Social psychology, (cross-)cultural issues and political psychology
1. The effects of national identification and perceived solution of inter-ethnic conflicts on the use of linguistic categories (infrahumanization, LIB, agency)
Banga C., László J.
First author's affiliation: University of Pécs, Institute of Psychology, Pécs, Hungary
Linguistic inter-group bias is the tendency to describe positive in-group behaviors and negative out-group behaviors more abstractly than negative in-group behaviors and positive out-group behaviors. Infrahumanization paradigm suggests a preferential attribution of “human essence” to in-groups, independently of the valence of emotions. Identification with a nation is usually disentangled into two types: patriotic versus nationalist, and it has a mediating role in inter-group emotions. In our study, the subjects first fulfilled a national identification questionnaire. Then, they were consecutively presented with eight photographs depicting “good” and “bad” historical events as well as positive and negative emotional events where the group-identity of the participants was not identifiable. Labels of the participating groups were systematically varied. We used Hungarian as in-group and Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian, Serbian, Croatian, and Slovakian as out-groups. As dependent variables subjects had to choose between three or four different picture captions. These were varied systematically in linguistic abstraction and in type of emotions (primary versus secondary). Finally, subjects fulfilled a questionnaire about how they perceive the conflicts with these nations. The results showed that subjects with a nationalist attitude expressed a stronger tendency to infrahumanization regardless of the conflict. They also expressed a stronger tendency to linguistic intergroup bias, but only toward those nations with which they perceived an unsolved conflict.
2. Strategies of coping with injustice and justice related beliefs
Ćubela Adorić V., Tucak Junaković I., Sulić P.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia
Supplementing previous research into coping with experiences of injustice, this study aimed at exploring the various strategies people might use in dealing with injustice, and the pattern of their relationships with fundamental beliefs about justice and the (un)justness of the world. A self-reported measure of coping with injustice (Cubela Adoric, 2007), modelled after the existent measures of coping strategies, was administered to an age heterogenous group of adult participants (age range: 20 to 65 years) along with measures of justice centrality and just-world beliefs. The results showed a large number of specific forms of coping with injustice can be interpreted in terms of several dimensions as identified in the relevant literature (e.g., problem focused coping, avoidance, distraction, restructuring, rumination). The reported preference of using some strategies was found to correlate with the importance attached to justice as well as with the fundamental beliefs about the justness of the world. The observed pattern of relationships will be discussed in terms of previous research and theorizing about the functioning of these fundamental beliefs in providing the general interpretative framework for observed injustice.
Elderly people are usually considered a target for stereotyping and discrimination. Recent development in medicine, ways of life and society caused evident changes in the process of aging and new representations of elderly emerged, for example in media and advertising. Is the stereotype of the old person as frail, poor, alone and slow still resistant? Are the “new elderly” converting the social representations about old people in more adequate, more positive, less stereotyped ones? A sample of 569 Italians, from 18 to 79-years-old, were asked to mark in an adjective list the labels that “describe the typical old man/old woman”. Data were analysed separately for the sex of the target, by the mean of hierarchical cluster analysis. Results indicate a variety of social representations, both positive and negative. Therefore, it should be that the elderly are perceived in a more flexible and enriched way. However, this optimistic conclusion has to face the fact that negative representations are prevailing, especially for old men. Furthermore, it has to be proved that the more positive views are not stereotyping, are not simply a more acceptable way to keep elderly people at a distance.
4. The emotional representation of history
University of Pécs, Institute Of Psychology, Pécs, Hungary
Our aim in this study was to get a view about the emotional representation of Hungarian history through analyses of history books and stories about historical events told by people. An emotion dictionary was applied with all Hungarian words containing emotional meaning. This dictionary was implemented into NooJ language technological device. By applying local grammars it was possible to handle a large text corpus and to detect emotional expressions while filtering out false matches. Emotions were categorized on the dimensions of valence (positive, negative, neutral) and of human nature (social, basic emotions). These emotion-classes were then used for the examination of various social-psychological models, like that of infrahumanization, inter-group emotion theory and models of collective emotions. We supposed that narrative psychological analyses of social representations of history concerning emotions provide an opportunity to get at the conclusions about the constructions of group identity. We assumed that historical trajectory of a nation may have an effect on emotional representations. East- Middle European national identity has special features: instability of national frames, permanent fear from destruction, and danger of occupation by other nations. In contrast, stable Western nation states allow their people to be relaxed about their national identity. Our results support the notion that characteristics of Hungarian historical trajectory override the phenomena found in other cultures concerning emotions: infrahumanization, IET and collective emotions appear in a specific way in emotional representations of Hungarian history as a consequence of Hungarian historical trajectory.
