English summaries (05-06/2012)
Trust and the levels of explanation in social psychology
Trust is a topic that has been studied extensively by social psychologists and researchers representing various other fields. It is also a concept and term that is widely used in everyday discourse. Our review presents key areas of social psychological trust research as well as their main results in line with Willem Doise's four levels of social psychological explanations (i.e. intrapsychic, interpersonal, intergroup and ideological). The review indicates the need to contextualize mainstream trust research both historically and culturally.
Keywords: trust, social psychology, working life, levels of explanations
Social psychology of legitimation: Leaders and followers
This article is a review of the recent social psychological research on legitimacy, which is a relatively new topic in social psychology. This research has focused on identifying and explaining how individuals and social groups legitimize power differences. Research applying the framework of the group value theory (GVT) has demonstrated that leaders focus on a common in-group identity and fair procedures in enhancing their legitimacy. In addition, research applying the framework of the system justification theory (SJT) has revealed that system threats lead individuals to legitimize their leaders and not to look for remedies to such threats. As a conclusion, from the social psychological perspective, legitimation appears to be a group phenomenon: both "leaders" and "followers" participate in legitimating the status quo. In addition, suggestions for future social psychological research on legitimacy are made.
Keywords: legitimacy, procedural justice, social identity, system justification motive
Intergroup prejudice and prejudice reduction
Research on intergroup attitudes and prejudice is a very central research area within social psychology, in Finland as well as internationally. Social psychological research on intergroup relations at the University of Helsinki has also had a broader focus on factors closely related to intergroup attitudes, such as the national and ethnic/cultural identity of majority and minority members, perceived discrimination, acculturation and well-being. Within social psychological research and theory the contact hypothesis and the theory of extended contact have especially highlighted the importance of positive intergroup contact for the development of good intergroup relations. Increasing immigration and international interaction imply challenges to produce social psychological research on and research-based knowledge about intergroup processes with which the development of good intergroup relations can be enhanced. Social psychology has taken up this challenge by developing intervention methods which support intergroup relations and attempt to influence intergroup attitudes.
Keywords: intergroup prejudice, contact hypothesis, extended contact, intergroup intervention, minority, immigrant, identity, discrimination
Nation and social psychology: A social constructionist perspective
Reicher and Hopkins (2001) have made the claim that "psychology is frequently excluded from the family of disciplines that are invited to discuss the nature of national phenomena" (p. 1), with explicit studies of nationhood proving to have scant coverage in social psychology's central concerns. As such, as a starting point within this paper we attempt to examine existing perspectives of the social psychology of the nation. We then go on to explore social constructionism as a perspective for the study of nation before extrapolating three specific theoretical perspectives (social representation theory, rhetorical psychology and critical discursive psychology) for exploring nationhood. Leading on from these theoretical positions we also give three empirical accounts from our own research on the nation and nationalism which use an array of materials (e.g. party programs, blogs, interviews) to answer important social psychological questions, such as what makes a nation and who belongs to it?
Keywords: nation, nationalism, social construction, social representation, rhetorical psychology, critical discursive psychology
Guilt, shame and values in different cultures
This review article concentrates on the emotions of guilt and shame and values across cultures. First the different ways of conceptualizing guilt and shame within different research traditions are presented, and then we summarize research results on the nature and consequences of guilt and shame in social interaction. Next we present the Schwartz model of the universal structure of values, and review research results on cultural similarities and differences in value priorities. We then address the relations between guilt, shame and values on both the individual and cultural level, and finally we discuss the future research challenges in cross-cultural guilt and shame research.
Keywords: guilt, shame, values, cultural differences
Social psychology in health behavior research
Health behavior and related diseases decrease quality of life. Social psychological theories have been widely applied to better understand causes of health behaviors and to design interventions to improve health. In this article, we briefly present major theoretical approaches applied and developed within the health behavior research area, and demonstrate how challenges from practice have improved research methods and advanced theory development. Finally, we describe some recent developments in behavior change research.
Keywords: social psychology, health behaviors, prevention, intervention research
The social psychology of technology
This article reviews the social psychology of technology across different research settings, questions and methods. The review includes a short tour of technology research paradigms and their relation to social psychology, the current approaches used by the active researchers in the field as well as presents the major findings from the major threads of research.
Keywords: information technology, biotechnology, mediated interaction, social psychology of technology