My name is Joel Anderson; I am a PhD candidate in Social Psychology at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. To participate in a current research experiment click here, or to see a list of my work, click here

 

My research interests largely revolve around the cognitive processes behind group representations and social knowledge. The progression of how, where, and when we classify other people as we perceive them is known as social categorization, and this is of particular interest to me when we simultaneously encounter multiple dimensions of categories, or crossed-categories. This is particularly the case when the two or more category groups are traditionally considered to be incongruent (for a romanticized exemplar, consider “Legally Blonde”: A stereotypically blonde American fraternity sister, who doubles as a top Law student at Harvard). Crossed-categorization effects have become the centre of my PhD dissertation, particularly in regards to sexuality and religion; what happens when these ostensibly conflicting group memberships are presented simultaneously in a social context?

In terms of attitudes towards social groups, I’m interested in the hierarchy of category salience. For example, if we were talking about traditional minorities and I asked you to evaluate an elderly African-American woman, which of the three social categories would you use to classify her first… Female? African-American? Old? Developing a model of category hierarchies and exploring the surrounding influential factors will form the first half of my dissertation.

I have also inherited an interest in Implicit Social Cognition from my supervisor, Dr Leah Kaufmann. This form of cognition is concerned with automatic or unconscious processes underlying judgements and social behaviour. Specifically, I am interested in implicit prejudice; sexism, racism and homophobia that operates outside the realm of conscious control. A side-interest that has emerged from this involves implicit contextual variation. Traditionally, implicit attitudes are thought to be relatively stable and non-malleable, however, there has been some preliminary evidence of implicit context effects (for example, we have found that people will evaluate a lesbian differentially on a comparative basis; her ‘lesbianess’ is more pronounced or salient when she is being compared to a heterosexual female, whereas when she is being compared to a male her lesbianess falls secondary to her femaleness).

Finally, I am interested in Cross-cultural psychology and the process of acculturation.

If you wish to participate in an experiment, please click here. If you wish to see publication details of my work, click here. If you would like to contact me, my e-mail address is Joel.Anderson@acu.edu.au