inclusion, self-esteem, narcissism, emotion and well-being, social cognition, interpersonal behaviour, and decision-making. I utilise a range of different methods in my work including cross-sectional, experimental, and longitudinal designs.

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