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CALL. 01.05.2018: ANCHORING INNOVATION — How to study the Social Psychology of the Ancient World - L




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Leiden (Leiden, Netherlands)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Dr. Luuk Huitink (Classics department, University of Leiden); Prof. Ineke Sluiter (Classics Department, University of Leiden); Dr. Vlad Glăveanu (Department of Psychology and Counseling, Webster University Geneva). Anchoring Innovation; Oikos.

INFO: web - ; ;


‘Anchoring Innovation’ is a Dutch research program in Classics that studies how people deal with ‘the new’ in all domains of society, not just technology and medicine, but also politics, law, the economy, the built environment, religion, the arts, technology, science, etc. Our main focus is on the multifarious ways in which relevant social groups connect what they perceive as new to what they feel is already familiar (‘anchoring’).

There is an important socio-psychological component to anchoring. It involves the ways in which social groups categorize, conceptually and linguistically, what they perceive as new; the ways in which new inputs (of any nature) are processed cognitively, including the emotional responses which such inputs elicit; and the ways in which ‘the new’ fits into pre-existing value systems and then in turn helps shape such value systems.

Our conference on ‘how to study the social psychology of the ancient world’ will address the question how we may adequately and responsibly uncover socio-cognitive processes that were operative in past societies and civilizations, in casu those of ancient Greece and Rome. It is the express aim of the conference to bring together practitioners of social and cognitive psychology and of classical studies (broadly understood) and to facilitate a mutually beneficial dialogue between these disciplines. On the one hand, we will explore how insights and results from social and cognitive psychology, often obtained through experiments, questionnaires, fMRI scans etc., may be made productive for the study of a historical period. On the other hand, we will explore how the data and methodologies that are specific to classical studies may make contributions to the social sciences, both conceptually and in terms of a diversification of testing strategies and testing ‘populations’.

Greek and Roman classical civilization is a good testing ground for the psychology of a historical period: it is richly documented (both in the written record and in material remains), and the sources are complex but also well-disclosed, which enables us to tackle complex research questions. Like social and cognitive psychology, classics, too, has an impressive track record of research on relevant issues, such as popular morality, religion, emotions, values and social cognitive processes. While some of this research focuses on explicit expressions of values and emotions, more often than not it is a matter of bringing to the surface implicit information and to focus on presuppositions, cultural and social stereotyping, emotional responses etc. Such information can be revealed by, for instance, oblique references, linguistic structures, metaphors, but also—to name a few more examples from the study of material culture—bodily postures in the visual arts or the spatial arrangements of public and private spaces. Some genres are more likely than others to reflect widely shared values (e.g. those intended for mass audiences, where those audiences’ approval is crucial for success). A public space affords different opportunities for examining civic values than private artifacts.

We invite abstracts for papers of 30 minutes from social scientists, in particular social and cognitive psychologists, and researchers in all areas of classical studies, with a view to discovering points of intersection and difference between our various areas of focus. We welcome papers dealing with methodological and conceptual issues as well as papers presenting specific case studies. Those interested in presenting a paper are requested to submit an abstract of c. 300-500 words with a select bibliography, as an email attachment (Word or PDF), no later than 1-5-2018 to all three organizers. Selected papers will be considered for publication.

‘Anchoring Innovation’ is supported by a 2017 Gravitation Grant (Ministry of Education, NWO); please see our website for further information and bibliographical references.

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