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The University of Southampton

Focusing on self and identity

Published: 8 July 2010
School of Psychology

Southampton hosts conference showcasing research into real-world issues

A major conference on issues of self and identity, which features research showing how marginalised groups are motivated to engage in extreme behaviour, is being hosted by the University of Southampton this week.

Delegates from across the globe will be descending on the city to take part in the symposium, which is the fourth to be held at the University.

Hosted by Professor Constantine Sedikides of Psychology, the event follows on from the success of past symposia and aims to showcase research advances and encourage communication among researchers in a friendly and supportive environment.

Speakers from the UK, Spain, Greece, and The Netherlands will lead debates covering areas such as the collective self, group nostalgia, leadership, collective action, stereotyping and sexism.

The keynote speech is by Professor Russell Spears, of Cardiff University, and is entitled 'Nothing to Lose: Desperate Circumstances Require Desperate Measures'. He will present evidence that disempowered and marginalised groups are motivated to take part in extreme behaviour, such as violence, terrorism and self-sacrifice. He will also discuss the emotional but rational explanations for this behaviour.

The symposium takes place on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 July and is being organised by the University's Centre for Research on Self and Identity.

Deputy Head of the Psychology, Professor Bob Remington, says: “This series of seminars has worked brilliantly to bring top researchers together, allowing them to exchange ideas, develop collaborations and increase the impact of their work.

“This year’s meeting offers a great opportunity for top international psychologists to show how their work helps us to understand important real world issues involving human social relationships.”

Notes for editors

Further information:

Sophie Docker, Media Relations Officer, University of Southampton, Tel. 023 8059 8933, email:

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