Social/Personality Laboratory

Research Overview

Our Laboratory investigates topics that bridge social and personality psychology. Our social psychological work explores interpersonal and intergroup phenomena including dehumanization, objectification, the stigma of mental illness and people’s beliefs about the underlying nature of group differences. Our personality research focuses on whether personality traits and mental disorders are best conceptualised as continuous dimensions or discrete categories.

Our primary focus in the last two years has been ‘concept creep’, a term we coined to describe how harm-related concepts such as bullying, trauma, mental illness and prejudice have broadened in recent decades. We are carrying out research on how concept meanings are changing within psychology and the wider culture, using methods from computational linguistics, and exploring the causes and consequences of holding expansive concepts of harm.


Current members

Ekaterina Vymolova (postdoctoral fellow)

Kelton Hardingham (PhD student)

Evan Jureidini (PhD student)

Melanie McGrath (PhD student)

Carra Aven Simpson (PhD student)

Michelle Stratemeyer (PhD student)

Adriana Vargas-Saenz (PhD student)

Jessica Frank (honours student)

Jordan Gibbs (honours student)

Past members

Sean Murphy (former postdoctoral fellow)

Kari Gibson (PhD awarded 2019)

Hanne Watkins (PhD awarded 2016)

Elise Holland (PhD awarded 2014)

Erlend Kvaale (PhD awarded 2014)

Jake Chan (2018 honours student)

Fabian Fabiano (2018 honours student)

Jesse Tse (2018 honours student)


Emory University

Monash University

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Edinburgh

University of Leuven

University of Nagoya

Research Outcomes

Recent popular writing.

The second mountaineer

Fighting for face

University challenge

Not my type

Changing morals: We're more compassionate than 100 years about, but more judgemental too

Is the midlife crisis a real thing?

The five stages of grief don't come in fixed steps

People who see men and women as fundamentally different are more likely to accept workplace discrimination

In Defense of Using Your Phone on the Toilet

Research Publications

For a full, regularly updated list of publications, see Google Scholar.

