The lab hosted a visit from Stephen LaMacchia from the University of Queensland. Stephen is in the final year of his PhD studies at UQ working with Winnifred Louis and Matthew Hornsey. Stephen is a co-author on a paper with Ken and Winnifred on Social Justice in Psychology.
Social psychology has uncovered a lot of important and fascinating truths about how people perceive and make judgements about other individuals—with regards to morality and trust, for example—and how this affects various kinds of social interactions. However, a lot remains to be discovered about how people do this regarding groups, especially in terms of general processes or biases that might apply across different contexts and group types. My PhD research aims to shed some light on this by examining implicit theories of group processes, and the meanings and approaches people assign to their interactions with groups. I will present two lines of work I have conducted under the luminous guidance of Winnifred Louis and Matthew Hornsey. The first looks at the influence of group size, revealing across a range of contexts and group types a general “small = trustworthy” heuristic that may influence how individuals approach and respond to groups. The second line of work looks at the effects of experimentally valenced self-presentation on reported minority- and majority-group contact, finding a disturbing interaction that is reassuringly moderated by social dominance. This same data has also revealed a tangential SDO-loner effect that has given rise to a new collaboration with Chris Sibley, the (somewhat promising) preliminary results of which I will also briefly discuss.