Keynote Speakers

Verónica Benet-Martínez (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain)

Verónica Benet-Martínez is an ICREA Professor in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Before joining UPF, she held faculty positions in the psychology departments of the University of California (Riverside) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She was a funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California (Berkeley). She obtained a PhD in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of California (Davis). She is an internationally renowned leader in the study of culture and social-personality processes, particularly those pertaining to the role of individual differences in acculturation and intercultural/multicultural experiences. Her work has been funded by grants from the U.S., Spain, and the European Commission, and recognized by awards from SPSP (2019 Ed and Carol Diener Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Contributions in Personality Psychology) and APA’s divisions 9 and 52 (Ursula Gielen Global Psychology award) and SPSSI (Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Award).

Keynote Talk

Multi-Cultural Minds, Multi-Cultural Selves: Social, Personality, and Cultural Processes

Migration, globalization, media exposure, and the speed and ease of international travel and communication have made intercultural contact and multicultural experiences an everyday phenomenon; it has also led to unprecedented numbers of individuals who identify with more than one culture. What are the psychological consequences of these acculturative and identity processes? Using a framework that integrates socio-cognitive, cultural, personality psychological approaches, and relies on laboratory experiments, survey and social network methodologies, this presentation will review a program of research conducted to examine the following questions pertaining to the multicultural mind (i.e., cognition) and the multicultural self (identity): how do multicultural individuals respond to differing cultural situational cues and demands? can different --and sometimes conflictual-- cultural identities can be integrated into a cohesive sense of self? how do multicultural individuals maintain competing loyalties between different cultural groups? and are there unique social, cognitive and adjustment outcomes linked to having multicultural experiences and identities? This research, which is conducted with multicultural samples varying in culture/ethnicity, age, and generational status and enclave, reveals that: (1) Multicultural individuals navigate their different cultural worlds by engaging in a process called cultural frame-switching (CFS), and CFS effects exist for a wide range of behaviors (e.g., attributions, personality self-views, ethnic identity, emotion, self-construals, values, among others); (2) multicultural individuals vary in their perceptions of how well their cultural identities and belongings can be harmonized and blended (i.e., degree of Bicultural Identity Integration); (3) differences in BII are linked to specific personality, social, cognitive, and wellbeing variables and to different types of social networks; and (4) biculturalism (relative to other acculturation strategies) is positively linked to psychological and socio-cultural adjustment.

Thomas Talhelm (University of Chicago, USA)

Thomas Talhelm is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Thomas has lived in China for six years as a Princeton in Asia fellow, as a freelance journalist, and a Fulbright scholar. He researches how rice farming made southern China more interdependent than the more freewheeling, wheat-growing north including what that means for whether people move chairs in Starbucks. He speaks Chinese, and enough Hindi to ask questions but not understand the answers. While in China, Thomas founded Smart Air, a social enterprise that makes low-cost DIY air purifiers to help people protect themselves from air pollution.

Keynote Talk

Collectivism isn't what people think it is: A study in 93 cultures

When I started researching cultural psychology about 20 years ago, the insiders with more experience than me let me in on an open secret: self-report scales of collectivism "don't work." For example, the US regularly scores more collectivistic than Japan. The idea that East Asia is more collectivistic than the West? A meta-analysis found that East-West differences were "no different from flipping a coin" (Heine, 2002). We have a puzzle! In response, most papers looked for answers in the problems of self-report methodology. I'll argue that the reason is we were measuring the wrong idea of collectivism. If we measure the right idea of collectivism, we can measure cultural differences in collectivism reliably. I tested this with 14,391 people from 93 cultures around the world. I’ll also show results from comparing within nations, such as differences between northern and southern Italy. The data suggests that we were measuring the wrong idea of collectivism all along.

Harry Garretsen (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Harry Garretsen obtained his PhD in economics (1991) from the University of Groningen. After spells as a professor of economics at Radboud University Nijmegen and Utrecht University, he became professor of International Economics & Business in Groningen in 2008. In 2015, together with Janka Stoker, he founded the leadership expertise-center In the LEAD at the University of Groningen. In his work on geographical psychology, he combines his long-standing research on geographical economics with his more recent interest in leadership and psychology. This research is of a strongly cross-disciplinary nature and it asks whether and how geographical differences in economic conditions are driven by spatial variation in psychological factors and leadership.


Keynote Talk

Economic Geography Meets Psychology: Motivation, Results, Design & Agenda

Economic differences across regions or cities can only partly explained by standard economic explanations. One reason for this might be the neglect of the psychological make-up of regions and its citizens. As an economist who has spent much of his research investigating the causes and consequences of a ‘spiky world’, I will use this keynote to investigate the potential of a psychological approach to understand the uneven spatial distribution of economic activity. To assess the value added of incorporating psychological factors, the inclusion of personality traits will be used as an example. It can for instance be shown that regional variation in these traits help to explain urban growth differences. Personality traits turn out not only to matter for economic growth, adding a geographical psychology perspective also increases our understanding of regional differences in political outcomes and in resilience to shocks. When discussing various promising results, the importance of a proper research design looms large with endogeneity issues being a real concern. The keynote will close with potential policy implications and a research agenda.

Johannes Eichstaedt (Stanford University, USA)

Johannes C. Eichstaedt is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Stanford, as well as a Shriram Fellow at the Institute for Human-Centered A.I. Prof. Eichstaedt is a computational social scientist who studies the psychological and physical health of populations using social media, text mining and machine learning. For example, his work has shown that geographic variation in heart disease and subjective well-being in the U.S. can be predicted using Twitter, and that data shared on Facebook can serve as a leading indicator for future onset of depression. In 2011 he co-founded the World Well-Being Project; this research consortium has since attracted $5m in funding and published 100+ peer-reviewed articles. Johannes received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Keynote Talk

Advances in population measurement through social media: A decade of progress

The content shared on social media may be the most extensive dataset on behavior, thoughts, and emotions in human history. In particular, due to its public nature and decent population penetration, Twitter can be used to monitor population behaviors, mental health, and well-being. In this talk, I will review the last 10 years of progress and highlight some of the best findings along the way. The methods have advanced in three key ways. Firstly, language measurement has moved from psychological dictionaries to machine-learning-based systems that ingest the whole vocabulary. Secondly, rather than using random Twitter samples, modern pipelines treat Twitter as a sample of 5+ million users, all of which are geolocated and for whom age, gender, income, and education are estimated. Thus, sample biases can be corrected when aggregating to geographic units. Finally, to track temporal trends, we can follow the same users over time in a digital panel study encompassing 1%+ of the population, dramatically reducing the noise in the temporal signal that has plagued earlier work. With these advances, Twitter is maturing as a data source for public health, public policy, and geo psychology.