The ASCh Hub within the ARU Centre for Societies and Groups (ARU-CSG) is an interdisciplinary group that leads research and debate on community change, public policy, and psychological well-being in societal contexts.
Topics currently being researched by members of the group include gendered issues in advertising, determinants of food choice, victimisation and injustice, driving behaviour, and the development of resilience.
Our work illuminates and challenges social behaviour to benefit local, national, and international communities, and influences public policy.
Please contact our hub lead, Dr Magdalena Zawisza, for more information.
Deputy Head of School
Lecturer in Positive Psychology
Head of School
Lecturer in Psychology
Contact: [email protected]
Supervisory team: Dr Suzanna Forwood, Prof Viren Swami, Dr Flavia Cardini, Prof Daragh McDermott
Thesis title: Revisiting Perceived Hunger; Examining the Role of Socio-Psychological Influences and Energy Balance
Research summary: Shyanne’s PhD work focuses on examining the conflict between the concept of hunger as a regulatory energy balancing process and the more multi-dimensional view incorporating broader cognitive influences. The impact learned behaviour and socio-psychological beliefs have on common daily experiences of hunger and appetite will be explored and measured.
Contact: [email protected]
Supervisory team: Dr Claudia Washcer, Prof Claire Pike
Thesis title: Investigating Predictors of Academic Career Trajectories in STEM
Research summary: A mixed-methods investigation into the experiences that contribute to the career trajectories of students and academics from marginalised communities in STEM.
Contact: [email protected]
Supervisory team: Prof Viren Swami, Dr Emma Kaminskiy, Dr Barbara Vohmann
Thesis title: Adapting wise belonging interventions for race minority students in STEM to transform their experiences, relationships, and achievements
Research summary: This project looks at adapting wise belonging interventions developed in the US to improve the attainment and retention levels of race minority students in the UK higher educational context.
Research: Sarah's PhD explored the phenomenon of pet speciesism, exploring why we love dogs and yet eat pigs.
The project was awarded £136k by the Polish National Science Centre, and Dr Magdalena Zawisza is a co-applicant together with Dr Natasza Kosakowska (principal investigator, University of Gdansk, Poland), Prof Joseph Vandello and Prof Jennifer Bosson (University of South Florida, USA) and a team of six researchers.
This interdisciplinary project applies expertise from cognitive psychology (Dr David Pearson, lead) and consumer psychology (Dr Magdalena Zawisza) together with built environment (Dr Fred Sherratt) research to understand and improve health and safety practices across different structures in a road maintenance company.
It is conducted in partnership with Ringway Jacobs, a large highway service provider, and it worth £194,375, including a 50% grant from Innovate UK.
Collaborating cross-disciplinarily with animal behaviourists (Dr Claudia Wascher and Dr Andrew Smith) and across institutions with a psychologist from the University of Edinburgh (Dr Steve Loughnan) and an animal behaviourist from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Dr Raoul Schwing), the researchers foresee positive implications of this project for reducing loneliness and improving wellbeing both during and after COVID-19, especially among people who live only with pets.
21 February 2022: Sarah Gradidge and Dr Magdalena Zawisza have written for the Vegan Society on the psychology of vegetarianism and veganism (collectively known as veg*nism), exploring why people go veg*n, why and how they stay veg*n (or not), and how we can encourage others to go veg*n.
13 February 2022: The National Post interviewed Sarah Gradidge about the ‘meat paradox’, following her published ‘meat paradox’ review co-authored with Societies Research Hub members Dr Magdalena Zawisza and Dr Annelie Harvey, alongside Prof Daragh McDermott from Nottingham Trent University.
30 November 2021: Technology Networks interviewed Sarah Gradidge about the ‘meat paradox’, following a published review on the same topic authored by Societies Research Hub members Sarah Gradidge, Dr Magdalena Zawisza and Dr Annelie Harvey, alongside Prof Daragh McDermott from Nottingham Trent University. The interview feature accrued more than 181,000 pageviews in the first week.
18 November 2021: Dr Magdalena Zawisza and Sarah Gradidge's talk from the British Science Festival was featured by the British Science Association for International Men’s Day. The feature explores how performative masculinity affected responses to COVID-19.
October 2021: An experiment on how species and identifiability of animal victims affects perceptions of them, led by Sarah Gradidge in collaboration with Societies Hub members Dr Annelie Harvey and Dr Magdalena Zawisza, alongside Prof Daragh McDermott from Nottingham Trent University, has been accepted for publication in Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin. This experiment found that people typically view dog victims more positively than pig victims. Yet, contradicting previous research on the ‘identifiable victim effect’, identifiability of animal victims did not inform perceptions of them.
23 September 2021: A structured literature review, led by Sarah Gradidge in collaboration with Societies hub members Dr Magdalena Zawisza and Dr Annelie Harvey, alongside Prof Daragh McDermott from Nottingham Trent University, has been published in Social Psychological Bulletin. The literature review explored the ‘meat paradox’ – the conflict between eating meat and yet simultaneously caring for animals.
9 September 2021: Dr Magdalena Zawisza and Sarah Gradidge presented at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford. The talk informed the public of how gender has informed responses to the pandemic (e.g., through gender roles) and implications of how gender has been represented within advertising during COVID-19. The talk also presented original research findings from some of Dr Magdalena Zawisza’s students: Ellie Cornwell, Louise Kelly, Pietro Stefanello and Isaac Volpicelli. Reference - Zawisza, M., Gradidge, S., Cornwell, E., Kelly, L., Stefanello, P. & Volpicelli, I., (2021, Sep 9). How Gender is Shaping the Pandemic. Paper presented at British Science Festival, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK.
19 May 2021: Dr Magdalena Zawisza chaired a panel talk webinar that sold out at 300 registrations - Zawisza-Riley, M., Gradidge, S., Roeloffs, S., Keyes, H., Harvey, A. & Gibson, N., (2021, May 19). Society going viral! The hidden psychology of pandemics across time and contexts. Panel talk webinar, Open Cambridge, ARU Public Engagement, ARU, Cambridge, UK.
24 July 2020: Men 'less supportive' in more egalitarian nations. A new 42-country study, co-authored and co-designed by Dr Magdalena Zawisza, has found that the more gender egalitarian the country, the less likely men are to support women's causes.
ASCh Hub members offer a diverse set of expertise that lend itself to consultancy. We’ve worked with large industry partners such as Unilever, Qualtcomm, Dolby, Ringway Jacob, as well as local SMEs, government institutions such as Essex Police and County Councils as well as charities such as Mind, Furia and The Conversation.
The projects ranged in time and scale from 1 day 1 to 1 consultancy to 3 year-long programmes of interdisciplinary research. These included in-depth brand image diagnosis, social media communication campaigns, company culture audit, help with designing and analysing audience surveys, press releases, optimising websites for user experience, and staff development guest talks for companies.
We offer expertise in four key areas: