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Research

The Center conducts research on social relations in the broadly-understood society as well as smaller groups, such as teams and organizations, political parties, public institutions including public administration units, health centers, schools, online groups, and in groups declaring common identity, for example based on nationality, gender, and world view.

Researchers study determinants, mechanisms, and consequences of social relations, focusing on issues such as group effectiveness, everyday kindness, group identification, well-being, and communication.

Research Goals

The goal of the Center is to better understand the processes of social relations in the society and in groups as well as to identify practical and applicable solutions, which can improve social relations.

Currently, the center focuses on the following research problems: group identification (when strong group identification is beneficial and when it is harmful to the group), mimicry (when and why people mirror expressions of others and what are the consequences), attitudes towards vaccination (why attitudes towards vaccination are so polarized and can this be changed), the impact of stereotypes on task completion (how stereotypes influence school and work results), everyday kindness (why people are kind or unkind to each other and what are the consequences of these behaviors).

Basic And Applied Research

The Center conducts basic and applied research. Our research results find applications in business and non-profit organizations (e.g. education institutions, political parties, and NGOs). They also provide insight into consumer behavior and contribute to the development of psychological interventions and social policies.

The Center for Research on Social Relations collaborates with business organizations (e.g. in the matters related to employee identification with the organization and employee relationships and engagement), governmental organizations (e.g. to help reverse the trend of diminishing trust in research and researchers, such as medical research and medical professionals).

Current Research Projects

  • “Everyday kindness in times of COVID-19: restoring social connectedness and enhancing pro-sociality through online interventions” (EASP COVID-19 funding scheme, financed by the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP), project duration: May-October 2020)

Olga Białobrzeska, Aleksandra Cisłak, Magdalena Formanowicz, Justyna Bąba, and Sylwia Bedyńska from the Center for Research on Social Relations, received an EASP grant to research the effect of everyday kindness on reduction of negative effects of isolation. During the pandemic, when half of the world population is self-isolating at home, isolation may bring negative results both at the individual (e.g. isolation fatigue, and depressive symptoms) and at the social (e.g. increased self-focus and diminished prosociality) level. The goal of the study is to observe whether practicing everyday acts of kindness may improve wellbeing and restore social connectedness. The project will be conducted in cooperation with Aleksandra Cichocka from the University of Kent and Małgorzata Gocławska from the University of Bath.

  • “Improving Institutional Communication in Times of COVID-19: Antecedents, Processes, and Consequences" (EASP COVID-19 granting scheme, financed by EASP, project duration: 2020)

The project, submitted by Stefano Pagliaro from the University of Chieti-Pescara in Italy, focuses on institutional communication during the COVID-19 pandemic in 25 countries around the world. Magdalena Formanowicz, member of the Center for Research on Social Relations and an employee of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń is the Polish partner on the study.

  • “A Social Grammar Model: the analysis of mechanisms and applications” (OPUS granting scheme: 2017/27/B/HS6/01049, provided by the National Science Centre, project duration: 2018-2021)

Magdalena Formanowicz and the team are testing assumptions of a Social Grammar Model. The model assumes that verbs are typically associated with activities, and because of that carry also social meaning linked to agency — a fundamental dimension of social perception addressing goal attainment. In this project the team aims to establish and advance the knowledge on the role of verbs (in comparison to adjectives and nouns) in processing and shaping social reality.

  • “Can strong identification harm the ingroup? Secure and defensive forms of ingroup identification in intragroup relations and group goal attainment” (OPUS granting scheme: 2018/29/B/HS6/02826 financed by the National Science Centre, project duration 2018-2022)

Principal Investigator: Aleksandra Cisłak, Doctoral Student: Justyna Bąba.
The project focuses on ingroup consequences of narcissistic and non-narcissistic group identification. Aleksandra Cisłak and the team study forms of identification with different groups, such as business organizations, political parties, and nations. They also investigate links between identification and a whole spectrum of possible consequences, such as intragroup relations, group productivity, plotting against one’s own group, and support for various policies on health, natural environment, and international affairs.

