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Meet our Researchers

Katarzyna Byrka


SWPS University is a leading research center in Poland. Results of our research find numerous practical applications in education, business organizations, and public administration. These discoveries require drive, courage, dedication, responsibility, and years of hard work. We would like you to meet the people behind the projects, see the research centers where they work, and discover the fascinating world of science, which improves the quality of life.

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Research Focus
social psychology

Katarzyna Byrka is a social psychologist and Associate Professor at the Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology in Wrocław and the Head of the Social Behavior Research Center at SWPS University’s Institute of Psychology. She is interested in various aspects of social psychology, including motivational, environmental and health psychology. She carries out studies to learn why people engage in certain behaviors and how attitudes affect people’s behaviors. She usually focuses on fundamental research and basic theories and the applicability of results are crucial for her. Therefore, she conducts studies not only in the lab, but also beyond its walls to understand how people behave in their natural environment.

During one of her recent studies, her team examined the mechanisms of habit forming and breaking. The researchers chose to focus on a very mundane task, like doing laundry and the use of fabric softener in the process. They wanted to examine why people use fabric softener and whether this behavior could be changed. To encourage people to change the habit of using fabric softener, which is not very good for the environment, the researchers provided half of the participants with a very unconventional and bizarre substitute – natural soap nuts that come from India. It turned out that providing an unusual substitute for the fabric softener proved to be very conducive to changing the habit of using fabric softener.

For me, becoming a researcher was more of a process. I was a very curious child, asking many questions, and there were more ‘why’ questions than anybody could really handle; and at some point, I thought that, actually, I would like to find answers to those questions by myself, that I would like to formulate a hypothesis and test it empirically. And also, at some point, I thought that human beings should be the object of my investigation, because I was fascinated by how paradoxical human nature was. That’s why I decided to become a psychologist, to understand people, their nature, and why they behave in certain ways.

Katarzyna Byrka
Katarzyna Byrka
Ph.D. / Associate Professor

Hear Professor Byrka speak about:

Her research on various aspects of human behavior

Professor Byrka talks about an interesting study that examines how habits are formed and broken. She also sheds some light on sometimes unconventional tools and methods researchers use to examine a hypothesis.

Read more about Professor Byrka's research

Research Center
Social Behavior Research Center

The Center researches human behavior in various social situations. Some of the research topics undertaken by the researchers include, social impact, morality and lying, pro-health behavior, inclusion and exclusion, mobbing, and kindness towards animals.
Social Behavior Research Center  

Video Series
Researchers of SWPS University

Meet our researchers. Hear them talk about their passion for finding answers to scientific questions and their commitment to providing solutions, which improve the lives of individuals and communities.

The project is financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange under the Welcome to Poland programme.

Meet our researchers