Universiteit Leiden

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This Week’s Discoveries | 10 May 2016

Tuesday 10 May 2016
Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden

First Lecture

Title: Being followed at the play-ground: New technology for studying children’s social behaviors
Speaker: Carolien Rieffe (Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences)

Carolien is professor by special appointment on “Social and emotional development of children with auditory or communication impairments” in the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University and honorary professor at UCL, London, UK. Her chair is installed by the Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child in Amsterdam. Her current research focuses on emotion regulation and emotion communication during childhood and adolescence in children with a typical or atypical development (e.g. children with autism, hearing loss, or language impairments); and its effects on children’s social functioning and mental health. Today, Carolien will present new research on children’s playground behaviors, done in collaboration with Joost Kok and Arno Knobbe of the LIACS, and that was published in the journals “Infant and Child Development” and “European Journal of Developmental Psychology” last Winter/Spring.

Second Lecture., Lorentz Center Highlight

Title: Groups as Moral Anchors
Speaker: Naomi Ellemers (Utrecht University)

Naomi is distinguished university professor in the department of Psychology at Utrecht University. Her research on group processes and intergroup relations is inspired by theories on social identity and psychological group commitment. From this perspective, she addresses a range of topics including the effects of power and status differences within and between groups, diversity and innovation in teams and organizations, career development of women and minorities, motivation and commitment in work teams, and ethical norms and moral behavior in (professional) groups. She has also used the scientific knowledge thus acquired for applied work, consultation, and professional development, for instance on work-family issues, implicit bias and career development, the motivation of volunteer workers, and governance of organizational cultures and ethical climates. Naomi is one of the organizers of the Lorentz Center workshop “The Morality of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on How to Make a Difference” that is being held from 9 May 2016 through 13 May 2016.

Abstract: The past years have witnessed increasing concern about the occurrence of morally questionable behavior in the workplace. Examples of people lying, cheating, and stealing that were first seen to characterize the financial service sector have also been exposed in other businesses, government institutions, sports, and even science. Calls for action have led to stricter legislation, increased controls and more severe
sanctions, aiming to communicate more clearly which forms of behavior are (not) acceptable, and motivating workers to do what is moral. Psychological analyses have largely focused on individual level characteristics playing a role in this process. Selfish tendencies and lack of empathy are considered as a source of vulnerability; individual moral values and altruism supposedly prevent moral lapses. However, when at work, individuals are embedded in teams and organizations. These represent groups that are more (ingroups) or less (outgroups) relevant to the self, which communicate their own moral values and endorse particular ethical climates. In this talk I will give an overview of research examining the impact of group-based identities on the behavioral choices individuals make. Experimental and applied results reveal conditions that can facilitate or undermine the emergence of moral behavior at work, and elucidate the central role of groups as moral anchors.

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