5. The investigation of group characteristics of attributing intention through the narration of historical events
Ferenczhalmy R., László J.
First author's affiliation: Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
In a broader sense, the concept of intentionality comprises assigning intentions and mental states to others. In our study we focus on one aspect of attributing intentions, namely, the identification of intention in texts. Our approach is based on Brunner’s distinction between the descriptive and the psychological levels of narration. On the psychological level the interpretation and evaluation appear beyond the pure description of events. In our research we investigate what intentions the narrator assigns to specific agents in the text. We also focus on the interpretation of opportunity and compulsion in the text. Our research group works with the NOOJ language technological tool. We compose dictionaries relevant to the concept of intentionality, and with the help of local grammars this program enables us to do analyses on textual and morpho-syntactic levels. In our research we aimed to analyse the narratives of 10 historical events that bear great significance for the Hungarian national identity. We worked with two corpora: history textbooks used in current Hungarian elementary and secondary schools, and folk historical corpus which incorporates the texts of a representative sample taken from 500 individuals. We regarded these texts as important social representations of national identity. Our main focus was the comparison between the assigned intention to the in- or the outgroup in the description of positive and negative events. According to our hypothesis, in the formation of a positive identity intention will be assigned to the ingroup in the description of positive events, whereas in the description of negative events it will be assigned to the outgroup. We further hypothesize that with the positive events it will be mainly the opportunities, while with the negative events it will be mainly the compulsions that characterize the ingroup. Our results are in concordance with our hypotheses, according to which the representation of national identity can be interpreted in terms of control, responsibility, and agency.
6. Basic personal values and political choice
Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb, Croatia
Modern politics has become increasingly personalized as the individual characteristics of voters, particularly their basic personal values, become decisive for political choice – replacing traditional group interests as the crucial grounding of ideology. An abundant literature reports relations of values to political attitudes and choice. People are inclined to vote for parties whose leaders and policies they perceive as likely to promote or protect the attainment of their own important values. Conversely, they are inclined to vote against those they perceive as likely to frustrate or block the attainment and preservation of the values they cherish. Basic value priorities, through their influence on core political values and on perceptions of candidates and party platforms, can help us understand individual differences in political opinions and attitudes. However, value priorities that are likely to influence political attitudes and behavior are sensitive to the issues prominent in the social milieu. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze what the political choices in the specific sociopolitical context imply for the particular values. The present work examines the role of voters' personal values in their political choice, using the Schwartz (1992) theory of basic personal values. Controlling for some basic demographic variables (age, gender, income and education), the relative contribution of personal values to political choice is assessed, using data from 1130 voters for the major political parties in the Croatian national election of 2007. Hypotheses about the relations between values and political preferences are based on the implications for value attainment of policy differences between the political parties and coalitions. Results show that supporters of the major political parties differ in values largely as hypothesized.
7. Social cohesion and safety perceptions in a multicultural context: When the natives are the minority group
Giovannini D., Pintus A., Vezzali L., Ferrari B.
First author's affiliation: University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Although several studies suggest that urban environment is experienced as less safe than non-urban one, different areas of the same city may consistently differ with respect to feelings of safety perceived by residents. The aim of this study was to analyze the representations and perceptions of people living in the area close to the railway station (Districts 6 and 7) of Reggio Emilia, where immigrants constitute the majority group, in terms of perceived safety and specific problems linked to the immigration process and intergroup relations. First, we hypothesized that marginalization perceptions occur more for Italians than for immigrant residents. Second, we expected that safety perceptions would be enhanced by social ties, and this relation would be mediated by sense of community. Furthermore, we explored the role of sense of community in fostering a more harmonious climate within the community. Data were collected in two distinct phases: in the first, we conducted deep interview to stakeholders so as to understand the real problems faced from people living in the area; in the second, semi-structured interviews, constructed on the basis of the contents collected in the first step, were conducted with a sample of residents. Results generally confirmed the hypotheses, supporting in particular the role of social cohesion in fostering safety perceptions and satisfaction within the community.
