Power & Social Change Lab
Gender Relations as Power Relations
Relations between men and women, across the world, are shaped by differences in power. Women are still vastly underrepresented in powerful positions, earn less money than men for doing the same job, and are the primary victims of domestic violence. In our research we aim to understand why gender inequality is so difficult to overcome. In a recent paper we offer how societal factors, along with perceptual processes, feed views of gender inequality as justified, which in turn drive proceses that sustain such inequality.
Harmony and Social Change
For decades, reconciliation efforts have been based on models of cooperative and positive interactions between members of groups in conflict. Extensive work had shown that such interactions improve attitudes and emotions across group lines – outcomes which are considered pivotal for promoting more harmonious, less conflictual, relations between groups. In our work we challenge the assumption that harmony between groups is the best recipe for solving intergroup tension. Our research demonstrates that harmonious relations can, quite paradoxically, serve to sustain the status quo by undermining disadvantaged group members' awareness of injustice and commitment for social change. We study such paradoxical effects, and also attempt to discover the type of harmony that can give rise to more sustainable social change. Read more about this project in a review paper published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences,
When people act on behalf of their group to achieve group goals, they are engaging in collective action. Throughout history, collective action has played a critical role in social change. Extensive body of research has addressed various predictors of collective action. In this line of research we aim to expand understanding of collective action by examining novel predictors on part of disadvantaged groups, and psychological processes among advantaged groups that explain when they are most likely to support the action's cause.
Power & Contact
Almost any encounter between members of different groups involves differences in power. In our work we investigate how societal power dynamics shape intergroup encounters. We study dialogue groups, intergroup friendships, clinical encounters, and political negotiations. Our research reveals that power position has a significant impact on how one approaches encounters, experiences them and is affected by them.