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Index
Research Group
- Tobias Ebert
- Jennifer Eck
- Theresa Entringer
- Jochen Gebauer
- Andreas Nehrlich
- Alexandra Schrade
Projects
Publications
Measures
Psy.de (online-studies)
Contact
Welcome to the Emmy Noether Self & Society Group,

Our psychological research examines the interplay between personality and society. In doing so, much of our research focuses on the Big Two personality traits: Agency and Communion. The Agency dimension consists of immediately self-profitable attributes, such as dominance, competence, and drive. The Communion dimension consists of immediately other-profitable

attributes, such as helpfulness, trustworthiness, and interpersonal warmth.

Much of our research currently examines the validity of our "Sociocultural Motives Perspective on Personality" (Gebauer, Paulhus, & Neberich, 2013). This theory builds on the idea that high Agency (dominance, competence, drive) elicits the motive to swim against the sociocultural tide, whereas high Communion (helpfulness, trustworthiness, warmth) is thought to elicit the motive to swim with the sociocultural tide. In other words, high Agency will instigate the desire to be different from other people in one's sociocultural context, whereas high Communion will instigate the desire to be similar to those others.

The interplay of Agency and Communion with those sociocultural motives for uniqueness and similarity is important to understand where and why Agency and Communion predict people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior. An example can illustrate this best: Does high Agency and/or high Communion predict whether people are religious? According to the Sociocultural Motives Perspective, the answer to this question crucially hinges on whether the prevalent sociocultural context is rather religious or rather secular. In a religious sociocultural context high Agency should predict relatively low religiosity, because agentic people can satisfy their desire to swim against the sociocultural tide by being relatively low on religiosity when most others are relatively high on religiosity. Conversely, in a religious sociocultural context high Communion should predict relatively high religiosity, because communal people can satisfy their desire to swim with the sociocultural tide by being relatively high on religiosity when most others are relatively high on religiosity. To be more concrete, our theory for example predicts that in the rather religious US high Agency should predict relatively low religiosity, whereas high Communion should predict relatively high religiosity.

In a secular sociocultural context, however, the pattern of relations should be quite different. Specifically, in such a context high Agency should predict relatively high religiosity, because agentic people can satisfy their desire to swim against the sociocultural tide by being relatively high on religiosity when most others are relatively low on religiosity. Conversely, in a secular sociocultural context high Communion should predict relatively low religiosity, because communal people can satisfy their desire to swim with the sociocultural tide by being relatively low on religiosity when most others are relatively low on religiosity. To be more concrete, our theory for example predicts that in very secular Sweden high Agency should predict relatively high religiosity, whereas high Communion should predict relatively low religiosity. As it stands, four publications provide support for the Sociocultural Motives Perspective (Gebauer, Bleidorn, Gosling, Rentfrow, Potter, & Lamb, 2014; Gebauer, Leary, & Neberich, 2012; Gebauer, Paulhus, & Neberich, 2013; Gebauer, Sedikides, Lüdtke, & Neberich, 2014). At the most abstract level, the Sociocultural Motives Perspective illustrates the pivotal importance to integrate research on broad personality dimensions with research on the sociocultural context. The Emmy Noether Self & Society group seeks to contribute towards this integration.

-- Jochen Gebauer (head of the research group)