General Research Themes

Self and Identity

The self is a multidimensional cognitive structure which encompasses different interrelated dimensions that each contains information about who we are. Concretely, the self corresponds to what we answer when being asked: ‘‘Who am I?’’. Identities are more specific parts of the self: They represent our personal characteristics and what sets us apart as an individual (i.e., personal identities), but they can also be derived from our membership to social groups (i.e., social identities). Many studies have revealed that how we see ourselves has an important impact on our behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. The specific research questions that we pursue aim to provide answers to questions such as: How do identities change over time? How do we come to integrate new identities in the self? How does this process affect our behaviours and psychological well-being? How, at the cognitive level, do we resolve the conflicts that emerge between our different identities?

Intergroup Relations

Research on the social psychology of intergroup relations aims to understand in what ways our group memberships influence our behaviours when interacting with members of our own group (ingroup), but also when interacting with members of other social groups (outgroups). Current research in our lab aims to understand the reasons for which individual group members justify and internalize their discriminatory behaviours. We also investigate how group norms may encourage such discriminatory behaviours.

Motivational Processes

Motivation represents the psychological processes that influence the initiation, direction, intensity, and maintenance of the behaviours individuals engage in. Our research in the field of motivation relies primarily on self-determination theory. This theory is used to understand why individuals engage in certain actions on behalf of their social group. Studies conducted at the LRSI also investigate the reasons why individuals identify with social groups (self-determined vs. non self-determined motivations) and test if these different motivations predict distinct consequences, such as psychological well-being and discrimination.