My main research interests are in the areas of intergroup relations, social cognition and aggression. Combining the first and the second domain, I have especially focused on cognitive processes underlying ingroup favoritism. I could show both explicit and implicit evidence for a projection process whereby mental representations of the individual self are generalized to the ingroup. Importantly, the strength of this self-ingroup link is a significant predictor of ingroup favoritism. Hence, not only stereotyping the self in terms of characteristic features of the group, but also seeing the individual self as relevant component of the group protoype can foster the positive attitude towards own groups. These findings blend nicely into the increasing evidence that a focus on individuality can well go together with attachment to social groups.
In the research projects on the role of social identities in aggressive interactions, my collaborators and I want to understand how shared versus non-shared group membership of the protagonists affects their mutual evaluations, expectancies, emotional reactions and behavioral choices. Relevant moderators for finding either ingroup favoring responses or rather a Black Sheep Effect are the ambiguity of hostile intentions, the power relations between the groups involved, the valence and content of the stereotypes associated with the interacting group members, and the characteristics of the cognitive processing of the conflict episode.
Another relevant research topic is (cultural) diversity and social integration, especially in the context of work. Under which conditions doe members of diverse teams feel that they are appreciated and safely belong? Do positive experiences at the workplace generalize to other social contexts? Which are the necessary conditions to create identities at the workplace that can make differences a positively valued feature? These and related questions are currently investigated in projects using insights from social, organizational, and cross-cultural psychology.
Between January 2002 and December 2005, I have been serving as associate editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology. I am currently on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (section 2), Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Personality and Social Psychology Review, European Journal of Social Psychology, and European Review of Social Psychology. Since June 2008, I have been a member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology.
- Aggression, Conflict, Peace
- Applied Social Psychology
- Culture and Ethnicity
- Emotion, Mood, Affect
- Group Processes
- Intergroup Relations
- Organizational Behavior
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Self and Identity
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
- Otten, S. (2002) "Me" and "us" or "us" and "them"? -- The self as heuristic for defining novel ingroups. In W. Stroebe & M. Hewstone (Eds.), European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 13, pp. 1-33). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
- Eisenbeiss, K., & Otten, S. (2008). When do employees identify? An analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal predictors of training group and organizational identification. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 2132-2151.
- Lammers, J., Gordijn, E. H., & Otten, S. (2008). Looking through the eyes of the powerful. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1229-1238.
- Otten, S., & Stapel, D.A. (2007). Who is this Donald? How social categorization affects aggression-priming effects. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 1000-1015.
- Giessner, S., Viki, G.T., Otten, S., & Terry, D.J. (2006). The challenge of merging: Merger patterns, pre-merger status and merger support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 339-352.
- Otten, S., & Epstude, K. (2006). Overlapping mental representations of self, ingroup and outgroup: Unraveling self-stereotyping and self-anchoring. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 957-969.
- Luijters, K., van der Zee, K. I., & Otten, S. (2006). Acculturation strategies among ethnic minority workers and the role of intercultural personality traits. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 9, 561-575.
- Schubert, T., & Otten, S. (2002). Overlap of self, ingroup and outgroup: Pictorial measurement of self-categorization. Self and Identity, 4, 353-376.
- Otten, S., & Wentura, D. (2001). Self-anchoring and ingroup favoritism: An individual-profiles analysis. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 525-532.
- Otten, S., & Moskowitz, G. B. (2000). Evidence for implicit evaluative ingroup bias: Affect-biased spontaneous trait inference in a minimal group paradigm. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 77-89.
- Otten, S., & Wentura, D. (1999). About the impact of automaticity in the Minimal Group Paradigm. Evidence from an affective priming task. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 1049-1071.
- Otten, S., Mummendey, A., & Blanz, M. (1996). Intergroup discrimination in positive and negative outcome-allocations: The impact of stimulus-valence, relative group status and relative group size. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 568-581.
- Otten, S., Mummendey, A., & Wenzel, M. (1995). Evaluation of aggressive interactions in interpersonal and intergroup contexts. Aggressive Behavior, 21, 205-224.
- Mummendey, A., & Otten, S. (2004). Aversive discrimination. In M. B. Brewer & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Emotion and motivation (pp. 298-318). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Otten, S. (2005). The in-group as part of the self: Reconsidering the link between social categorization, in-group favoritism and the self-concept. In A. Alicke, D. Dunning, & J. Krueger (Eds.), The self in social perception (pp. 241-265). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
Dept. of Social & Organizational Psychology
University of Groningen
Grote Kruisstraat 2/1
9712 TS Groningen
- Phone: +31 50 363 7903
- Fax: +31 50 363 4581