8. Youth participation from school to community
Educational Research Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
The study on youth social participation was conducted among adolescents in the municipality of Ljubljana. The aim of the study was to disclose the social and the personal correlates of youth involvement in the community affairs. We therefore focused on the school enrolled adolescents (from primary (N=816) and secondary schools (N=867) to the university students (N=327)) and their experiences with social participation in the school and in the extracurricular activities. Also, some measures were applied on their social knowledge, attitudes, sociability, locus of control and perception of self-efficacy related to social involvement. The analyses explored the appropriate model which could explain the relations among the extracurricular experiences, social knowledge and motivation for social action. The developmental trajectories of social participation through adolescence were also investigated.
9. Politics and the need for closure – In what sense are people with a higher need for closure more flexible?
Harsányi S., Csanádi A.
First author's affiliation: University of Szeged and ELTE University, Budapest, Szeged, Hungary
Cognitive style is a theory that explains how and in what ways we organize the pieces of information we have about society and the people living around us. Rokeach, the originator of the theory identified two styles of information processing: an open approach, capable of individual consideration, and a closed one, characterized by less flexibility and refinement. This theory was amended by Kruglanski, who pointed out that cognitive closure is situation dependent and that the motivational background of the individual should be taken into account. Over the last few decades, several authors have found connections between political conservativism and closed thinking, while others argued that a high need for closure is equally present in the political Left. We asked 330 university students to answer the survey we created by translating Kurglanski's original Need for Clousure Scale survey to Hungarian. The survey provides a statistically reliable means of measurement, making it a possible first Hungarian version. In addition, close to half of the respondents (N=150) were asked about their political party preference, level of commitment, and specific ideologies. Our hypothesis was that a higher need for closure is present in proponents of both the political Left and Right. This assumption is partially based on the fact that political parties in Hungary do not have such well defined camps of voters as do the parties in more developed democracies. Our results show that there is no significant difference between conservative and socialist voters in terms of the need for closure, while liberals achieved remarkably lower scores. Another interesting result is that those respondents who have changed their party preference since the last elections (two years ago) showed a higher need for closure than those who have not changed their preference.
10. Elaboration of traumatic historical events in the media – Longitudinal content analytic study of the press coverage of the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy in the Hungarian press from 1920 to 2007
University of Pécs, Pilis, Hungary
Research group at the University of Pécs has developed a set of programs for narrative psychological content analysis. These programs are related to social psychological phenomena of inter-group relations in historical narratives. The programs measure agency in inter-group conflicts, collective emotions, primary and secondary emotions, intentionality, cognitive processes, and negation. These computer algorithms also have the capacity to tie psychological “hits” to characters and groups participating in the narrated event. The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which was completed by the Paris Treaties in 1920, was a traumatic experience to Hungarian national identity because of the secession of two thirds of the former territory as well as population of the country. History leading to this event as well as consequences of the Paris Treaty have been discussed in the mass media in details ever since, however in changing length and political orientation depending on the changing historical epochs in the twentieth century. A sample consisting of left wing, liberal and conservative daily news papers was selected for analysis. Sample texts dealing with the Paris Treaty were selected from every fifth year of each journal from 1920 to 2007 arriving at a text corpus of 300 000 characters. This corpus was analyzed with the aforementioned programs looking for differences and changes in emotions, cognitions, negations, group agency and group intentionality. The results show that the elaboration of the trauma is reflected in a decreasing number of negations, increasing cognitions by both in-group and out-group, decreasing intentionality of out-groups for bad deeds, and increasing in-group agency in bad deeds.
