Recent Research Projects

Changing Stereotypes

How do people who disconfirm their group's stereotypes affect the overall group stereotype?

Intergroup Contact and Social Categorization
Drs Paolini and Rubin are collaborating with Prof Jake Harwood from the University of Arizona, USA, to investigate the effects that the valence of intergroup contact exerts on the process of social categorisation during contact between members of different social groups (along ethnicity, age, etc.) This project was sponsored by a Discovery Project from the Australian Research Council (Paolini, Harwood, & Rubin, 2007-2011).

Social Class Differences in Social Integration
Dr Rubin is collaborating with Dr Chrysalis Wright at the University of Central Florida, USA investigating social class differences in students' social integration at university.

Social Identity Theory and System Justification Theory
Dr Rubin is collaborating with Dr Chuma Owuamalam from the University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus) on research that investigates the predictions of system justification theory and social identity theory.

Predictors and Consequences of Intergroup Friendship
Dr Paolini has carried out extensive research on the psychological consequences of cross-group friendships (Paolini, 2004-2008) and is currently investigating the effects of individuals' self-expansion motives and intergroup anxiety on people's willingness to engage in inter-ethnic contact (Paolini & Alexander, 2007-2009). This research has received financial support from grants from John and Daphne Endowment Research Fund.

Learning Mechanisms of Interethnic Anxiety
Dr Paolini is collaborating with Dr Andrea Griffin (University of Newcastle) on a project investigating the learning mechanisms of interethnic anxiety. This works looks at first-hand and observational aversive learning, generalization and extinction processes, using experimentation and recordings of psycho-physiological markers of body activation (galvanic skin responses, heart rate, etc.). This research enjoys the financial support of a grant from John and Daphne Endowment Research Fund and Faculty of Science and IT research support.

Stereotype Change and Meta-Cognitions
Dr Paolini is engaged in a continuous research project on stereotype change. In particular, she is interested in a social form of inductive reasoning called 'member-to-group generalization' whereby individuals change their judgments of discriminated groups in society in light of information about specific group members. With Kylie McIntyre and Prof Miles Hewstone, from the University of Oxford, UK, Dr Paolini is working towards a comprehensive meta-analysis of research on the process of member-to-group generalization. More recent work focuses on the impact that meta-cognitions, or people's cognitions about cognitions (e.g., accountability considerations, retrieval and processing fluency) exert on generalisation with an eye towards basic social cognition and stereotype reduction interventions.

Approaching and Avoiding Diversity
The Australian Research Council has awarded Dr Stefania Paolini and colleagues a four-year grant to investigate the psychological bases of approach and avoidance of social diversity. The planned research introduces a theoretically- and empirically-grounded typology of diversity approach-avoidance in order to identify personal and situational determinants of these self-regulatory behaviours and delineate consequences for psychological processes critical to intergroup relations. The project will continue Stefania’s successful collaboration with Professor Jake Harwood from the Department of Communication at the University of Arizona, A/Prof David Neumann from Griffith’s Health Centre at the University of Griffith, Australia, and Professor Miles Hewstone from the Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup at the University of Oxford in the UK.