Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

John McClure

John McClure

My research interests centre around several areas of social judgment: Causal attributions (folk psychology); helplessness and fatalism; biases such as unrealistic optimism; and risk judgments. Currently, my projects focus on the following questions:

(1) How do people's risk judgments, optimism, and attributions for events influence their fatalism about those events and their willingness to take preventive action?

(2) How do people explain the actions of individuals with invisible conditions that affect behaviour, such as brain injury?

(3) How do people perceive and explain intentional actions?

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Causal Attribution
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Person Perception
  • Social Cognition


  • Paton, D., & McClure, J. (2013). Preparing for disaster: Building household and community capacity. Charles C. Thomas. Xii + 245 pp.

Journal Articles:

  • Aitken, C., Chapman, R. B., & McClure, J. (2011). Climate Change, Powerlessness and the Commons Dilemma: Assessing New Zealanders’ preparedness to act. Global Environmental Change, 21, 752-760.
  • Eiser, J. R., Bostrom, A., Burton, I., Johnston, D. M., McClure, J., Paton, D; van der Pligt, J., White, M. P. (2012). Risk Interpretation and Action: A Conceptual Framework for Responses to Natural Hazards. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. DOI:
  • McClure, J. L. (2002). Goal based explanations of actions and outcomes. European Review of Social Psychology, 12, 201-235.
  • McClure, J., Sutton, R. M., & Sibley, C. (2007). Listening to reporters or engineers: How different messages about building design affect earthquake fatalism. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37, 1956-1973.
  • McClure, J. L., Walkey, F., & Allen, M. (1999). When earthquake damage is seen as preventable: Attributions, locus of control and attitudes to risk. Applied Psychology: An international review, 48, 239-256.
  • McClure, J. L., & Hilton, D. (1997). You can't always get what you want: when circumstances are better explanations than goals. British Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 223-240.
  • McClure, J. L., & Hilton, D. (1998). Are goals or preconditions better explanations: It depends on the question. European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 897-911.
  • McClure, J. L., Allen, M. W., & Walkey, F. H. (2001). Countering fatalism: Causal information in news reports affects judgements about earthquake damage. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 23, 109-121.
  • McClure, J. L. (1998). Discounting causes of behavior: Are two reasons better than one. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 7-20.
  • Spittal, M., McClure, J., Walkey, F., & Siegert, R. (2008). Psychological predictors of earthquake preparation. Environment and Behavior, 40, 798-817.
  • McClure, J., Johnston, D., Henrich, L., Milfont, T., & Becker, J. (2015). When a hazard occurs where it is not expected: Risk judgments about different regions after the Christchurch earthquakes. Natural Hazards, 75, 635-652. DOI 10.1007/s11069-014-1338-6.
  • McClure, J., Hilton, D. J., & Sutton, R. M. (2007). Judgments of voluntary and physical causes in causal chains: Probabilistic and social functionalist criteria for attributions. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 879-901.
  • McClure, J., Devlin, M. E., McDowall, J., & Wade, K. (2006). Visible markers of brain injury influence attributions for adolescents’ behaviour. Brain Injury, 10, 1029-1035.
  • McClure, J. (2012). Attributions, causes, and actions: Is the consciousness of will a perceptual illusion? Theory and Psychology, 22, 402-419. DOI:10.1177/0959354310386845.
  • Hilton, D. J., McClure, J., & Sutton, R. M. (2010). Selecting explanations from causal chains: Do statistical principles explain preferences for voluntary causes. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 383-400.
  • Henrich, L., McClure, J., & Crozier, M. (2015). Effects of risk framing on earthquake risk perception: Life-time frequencies enhance recognition of the risk. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 03
  • McClure, J., Doyle, E.E.H., & Velluppillai, J. (2014). A Tale of Two Cities: Judgments about Earthquake and aftershock Probabilities across Time Windows. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • McClure, J. & Velluppillai, J. (2013). The effects of news media reports on earthquake attributions and preventability judgments: Mixed messages about the Canterbury earthquake. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 2013-1, 27-36.
  • Sutton, R., & McClure, J. (2001). Covariational influences on goal-based explanation: An integrative model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 222-236.

Courses Taught:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Personality & Social Cognition

John McClure
School of Psychology
P.O. Box 600
Victoria University of Wellintgon
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

  • Phone: +64 4 4635233
  • Fax: +64 4 4635402

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