11. Perspective and group-membership influences causal attribution of interpersonal verbs
Kabai P., Pólya T., László J.
First author's affiliation: University of Pécs Psychology PhD School, Pécs, Hungary
By the concreteness-abstractness of description of an event, there are other mechanisms, which have impact on causal attribution. Actor-observer bias suggests that actors tend to attribute their actions to situational factors, whereas observers rather use dispositional attribution. Perspective can be manipulated implicitly, by group membership. In our experiment we have varied valence, abstractness of interpersonal verbs, group membership and actor-observer perspective. We performed the latter variation by using mental verbs, e.g., "Petru was aggressive with Mihály" versus "Petru thought he was aggressive with Mihály." Participants were asked to estimate the dispositional and situational causal attribution of the interpersonal events. Linguistic manipulation of the perspective has effects which are in accord with theory of Bertram Malle on actor-observer bias. Results point to the potential linguistic means of alleviating stereotypes.
12. Researching the identity of a city – The case of Osijek, Croatia
Kamenov Z., Huic T., Huic A.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Citizens of a certain city can, for different reasons, be dissatisfied with the image of their city and be interested in re-positioning people's perception of it to a more favorable one. City branding is a strategic process for developing a long-term vision for a place that influences and shapes positive perceptions. Developing a strategy for city branding first requires an in-depth knowledge of the city identity itself. What are the key characteristics of the city? Which of its symbols are recognized? What are the people like? What is it like to live in it? What are its potentials? It’s advantages and disadvantages? What should the city be like in the future? This paper explains the methodological steps used in researching an identity of a city. The main goal of this research was to assess the identity of the city of Osijek, Croatia. An elaborate research strategy combined both qualitative and quantitative methodology. In-depth interviews with city opinion makers and focus groups with representatives of different areas relevant for the city were conducted. Additionally, 1097 people participated in a detailed survey. These steps enabled us to find out how do people involved in city policy making see Osijek, what citizens of Osijek think about the town they live in, and finally, how citizens from other cities in Croatia perceive it.
13. Cross-cultural comparison of family and friendship influences between adolescents in Croatia, Bosina and Herzegovina, and Macedonia
Klarin M., Prorokovic A.
First author's affiliation: University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia
Recent investigations often emphasize the necessity of cross-cultural comparisons of parenting and friendship influences on different aspects of adolescent behaviour. Unfortunately, the number of cross-cultural studies in this field of research is still very small and most development theories are based on research conducted in western cultures. Therefore, the main goal of this study was to identify the similarities and differences in the perception of parenting and friendship influences between adolescents in three states: Republics of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. As expected, the results (ANCOVA) showed significant differences in family and friendship interactions due to cultural affiliation. The main difference is related to adolescent perception of the quality of family interactions. Adolescents from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia estimate the quality of their family interaction to be better than do adolescents from Croatia. Also, there was a significant difference in family and friendship influences on various specific clusters of adolescents' social behaviour.
14. Identity and behaviour patterns in the text of literary works approached by narrative psychology
University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities, Institute for Psychology, Pécs, Hungary
Texts of literary works allow handing down the past to generations getting farer and farer from events in time by enabling them to have personal experience of history. They help us to remember, attach and draw behaviour patterns from them. The narrative principle was extended to national identity by Assmann. It is through literary texts that we have a personal experience of the content of belonging together shaped from the interpretation of the common past, history. Since the universal world view of the Middle Ages dissolved coherence between individual members of mankind has been ensured by the feeling and awareness of belonging to a nation, which becomes available to individuals in texts, who turn into members of the social large group through integration into society. The use of narrative psychology as an approach and method for handling the subject of national identity represented in literary texts (primarily in historical novels) has been initiated by János László. The analysis is based on the view as a fact that national identity, the content, issues of the awareness of the nation are closely related to the interpretation of the past of the nation. It is in the wake of these thoughts that we draw a parallel between awareness of the nation and history, culture and identity. The elements of the awareness of the nation arise from the interpretation of history, which interpretation is conveyed to the individual by culture (too). And nation as a social large group provides the individual getting integrated into society with a framework of reference. The novel that provides the basic text of the analysis serves to characterize group identity. The key point is what literature carrying identity conveys to the reader and how this message can be grasped. We highlight elements (of psychological significance) that can be grasped from, are manifested in the quasi statements and constructed world of literature regarding the relation between the individual and the group. We gather types of action, behaviour patterns, evaluating statements; we determine the characters’ functions and the properties implied by actions. The latent levels of meaning of the text readable between the lines, manifested in the background, its stylistic content, aspects of interpretation in literary history are not included in the scope of the narrative psychology analysis. It is in its approach and method that this narrative psychology analysis addressing the issue of identification primarily in historic novels carries a new element.
