Social Action Laboratory

Research Overview

Social Action Laboratory is concerned with the antecedents and consequences of meaningful human social action. As we engage in meaningful everyday activities, we are influenced by our social and cultural landscape, while simultaneously participating in its construction. Our focal point of interest is cultural dynamics, namely, the stability and change of culture over time, and how our everyday activities (e.g., language use, storytelling, interpersonal interactions) contribute to the formation, maintenance, and transformation of culture. The current research focus is on culture and sustainability broadly conceived. So we’re interested in how culture intersects with sustainable lifestyles, and how we can transform our own cultures so that we can meet our needs without compromising future generations' ability to meet their needs. We conduct theoretical and empirical investigations about how social and cultural processes can be harnessed for sustainable living and co-existence of humanity with the rest of nature.

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Julian Fernando
Madeline Judge
Ilona McNeill
Yang Li

PhD students
Lidia Lae
Rebekah Anderson
Stephanie Rizio
Elle Pattenden

Research Assistants
Yin Luo

2019 Honours students
Jessica Ching
Paul Golod
Felix Grant
Hong Ling Si

Past Students (since 2014)
Maria Abou-Abdallah, 2014
Melissa Wheeler, 2015
Gemma Skaczkowski, 2016
Rebecca Dare, 2017  
Elise Margetts, 2017  
Julia Meis, 2018


Paul Bain, University of Bath, UK
Örjan Bodin, Stockholm Resilience Center, Sweden
Alin Coman, Princeton University, USA
Christine Critchley, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland, USA
Emiko Kashima, La Trobe University, Australia
Michael Kirley, University of Melbourne, Australia
Namkje Koudenburg, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
Takashi Kusumi, Kyoto University, Japan
Léan O’Brien, University of Canberra, Australia
Angela Paladino, University of Melbourne, Australia
Kim Peters, University of Exeter, UK
Daniel Shank, Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA
Vincent Yzerbyt, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Research Publications

Main Research Publications (since 2014)

Cultural Dynamics
Kashima, Y. (2014). Meaning, grounding, and the construction of social reality. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 17, 81-95. (invited contribution).

Lee, T., Gelfand, M., & Kashima, Y. (2014). The serial reproduction of conflict: Third parties escalate conflict through communication biases. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 54, 68-72.

Stivala, A., Robins, G., Kashima, Y., & Kirley, M. (2014). Ultrametric distribution of culture vectors in an extended Axelrod model of cultural dissemination. Scientific Report, 4, 4870. DOI: 10.1038/srep04870

Kashima, Y. (2014). How can you capture cultural dynamics? Frontiers in Psychology DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00995

Kashima, E. S., Kent, S., & Kashima, Y. (2015). Life satisfaction in the new country: A multilevel longitudinal analysis of effects of culture and 5-HTT allele frequency distribution in country of origin. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(1), 50-54. DOI:10.1093/scan/nsu036

Kashima, Y., Laham, S. M., Dix, J., Levis, B., Wong, D., & Wheeler, M. (2015). Social transmission of cultural practices and implicit attitudes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 127, 113-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.05.005

Peters, K. & Kashima, Y. (2015). A multi-modal theory of affect diffusion. Psychological Bulletin, 141 (5), 966-992. DOI: 10.1037/bul0000020

Kashima, Y. (2016). Culture and psychology in the 21st century: Conceptions of culture and person for psychology revisited. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 47 (1), 4-20. [Invited contribution with commentaries]

Stivala, A., Robins, G., Kashima, Y., & Kirley, M. (2016). Diversity and community can coexist. American Journal of Community Psychology, 57, 243-254.

Skaczkowski, G., Durkin, S., Kashima, Y., & Wakefield, M. (2016). The effect of packaging, branding and labeling on the experience of unhealthy food and drink: A review. Appetite, 99, 219-234.

Brennan, E., Durkin, S. J., Wakefield, M. A., & Kashima, Y. (2016). Talking about antismoking campaigns: What do smokers talk about, and how does talk influence campaign effectiveness? Journal of Health Communication, 21 (1), 33-45. DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1039675

Stivala, A., Kashima, Y., & Kirley, M. (2016). Culture and cooperation in a spatial public goods game. Physical Review E, 94, 032303.

