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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Report on EASP Summer School 2018

03.11.2018, by Tina Keil in meeting report

Zürich, Switzerland, July 1-14; Organizers: Johannes Ullrich, Veronika Brandstätter, Urte Scholz & Klaus Jonas

EASP Summer School 2018 (Zürich, Switzerland)
EASP Summer School 2018 (Zürich, Switzerland)

In December 2015 we became interested in organizing the next EASP summer school, as three of us had been participants in previous summer schools and believed we were now in a position to give something back to the association. With the kind help of the previous organizers at the University of Exeter, and Sibylle Classen, and the encouragement resulting from the fact that the EASP summer school had never been conducted in Switzerland, we submitted a proposal and were thrilled when it was accepted by the Executive Committee in April 2016.

Did it really take over two years to plan two weeks? Zürich is an expensive city, so we put a lot of effort in securing additional funding from sponsors and finding an affordable accommodation for students (the university does not have dorms that could be used for that purpose). The hotel that we finally chose offered affordable twin rooms that we personally inspected back in 2016. In the first year of planning we were also busy recruiting ten teachers for the summer school who we thought would cover topics important for our science and for society. The most intensive period (next to the summer school itself), however, was the selection of students out of a pool of excellent applications clearly outnumbering the available spots. All applications were read by two members of the organizing committee and discussed extensively with special emphasis on excellence and diversity. In the end, we were happy that the proportion of male and female students matched the relative number of applications, and that the participants represented over 20 different countries. As the summer school came closer, an intimidating number of details had to be organized and kept track of. Thankfully, our team of secretaries Susan McVey, Therese Piwnik, Prisca Greiner, and Irène Calanchina, did a wonderful job of dividing the tasks into manageable portions and monitoring our progress. The meetings of the organizing committee every other week were highly productive and taught us that every additional brain counts in terms of their unique ideas, perspectives and type of expertise. So, indeed, it took 8 people 2 years to plan the summer school, and then... all started horribly! Our welcome reception was just starting when the first students came to the organizers with very serious expressions on their face. How dare we put them in a bed with a stranger? It turned out that despite the meticulous site visit two years ago, the hotel had made a mistake and put (almost) everyone not in twin rooms, but in double rooms. One bed, single blanket. That was a big shock! Fortunately, the hotel director was very cooperative and did her best in trying to remedy the situation. As a first emergency action, all students received additional blankets. Further, we could inform new students almost everyday that they could move to a proper room. Some never moved but told us they did not mind. After two weeks of summer school, no one was a stranger anymore.

But then (almost) nothing else went wrong (if you’re an organizer of a future summer school, please contact us for details). During two hot summer weeks, 60 students, 10 teachers, and 5 local support students (thank you Joy Tieg, Lisa Frisch, Michelle Donzallaz, Simone Sebben, and Etienne Heitz!) filled our university building with life and gave us many positive memories that are now evaluatively conditioned to the walls and halls of the University of Zürich. They worked in 5 workshops (see below the reports by the students of each workshop) led by 5 superb teacher duos: Kareen Rook and Dara Sorkin, Rupert Brown and Carolin Hagelskamp, Ruud Custers and Baruch Eitam, Barry Markovsky and Klaus Fiedler, and Sabine Sczesny and Alice Eagly. Thank you all for your dedicated work!

The official social events included a hiking tour on the local mountain, a guided interactive tour of the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art with barbecue, and a city tour with the local students as tour guides. Although some students told us that they did not like the „social pressure“ to attend these events, we stubbornly believe that one free day in two weeks was enough. After all, the students were told several times that they were the future of social psychology, and how can they live up to that promise without having some good social fun together?

When students were not working hard in their workshops, moved rooms at their hotel, or socialized at the river or lake, they listened to keynote lectures by the teachers and three presentations from short-term guests. We thankfully acknowledge the stimulating input given by Naomi Ellemers on „Making a Difference in the Real World“, by Matthias Mehl on „Mobile Psychological Science“, and Jean-Claude Croizet on „How EASP is like Mille Feuille“.

