service navigation

EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Extraordinary Grant report

17.02.2016, by Sibylle Classen in grant report

Dr. Sylvie Graf, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

Dr Sylvie Graf, Institute of Psychology, Czech Academy of Sciences
Research visit at: Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Switzerland
Host: Prof Sabine Sczesny
Date: 15 November – 4 December 2015

The EASP extraordinary grant enabled me to intensify my collaboration with Prof Sabine Sczesny at the University of Bern, Switzerland, during my three-week visit. Our joint research interests focus on how media influence people’s attitudes toward immigrants – a socially pressing issue connected to rapid expansion of immigration in Europe. We aim at better understanding of the effect of labels for immigrants’ ethnicity combined with valence of media news about immigrants on majority’s prejudice against immigrants.
The objectives of my research visit were to reanalyse existing data from two studies previously carried out in the Czech Republic and to discuss the results with Prof Sczesny and her research group. During my stay in Bern, I pursued an in-depth analysis of the data on the effect of language used for ethnicity labels in media articles of different valence and intergroup contact of majority members with minorities on attitudes towards Roma and Vietnamese in the Czech Republic. I presented the outcomes of the studies at regular colloquia where I obtained a welcomed feedback from Prof Sczesny’s research group. Based on the feedback, I performed additional analyses that helped us better understand the obtained pattern of results, especially with respect to planning of follow-up studies.
Our next objective was to design subsequent research in Switzerland, preparing experimental materials and employed measures, including their translation to German. Switzerland as one of the most preferred European countries in terms of immigrants’ choice represents an ideal setting for ecologically valid research on how different aspects of media news about immigrants shape attitudes towards various immigrant groups. I analysed Swiss media reporting on immigrants and chose a target immigrant group for the follow-up study. Based on the media analysis, I prepared six versions of newspaper articles reporting on positive, negative and ambivalent behaviour of immigrants in Switzerland. Feedback from Prof Sczesny and colleagues from her research group enabled to improve the credibility of the prepared materials and to better balance out the content of different experimental conditions.
We submitted further grant applications that would support our future research projects. We were granted a three-month International Research Visit by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The SNSF funding will enable us to realize the prepared study on the effect of media reporting about immigrants on the majority’s attitudes towards immigrants in the next weeks. Moreover, I was awarded a two year Marie Curie Individual Fellowship by the European Commission to pursue my research under Sabine Sczesny’s supervision at the University of Bern. This way, our successfully started collaboration and joint research plans will continue in the future.
To conclude my report, I would like to thank the European Association of Social Psychology for the opportunity to realize my visit the University of Bern that accelerated progress of the follow-up study and solidified my collaboration with Prof Sczesny. The EASP extraordinary grant provided me with more time to elaborate on our planned research and secure other kinds of support. It facilitated our collaboration with – hopefully – significant outcomes for social psychological research in the future. I would also like to thank Sabine Sczesny for her kind invitation and inspirational supervision during my stay.