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KLEIN Olivier


Center for Social and Cultural Psychology

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

The department is responsible for research activities in social and intercultural psychology


Collective Memory

Initiated by Halbwachs (1925, 1950) and Bartlett (1932), the interest for collective memory have recently been revived (Middleton and Edwards, 1997; Penebaker, Paez, and Rimé, 1997; Haas and Jodelet, 1999). Collective memory contributes to fashioning group identity. It is therefore of crucial social and political importance. Memory is likely to be distorted in order to serve identity-related needs (Baumeister, 1997). The history of Belgian colonial action is a highgly relevant in this regard in view of the public controversies that have surrounded Belgian colonial action in Congo. We study how this history is reconstructed in the discourse of former colonials and colonised by focusing on the identity-related dynamics governing those accounts. 

The development of emotional competencies in adulthood: conditions, effects and processes

This research focuses on the acquisition of emotional skills in adults. The first part of the thesis is dedicated to investigating whether a sustainable improvement in emotional competencies is possible in adults, and what are the conditions and effects of this improvement (eg on mental and physical health and quality of interpersonal relationships). A second part of the thesis is exploring the mechanisms underlying this improvement of competencies and more specificaly the role of emotional acceptance.

Persistence and dropout in the pursuit of a Ph.D.

This projects aims at identifying the factors that predict the successful pursuit of a Ph.D. (as well as dropout). 

Stereotype consensualisation

The communication processes leading to the sharing of a collective representation of a social group.  We study the impact of information sampling within a small group on the communication and on the formation of a collective representation of the target group

The influence of trauma and multiple traumas on depressive and anxiety disorders (DAD).

In Europe, DAD result in 6% of the burden of all diseases. Therefore, understanding the components and processes yielding emergence of DAD seems of crucial importance. Our researches consider two different approaches:1) The influence of multiple trauma on DAD where we aim at unfolding the emergence of two antagonistics mechanisms: sensitization or, at the opposite, immunization following the accumulation of traumas.2) Trans-generational transmission of the effects of trauma on DAD following dysfunctional family processes.Regarding the processes explaining the links emphasized in point 1 and 2, we focus our attention on coping strategies against adversity, mainly resilience and sense of coherence.

Consciousness in Decision making

Decision making

Emotional norms

The emotional norms prescribe which/what kinds of emotions are expected to be felt and/or to be expressed in a given context. As any social norms, they are culturally specific and often implicit. Both the adoption of emotional norms and the assessment of an emotional behavior as congruent with these norms may be difficult, particularly for immigrants. Besides possible misunderstandings, previous studies have shown that a non normative emotional behavior may lead to difficulties and discrimination at school and for job inquiries. This project aims to confirm if a cultural variation in emotional norms exists; to distinguish the part of explicit vs implicit knowledge in the adoption of these norms as a second culture; and to see if, beyond the cultural variations, the stereotypes influence expectations related to the immigrants' emotional behavior.

Gullibility and epistemic Vigilance

This project, at the crossroads between social psychology and pragmatics, is concerned with the way people validate information. How do we come to view an information as true or false? Do we first need to validate it in order to subsequently reject it? Or can we, like a proper ''cartesian'', be skeptical before validating an information? This question is considered i.a. in relation to belief in conspiracy theories.