On the day of the glorious final presentations, we were impressed by the diversity of cutting-edge ideas that the planned research projects were packed with. These five hours went by quickly. It was a beautiful experience to listen to theoretically sound presentations demonstrating the impressive theory-based work students engaged in. We are optimistic that many students will follow up on their proposals and their results will soon enrich our journals. When the sun set at the Farewell Party at Lake Zürich and everyone was engaged in lively conversations inspired by two sleepless weeks it seemed that all of our hopes were fulfilled. Thanks, participants of the 2018 summer school – the flagship of the association is alive and well!

Workshop 1: Social relationships, health, and well-being

María Alonso Ferres; Casey Bevens; Jessica Boin; Carla Branco; Mayu Koike; Arabella Kyprianides; Lisanne Pauw; Joanne Rathbone; Philipp Schwaninger; Soraya Elizabeth Shamloo; Sanaz Talaifar; Martin Yankov

Karen Rook and Dara Sorkin

Summing up our experience from the EASP summer is not an easy task. Those astonishing thirteen days were so eventful and memorable that it feels like the school lasted a lot longer than two weeks. It was a time for learning and growing, it was a whole new way of experiencing science.

The Welcome reception on the first evening was a great introduction to the scientific and cultural background of all the other participants. It was a nice way to get to know each other and get familiar with each other’s work and interests. We enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about all the other students in this year’s Summer school, not just the people from our workshop.

Experiencing the city of Zürich was a lovely bonus to the Summer school program. We understand that Zürich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and we realise that budged-wise it’s not the most student-friendly location. But Zürich, with its wonderful sights and rich history, is absolutely worth it. We got the chance to participate in numerous wonderful activities – from a delightful city tour with a local guide to an inspiring visit of the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art and a wonderful mountain hike. We appreciate the variety of these activities – while some of us enjoyed being out of town, others revealed in the chance to show their storytelling skills in the museum. All the events were well-organized and left us with wonderful memories.

Our workshop was titled “Social relationships, health, and well-being” and we explored the topic of how social relationships influence different aspects of our lives – from motivation and life-satisfaction to physical health and general well-being. Our teachers Karen Rook and Dara Sorkin (University of California, Irvine) had gathered a really interesting and diverse reading list – it featured popular classic articles as well as intriguing new reads. The members of our workshop come from different scientific fields – some were interested in the significance of social relationships, others studied the psychological mechanisms that affect human health, and some of us were working on completely different topics and chose this workshop because of the opportunity to learn something outside of our specific fields. So, we had very different opinions about which topics and studies we found more interesting, but we all agreed on something – our teachers did a wonderful job.

During the first week we discussed the diverse theories and conceptual approaches to the main topic. Those discussions were always open, honest and professional. In science knowledge sometimes comes hand in hand with arrogance and we are happy to report that our teachers managed to make us all feel welcomed and appreciated. Everyone was able to share their theories and to explain how their own research work fits into those theories. Karen Rook and Dara Sorkin didn’t want to force their own beliefs and approaches on us – on the contrary, they were interested in seeing who we were as scientists and they actively sought how our experience and our studies may bring something new to the table. It was an honor, for all of us, to be in their presence. Those discussions were enriching and inspirational and helped us all feel good about exploring our chosen topics during the second week.

In the second week we formed four groups and worked on the projects that we were about to present on the last day. In that undertaking our teachers were again helpful and kind. During the first day of the week all the groups had equal amount of time to present their ideas. After that some groups needed more consulting in order to figure out some specifics in their projects – our teachers provided them that consulting. Other groups needed time away from the lecture hall, because they wanted to do more reading or to discuss their projects amongst themselves – our teachers provide them that time and space. All in all, we were all happy with our projects and we presented them with pride and joy in front of all the other students and teachers on the last day.

We learned a lot in the Summer school. It was not all easy and cheerful – on some days we were really tired, we had to get up early and spend the whole day in the university, participating in sophisticated scientific discussions, we had to work hard and do tons of reading in a limited amount of time, we had to resist the urge to explore more of the wonderful Zürich and keep our focus on the assignments. But it was a wonderful experience and we learned much more than we expected to. And on the last day, when we said goodbye to each other, we cried.