  • “Research on increasing clients’ trust in their lawyers” (Grant for an interdisciplinary project financed by SWPS University and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, project duration: 2020-2021)

The researchers will examine how clients’ trust in their lawyers and legal counsels can be increased. There are two reasons for this research. Firstly, at a time when trust in the justice system and the legal profession is at all time low, it is crucial to reverse the falling trend. Secondly, an open access to the legal profession has resulted in huge competition between various legal professions, which base their business on gaining clients (lawyers, attorneys at law, notary public): between 2009 and 2019 the number of legal counsel and lawyers doubled (R. Sowiński, “Strategie konkurowania indywidualnych kancelarii radców prawnych” (Competition strategies for individual attorney at law firms) 2019. The current project will show how to increase the number of power of attorney cases, which indicate a greater trust in lawyers. Wojciech Kulesza from the Institute of Psychology and Tomasz Antoszek from the Institute of Law are Principal Investigators in the project. Dariusz Doliński and Tomasz Grzyb are researchers.

  • “The Language of Populists - formal and content characteristics of populist messages”. (Grant for interdisciplinary projects financed by SWPS University and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, project duration: 2020-2021))

Aleksandra Cisłak and Magdalena Formanowicz from the Center for Research on Social Behavior, and Agnieszka Pantuchowicz from the Institute of Humanities, will analyze language, which may lead to the mobilization of social support for populist messages. In various times in history, the language of populists in its content layer has been characterized by highlighting the central role of the people, criticizing the elites, perceiving people as a homogenous group, and professing a serious crisis. However, populism may also manifest in formal aspects of a language, and they, in a subtle way, may contribute to the strength of this type of messages. The goal of the project is to identify language features used by populists and to examine their role in communication. Additionally, researchers will examine how these language cues relate to the popularity and attractiveness of messages. The researchers will use machine learning technology to analyze political speeches and tweets.

  • Understanding the Cognitive Representation of the “Big Two” Dimensions of Social Cognition (Beethoven granting scheme 2016/23/G/HS6/01775, provided by the National Science Centre, duration: 2018-2020)

Principal Investigators on the project are Susanna Bruckmüller and Bogdan Wojciszke. The project focuses on the internal structure of agency and community. Magdalena Formanowicz is a co-author and participant on the project.

  • “A polarization spectrum of meaning of generic forms: linguistic and esthetic aspects of expectancy violation” (Grant for interdisciplinary projects financed by SWPS University and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, project duration: 2020-2021)

Agnieszka Pantuchowicz from the Institute of Humanities, and Magdalena Formanowicz and Aleksandra Cisłak from the Center for Research on Social Behavior, will systematize cultural and social phenomena related to and resulting from an expectation violation at the level of linguistic communication/narration, in the context of normative and normalizing uses of generic forms. During the first phase of the project, the researchers will systematize and document expectancy violation. They will examine the phenomenon based on innovative linguistic practices related to generic forms. During the second phase of the project, the researchers will include aspects of translation and literature studies by examining perceptions and motifs of acceptance or non-acceptance of distinctly defamiliarized character.

  • “Determinants and consequences of everyday kindness” (Grant provided by the Institute of Psychology of SWPS University from the subsidy of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, duration: 2020-2021)

Olga Białobrzeska and Aleksandra Cisłak will examine what social beliefs determine everyday kindness, and how everyday kindness shapes one’s social beliefs. The project is not only significant from the theoretical, but also from the social and practical point of view. For example, in organizations the results of this study may provide a starting point for improving group relations and increasing productivity of teams or companies.

  • “A double chameleon and tendency for lying” (Grant provided by the Institute of Psychology of SWPS University from the subsidy of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, duration: 2020-2021)

The goal of the project, lead by Wojciech Kulesza, is to further test whether study participants demonstrate different tendencies for lying depending on the form of mimicry. The researchers will use experimental manipulation in the form of verbal and non-verbal mimicry.

