University of Winchester research into social, organisational, media and political psychology, personality and individual differences.

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About us

This Psychology research group comprises researchers who specialise in social psychology, organisational psychology, political psychology, personality and individual differences, and media study. Our goal is to delineate individual and social behaviours in social and organisational contexts. Our primary research interests are social identities, group processes, interpersonal interaction, citizenship, political and civic engagement, social movements, culture, organisational dynamics, and sense making. We adopt both qualitative and quantitative methods.

We also have a strong outward focus, seeking to build interdisciplinary links to organisations, communities and movements in local, national and international contexts. We have strong collaborative links with colleagues across the university and beyond.

Internal links:

External links:

Recent events

June 2021: Hosted the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences conference, an online conference that brought together researchers in the area of personality, intelligence, psychopathology, neuropsychology, and various applied psychology topics.

2019: Subjective Coding Hackathon, a workshop that brought together researchers interested in developing better tools for coding complex social interactions.

Group members

For more information and enquiries, contact Dr Wing Yee Cheung.

Key research interests

While our work has a strong focus on testing fundamental principles and theories on social phenomena, it also has applied implications on the development of a civil society within the domain of civic engagement and citizenship building. The Social and Organisational Research Group emphasizes both basic and applied research.

Selected ongoing projects and research themes

Groups, identities and participation

How do our group memberships and identities direct our participation in our communities and social worlds? Dr Debra Gray’s research draws on social identity, place identity and discursive approaches to try and understand how our group membership and identities provide the resources to participate (or not) across a range of contexts, and what the outcomes and impacts of this might be for individuals and communities. She is currently working on a funded project looking at how social and community identities are important for understanding volunteering motivations, behaviours and experiences. For more information, visit the Volunteering Research Hub website.

Social perception and interaction

How do people form first impressions? How do people seek information and knowledge from other people in dynamic interactions? Dr Liam Satchell's research focusses on the processes in social interaction and has studied the processes in forming first impressions. Alongside this work, he is now studying what empathy looks like in a process and the experiences of empathising with others. This work is also applied in other settings such as in police interviewing and schools.

Nostalgia

Organisational nostalgia: When people work in the same organisation for a while, they start to collect nostalgic memories about events they experienced in their organisation (fun outings with colleagues, achievements they experienced in their work). What happens when people remember these nostalgic events? Does it cause them to want to go back to the past and dislike the present? Dr Joost Leunissen's research showed that organisational nostalgia is a force for good for employees: it helps them to cope with stress, is associated with more collegiate behaviour, increases initiative taking, and increases prioritisation of important goals.

Anticipated nostalgia: People can anticipate feeling nostalgic about events in the present or in the future – a phenomenon referred to as anticipated nostalgia. For instance, parents with young children may contemplate the future of an “empty nest” and anticipate feeling nostalgic for the time when their children were young. Dr Wing Yee (VerBon) Cheung’s research showed that when we anticipate the feeling of nostalgia about a positive experience at the present, we are more likely to savour and cherish the event. Further, a few months after life transition, prior level of anticipated nostalgia is linked to post-transition nostalgia. This post-transition nostalgia is linked to higher level of self-esteem, social connectedness, and meaning in life.

Narcissistic persuasiveness

Narcissism is a personality trait characterised by inflated self-views. How do narcissists fare in everyday interactions? Dr Joost Leunissen's research showed that narcissists are particularly good at persuading others, but only when they can use face-to-face communication. When they persuade others using written essays, they are less persuasive than non-narcissists.

Leadership

Leadership is an influence process and most leadership theory has been developed from a normative, idealised perspective concerned with its measurement as an inherent trait or characteristic of individual leaders. The work of Dr Kim Bradley-Cole and Dr Liam Satchell is focussed on developing a more dynamic and socially interdependent understanding of leadership that is psychologically rooted in the influence relationship.

Women are less likely to be promoted into leadership positions and less likely to accepted in the role once they get there. Dr Kim Bradley-Cole’s constructivist research continues to explore the lived experiences of leadership for women and mothers, to unpack and learn from their experiences and the stories they live by.

Teaching employability skills

Concerns around the perceived graduate skills gap are intensifying and yet the presence of employability modules within undergraduate degrees remains contentious and draws out several systemic tensions. Research by Dr Kim Bradley-Cole and Dr Liam Satchell seeks to identify how universities can improve the pedagogy of employability skills training, through enhancing reflective practice and the tangibility of employability. This is in order to better enable students’ agency to succeed in postgraduate employment and in life.

Media Psychology: parasocial relationships

What are the psychological antecedents of parasocial relationships with media figures? Dr David Giles's research explores the relationships between audiences and media, particularly with regard to how we develop meaningful attachments to celebrities and other public figures - including those we dislike. These relationships are 'parasocial' in the sense that the media figures do not play the traditional role of a partner in a relationship. But how do these dynamics play out between celebrities and audiences in social media?