Workshop 2: Migration and integration: social and community psychology perspectives

Nihan Albayrak; Anna Lisa Aydin; Göksu Cagil Celikkol; Nadya Gharaei; Nader Hakim; Nadine Knab; Medhi Marot; Lana Pehar; Elaine Smith; Marieke Vermue; Loren Willis; Tibor Zingora

Rupert Brown and Carolin Hagelskamp

Workshop 2 provided an exciting and stimulating environment for fourteen social psychology enthusiasts to get together in the beautiful city of Zürich and discuss various issues around the construct of multiple social identities, which is becoming more and more important in today’s increasingly mobile and globalized societies. Soon after each of us introduced our diverse backgrounds and experiences to each other, we noticed the reality of multiple social identities once again and wondered how people deal with their unique national, ethnic, and religious identities in different societies across the globe. Yet, we also realised that our knowledge of how people subjectively experience and combine parts of these identities is still very limited. So, we saw the EASP Summer School as a perfect place for an attempt to answer this question, hoping to learn about these processes in more detail. Luckily for us, we had Carolin Hagelskamp and Rupert Brown as our workshop leaders, who proved to be an outstanding teacher duo and whose distinct expertise inspired our attempts to combine both intergroup and community psychology perspectives into a single research project.

Our first week started ambitiously with long brainstorming sessions during which we discussed our research interests and potential project ideas. This process resulted in a variety of research proposals which we managed to narrow down and merge into one large-scale project examining not only the personal experiences and representations of multiple national, ethnic and religious identities among the second-generation immigrants and historical minorities but also their potential antecedents and outcomes. Despite our initial enthusiasm, the existing literature on multiple identities proved to be quite confusing and often contradictory (e.g., Is it multiple, blended, merged, intersectional, hybrid or fused identities?). So, in an attempt to gain a deeper insight into the subjective meaning and the objective frequency of this type of identity, we put together a small online survey at the end of the first week, asking our summer school peers to share their own experiences of/with multiple identities. The survey results strengthened our conviction that such identities are a real-world phenomenon worth researching but also showed that their expression might vary between different countries, pointing out to the potential importance of contextual factors.

During our second week, we tried to formulate our broad initial idea into specific research questions, hypotheses and methods in order to prepare for our final presentation. To increase our productivity, we divided into several groups focusing specifically on the topics of conceptualization and measurement of multiple identities, its contextual- and individual-level predictors, as well as the social and individual consequences of adopting such identities. Due to the conceptual chaos between different definitions and measurements of our key constructs, this process turned out to be quite challenging, not only for us but also for our poor Dropbox accounts which were soon overwhelmed with the huge amount of research articles and documents we’ve shared within our groups. However, Carolin and Rupert helped us a lot by facilitating communication between subgroups, raising important questions which we have overlooked and providing much-needed support as the final day approached. So, we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of their efforts, suggestions and guidance as well as for the free drinks and deserts they’ve dragged us to the night before the ‘glorious’ final presentations day when they saw that we were probably going to work until the next morning.

As it would be a waste after such hard work to end everything after the Summer School finishes, we have decided to continue our collaboration and try to carry out this cross-national project in our respective countries (besides we already have a cool project name – “Multiple Identities in Context”, so we can’t give up!). To do so, we’ve set up an ambitious timeline starting with the application for the EASP Seedcorn Grant and with Carolin’s help are now making an initial division of project tasks. Although we still have much work ahead of us, these amazing two weeks in Zürich enabled us to focus our ideas into a more concrete research proposal, prepare much of the needed work materials, and above all, to establish strong personal and academic connections in such a short period of time which we hope will last and grow for many years to come.

