Department of Political Science


Peter Dinesen

Headshot of Peter Dinesen
Professor of Political Science
2.04, 36-38 Gordon Square
Email: p.dinesen@ucl.ac.uk



I am a professor of Political Science at UCL. I obtained my PhD in Political Science at Aarhus University (2011). After working at the University of Southern Denmark (2010-2011) I worked at the University of Copenhagen, where I maintain an affiliation.


My research focuses on how individuals form beliefs and attitudes about other people, politics and society at large. 

Social trust. My primary topic of interest has been generalized social trust - trust in unknown others - which is often considered “the social glue” that binds people together enabling them to cooperate with positive downstream consequences for individuals and societies. In my work, I have tried to understand the causes of social trust; specifically the role of immigration and state institutions. 

Immigration sentiments. Another line of my work explores the sources of anti-immigrant/immigration sentiments and behaviors among the native-born, both in mass publics and among elected officials.

Political engagement: In this line of work I have examined how political engagement is shaped by sociodemographic factors, personal experiences, and personality traits.

Consequences of terrorism: I have also scrutinized the consequences of terrorism for both democratic citizenship (institutional trust and support for civil liberties) as well as mental health (e.g. diagnoses of mental disorders).

Local economic context: In previous work I have demonstrated how local economic signals (unemployment and housing prices) shape voting behavior and its anteceding perceptions. In an on-going project, I examine a range of potential consequences of local economic inequality.


I teach political behaviour and related fields. I am interested in supervising PhD students, who would like to work on social and political attitude and belief formation broadly understood (e.g., social and political trust, attitudes toward immigrants/immigration, and political participation).