Viren joined Anglia Ruskin University as Professor of Social Psychology in 2015, having previously worked at the University of Westminster. He is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and an Associate Editor for the journal Body Image. Viren is also an adjunct Professor at HELP University College in Malaysia and is the author of Attraction Explained, The Psychology of Physical Attraction, and The Missing Arms of Vénus de Milo.
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’s research also examines the psychology of conspiracy theories. His work in this area is focused on identifying factors that are associated with greater belief in conspiracy theories and the consequences of such beliefs in everyday life. More recently, he has been researching ways of reducing belief in conspiracy theories, particularly through the promotion of analytical thinking styles. His other areas of interest include the psychology of body art (particularly tattooing), mental health literacy, and public appreciation of art, literature, and music.