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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

EASP Meeting Report

10.12.2022, by Media Account in meeting report

The Role of Emotions in Interethnic Relations
September 7th - 9th, 2022
Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

EASP Meeting on The Role of Emotions in Interethnic Relations
EASP Meeting on The Role of Emotions in Interethnic Relations

Magdalena Bobowik1, Janis Zickfeld2, Borja Martinovic1 & Anouk Smeekes1

1 Utrecht University, the Netherlands
2 Aarhus University, Denmark

Aims and Scope

What is the role of ethnic majority’s emotions in predicting attitudes towards ethnic minorities, prosocial behavior towards them, or collective action against their unequal treatment? How do emotions felt and expressed by ethnic minorities, including their emotional fit, contribute to their wellbeing and social integration? How efficient are ethnic majority members at recognizing minority’s group emotions and how do they respond to them? During the EASP Meeting on “The Role of Emotions in Interethnic Relations”, 43 international researchers gathered together at the University Hall of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, to seek answers to these questions. This meeting has also successfully provided a unique opportunity to bring together researchers with a stronger background in interethnic relations and those who identify more as emotion scientists.


We were thrilled to host many talented early career scholars, that is, in total 31 PhD candidates or postdoctoral researchers from different parts of Europe and the rest of the world. Additionally, 12 senior researchers participated in the meeting. These researchers work in 15 different countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands. Fifty eight percent of all participants were EASP members, and all early career scholars who were EASP members were entitled to register for free.

The Content and the Structure of the Meeting

The participants spent three days at the beautiful University Hall, the oldest building of Utrecht University, located at the heart of the city of Utrecht. The program of the meeting contained two keynotes, 23 regular talks, 5 flash talks, and 5 poster presentations, resulting in a balanced combination of 35 contributions with different formats and lengths. In addition to the formal content, the schedule offered enough time for participants to ask questions after each presentation, as well as socialize and continue discussions on the topics of common interest during the welcome reception, several coffee breaks, lunches, as well as the conference dinner.

The meeting started on Wednesday afternoon with a welcome address by the organizers, the first session titled “Intergroup Emotions”, and an outdoor welcome reception in the patio of the University Hall. Both Thursday and Friday started with a keynote, followed by a longer coffee break to encourage further discussion of their contents. We were lucky to have with us as keynote speakers two brilliant researchers. On Thursday morning, Prof. Jozefien de Leersnyder shared with us her work on emotional acculturation. The content of this thought-stimulating keynote addressed, among others, the intriguing questions of how emotions of immigrant minorities change due to contact with a new/other culture, how engagement in a cultural context is positively linked to emotional fit with that context, to what extent minorities’ newly acquired and heritage culture emotional patterns co-exist, as well as how emotional fit with culture is linked to greater well-being and health among ethnic minorities. On Friday, Dr. Gijs Bijlstra gave an inspiring lecture about the role of group priors in face detection and perceiving emotions in ethnic outgroup faces. Dr. Bijlstra introduced cutting-edge methodology in face detection research and provided interesting evidence on how social context shapes perceiving emotions in ethnic outgroups relative to the ingroup.

On Thursday we had a full-day schedule, which covered five topics: “Feeling Moved and Elevation”, “Respect and Admiration”, “Emotional Acculturation & Connectedness”, “Empathy”, and “Well-Being and Self-Esteem”, as well as a flash talk and a posters and coffee session. Friday morning additionally included two thematic sessions: “Guilt and Envy” and “Perceiving Others’ Emotions”. The content of all talks covered research that addresses the role of affective processes in shaping attitudes towards or solidarity with different ethnic minority groups. We also learned how emotions shape these minority groups’ own experiences, including their collective action tendencies, adjustment and acculturation, and identification processes. Several talks also looked into the role of emotions in shaping intergroup relations in the context of violent conflict, including, among others, Sri Lanka and Israeli-Palestinian contexts. All these studies use different methodological approaches. Jointly, this exciting work was very inspiring to all of us.

The high-quality presentations have stimulated discussions and exchanges among researchers. Scholars had the opportunity to expand their academic network and initiate collaboration opportunities, which is especially important given the large number of early career researchers that participated in the meeting. While all talks nicely combined insights on the importance of emotions in interethnic relations, the meeting also revealed that these two research areas can be integrated even more. As a general observation, the limitation of small sample sizes and the difficulty of measuring actual behavior has ignited enriching discussions, suggesting that one possibility for the field to move forward would be to combine research questions into large-scale cooperative projects including many researchers. The current meeting provided a first basis for researchers from the fields of interethnic relations and emotion science to expand their networks and engage in fruitful collaborations.

List of Participants

Ali, Shazza University of Bristol 
Alonso-Arbiol, Itziar University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Arnu, Hannah DeZIM Institut 
Blasco-Oliver, Marta University of Bristol 
Blomster Lyshol, Johanna Oslo New University College
Borinca, Islam University College Dublin 
Bulska, Dominika University of Warsaw 
Çakmak, Hakan University of Groningen 
Cheshin, Arik University of Haifa 
Cong, Yong-Qi University of Amsterdam 
Fadhlia, Tengku Nila University of Amsterdam 
Fluit, Anne-Marie University of Oslo 
Gootjes, Frank University of Groningen / Utrecht University
Heikamp, Eline University of Groningen 
Kazarovytska, Fiona Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Krüger, Heike University of Cologne 
Landmann, Helen FernUniversität in Hagen 
Lizarazo Pereira, Diana Marcela University of Oslo / University of Limerick 
Mangels, Jana Universität Hamburg 
Manokara, Kunalan University of Amsterdam
Marinucci, Marco University of Milano-Bicocca 
Mirzada, Fattana KU Leuven 
Mosley, Ariel Columbia University 
Nasie, Meytal Tel Aviv University 
Ninković, Milica University of Belgrade 
Penić, Sandra University of Geneva 
Sencan, Rüya Su KU Leuven 
Soler Pastor, Elia Universitat Pompeu Fabra 
Stojanov, Jelka University of Oxford 
Tassinari, Matilde University of Helsinki 
Toizer, Barbara University of Kansas 
Volgyesi, Arpad Eotvos Lorand University 
Wypych, Michał University of Warsaw 
+ two accompanying guests (who paid for their registration and joined for the meals)