Selected recent publications

  • Gibson, K., Haslam, N., & Kaplan, I. (in press). Distressing encounters in the context of climate change: Idioms of distress, determinants, and responses to distress in Tuvalu. Transcultural Psychiatry.
  • Haslam, N. (in press). The many roles of dehumanization in genocide. In L. S. Newman (Ed.), Confronting humanity at its worst:  The social psychology of genocide and extreme intergroup violence. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Haslam, N., & Murphy, S. C. (in press). Hate, dehumanization, and “hate”. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Hate in the modern world: What it is, where it comes from, and what to do about it. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Haslam, N. Stratemeyer, M., & Holland, E. (in press). Kittens, pigs, rats, and apes: The psychology of animal metaphors. In K. Dhont & G. Hodson (Eds.), Why people love and exploit animals: Bridging insights from academia and advocacy. London: Routledge.
  • Lilienfeld, S. O., Watts, A. L., Smith, S. F., Murphy, B., Costello, T. H., Bowes, S. M., Latzman, R. D., Haslam, N., & Tabb, K. (in press). Personality disorders as emergent interpersonal syndromes: Psychopathic personality as a case example. Journal of Personality Disorders.
  • Schofield, T., Haslam, N., & Butterworth, P. (in press). The persistence of welfare stigma: Does the passing of time and subsequent employment moderate the negative perceptions associated with unemployment benefit receipt? Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
  • Vymolova, E., Murphy, S., & Haslam, N. (in press). Evaluation of semantic change of harm-related concepts in psychology. In Proceedings of the workshop on computational approaches to historical language change. Association for Computational Linguistics.
  • Buchanan, R., & Haslam, N. (2019). Psychotherapy. In R. J. Sternberg & W. Pickren (Eds.), Handbook of the intellectual history of psychology: How psychological ideas have evolved from past to present (pp.468-494). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Delbosc, A., Naznin, F., Haslam, N., & Haworth, N. (2019). Dehumanization of cyclists predicts self-reported aggressive behaviour toward them: A pilot study. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 62, 681-689.
  • Haslam, N. (2019). Unicorns, snarks, and personality types: A review of the first 102 taxometric studies of personality. Australian Journal of Psychology, 71, 39-49.
  • Koval, P., Holland, E., Zyphur, M., Stratemeyer, M., Knight, J. M., Bailen, N. H., Thompson, R., Roberts, T., & Haslam, N. (2019). How does it feel to be treated like an object? Direct and indirect effects of exposure to sexual objectification on women’s emotions in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116, 885-898.
  • McGrath, M. J., Randall-Dzerdz, K., Wheeler, M. A., Murphy, C., & Haslam, N. (2019). Concept creepers: Individual differences in harm-related concepts and their correlates. Personality and Individual Differences, 147, 79-84.
  • Simmons, J. G., Azpitarte, F., Roost, F. D., Dommers, E., Allen, N., Havighurst, S., & Haslam, N. (2019). Correlates of hair cortisol concentrations in disadvantaged young children. Stress and Health, 35, 104-111.
  • Smillie, L., & Haslam, N. (2019). Personality psychology in Australia: Introduction to the special issue. Australian Journal of Psychology, 71, 3-6.
  • Wheeler, M. A., McGrath, M. J., & Haslam, N. (2019). Twentieth century morality: The rise and fall of moral concepts from 1900 to 2007. PLoS ONE, 14(2), e0212267.
  • Wilmot, M. P., Haslam, N., Tian, J., & Ones, D. S. (2019). Direct and conceptual replications of the taxometric analysis of Type A behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116, e12-e26.
  • Anderson, J., Holland, E., Koc, Y., & Haslam, N. (2018). iObjectify: Self- and other-objectification of men on Grindr, a geosocial networking application designed for men who have sex with men. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 600-613.
  • Buchanan, R., Haslam, N., & Pickren, W. (2018). The enduring appeal of psychosocial explanations of physical illness. In C. Johansen (Ed.), Personality and disease: Scientific proof vs wishful thinking (pp. 205-222). New York: Springer.
  • Loughman, A., & Haslam, N. (2018). Neuroscientific explanations and the stigma of mental disorder: A meta-analytic study. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3, 43.
  • Skewes, L., Fine, C., & Haslam, N. (2018). Beyond Mars and Venus: The role of gender essentialism in support for gender inequality and backlash. PLoS ONE, 13(7), e0200921.
  • Harmon-Jones, C., Haslam, N., & Bastian, B. (2017). Dissonance reduction in nonhuman animals: Implications for cognitive dissonance theory. Animal Sentience, 12(4).
  • Haslam, N. (2017). The origins of lay theories. In C. M. Zedelius, B. C. N. Müller & J. W. Schooler (Eds.), The science of lay theories: How beliefs shape our cognition, behavior, and health (pp. 3-16). New York: Springer.
  • Haslam, N., Stratemeyer, M., & Vargas-Saenz, A. (2017). Scholarly productivity and citation impact of academic psychologists in Group of Eight universities. Australian Journal of Psychology, 69, 162-166.
  • Holland, E., Koval, P., Stratemeyer, M., Thomson, F., & Haslam, N. (2017). Sexual objectification in women’s daily lives: A smartphone ecological momentary assessment study. British Journal of Social Psychology, 56, 314-333.
  • Holland, E., Stratemeyer, M., & Haslam, N. (2017). Intergroup metaphors. In H. Giles & J. Harwood (Eds.), Oxford research encyclopedia in intergroup communication. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Tsukamoto, S., Kashima, Y., Haslam, N., Holland, E., & Karasawa, M. (2017). Entitativity perceptions of individuals and groups across cultures. In J. Spencer-Rodgers & K. Peng (Eds.), The psychological and cultural foundations of East Asian cognition (pp. 335-351). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Haslam, N. (2016). Concept creep: Psychology’s expanding concepts of harm and pathology. Psychological Inquiry, 27, 1-17.
  • Haslam, N. (2016). Looping effects and the expanding concept of mental disorder. Journal of Psychopathology, 22, 4-9.
  • Haslam, N., Holland, E., & Stratemeyer, M. (2016). Intergroup metaphors. In H. Giles & A. Maass (Eds.), Advances in intergroup communication (pp. 103-117). New York: Peter Lang.
  • Haslam, N., & Loughnan, S. (2016). How dehumanization promotes harm. In A. Miller (Ed.) The psychology of good and evil (2nd ed) (pp. 140-158). New York: Guilford.
  • Holland, E., & Haslam, N. (2016). Cute little things: The objectification of pre-pubescent girls. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40, 108-119.
  • Haslam, N., & Stratemeyer, M. (2016). Recent research on dehumanization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 25-29.

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 Director Professor Nick Haslam

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

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