15. Internet-based public opinion research
Lamza Posavec V., Rihtar S.
First author's affiliation: Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb, Croatia
Internet-based surveys are becoming widely used in social research and are usually conducted through placing survey questions on web-pages or distributing them via e-mail. In public opinion research, results are usually generalized to the total population. In Internet surveying, a major methodological issue stems from the coverage bias: the sampling frame from which the sample is drawn does not match the target population. The main aim of our research was to investigate the possible effect of coverage bias in Internet-based surveys of public opinion in Croatia. Research was conducted in November 2007, on a representative probabilistic sample of adult population of Croatia. Sample included 1130 respondents from 93 communities or 118 sample points. Results were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics and discriminant analysis. According to the results, at the end of 2007, approximately 35% of adult population of Croatia had access to the Internet, and were using it mostly for information search (34%) and e-mail (28%). As expected, Internet users differ significantly from non-users in their demographic and social characteristics (they are younger, better educated, better situated, living in urban communities), but also in their political and social attitudes (they are more critical of the government and their leaders and less satisfied with the situation in society). When comparing the results of the total sample with those of the Internet-users, the observed differences point to a significant bias in almost all of the examined variables of political attitudes and behavior. An additional, important source of bias stems from the unresolved issue of probabilistic sampling, suitable for public opinion research.
The birth of the European Union in the mid 20th century marked the birth of a new social identity which was shared by many, if not all Europeans, both in the EU and outside of it. The main questions raised in regard to this European identity dealt with its possible correlates with national identities in different countries. Although untill very recently most of the researchers dealing with this questions were sociologists and historians, in the last decade or so psychologist have started to claim there rightful place. This paper deals with the following question: is there a sense of belonging to Europe in Serbia, a country which is presently not a part of the EU and will not be its part for years to come? The sample consisted of 451 ethnic Serbs and Hungarians from Serbia, out of whom 47% women and 53% men, of different age and educational levels. The instruments used were STEIN scale (Attitudes toward European integration), collective self-esteem scale (Luhtanen and Crocker), and SDO scale (Sidanius, Pratto, Stallworth, Malle), as well as the European and national identity scale (Cinnirela). The results showed that there were significant differences between Serbs and Hungarians, and that low social dominance orientation and positive attitudes toward European integration are significant correlates of the European identity. We could not find any differences between men and women, as well as between subjects of different age and educational levels. Also, the results show that national and European identities can be perceived as independent types of social identity since there were no significant correlations between the two.
17. Influence of social context on the pain perception: The effect of the passive observer's distance
Modić Stanke K., Ivanec D.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia
Some previous research has shown that the presence of passive observer in unpleasant (painful) situation increases pain tolerance. However, in such research no attention was paid to the spatial distance of the passive observer from the participant experiencing pain. The goal of this research was to test whether and in what way is the effect of the social context on the experience of pain moderated by spatial distance of the passive observer from the participant. Unpleasant (painful) stimuli were caused by the flow of warm air. Variables measured in this research were pain threshold and tolerance, as well as evaluations of intensity and discomfort of stimuli, and some physiological indicators (pulse, blood pressure, temperature). All participants (N = 36) have passed through two experimental situations - with and without the presence of the passive observer; the only difference being that the spatial distance of the passive observer from one half of the participants (N = 18) was small, while the distance of the passive observer from the rest of the participants (N = 18) was greater. The research results did not confirm statistically significant analgesic effect of the passive observer who was at a greater spatial distance from participants to any pain measure (although such trend was present in pain threshold and tolerance) but did show significant opposite effect of a passive observer at very close distance - his presence lowering pain threshold and tolerance. Such results suggest the potential importance of including personal space as a variable in testing the experience of pain.
