Group Dynamics seminars tackle cutting-edge social issues

Social Media. Image by Thinkstock.

Photo by Thinkstock

One of the longest running seminar series in the social sciences is back this fall examining “Social Psychology in the Era of Social Media.” Organized by Scott Campbell, Ethan Kross and Jerome Johnston of ISR’s Research Center for Group Dynamics, the series will describe the contours of social media use (texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and ask whether human behavior is essentially different in a world of social media. Are human relationships different when the face-to-face component is reduced? Do social media promote different beliefs and behaviors than traditional media? The series will look at dimensions of social psychology such as personality, impression management, privacy, and habit and ask whether our understanding of these behaviors is different when the behaviors are moderated by virtual encounters. The aim of the series is to bring interdisciplinary perspectives to the phenomenon and consider new directions for research on social media.

Last fall’s series, titled “A Social Science Perspective on Aggression and Violence,” presented 12 talks on the causes and consequences of violence. It was organized in response to the December 2012 Newtown school shootings. Presenters dealt with issues as diverse as the effects of exposure to media and real violence in Israel and Palestine to the effects of corporal punishment. One presenter reported on the effects of self-control on modulating aggression, while another described the association of genetic variants on aggression. Overall, it was clear from the presentations that there is no single cause of an individual becoming aggressive or violent, so reducing and preventing violence in society will require very complex interventions. 

For more information about the Group Dynamics Seminar Series, visit http://bit.ly/RCGD-seminar.

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