My main focus in research can be split into three main directions:
Self-critical emotions and forgiveness and reconciliation.This research project consists of me, Professor Arie Nadler (University of Tel Aviv, Israel) Dr.Agostino Mazziotta (FernUniversität Hagen, Germany), Dr. Friederike Feuchte (University of Rostock, Germany) and ProfessorColin Wayne Leach (University of Connecticut, USA). We focus on alternative ways to achieve reconciliation (focusing on emotions) that adds to the well-established need-based model by Nadler. It addresses actual conflicts (like civil-wars) and investigates how people construe themselves as victim or perpetrator when they in fact have been both. And we see that the more people identify as a victim, the greater is the need for revenge, but the more they identify as a perpetrator, the greater is their need for reconciliation and forgiveness.
Moral failures: Shame and rejection. This research project consists of two international teams. The first one is me, ProfessorColin Wayne Leach (University of Connecticut, USA) and Dr. Vivian L. Vignoles (University of Sussex, England). The second team is me andDr. Mariette Berndsen (University of Flinders, Australia). We argue that emotions are an especially good way to understand how clients and people in general try to cope with the situations they are in. Our main theoretical focus lay on anappraisal -> emotion -> responsechain as an essential fundament to understand how emotions affect troubled social relations and the anti-social reactions that follow them.
Shame versus guilt. This research project consists of me and ProfessorRupert Brown (University of Sussex, England). We investigate similarities and differences between the two core-emotions shame and guilt that we often meet in our work with clients. We try to argue that individuals (due to the unpleasantness) would rather let shame affect something outside themselves like their in-group, while the less negative emotion of guilt is allowed to be addressed to themselves.
Understanding stigma.Stigmatizing processes are sadly a part of the reality for most of our clients as they are associated with or identified with groups that are looked down at in our society. These research projects try to highlight different stigmatizing processes involving dropping out of school, being unemployed, being mentally ill or suffering from multiple stigma (i.e., being identified with several stigmatized identities) affect identification, exclusion processes, anti-social reactions and welfare. These research projects consist of me, Dr. David Bourguignon(University of Lorraine, France), Professor Ginette Herman (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium) andformer students.
Identity-development: Construing the self.Professional helpers often contact and follow up clients that are developing their self, their identity and their priorities. An especially important part of this work is to gain insight in how identity is developed within different cultures and ethnicities and how this raise anxiety when meeting up with members of these groups. In these projects I collaborate with several research teams. One of them involves a rather large, global team head by Dr. Maja Becker (Université de Toulouse le Mirail, France), and Dr. Vivan L. Vignoles (University of Sussex, England), and two smaller research teams that consist of me,Dr.Keon West (University of Roehampton, England),ProfessorRihannon Turner(Queens University Belfast, UK) and Dr. Huseyin Cakal (University of Oxford, England) in one group, and me and Dr. Gunnar Salthe (retired) in another group.
Critique of professions and their challenges.Several of the new social professions like social work, child welfare and others, rely on work-methods develop by established fields such as pedagogy, sociology, law and psychology. Even though this is – in theory – a strength it may very well also be their weakness. In this work, I criticize these new social professions (exemplified with social-work) and suggest that new thinking and historical knowledge of their own professions can help them secure their contemporary position.
Critique of quantitative methods.A source of bias in the quantitative field is the tendency to measure attitude or meanings through items in a standardized questionnaire without respecting basic knowledge from the semantic field in how meaning is created in natural language. In this project, focus is directed to this problem using literature form semantic philosophy, Foucault and appraisal theory. In this project I often collaborate with the recently retired Dr. Gunnar Salthe.
I'm educated within an enviroment (with a PhD from the University of Sussex, UK) that believe that people can be helped through research and development of new knowledge. I am a firm supporter of both qualitative and quantitative methods/design and believe that it is the interest and the need of the interest that decide which research design to use - and not the other way around...
The aim of my research is to provide a foundation of research-based knowledge of how we deal with the things we find difficult in our lives, so I, and we, can better help each other. This basically means that I am interested in how we deal with the mistakes we do. That is, how do we appraise them? How do we feel about them? And what do we do to cope with them?
My core interest is placed in how a "concern for self-image" (i.e., how is this affecting me) and a "concern for social-image" (i.e., how is this affecting how other people think of me) elicit different feelings and different coping strategies (Gausel & leach, 2011). Typically, when it comes to self-critical feelings, these two appraisals elicit feelings of shame, feelings of inferiority and feelings of rejection (besides of other negative feelings such as anger). Specifically, we see that a "concern for self-image" often elicit felt shame, while a "concern for social-image" often elicit felt rejection. These two feelings (sometimes in conjunction with the appraisals) motivate distinct ways to cope with the situations. Pro-social coping-strategies such as a desire to offer restitution, to repair and communicate contrition often follow felt shame, while self-defensive (avoidance, cover-up) and aggressive responses often follow felt rejection (see Gausel, Leach, Vignoles & Brown, 2012). This means that the model that I, Colin and Viv have developed can actually help us understand when and why people go into self-defensive and aggressive motivation, and when they go into pro-social motivation.
In conclusion, I love doing research and I hope the research we do can be of help to you or someone you know.
Last changed: 2016-03-17 10:51:48