All in all, the EASP Summer School at the University of Zürich gave us a unique opportunity to interact with aspiring researchers from many universities around the globe, to gain valuable experience of planning a large-scale collaborative project in a group of diverse international PhD students sharing similar interests, to listen to interesting plenary lectures from renowned social psychologists, as well as to get constructive feedback on our research project. More importantly, it provided us with the unforgettable experience of meeting more than 60 wonderful people with whom we’ve shared our ideas, drinks, and delicious Swiss chocolates by the Limmat river, enjoyed charming Zürich sights and its not so charming prices and watched the intense World Cup games learning to cheer for many different countries. Although we are kind of sad that our Summer School didn’t last as long as the first EASP Summer School in 1967 that lasted for five weeks, we are truly grateful to the organizing committee for all of their efforts in making this such a memorable summer.

Workshop 3: Motivation and control

Maria Babinska; Marco Biella; William Bingley; Thomas Czikmantori; Doriane Daveau; Valeria De Cristofaro; Ana Fonseca; Fanny Lalot; Ginés Navarro Carrillo; Jasmin Richter; Laurens Van Gestel; Michael Wenzler

Ruud Custers and Baruch Eitam

This workshop was primarily directed at studying how different kinds of factors can affect personal motivation and control and how these may, in turn, influence behavior. During the first days of the Workshop, in addition to addressing the more basic aspects of the background readings, we had the opportunity of sharing our research interests. Each member of the workshop presented their main areas of research and, then, the potential theoretical connection of them with the content of the Workshop was jointly discussed. Several points of view and perspectives emerged during the discussion, which clearly strengthened the richness and diversity of this forum. This, no doubt, was an experience that allowed us to know each other better personally and academically. Further, we discussed the highly topical issue of open science and how it could be implemented to best effect in our own work and in the field as a whole.

In the days following, the work dynamic changed slightly. At the beginning of the sessions, Ruud Custers (University of Utrecht) and Baruch Eitam (University of Haifa), who formed a tandem perfectly coordinated, were dedicated to presenting the most relevant ideas and research. After this, we discussed in small groups how such research may serve to stimulate new lines of inquiry. However, along the workshop, we did not focus exclusively on the issues inherently linked to it, but also on emerging questions arousing our interest during the discussions. In this sense, the role of Ruud and Baruch must be welcomed. They contributed to generating a free and vibrant work environment, where all of us could express their opinion concerning, for example, the current state of the discipline or the influence of new research methodologies.

Gradually, as the sessions progressed, and considering the interests of every member of the Workshop, three working groups were formed. Each group worked on the preparation of an independent research project, yet all had in common that they focused on the concept of sense of agency. One group developed an impressive research program with half a dozen studies to investigate how the sense of agency is affected by the presence of other persons, who might also have affected an outcome. This topic has received a lot of attention from the media and the general public, as, for example, democracies depend on individuals to cast their vote in the best interest of the nation and planet and not rely on others to do it for them (which has backfired on several occasions in the past years). Therefore, this promising research projects could provide answers to urgent questions that are being asked by the public. Another group designed an elaborate experiment to investigate if the sense of agency is reduced when achieving a goal through “non-action,” that is refraining from interfering with the situation as it is “taking care of itself” in a desired way. The workshop teachers encouraged this group to maximise the internal validity of the experiment, which lead to an extremely standardized and well-controlled paradigm. Finally, the third group wanted to expand the understanding regarding a well-established comparator model in the field of motor control and test, if the sense of agency is affected by the direction in which a target is missed. Specifically, they tested if the sense of agency is equally reduced solely based on the absolute distance of missing the target, regardless if a “overshoots” or “undershoots.” The group developed a sophisticated method to test this intriguing idea.

Concluding, it was not all work though. Especially in the second week, we complemented the literature searches, design tweaks, and presentational polishing with beers and, on one evening, great pizza. This and the always casual yet productive atmosphere made the workshop feel more like a “funshop.” Needless to say, during the course of the EASP Summer School in Zürich, we could share a wide range of activities with the rest of the participants and teachers, from the visit to cultural and artistic spaces to trekking and enjoying regional delicacies. We would like to acknowledge the work of the entire organizing team, the University of Zürich, and the EASP. They all contributed to creating a unique and unforgettable experience for all of us.