18. Hungarian and French economics students' social representations of competition and fraud: A confirmatory study
University of Szeged, University of Rheims, Eötvös Lóránd University, Szeged, Hungary
Considering Fülöp et al.'s previous studies, immoral competition is pervasively present in Hungarian business sphere – a phenomenon that can be interpreted as a negative after-effect of the change of regime. Hence, the aim of this research project was to analyze how the moral dimension appears in the next generation of businessmen’s social representations of competition. Hungarian and French economics students with different historical and cultural backgrounds were compared. The results of the first study show that moral dimensions are present, but only in the secondary peripheral part of Hungarians’ representations of competition. Moreover, Hungarian students concentrate on the result of competition, while French students’ representation contains more elements pertaining to the process of competition. Surprisingly, in the Hungarians’ fraud representation, academic cheating was strongly present. 127 Hungarian and 115 French economics students participated in this research; first they had to choose five most typical words from a 20-word list concerning competition and fraud, later they made relations between the 12 most peculiar words. These lists of words were constructed on the base of a previous study. The results of these tasks confirm the first study: French students’ competition representation is more self-developmental than that of Hungarian students, whose representation focuses on the results and not the manner of competition. In Hungarian’s social representation of fraud, academic cheating again appeared significantly more frequently than among their French peers. Previous studies show that academic cheating is more prevalent where goal orientation is more important (Hungarian students) than self-developmental aspects (French students). Moreover, former studies found a strong correlation between academic cheating and workplace frauds, which proves the importance of academic cheating in the socialization of dishonesty in the business sphere.
19. Moral emotions and political choice
Rihtar S., Lamza Posavec V.
First author's affiliation: Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb, Croatia
Numerous studies in the area of global impression formation have shown that morality and competence form two separate and most important clusters of traits (with a strong evaluative component) in person perception, including perception, evaluation and choice of political actors. Although moral information is more easily processed than information about competence, moral impressions are stronger and more resistant to change than impressions about competence, contrary to the expectations of dual processing models. The assumption that moral emotions might be partly responsible for this phenomenon was verified in public opinion research, conducted prior to the parliamentary elections in 2007 on a nationally representative sample of adults in Croatia. Results have shown that moral emotions are, in addition to perceived competence and morality of political actors, significant and stronger predictors of political choice, that negative moral emotions are better predictors of political animosity than positive of political sympathy, and, finally, that moral emotions are more responsible for the polarization of voters and public in general than other criteria of political choice.
20. Emotional representations of historical events found in Hungarian history textbooks
University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
As part of an extended research aiming to investigate the narratives of 20th century historical events as they appear in Hungarian history textbooks, the focus of this study was to assess visual representations in the form of images and illustrations to measure the levels of emotional processing of specific events in respect to the Kubler-Ross (1969) grief model. Utilizing qualitative methods, 42 illustrations together with their short explanations were examined and ranked on grief scale from denial to acceptance. These illustrations, serving as beacons by the author(s), may represent how Hungarians over the last hundred years have come in terms with events emotionally. Findings indicate that emotional processing of some events has not been fully completed in the examined period.
21. How do we care about justice: Relationships among various justice related beliefs in Croatian adults
Sulić P., Ćubela Adorić V., Tucak Junaković I.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia
Based on previous research and theorizing about why and how people care about justice, the current study aimed at exploring the relationships among several forms of self-reported justice concerns in an age heterogeneous group of Croatian adults. The participants completed self-report measures of the beliefs in the (un)justness of the world, justice centrality, sensitivity to injustice from three perspectives (victim, observer, and beneficiary), and of the attitudes toward justice at the societal level. As expected, the beliefs in a just and an unjust world correlated negatively. However, both beliefs were found to correlate positively with the importance attached to justice, as indicated by the justice centrality. Justice centrality was also positively related to justice sensitivity from all perspectives, whereas the beliefs in just and unjust world showed a somewhat different pattern of relationships with justice sensitivity variables. Along with the pattern of correlations between these variables and the evaluation of societal (un)fairness (which spread across several domains), these results provide support for the notion that a genuine concern and strive for justice is mostly reflected in the belief in the justness of the world as well as in the justice sensitivity from observer and beneficiary perspectives. The victim sensitivity and the belief in the unjustness of the world seem to reflect a more negative focus in evaluating the (un)fairness and a more self-focused rather than other-focused concern for justice. In general, the results suggest that the various forms of caring about (in)justice can be reliably assessed and differentiated in adults of various age using the measures that are being developed in the studies with younger (mostly student) participants.