  • “Verbal/Non-verbal chameleon” (Grant provided by the Institute of Psychology of SWPS University from the subsidy of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, duration: 2020-2021)

The project, led by Wojciech Kulesza, examined whether mimicry influences the tendency to lie. In the first experiment, researchers manipulated verbal mimicry, and during the second experiment non-verbal mimicry.

  • “Threat of stereotyping and job satisfaction. The significance of work ethics ” (Grant provided by the Institute of Psychology of SWPS University from the subsidy of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, duration: 2019)

The goal of the project was to collect and record correlates of stereotyping, experienced by women at the workplace, at different levels of the organization. Job satisfaction was the key variable, while different levels of motivation were used as mediators. Various aspects of work ethics were also taken into consideration as mediators. The study has shown a positive correlation between the threat of stereotyping and amotivation, which is a mediator in the relation between a threat of stereotyping and job satisfaction..

  • “How the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changes attitudes towards vaccination?” (Grant provided by the Polish Society of Social Psychology (PSPS) for research related to the COVID-19 pandemic, duration: 2020)

The project was developed by a doctoral student, Paweł Muniak, from the Center for Research on Social Relations. Other researchers working on the project include Wojciech Kulesza and Dariusz Doliński. The goal of the project is to examine general attitudes towards coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination and to establish potential motivations and consequences of these attitudes.

  • “The invisible, the non-existent, and the indispensable. University administration supporting research excellence”, project conducted in cooperation with the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, and the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) (Dialog granting scheme provided by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, duration: 2019-2021)

Aleksandra Cisłak, member of the Center for Research on Social Relations, is a partner on the study.
In the era of education reform in Poland, the concerted effort of all university employees to benefit research is extremely important. The goal of the project is to include administrative staff in activities that will help improve the quality of science and research in the organization. The goal of the study is to assess the current situation and design appropriate training sessions to improve cooperation between the administrative and academic departments at the university.

  • “The impact of interpersonal coordination on the extrapolation effect. Understanding the spread of imitation effects” (Preludium Bis granting scheme provided by the National Science Centre, duration: 2021-2025).

Principal Investigator: Wojciech Kulesza, grant scholarship: Paweł Muniak.
The goal of the project is to understand the extrapolation effect (spillover) of mimicry. Research conducted to date has shown that study participants yield to requests extended not only by persons mimicking them, but also by other people who have never mimicked the study participants before (van Baaren i in. 2003). Our research indicated that persons who were mimicked not only perceived the mimickers from an unknown group better, but also extended the same sentiment to the group the mimicker represented (Zgliniecka i Kulesza, 2014 a i b). Another study, however, showed a lack of extrapolation, indicating that this process is not uniform. For example, research on tendencies for mimicry revealed that study participants who were asked to mimic persons presenting products tended to better asses the products, while other similar products, which were out of sight during the interaction, were not perceived in the same way (Stel i in., 2011). Hence, (firstly) the extrapolation process has never been researched (rather, the extrapolation was just one of many rapid results that were not discussed by authors), and (secondly) this phenomenon is not uniform. During the first experiment, study participants will (not) be mimicked. Additionally, we will manipulate who the requestors are (mimickers/other persons related to, or not, to the mimicker) or what/who the requestors represent (own/other group). We will measure the level of yield in relation to the request submitted by mimickers/persons not related to the mimickers. The second research path will analyze the impact of experiencing mimicry/synchronization on observers of the relation, where mimicry occurs. During the first study, we will analyze the impact of witnessing mimicry or witnessing synchronization.

  • “Building trust in immunization by using the latest tools of communication and social influence (grant provided by the National Centre for Research and Development, project duration: 2022 – 2025).

