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Dr Mark Rubin is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He obtained an MSc from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Cardiff University, UK. He is a social psychologist, and his research focuses on evaluations of deviant people, interdependent problem-solving, migration processes, perceived group variability, prejudice, stereotyping, social class, social identity, and social integration. For more information, please visit his research webpage at: http://bit.ly/QgpV4O
Governments around the world are trying to open up higher education to working-class people. For example, in January this year, the White House released a report titled: "Increasing college opportunity for low-income students: Promising models and a call to action." In the context of this general push towards widening participation in higher education, my colleagues and I have been developing a research project that aims to investigate social class differences in social integration among student........ Read more »
Rubin, M., Denson, N., Kilpatrick, S., Matthews, K., Stehlik, T., & Zyngier, D. (2014) "I Am Working-Class": Subjective Self-Definition as a Missing Measure of Social Class and Socioeconomic Status in Higher Education Research. Educational Researcher. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X14528373
We all belong to many different social groups. Most of the time, it's fairly easy to work out who belongs to which group. But sometimes it's not that clear. In this post, I consider the mysterious effect that social psychologists have dubbed the in-group overexclusion effect.... Read more »
Rubin, M., & Paolini, S. (2014) Out-group flies in the in-group’s ointment: Evidence of the motivational underpinnings of the in-group overexclusion effect. Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000171
Social identity theory assumes that we compete with other social groups in order to achieve a relatively high social status. But recent research reveals that in-group favoritism can also be used to achieve equality and fairness between groups.... Read more »
Rubin, M., Badea, C., & Jetten, J. (2014) Low status groups show in-group favoritism to compensate for their low status and to compete for higher status. . Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. DOI: 10.1177/1368430213514122
Myself (Miles Bore), Don Munro and David Powis have spent the last 15 years developing and testing personality questionnaires and ability tests for use in the selection of medical students. While much of the focus of our research has been the use of these tests in Australia and the UK, we have also had opportunities to trial the tests in countries where English is not the first language such as Sweden, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal and Fiji. Recently we were approached by Saharnaz Nedjat from Teh........ Read more »
Nedjat, S., Bore, M., Majdzadeh, R., Rashidian, A., Munro, D., Powis, D., Karbakhsh, M., . (2013) Comparing the cognitive, personality and moral characteristics of high school and graduate medical entrants to the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Medical Teacher, 35(12), 1632-1637. DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.826791
When you see a spoon upside down you do not need to mentally rotate it back to the right way up to know it is a spoon… do you? It is more likely you remember instances when you saw a spoon upside-down and know it is still a spoon. When you see unfamiliar objects upside-down (like my face) you need to return that object to the correct orientation to know whether or not it is the same object, or slightly different.... Read more »
Provost, A., Johnson, B., Karayanidis, F., Brown, S. D., & Heathcote, A. (2013) Two Routes to Expertise in Mental Rotation. Cognitive Science, 37(7), 1321-1342. info:/
Stereotypes are pretty useful things! We use them to help us to understand and respond to people from a large and diverse array of social groups. But how do people feel about individuals who buck the trend and contradict stereotypes? For example, how do people feel about a man who is crying or a woman who is smoking a cigar!... Read more »
Rubin, M., Paolini, S., & Crisp, R. J. (2013) Linguistic description moderates the evaluations of counterstereotypical people. . Social Psychology, 44(4), 289-298. DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000114
For those of you have children who watch the "Brain Games" series on Foxtel you may remember an episode about how our decisions can be manipulated by marketing. They described a scenario where movie goers were offered a small popcorn for $2 or a large one for $7. Everyone chose the cheaper option until a third one was introduced, a medium popcorn for $6.50, which caused people to prefer the large popcorn with comments like "We may as well get it because it is only 50c more".
This is an exampl........ Read more »
Trueblood, J., Brown, S., Heathcote, A., & Busemeyer, J. (2013) Not Just for Consumers: Context Effects Are Fundamental to Decision Making. Psychological Science, 24(6), 901-908. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612464241
Increasingly in the 21st century, humanitarian work is carried out at the front line of modern global conflicts and disasters, which may include experiencing genocide. The consequences of finding oneself caught in the swift and complex forces of genocide are phenomenologically beyond psychoanalytic conceptualization. Psychological challenges for humanitarian aid workers who experience such events are therefore complex. How do they make sense of that dual threat to self and those they seek to ........ Read more »
McCormack, L., & Joseph, S. (2013) Psychological growth in humanitarian aid personnel: reintegrating with family and community following exposure to war and genocide. Community, Work , 16(2), 147-163. DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2012.735478
Infertility is a rising problem around the world. Coupled with a current tendency to delay childbearing, the growth in the population of many countries has come to halt. Bacterial infections are an often overlooked cause for infertility. This is particularly relevant to the recent increase in Chlamydia infections among young people. When untreated, Chlamydia in pregnant women can be transmitted to the newborn. As a result, up to 15% of newly born babies are currently known to be infected with Ch........ Read more »
Sominsky, L., Sobinoff, A., Jobling, M., Pye, V., McLaughlin, E., & Hodgson, D. (2013) Immune regulation of ovarian development: programming by neonatal immune challenge. Frontiers in Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00100
The evidence that sexual minorities (e.g., lesbians, gay males, bisexuals, and those questioning their sexuality: LGBQ) are at increased risk of suicide is fairly robust. This study (anonymous, online survey, N = 1,016), as several others, found LGBQ participants were more likely to meet standardized assessment criteria for suicide-risk.
