Viren is Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University and Director of the Centre for Psychological Medicine, a collaborative research centre between Anglia Ruskin University and Perdana University in Malaysia. He is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and an Associate Editor for the journal Body Image. Viren is the author of Attraction Explained, The Psychology of Physical Attraction, and The Missing Arms of Vénus de Milo, as well as over 250 peer-reviewed publications.
Viren’s work on human appearance and body image is focused on situating embodiment within different cultural and socio-political contexts. He is particularly interested in cross-cultural differences in beauty ideals and body image, and his research seeks to map changing rates of negative body image across different world regions. His other research on body image borrows concepts from first-wave feminist scholarship to examine the way in which beauty ideals and practices shift awareness away from real competencies to superficial aspects related to beauty and appearance. The aim of this research is to identify factors that might protect women and men from body image concerns and disordered eating. Separately, Viren also studies mental health literacy or the knowledge and beliefs that non-experts hold about mental health and illness. His work on mental health literacy is particularly focused on the ways in which masculinities impede adequate knowledge of mental health disorders and help-seeking for symptoms of mental illness.