Brennan, E., Durkin, S. J., Wakefield, M., & Kashima, Y. (2016). Why do smokers talk about antismoking campaigns? Predictors of the occurrence and content of campaign-generated conversations. Health Communication, DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1239301

Miller, T., Pfau, J., Sonenberg, L., & Kashima, Y. (2017). Logics of common ground. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 58, 859-904.

Milfont, T. L., Bain, P. G., Kashima, Y., Corral-Verdugo, V., Pasquali, C., Johansson, L. O., ... & Bilewicz, M. (2017). On the Relation Between Social Dominance Orientation and Environmentalism: A 25-Nation Study. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550617722832.

Skaczkowski, G., Durkin, S., Kashima, Y., & Wakefield, M. (2017). Influence of premium versus value brand names on the smoking experience in a plain packaging environment: an experimental study. BMJ Open, 7(1), e014099.

Fernando, J. W., Burden, N., Ferguson, A., O’Brien, L. V., Judge, M., & Kashima, Y. (2018). Functions of utopia: How utopian thinking motivates societal engagement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(5) 779–792.

Kashima, Y., Bain, P., & Perfors, A. (2019). The psychology of cultural dynamics: What is it, what is known, and what is yet to be known? Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 499-529. 103112

Shank, D. B., Kashima, Y., Peters, K., Li, Y., Robins, G., & Kirley, M. (2019). Norm talk and human cooperation: Can we talk ourselves into cooperation? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: (accepted 16/08/2018)

Sustainability and Environmental Psychology
Kashima, Y., Paladino, A., & Margetts, E. A. (2014). Environmentalist identity and environmental striving. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 64-75.

Fernando, J. W., Kashima, Y., & Laham, S. M. (2014). Multiple emotions: A person-centred approach to the relationship between intergroup emotion and action orientation. Emotion, 14, 722-732. DOI: 10.1037/a003103

Guy, S., Kashima, Y., Walker, I., & O’Neill, S. (2014). Investigating the effects of knowledge and ideology on climate change beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 421-429.

Rickard, L., Wiseman, J., & Kashima, Y. (2014). Barriers to effective mitigation actions on climate change: the case of senior government and business decision-makers. WIREs Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/wcc.305

Bain, P., Milfont, T., Kashima, Y., Bilewicz, M., Doron, G., Garðarsdóttir, R. B., Gouveia, V. V., Guan, Y., Johansson, L.-O., Pasquali, C., Verdugo, V.-C., Aragones, J. I., Utsugi, A., Demarque, C., Otto, S., Park, J., Soland, M., Steg, L., González, R., Lebedeva, N., Madsen, O. J., Wagner, C., Akotia, C. S., Kurz, T., Saiz, J. L., Schultz, P. W., Einarsdóttir, G., & Saviolidis, N. M. (2016). How the co-benefits of addressing climate change can motivate action across the world. Nature Climate Change, 6(2), 154-157. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2814

Connor, P., Harris, E., Guy, S., Fernando, J., Burton-Shank, D., Kurz, T., Bain, P., & Kashima, Y. (2016). Interpersonal communication about climate change: How messages change when communicated through simulated online social networks. Climatic Change, 136(3-4), 463-476. DOI 10.1007/s10584-016-1643-z

Margetts, E., & Kashima, Y. (2017). Spillover between pro-environmental behaviours: the role of resources and perceived similarity. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 49, 30-42.

Meis, J. & Kashima, Y. (2017). Signage as a tool for behavioral change: Direct and indirect routes to understanding the meaning of a sign. PLoS ONE, 12(8): e0182975.

Kusumi, T., Hirayama, R., & Kashima, Y. (2017). Risk perception and risk talk: The case of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear radiation risk. Risk Analysis, 37(12), 2305-2320.

O’Brien, L., Meis, J., Anderson, R. C., Rizio, S. M., Abrose, M., Bruce, G., Critchley, C. R., Dudgeon, P., Newton, P., Robins, G., & Kashima, Y. (2018). Low Carbon Readiness Index: A short measure to predict private low carbon behaviour. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 57, 34-44.

Breadsell, J., Eon, C., Morrison, G., & Kashima, Y. (2019). Interlocking practices and their influence in the home. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. (accepted 17/12/2018)

Tran, P., Judge, M., & Kashima, Y. (accepted). Commitment in Relationships: An Updated Meta-Analysis of the Investment Model. Personal Relationships. (accepted 08/01/2019)

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cognitive Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience, Social and Personality Psychology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Laboratory Director Professor Yoshihisa Kashima

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

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