The SIGN group conducts research in a broad range of fields, including social psychology, organisational psychology, clinical and health psychology and political psychology. In combining these areas of psychology research, SIGN group members aim to provide answers to questions about how our social lives shape the way we see and act in the world. Together, they apply the social identity approach to understand how groups guide people’s sense of self and social behaviour.
In organisational domains, SIGN researchers investigate the role of social identities in guiding experiences and behaviour in the workplace. One important line of research focuses on leadership, arguing that the effectiveness of leaders depends on their ability to create, represent, advance, and embed a sense of group identity that they share with their followers. Other work addresses processes of motivation, and communication and the dynamics of diversity management. To view research and initiatives from our organisational psychology team, click here.
Social, Clinical, & Health Psychology
Combining social, clinical, and health psychology, SIGN researchers collaborate on research that contributes to an understanding of the social identity approach to health and well-being (known more colloquially as “The Social Cure”). In this broad area, SIGN researchers investigate topics as diverse as ageing, loneliness, and mental health issues including depression and anxiety. They assess the ways in which social identities can promote recovery, particularly in vulnerable populations such as people who are homeless, those managing drug and alcohol addicts, and older adults in aged care. In addition, SIGN’s research explores how maintaining, crafting, and managing identity enables people to face challenging life experiences with resilience and well-being.
In the political sphere, the SIGN group assesses topics of global relevance, such as immigration and inequality. This work examines the role of wealth in guiding intergroup attitudes, challenging the widely-held assumption that it is poor, rather than wealthy, individuals who hold the most negative attitudes toward immigrants. SIGN researchers also assess the effectiveness of current policy (e.g., nudge campaigns) as well as showing how social psychologists can engage with policy makers to create evidence-based policy and practice.