Wojciech Kulesza is the Chair of the Steering Committee and one of the main researchers, while Dariusz Doliński heads SWPS University’s team participating in this study. Collaborating institutions: Kozminski University, Medical University of Warsaw, Centrum Medyczne Kształcenia Podyplomowego (Medical Center for Postgraduate Education).
The main aim of the project is to increase the level of trust towards immunization in Poland, by developing tools encouraging patients/adolescents to reject false medical statements related to vaccines and vaccination (medical fake news). Decline in immunization numbers results in the spread of communicable diseases, which in turn, negatively impacts the health care system (cost of medical treatment), and carries social and economic costs (cost of medical leaves, cost of employee absenteeism). Immunization decisions are made not only in consultation with doctors, but also based on information found on the Internet. Researchers will examine what influences the decision making mechanisms and they will align the final tools with target groups to best meet the groups’ needs and achieve the desired effect, i.e. a growth in immunization numbers. The solution, approved in the project, will include a development of cohesive strategies based on psycho-social mechanisms of persuasion and social influence, for medical personnel, teachers, parents and adolescents. The project considers a systemic solution, including a model of a basic health care provider responsible for the implementation of the mandatory immunization program and ready-made models of cooperation with local governments, NGOs, and public institutions, as well as a proposal of a new legislation and legal acts. Researchers will develop an innovative ICT tool allowing for identification of fake news at an early stage of their development and prevention of further dissemination of such news. The tool should also eliminate the need for dealing with fake news post factum.

Research Team

258 aleksandra cislak-wojcik

Associate Professor

Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik

psychologist, specializing in social hierarchy, political conflict, and psycholog of power

BIO »

258 wojciech kulesza

Associate Professor

Wojciech Kulesza

social psychologist, specializing in mimicry and psychology of love
BIO »

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Dr Sylwia Bedyńska SWPS

 

Sylwia Bedyńska, Ph.D.

psychologist, specializing in researching effects of stereotyping
BIO »

258 olga bialobrzeska

 

Olga Białobrzeska, Ph.D.

social psychologist, researches the role of community in lilfe
BIO »

258 Magdalena Formanowicz

 

Magdalena Formanowicz, Ph.D.

researches linguistic markers of psychological and social phenomena, especially agency

Marta Witkowska

 

Marta Witkowska, Ph.D.

social psychologist specializing in language of agency and meta-perception of discrimination
BIO »

STUDENTS, DOCTORAL STUDENTS, AND INTERNS COLLABORATING WITH THE CENTER

 

258 Justyna Bąba

 

Justyna Bąba

holds a Master's degree in clinical and health psychology from SWPS University, doctoral candidate

258 Paweł Muniak

 

Paweł Muniak

holds a Master's degree in social psychology, doctoral candidate, researches social influence and the phenomenon of mimicry

258 Zuzanna Jakubik

 

Zuzanna Jakubik

5th year student of social psychology program at SWPS Univeristy, path conflict  – crisis – cooperation

258 Anita Plichta

 

Anita Plichta

3rd year student of psychology program, path clinical psychology

258 Matylda Kozakiewicz

 

Matylda Kozakiewicz

student of social psychology

julia borkowska

 

Julia Borkowska

3rd year student of social psychology, interested in doctor-patient relationship and social activism

Collaborators

Professor Dariusz Doliński, SWPS University in Wrocław
Professor Tamar Saguy Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel
Professor Bogdan Wojciszke, SWPS University in Sopot
Associate Professor Michał Parzuchowski, SWPS University in Sopot
Aleksandra Cichocka, Ph.D., University of Kent
Adrian Wójcik, Ph.D., Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
Dorota Żołnierczyk-Zreda, Ph.D., Central Institute for Labour Protection

Location

SWPS University
Chodakowska 19/31
03-815 Warsaw

Contact

Center for Research on Social Relations
The Faculty of Psychology in Warsaw
e-mail: cbrs@swps.edu.pl