A few years ago, an unlikely collaboration between social psychologists from the University of Groningen and choreographers from Random Collision began. Understandably, you might wonder why choreographers and social scientists would want to. It all started when we discovered a shared interest in the social impact of dance: “How do dancers move their audiences?” “When do passive viewers become involved?” Together we set up a research project to investigate these questions.
Today, Jolien van Breen will defend her dissertation in which she demonstrates that members of disadvantaged groups can resist subtle cues of social devaluation, such as implicit stereotypes. That is, she demonstrates that members of disadvantaged groups are more resilient than previously thought.
What can movements do to increase their number of supporters? Not all who belong to the same group share the same values (e.g., not all women share feminist beliefs). To appeal to a broader audience movements could align their values with the greater societal goals.
How does an ordinary citizen become an activist? What is it that powers their transformation from a passive citizen into an active one? These questions sat at the heart of my PhD research, which explored the changes in identity that people go through as they become activists. Findings indicated that activism may change individuals in a fundamental way, similarly as religion.
Last summer, students, refugees, academics, and practitioners from different nations and disciplines came together to explore the complexity of migration, the problems around it, and alternatives to current practices in policy and society at the RUG. The summer school ‘Migration Matters’ resulted in three concrete student initiatives to improve the lives of refugees.
We all know that we test theories by subjecting them to experimental test, allowing us to potentially falsify hypotheses. But where do theories come from? A realist philosophy of science, and the method of retroduction, allows us to use empirical evidence, even from “failed” experiments, to generate as well as test theory.
Organizations increasingly aim to reduce their ecological footprint and to encourage pro-environmental behaviour at work. This Thursday, November 24, Angela Ruepert will defend her PhD-thesis showing that although strong environmental values predict pro-environmental behaviour, employees with weaker environmental values also act pro-environmentally when the work context makes them focus on the environment.
Do you think that taking your glass wine bottles to the recycling bin is an unpleasant hassle? Think again! This Thursday, September 29th, Leonie Venhoeven will defend her dissertation in which she demonstrates how pro-environmental behavior like recycling may actually make people feel good.
Compulsory retirement prevented me from continuing my empirical research. At the same time, it provided me with the opportunity to study other issues that over the years aroused my curiosity, such as the relation between age and scientific productivity, the association between gun availability and homicide, and the validity of student evaluations in teaching. In this blog I briefly discuss a few of my post-retirement pursuits.