Workshop 4: Building and testing theories

Sebastian Cancino-Montecinos; Léïla Eisner; Felicitas Flade; Djouaria Ghilani; Simona Haasova; Jaboa Lake; Nicole Methner; Esra Hatice Oğuz Taşbaş; Bjarne Schmalbach; Ewa Siedlecka; Anna Katharina Spälti; Benjamin Wolf

Barry Markovsky and Klaus Fiedler

In this workshop, we addressed methods of theory analysis and construction as well as derivation of testable hypotheses. We discussed how to clarify the logical structure of our arguments and the terminological network that we use in order set solid theoretical foundations to our hypotheses. We also discussed how theories can be built and communicated better in order to avoid ambiguity and to make use of links or overlaps between distinct theoretical approaches. Other discussions concerned fallacies in deriving testable hypotheses from theoretical assumptions. Such fallacies often result from neglecting the sampling process by which information about a phenomenon in question becomes available. All group projects originated from exercises in theory analysis. Each group took one theoretical text as a starting point and attempted to identify the basic propositions and terminological network presented in it. Each group identified yet unsolved theoretical questions, proposed new answers to these questions, and developed study designs to test the new propositions.

Group #1: The Masters of Reality

Group members:
Sebastian Cancino Montecinos (Stockholm University), Simona Haasova (University of Vienna), and Bjarne Schmalbach (University of Münster)

The aim of our project was to disentangle the theoretical assumptions governing shared reality theory (Echterhoff, Higgins & Levine, 2009). We quickly realized that the theory was too restrictive, and by loosening some of the conditions under which the theory posits that shared reality emerges, we were able to put forwards a modified shared reality theory that was simpler and more parsimonious. To be precise, we hold that additional motivation (e.g. social motives) is not necessary for the emergence of shared reality with another individual. We also claim that an individual does not necessarily need to be aware of the required preconditions (e.g., commonalities) for shared reality to emerge. Thus, by stripping away both the motivational and awareness component of the current theory, we found ourselves a simpler and more elegant theory that can explain more varied instances of shared reality, but also provides a fundamental basis to account for the existence and implications of more complex social phenomena, such as relationships or in-group/out-group biases, that we assume rely on repeated emergences of shared reality between individuals.

Since we had vastly different theoretical and empirical backgrounds, we experienced both excitement and struggles while working on our project. Many times, we extensively pondered and disagreed on basic theoretical assumptions. Although the discussions might have gotten a bit fiery sometimes, they were always fun and with the best intentions and mutual respect in mind. Meanwhile, the patronage by Barry and Klaus greatly facilitated our progress in exploring, appreciating and making creative use of the practical benefits of good theories. This process taught us that it is worthwhile being stringent with theoretical propositions and, at the same time, being open minded about loosening or changing these propositions when confronted with inconsistencies in our reasoning or reality. It was an experience of great insight and unlocking of new doors to have Barry and Klaus pushing us to the edge of our cognitive and imaginative capacities, and way beyond.

Group #2: The Time Lords

Group members:
Djouaria Ghilani (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Ewa Siedlecka (University of New South Wales), and Nina Spälti (Tilburg University)

In an exercise to practice critically analyzing theories, our group chose to analyze a popular model in the time perception literature - the internal clock model (Allman et al., 2013). Although this model seems to explain how people perceive time, a deeper investigation revealed logical inconsistencies in the model’s structure and the assumptions underlying it. As a result, we decided to search for a more parsimonious theoretical explanation of time perception. Based on two psychophysical laws, and on other perception research, we propose a new mathematical model explaining subjective time as a function of real time and the frequency of cues in our environment.
Our new model does not discard the internal clock model in its entirety. However, it applies a constructivist approach to subjective time perception, proposing that it results from an accumulation of cues - both internal (e.g., heart rate) and external (e.g., movement of the sun). This can explain major findings in time perception research (e.g., valence and arousal effects), while making fewer assumptions about neurological processes. We have also devised several experiments to test the main propositions of our model and we plan on implementing them in the near future. This workshop has made plain the value of good theorizing and its immediate practical benefits of opening solidly-grounded, novel avenues for research.

