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A Reflection from SASP

SASP Reflection and Experiences: Fieke Wagemans


Every other year, the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP) organizes a summer school. Thanks to SPSP’s travel grant, I was able to travel all the way from Tilburg, Netherlands to this year’s SASP summer school, which took place at the beginning of February at Deakin University. The program offered three different research streams: ‘Applying social identity research in real-world settings’, ‘The psychology of close relationships’, and ‘The who, how, and what of morality’. As my PhD project focusses on the mechanisms that underlie the relationship between disgust and morality, I took part in the last research stream, taught by Dr. Brock Bastian (University of New South Wales) and Dr. Simon Laham (University of Melbourne). 

The summer school program provided a good mix of discussions and lectures, group work on research projects, and opportunities to network with both fellow PhD students and stream leaders. In our specific stream, we discussed many of the interesting topics that play a role in current morality research. These included both the popular debates on the modularity of morality (e.g., Moral Foundations Theory vs. Dyadic Morality) and how people make moral judgments (e.g., rationalist vs intuitionist accounts), as well as research on who and what is considered to be worthy of moral consideration (e.g., moral consideration of animals, nature, or even art). Later in the week, we spent more time working in smaller groups on our own research projects. After many long brainstorm sessions on topics covered earlier that week, me and my groupmates (Caley Tapp, Joanne Beames, Cassandra Chapman, and Daniel Crimston) decided to investigate the idea that people apply moral rules inconsistently to people depending on whether they are perceived as worthy of moral consideration or not. The focus of these research projects was to come up with feasible studies that could facilitate collaborations between research group members in the future, after the end of the summer school. For my research group that is most certainly the case, as we are currently applying for the SASP small grant scheme, so we can actually test our ideas. 

Finally, I would like to thank the SASP organizers for setting up the summer school and creating a welcoming and informal atmosphere; Brock and Simon for doing an outstanding job at leading our stream group; and of course all fellow attendees. It was great sharing experiences about being a PhD student, having many discussions both scientific and on random topics (often fueled by either coffee or alcoholic drinks), and coming out of this summer school with lasting collaborations and friendships. Special thanks also to SPSP for generously supporting me with their travel grant. It was an intense, but above all, inspiring and motivating week.


Read additional reflections from SASP attendees in the coming weeks!