Furthermore, the team is also mindful of wider world events, such as COVID-19 – lasting events that social psychology can relate to. In the case of COVID-19, for example, its impact on health and behaviours led to the decision to include as much information as possible even though the writing process for the latest edition had begun during its early days and the psychological research was still at the beginning.
Other issues include social and socio-political topics and events like Brexit, populism, global warming climate crisis, guns and aggression, the Internet and social media, as well as particular types of discrimination – typically gender, racial and age-related ones.
Social Psychology and the Italian edition: the challenges and main features
Professor Giuseppe Carrus (Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy) discussed the main features guidelines for the process of the Italian adaptation.
One of the main goals of the Italian team was to make the book accessible not only for psychology, but non-psychology courses as well. The structure is also an element they are trying to keep consistent to facilitate the instructors’ work, whilst keeping track of the updates in the content to reflect new insights, following a similar fashion to the UK edition.
Topics that the Italian team was particularly interested to develop was COVD-19 and the impact of Brexit referendum in the European culture, the rising of the populist movement and the increased interest in the environment and climate change emergency, as well as the gender studies.
Upon replicating some of the topics in the translation process, the Italian team tried to create more cultural references, real-life examples and images that would be more relevant to the Italian cultural context, focusing on ways to improve and adapt elements of the British version according to the Italian standards.
Personal and social identity: research on human perception and art
Professor Stefano Mastandrea then took the floor and discussed his research with Professor Hogg about personal identity as social identity and the process in the perception of different abstract artworks.
Combining Michael's interest in social psychology and Stefano's in perception and art, they created an experiment with two different identity groups – an American and an Italian. For the experiment, the groups were asked to choose between two identical abstract paintings, presented to them as though they were created by an American or Italian artist.
The result showed that the American group, due to their lack of knowledge on the subject and subsequent uncertainty, preferred the abstract artworks created by Americans. As a result, the identity theory behind this shows that people tend to find suitable heuristics when uncertain, and in this case, the preference for American artwork was concluded to have been based on group favouritism.
A similar social psychology experiment was about communication and persuasion in the art. During the experiment, two groups of people were presented with the same painting created by a famous artist. One group was informed about the identity of the artist and the other group was informed the artist was not well-known (although it was the same painting in both cases). As a result, people preferred the work in the case where the famous artists were named.
The conclusion from the above, “double processing” was that it cannot be applied only in language but also in visual language. As a real-life example, Stefano mentioned that in 2018, the Royal Academy in London rejected the display of an artwork that came under a false name which as it turned out, was Banksy’s. When the academy contacted Banksy a month later requesting artwork, he resent them the previous piece, which was then accepted.