Group #3: The Action Collective

Group members:
Léïla Eisner (University of Lausanne), Felicitas Flade (J. G. University Mainz), Jaboa Lake (Portland State University), and Esra Hatice Oğuz Taşbaş (Abant Izzet Baysal University)

Think of a social psychological theory that you are interested in! In our case, we thought about the red hammer of social psychological theories – Social Identity Theory (SIT). And as mere similarity leads to spontaneous ingroup formation and intergroup bias, our minimal group emerged… Not quite so fast. SIT, obviously, is not a singular theory but more of a framework that sparked and comprises a myriad of sub-theories. Thus, our first idea was that this was the perfect environment to practice “theory modularization” – formalizing a few selected sub-theories to find conceptual overlaps and bridging propositions across theory modules to discover surprising new hypotheses which we could then proceed to test.

As our eyes were sharpened to detect formal inconsistencies, however, we soon noticed smaller imprecisions and more serious contradictions in the formulations of the different theories we had chosen. Therefore, we decided to focus on the Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA). Discussions were at times heated but always interesting, fruitful and we learned a lot from each other. Based on our refined version of SIMCA, we developed a line of study to investigate the influence of structural vs. incidental disadvantage on collective action. Sadly, we had to dismiss our friends, the aliens with the square- and diamond-shaped heads (and houses) in the process. And thankfully, when discussions became more heated than the temperature around us, someone always mentioned ice cream.

Group #4: The Trustful Duet

Group members:
Nicole Methner (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) & Benjamin M. Wolf (University of Zürich)

Our aim was to find points of commonality between two seemingly distant areas of research – trust violations and personal goal pursuits – and to identify novel hypotheses that result from combining these areas. Research on trust violations has extensively illuminated the means by which a trustee may repair a trust relationship after a trust violation. However, there is comparably little empirical insight about the cognitive processes following a trust violation on the trustor’s part. How does the trustor decide whether an unexpected behavior of the trustee constitutes a trust violation? Under what circumstances will a trustor continue or end the relationship after such an event?

By discussing these questions and comparing trust relationships to goal pursuits, we realized that literature on disengagement from personal goals may provide some useful theoretical hints. Trust behavior, which makes the trustor vulnerable to a trustee while expecting benevolent behavior, is always in service of a goal. So trust violations can be understood as a setback in the pursuit of this goal, and thus the same cognitive processes may result from setbacks in goal pursuit and trust violations. Based on these assumptions, we developed a first basic hypothesis about information processing after trust violations in an ongoing trust relationship. After long hours of dyadic theorizing, several rounds of feedback from our teachers, and tons of scribbling paper, we came up with a few experimental designs to test our hypothesis.

The tools for strong theorizing we picked up during the summer school proved helpful in the ‘trust crisis’ project and will surely help us in future research. The two of us each gained insight into a novel research area and found a common theoretical core underlying two distinct objects of research. Though several theoretical and methodological questions remain yet open, we decided to continue our mutual trust relationship and hope to turn our insights into series of actual studies.

Workshop 5: Gender stereotypes as consequence and cause of gender inequality

Julian Anslinger; Emily Dix; Alexandra Fleischmann; Stephanie Hardacre; Levke Henningsen; Aife Hopkins-Doyle; Ivana Jaksic; Rotem Kahalon; Inna Ksenofontov; Boglárka Nyúl; Maria Olsson; Julie Terache

Sabine Sczesny and Alice Eagly

Our group consisted of 12 talented individuals from Europe, Australia and the US. Although our PhD topics were diverse, we all share the view that gender roles act as a fundamental basis for social inequality and that all aspects of social psychological research should take into account a gender perspective. Over the course of the 2 weeks we spent together in the beautiful city of Zürich we formed strong friendships. We hope these bonds will last for many years to come and also lead to future research collaborations!

