Erik Denison


Erik Denison is a researcher with Monash’s Behavioural Science Laboratory, in the School of Social Sciences. He investigates the underlying causes of prejudicial behaviour in sport. He is developing and testing programs to make sporting culture more inclusive. Prior to joining Monash, Erik was a multi-award winning, investigative journalist (health and science) with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was also the lead author of the Out on the Fields study, the first international study on homophobia in sport and largest conducted to date (9494 participants). The final report can be viewed at Erik is a long-time advocate for change to sporting culture. He was a lead organiser of the signed commitments by the CEOs of the AFL, ARU, NRL, FFA and Cricket Australia, in 2014, to ‘eliminate homophobia’ and make their sports inclusive. Awards: Pro Bono Campaign of the Year (2015) – Public Relations Institute of Australia United Nations “Golden World Award” for a Public Education Campaign to Support Social Change (2015) Public Education Campaign of the Year (2015) – PR Week Asia James Risser Special Citation for Excellence in Environmental Journalism (2009) – Stanford University Ron Laidlaw Award for Continuing Coverage (2006) – Radio Television News Directors Association Gabriel Award for Journalism that Uplifts and Nourishes the Human Spirit (2003) – Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals

Research Topic

Promoting Inclusion: Changing Homophobic Behaviour and Attitudes in Sport

Research Interests

Behavioural Science, Social Psychology, Sporting Culture, Sport Inclusion (Gender, Sexuality, Race), Prejudice Reduction, Sport Participation, Sport Industry, Sport Marketing

Project Summary

Our research project focuses on the sport industry. We are working in collaboration with sporting organisations to investigate how to change prejudicial behaviour. The objective is to make sporting culture more inclusive of minorities. We are focusing on sexuality and gender. This research is a direct response to a global, sport industry need for data. Sporting organisations, such as World Rugby, are looking for evidence-backed recommendations which they can use to develop effective inclusion programs and policies. To date, very little research has been done on changing prejudicial behaviour in sport. Our research will help sporting organisations grow their participant and supporter bases. It will also help governments boost physical activity and sport participation.


Assoc Prof Kerry O’Brien
Dr Ruth Jeans
Dr Nick Faulkner

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