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Research group

Centre for Research on Self and Identity

Man looking at his reflection in a window

We look into social and societal phenomena through the perspective of the self and through our identities.

Part of Psychology

About

Our varied research has helped us gain insights into identity from both personal and societal perspectives. We study the role of factors, like the environment, evolution, self-esteem and life experience in determining identity and the sense of self.  

We carry out research across a broad range of topics, giving insight into social and societal issues.

Our projects have included: 

  • consumers’ emotional and relational reactions to emojis 
  • the creation of new lie detection tools 
  • the role of attachment in relationship satisfaction 
  • the relevance of nostalgia in those with Alzheimer's disease 

 
One of our studies focused on the effect of workplace bullying - something that affects around half of employees in Western organisations. We examined narcissism’s role in the spread of this bullying behaviour to help us identify the mechanisms and situational triggers underpinning it. We also tested a new intervention method that targets the key mechanisms identified.  
 
Through our psychophysiology laboratory, we can measure participants’ physiological reactions to stimuli, including heart rate, respiration rate, and sweat production.  

Our facial EMG (electromyography) sensors also allow researchers to measure participants’ facial reactions to stimulus materials. We have access to an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine and laboratories in which we carry out surveys and computer-based experiments. 
 
Support for our projects like this comes from various funding agencies. We work with agencies including British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, Nuffield Foundation, and Templeton Foundation. 

People, projects and publications

People

Dr Aiden Gregg PhD

Associate Professor

Email: a.gregg@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Anne Mcbride

Senior Lecturer

Email: amcb@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Claire Hart

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • My research is located in the area of quantitative social/personality psychology. In particular, I conduct research on narcissistic dysfunction in the interpersonal domain.
  • I am currently involved in projects investigating:
  • the self-presentation of narcissistsnostalgia and narcissismnarcissism and social supportnarcissism and empathynarcissism and mimicrynarcissism and bullyingnarcissism and prosocial behavioursnarcissism and crimenarcissism and parentingnarcissism and consumerismnarcissism and team functioningnarcissism and romantic relationships

Email: c.m.hart@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Professor Constantine Sedikides

Professor of Social Psychology

Research interests

  • Self-evaluation motives (self-enhancement, self-protection, self-improvement) motivation
  • Cultural influences on self-evaluation motives
  • Narcissism

Email: c.sedikides@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Jacob Juhl

Associate Professor

Email: j.t.juhl@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Kathy Carnelley

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • My research area is personal relationships. I investigate the ways in which attachment experiences with parents and romantic partners influence how people view the self, others and relationships. My research focuses on how models of self and others influence people's thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in romantic relationships, for example relationship functioning and caregiving. I am co-founder of the UK Attachment Network.
  • One stream of my research focuses on moving people toward felt security. Attachment security is associated with better relationship quality and well-being. I examine the extent to which temporarily activated attachment security (via priming) can lead to these positive outcomes in a series of studies.  With my colleagues and students, for example, I have investigated the effects of priming attachment security on self-views and relationship-views, feelings of vitality and energy, pain sensitivity, mental health, and therapy attitudes. In addition, I have tested ways to increase the impact of a security prime via repeated priming in the lab, online, or via text messaging.
  • Other streams of research focus on attachment networks (e.g., who serves as attachment figures, how they change over time). Recently I’ve investigated the role of partners in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, examining personal and relational wellbeing and goals. I’m also interested in close relationships and technology use (e.g., technoference).

Accepting applications from PhD students

Email: k.carnelley@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Miss Marie Levorsen

Research interests

  • Social cognitive neuroscience

Dr Nicholas Kelley

Lecturer (A Prof) in Social Psychology

Research interests

  • Social and Affective Neuroscience
  • The Self
  • Self-Regulation

Accepting applications from PhD students

Email: n.j.kelley@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Pascal Burgmer

Lecturer

Research interests

  • Lay Beliefs & Theories (e.g., belief in mind-body dualism)
  • Trust & Distrust (e.g., trust in close relationships)
  • Morality (e.g., moral double standards)

Accepting applications from PhD students

Email: p.burgmer@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

Dr Paul Conway

Associate Professor

Accepting applications from PhD students

Email: p.conway@soton.ac.uk

Address: B44, West Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)

My research is organised around the area of self-evaluation motives (e.g., self-enhancement, and especially its personality correlate, narcissism) and their socio-cultural moderators and consequences.
Senior Teaching Fellow
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