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Dr Melanie Connor

Senior Researcher
Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Research interests 

I am specialised in cognitive psychology with a main focus on perception. My work also concerns developmental, educational and social psychology. My research interests primarily lie in:

  • Understanding decision making processes
  • Investigating and understanding public perceptions of risk, environmental and nutritional issues
  • Investigating attitude formation and how this influences behaviour
  • Developing and investigating behaviour change models
  • Development and evaluation of intervention materials for effective behaviour change

Related to a wide range of topics including new technologies, foods, health, agriculture and the environment.

I am currently working in the field of Anthrozoology investigating human-animal relationships from different perspectives utilising a wide range of methodologies. Most of my research is conducted in an interdisciplinary setting collaborating with a variety of scientists including Alistair Lawrence, Francoise Wemelsfelder  and Fritha Langford (SRUC), Sarah Brown (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh), Jo Williams (Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh), and Candace Currie (University of St Andrews).

Selected research projects

  • Investigating 13-17 year olds’ attitudes and behaviour to animals and am developing and testing of interventions to promote the concept of Duty of Care                                                                                         This is a  DEFRA funded project aiming to create an evidence based intervention tool for adolescents
  • RESAS 2016-2021 ‘Welfare assessment techniques’                                                                                           This project is a part of the RESAS funded Strategic Research Programme (Work Package on Welfare Assessment) and seeks to understand the implications of science and lay perspectives of positive animal welfare for welfare assessment                                                                              



I am teaching research methods and communication for ‘MSc international Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law’ and the ‘MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare’. I am the course organiser of the Anthrozoology course within the Master ‘Clinical Animal Behaviour’ and I teach a variety of modules with this course including research and methodologies, human factors and behaviour change, and various aspects of human animal interaction.

Selected publications

  • Marsa-Sambola, F., Muldoon, F., Williams, J., Lawrence, A., Connor, M. & Currie, C. (2016). The Short Attachment to Pets Scale (SAPS) for Children and Young People: Development, psychometric qualities and demographic and health associations. Child Indicators Research 9 (1), 111-131
  • Connor, M., Siegrist, M., 2011. The power of association: Its impact on willingness to buy GM food. Human and Environmental Risk Assessment 17(5)1142-1155
  • Connor, M., Siegrist, M. (2016) The stability of risk and benefit perceptions: A longitudinal study assessing the perception of technological risk. Journal of Risk Research 19 (4), 461-475
  • Siegrist, M., Connor, M., Keller, C., (2012). Trust, Confidence, Procedural Fairness, and the Acceptance of GM field release experiments. Risk Analysis 32 (8) 1394-1403
  • Connor, M., Siegrist, M., 2010. Factors influencing people’s acceptance of gene technology: The role of knowledge, health concerns, naturalness and social trust. Science Communication 32(4)514-538

SRUC repository 

Dr Melanie Connor

Social Scientist

Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 651 9361