22. "Beyond the age of innocence" - Adolescents’ beliefs about the institutions of democratic society
University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
The aim of our study was to explore the way Hungarian teenagers (age 17) think about the institutions of democratic society and whether they trust them. A survey (Likert-type scale) was conducted on 649 secondary school youngsters born in the time of dramatic social and political changes in Hungary. Unlike their parents who were socialized in the communist era they grew up in the new plural political system. The teens’ beliefs are constructed on the basis of their parents’ experiences as well as their own specific ones. We supposed that because of this kind of socialization their views on politics are quite confused and they don't trust democratic institutions (e.g. law - jurisdiction, politicians, elections) either. The outcomes of the study support this hypothesis. The interviewees do trust neither the democratic institutional system nor its politicians. They believe that the administration of justice is especially unreliable. Their attitudes toward participation in the elections are also ambivalent.
23. Dreaming of the American Dream – Investigating the representations of social differences in the function of family socialization
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
The most important source of children’s socialization is the family. In this environment we obtain important information which is crucial for latter adaptive functioning in society. Occasionally, this natural process discontinues and the functions of the family are assigned to another institution. The following study examines the effects of different social contexts through children’s representations about social differences. Our research investigates the differences and similarities in the conceptions about wealth and poverty among Hungarian pupils growing up in families and their peers who don't have this kind of stable family background and socialization. We compared the ideas of nearly a hundred primary school pupils (average age=10,2 years) living in families with different socio-economical status and the conceptions of nearly 40 children in State Custody (average age=10,4 years) living in children’s home or at foster parents. Based upon the children’s drawings and structural interviews, we compared the groups’ representations along several indices (e.g. physical, psychological, as well as social characteristics of poor and wealthy people, the causes of their social position, or the degree of reality or fantasy in the drawings). Preliminary results indicate that the representations of children in State Custody differ from the children in families along several lines. We found particular differences in the degree of reality connected to social positions and in the tendency of the attributions. Poverty appears like a hard fact, while wealth is revealed like a kind of an idealized dream in these children’s representations. The results show the dominant effect of the social context on the formation of children's views besides the characteristics of age. Implications of these results are discussed in order to reveal new investigational directions for developing the programs for development and integration.
24. Does the perceived solution of historical conflicts have an effect on linguistic intergroup bias and infrahumanization?
Szabo Z. P., Laszlo J.
First author's affiliation: University of Pecs Psychology Department, Pecs, Hungary
This study examined linguistic intergroup bias and infrahumanization in relation to historical conflicts between national groups. Linguistic intergroup bias is the tendency to describe positive in-group behaviors and negative out-group behaviors more abstractly than negative in-group behaviors and positive out-group behaviors (Maas et al, 1989; 1996). To illustrate the LIB, the Linguistic Category Model (LCM) was used in this current research (Semin and Fiedler, 1989; 1991). We also tried to examine the hypothesis of infrahumanization which suggests a preferential attribution of the “human essence” to in-groups, independent of in-group favoritism (Haslem et al, 2005; Leyens et al, 2003). We tried to measure the perceived solution of historical conflicts. In this way a historical conflict is placed on a continuum between "terminated" and "unterminated". We also tried to examine whether the type of identification with one's nation influences linguistic bias and infrahumanization or not (Roccas&Klar, 2006). In our first study participants were presented with single-frame drawings in which a people performed a certain behavior. The people on the drawings were introduced as a typical Austrian, Hungarian, Lithuanian or Romanian people. We used a fixed-response scale format controlling for the level of abstractness developed from LCM. We also asked the participants to choose primary and secondary emotions which the picture target might felt. In our second study participants were presented with the same drawings, but this time we used a free-response format. We also asked the participants to rate primary and secondary emotions which the picture target might felt. The participants of our studies only showed linguistic bias and infrahumanization towards out-group members where the in-group and the out-group have an unsolved historical relationship. The type of identification had no effect on linguistic bias and infrahumanization.
