Psychology and Neuroscience of Social Diversity

Understanding the determinants of human social behaviour is a lofty endeavour involving many specific areas of inquiry. The modern world is increasingly characterized by and aware of, its social diversity, whether that diversity is in the form of cultural background, the racial categories that people are placed into, ethnicity, gender, physical or mental health status, personality profile, or any other dimension. Extant research suggests that social diversity can be a source of tremendous advantage but can also bring challenges associated with navigating perceived or actual difference.

 

Any useful theory of human sociality must include an understanding of how social diversity affects the psychological and neural processes that underpin thought and behaviour. It must seek to understand the experiences of people from all backgrounds and the conditions under which social diversity is a source of strength or challenge.

 

A full understanding of these issues will include psychological, physiological, neural and phenomenological levels of analysis. If such research is done well and is successful, it should ultimately shed light on how humans can shape societies in such a way as to maximize the benefits of social diversity and minimize the potential for challenges and conflict.

Our research relating to social diversity involves a number of sub-themes that are listed below:

  • Psychological and neurocognitive effects of status and power in diverse social groups and across culture

  • Neural and behavioural consequences of different diversity management strategies (e.g., multiculturalism vs colour blindness)

  • Psychological and neurocognitive processes involved in thinking about and interacting with diverse others including issues linked to:​​

 

  • Social Inclusion and exclusion

  • Fear in contemporary social groups​

  • Effects of different acculturation strategies on (social) cognition and behaviour

  • Application of basic social neuroscience to organizational environments characterized by social diversity

  • Understanding effective leadership in diverse social groups