In the first week, together with our workshop leader Sabine Sczesny, we explored topics such as the underlying mechanisms of stereotypes, origin of gender stereotypes, content of gender stereotypes, accuracy of gender stereotypes, consequences of gender stereotypes, and interventions aimed to target gender stereotypes. Due to the broad range of expertise, and not to mention cultural background of our group, the discussions were varied and stimulating. Sabine Sczesny was able, through her competence and warmth, to moderate the discussion and keep us on track. She is an Übermensch - not in line with Nietzsche’s thinking – but in line with the actual meaning of the word – as she is simply a superwoman. Over coffee and cookies (provided by our eminent workshop assistant Etienne Heitz) we disagreed and agreed with each other during one intense but fun week!

At the end of the 1st week, we split into 3 groups to work on respective research ideas. Unfortunately, our second workshop leader, Alice Eagly, was not able to attend the workshop in person due to unforeseeable circumstances. She was nevertheless able to guide us in our endeavors and provided us with her expertise over Skype during the second week. We are all extremely grateful to Sabine Sczesny and Alice Eagly for guiding us through this challenging but rewarding exercise! On the last day, we presented our research ideas to the other summer school participants, lecturers and organisers. These projects are described below:

Project 1: Stereotype Threat on Logical Reasoning: Effects of Social Class and Gender

Project members:
Julie Terache, Aife Hopkins-Doyle, Levke Henningsen, Maria Olsson

We were inspired by our discussions of the intersectionality of stereotypes. In particular, we recognized that stereotypes vary for men and women from different social class backgrounds. We therefore decided to formulate a research idea based on the intersectionality of gender and social class, which both can form a basis for a stigmatized identity within certain domains (such as higher academia). As a starting point, we will run a pilot study to explore stereotypes about men and women from various social classes. This will be followed by an experimental study on the intersectionality of social class and gender using a classical stereotype threat paradigm in a domain where people hold both gender-based and social class-based stereotypes. Research on stereotype threat, in for example mathematical ability, typically finds that men outperform women when their gender has been made salient. In our study, we will explore whether this effect is qualified by men and women’s social class background.

We very much enjoyed working together and were encouraged by the feedback from our workshop leaders and peers. We thus hope to run several studies on the intersection of social class and gender in the future, with the ultimate goal to rethink how we view men and women’s unequal opportunities – as one’s social class background may be just as an important identity marker as one’s gender.

Project 2: Gendered perceptions of brilliance

Project members:
Boglárka Nyúl, Rotem Kahalon, Inna Ksenofontov, Alexandra Fleischmann

Our research project connects to recent findings of gender differences in the perception of brilliance, showing that men are perceived as more brilliant than women, even by children. This stereotype has been found to be related to women’s underrepresentation in academia, especially within disciplines that stress innate talent as a requirement for success. Women are less likely to enter these male-dominated fields, because they do not feel represented.

Our project aims to shed light on this phenomenon. We expect that other- and self-perceptions of brilliant women as gender-deviants create barriers that lead women to shy away from brilliance-connoted fields. We plan to run four studies testing this perspective. A final fifth study will examine strategies to enhance women’s interest in educational and professional opportunities in these fields.

Project 3: Effects of message framing on men’s support for gender equity policies

Project members:
Emily Dix, Julian Anslinger, Ivana Jakšić, Stephanie Hardacre

Opinion polls reveal that men tend to support gender equity policies to a lesser extent than women do. This discrepancy may arise in part because research and the media typically portray gender inequity as harmful to women alone (i.e., as a “women’s issue”). Although women are undeniably the group most disadvantaged by gender inequity, such inequity can also have negative effects on men (e.g., reinforcing restrictive gender stereotypes) and on society more broadly (e.g., lower family income). Moreover, when it comes to mobilizing widespread support for reducing gender disparities, this exclusive focus on gender equity as a women’s issue might prevent equity-promoting efforts from having the broadest possible base of support. We propose that framing gender inequity as a problem for both women and men will increase men’s support for policies that address gender inequity. During the summer school, we designed the first in a series of studies that will test this possibility

We ended these two wonderful weeks by attending a fantastic farewell party by the beautiful Lake Zürich. We would like to express our gratitude to the organisers for arranging this unforgettable experience!

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