25. Frequency of active and passive verbs in history narratives
University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
Agency – the ability to act effectively (Hamilton, 2007) – is a major component in social perception and identity studies. It makes a difference whether we see other people as actively shaping their life as opposed to being passive recipients of events. Similarly, our own capacity of agency or our group’s capacity to cope actively with challenges reflect important aspects of individual and group (national) identity. Activity appears in narrative texts mainly through the use of active and passive verbs. Implicit semantics of verbs has been studied previously in several psychological paradigms (LCM, Semin and Fiedler, 1989, 1991; LIB, Maas et al.). We have developed a verb dictionary with two major categories: active versus passive. We inserted this dictionary into the NooJ language technological device (Silberztein, 2008), that has the capacity to build local grammars for identifying language patterns in context. Our program is therefore not a mere dictionary, but performs morphological and grammatical analyses as well. Using this program we tested the ingroup–outgroup asymmetry phenomena in Hungarian history textbooks and narratives of Hungarian people. Results show that there appears much more agency for the ingroup in positive stories than in negative ones, while for the outgoup the situation is reversed.
26. History and its comprehension – Cognitive infrahumanization in contemporary history textbooks and lay narratives
University of Pecs, Institute of psychology, Pecs, Hungary
Infrahumanization is currently one of the most studied topics in social psychology. Several studies have pointed out that people tend to ascribe the essential human characteristics to the ingroup, while these characteristics are denied to the outgroup. This phenomenon was demonstrated to be related to emotions (Leyens et. al. 2000) and also, in a broader sense, to mental states (Kozak, 2006). The psychological significance of this latter, the so called cognitive infrahumanization was the focus of our research. Ten historical events as portrayed in contemporary history schoolbooks and in lay narratives were analyzed according to the distribution of cognitive state verbs and expressions. Results show that while history textbooks tend to ascribe cognitive sates in an equal proportion to in- and outgroup, in lay narratives in the case of negative events cognitive actions are attributed almost exclusively to the outgroup.
27. Communication and meaning construction in social psychology: Group polarization as a communication process [presentation, pdf, 178 kB]
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Communication is the medium and the dynamic principle of all social psychological processes and structures as they can be found in everyday life. Mainstream experimental social psychology tends to neglect this fact both in theory and methodology: quantification being the sine qua non, it has to define it's subject matter »outside of« the dynamics of communication, thereby crucially altering the very reality of the phenomena it seeks to explain. In my presentation I shall try to form a bridge between the qualitative and the quantitative approach by showing how a social psychological process – group polarization – can be approached not only »inside« communication but as a communication process. For this purpose I shall present the main findings of an in-depth discourse analysis of the discussions that are an integral part of the classic group polarization experiment. I am going to deal with two main issues: (i)The presupposition of the attitude scale used in such experiments is a »stable« attitude object that is »essentially the same« both from a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The implication is that individuals evaluate the same thing, only with different intensity and/or value. Using representative examples from discussions, I am going to show that participants with opposite evaluations find very different meanings when discussing the same statements (comprising the attitude scale): the very reading of the statements is a function of the overall object evaluation. (ii)The meaning of the scale items (and thereby the structure of the attitude object itself) undergoes transformation through the discussion: the group strives to form a joint reading of each item when reaching a consensus on the item rating. When the group is attitudinally homogeneous, the reading of an item tends to simplify, leading to more extreme ratings. When the group is heterogeneous, the reading tends to complexify, leading to more moderate ratings. Attitude objects are therefore communicatively constructed, "attitude change" being the consequence of a specific communication setting.