Knowing which groups are at increased risk of suicide provides great help for outreach, treatment and prevention. Unfortunately, some may view at-risk groups........ Read more »
Harris, K. (2013) Sexuality and Suicidality: Matched-Pairs Analyses Reveal Unique Characteristics in Non-Heterosexual Suicidal Behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-013-0112-2
Dr Sirous Mobini and colleagues have recently published a integrative review of the literature investigating the treatment of anxiety using cognitive bias modification.
Cognitive theories of social anxiety indicate that negative biases in thinking play a key role in causing and maintaining social anxiety. On the basis of these cognitive theories, research has shown that individuals with social anxiety interpret ambiguous social situations in a negative (or less passive) manner.
Cognitive Bi........ Read more »
Mobini, S., Reynolds, S., & Mackintosh, B. (2012) Clinical Implications of Cognitive Bias Modification for Interpretative Biases in Social Anxiety: An Integrative Literature Review. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37(1), 173-182. DOI: 10.1007/s10608-012-9445-8
When we recognise someone, we integrate information from across their face into a perceptual whole, and do so using a specialised brain region. Recognising other kinds of objects does not engage such specific brain areas, and is achieved in a much more parts-based way.... Read more »
Together with getting married and buying a house, the decision to immigrate is one of the most important decisions that a person can make. So, it’s important that immigrants feel that they have satisfactory input into the process of deciding whether or not to migrate. In some recent research, I looked at a very early stage of this decision-making process: ownership of the idea to immigrate.... Read more »
Rubin, M. (2013) “It wasn’t my idea to come here!”: Ownership of the idea to immigrate as a function of gender, age, and culture. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.02.001
People often get confused between members of the same social group because “they all look the same!” In a recent review, Constantina Badea and I looked at the various reasons for this group homogeneity effect.... Read more »
Rubin, M., & Badea, C. (2012) They're All the Same!. . . but for Several Different Reasons: A Review of the Multicausal Nature of Perceived Group Variability. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(6), 367-372. DOI: 10.1177/0963721412457363
Back in February, I wrote about some research in which my colleagues and I showed that negative experiences with people from other groups are better at drawing attention
to the people's group memberships than positive experiences (Paolini, Harwood, & Rubin, 2010). In other words, if you have a negative encounter with someone from another group, then you are more likely to think about their group memberships (e.g., their gender, race, nationality, etc.) than if you have a positive encounte........ Read more »
Barlow, F., Paolini, S., Pedersen, A., Hornsey, M., Radke, H., Harwood, J., Rubin, M., & Sibley, C. (2012) The Contact Caveat: Negative Contact Predicts Increased Prejudice More Than Positive Contact Predicts Reduced Prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(12), 1629-1643. DOI: 10.1177/0146167212457953
Like the USA and UK, Australia is currently
attempting to increase the number of working-class students at its universities.
recently published a short piece in Higher
Education Research and Development in which I argue that Australia’s social and education
researchers need to focus their efforts on identifying the best approaches towards
facilitating these students’ success at uni (Rubin, 2012). In particular, we need to consider
how to increase the social integration of working-cl........ Read more »
Rubin, M. (2012) Working-class students need more friends at university: a cautionary note for Australia's higher education equity initiative. Higher Education Research , 31(3), 431-433. DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2012.689246
In some recent research,
my colleagues and I investigated whether people stereotype winning groups more
than losing groups. In other words, do people perceive the members of winning
groups to be more similar to one another than the members of losing groups? Traditionally, social psychologists have assumed that it is low status groups, low power groups, and minority
groups that bear the brunt of stereotyping with more positive, high status,
high power, majority groups being considered as uniq........ Read more »
Badea, C., Brauer, M., & Rubin, M. (2012) The Effects of Winning and Losing on Perceived Group Variability. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.03.006
In a review paper published this month, I report the results of a meta-analysis of 35 separate studies that surveyed over 62,000 university students, mostly in the United States. I found that there was a significant positive relation between students’ social class (socioeconomic status) and the degree of social integration that they experience at their universities and colleges.
The higher students’ social class, the more likely they were to participate in formal social activities such as........ Read more »
Rubin, M. (2012) Social class differences in social integration among students in higher education: A meta-analysis and recommendations for future research. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 5(1), 22-38. DOI: 10.1037/a0026162
Previous research has
shown that immigrants who approach, rather than avoid, social stimuli are more
likely to have positive attitudes toward integrating with people in their host
country (Matschke & Sassenberg, 2010). In some recent research, my colleagues and I investigated whether
immigrants’ problem-solving style was also involved in this relationship.
We asked 137 Australian immigrants to complete
measures of approach vs. avoidance orientation and independent vs. interdependent
pr........ Read more »
Rubin, M., Watt, S., & Ramelli, M. (2012) Immigrants’ social integration as a function of approach–avoidance orientation and problem-solving style. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.12.009
Imagine an average, typical person
walking down the street. Imagine them speaking on their mobile phone as they
walk and waving at a friend who rides past on a bike.
Well done! Good imagining!! Now,
what is the gender of your imaginary person? My guess is that it is a man
rather than a woman! Why? Well, there is some evidence that people tend to
perceive men as having a higher status than women and, in a recent research study,
I found that people tend to perceive high status groups as bei........ Read more »
Rubin, M. (2012) Group Status is Related to Group Prototypicality in the Absence of Social Identity Concerns. The Journal of Social Psychology, 152(3), 386-389. DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2011.614648
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