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London and Home Counties Branch Symposium - Identity

Thursday 29th June 2017 at Institute for Child Health, University College London

Although an agreed definition remains elusive, identity is a central concept in psychology as well as the related disciplines of sociology, anthropology and philosophy.

The goals of this Symposium are to synthesise conceptual and empirical work and to present advances in the study and understanding of the psychological concept of identity. Our objectives are to bridge divides and generate debate on the topic of identity in its broadest sense so that we are able to appreciate different perspectives and generate new interdisciplinary knowledge.

We are pleased to announce the Symposium programme has now been finalised.


Prof Constantine Sedikides, University of Southampton

Does a Communal Life-Orientation Really Quiet the Ego? The Case of East-Asian Culture, Christian Religion, and Mind-Body Exercises
A communal life-orientation can quiet the ego, reducing self-enhancement. This ego-quieting view of communion is influential in social psychology. Advocates of it refer to three instantiations of a communal life-orientation, describing them as effective antidotes to self-enhancement: East-Asian culture, Christian religion, and mind-body exercises (yoga, mindfulness meditation). We examined the ego-quieting function of East-Asian culture (Studies 1-2), Christian religion (Studies 3-4), and mind-body exercises (Studies 5-6). The results paint a coherent picture: All three instantiations of a communal life-orientation exacerbate self-enhancement in the communal domain (higher communal narcissism and higher better-than-average perceptions regarding communal attributes). However, self-enhancement in the agentic domain (higher agentic narcissism and higher better-than-average perceptions regarding agentic attributes) is neither exacerbated nor reduced. This pattern of results runs counter to the ego-quieting view, but is consistent with the “self-centrality breeds self-enhancement” principle. According to this principle, humans have a deeply rooted proclivity to self-enhance on domains that are central to their self-concept (here: communal domains for people endorsing a communal life-orientation).

Dr Vivian Vignoles, University of Sussex

Identity: Personal AND Social
Identity refers to how people answer the question, “Who are you?”, whether explicitly or implicitly, and whether the question is posed at a personal or a collective level, by others or by oneself. Schools of thought within the identity literature tend to emphasize EITHER personal OR social contents and EITHER personal OR social processes. Here, I will argue that identities are inescapably BOTH personal AND social, not only in their content but also in the processes by which they are formed, maintained, and changed over time. It is the simultaneously personal AND social nature of identity that gives the construct its greatest theoretical potential—namely to provide insight into the relationship between the individual and society. However, doing justice to this potential requires integrating insights from diverse perspectives on identity and self-processes from all areas of psychology and beyond. In this talk, I will outline some key parameters for such an integrative understanding of identity.

Call for Papers

Submissions for the LHC Symposium closed 23:59 on Sunday 5th March 2017. Abstracts are being peer reviewed and first authors will be notified by email by 26th March 2017.

Lunch Please note lunch is not provided at this event, there are a number of places local to the venue where lunch can be purchased. The venue ask that food not purchased on site is not consumed on site.

Registration for this Conference is now open, fees can be found on the booking form.

Please note, this event will be credit/debit card payment only at the time of booking, in certain circumstances we may be able to accept bookings with invoice requests. If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224506.


Thursday 29th June 2017

Please note this is a draft agenda and is subject to change

09:30Symposium welcome
09:35Keynote presentation - Self-Enhancement in Cultural Context - Prof Constantine Sedikides
10:20Session 1 - Please see full programme below for full details
11:25Session 2 - Please see full programme below for full details
13:30Session 3 - Please see full programme below for full details
14:50Session 4 - Please see full programme below for full details
15:55Session changeover
16:05Keynote Presentation - Identity: Personal AND Social - Dr Vivian Vignoles
16:50Summing Up - Professor Carolyn Mair, Chair, London and Home Counties Branch
17:10Symposium Close

Speakers and Facilitators


Professor Constantine Sedikides, University of Southampton

Keynote Speaker
Constantine Sedikides’ research is on self and identity (including narcissism) and their interplay with emotion and motivation, close relationships, and group or organizational processes. He has published 14 volumes and over 300 articles or chapters. He has received several awards, such as the Kurt Lewin Medal for Outstanding Scientific Contribution from the European Association of Social Psychology and The Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge, The British Psychological Society (2012). Before joining the University of Southampton, Constantine taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He holds a PhD from the Ohio State University, USA.

Dr Vivian Vignoles, University of Sussex

Keynote Speaker
Dr Vivian L. Vignoles obtained his PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Surrey in 2000 and is now Reader in Social Psychology at the University of Sussex. His principal research interests are in self and identity processes and cross-cultural psychology, with a particular focus on understanding the interplay of cultural, contextual, and motivational influences on identity construction, drawing insights from both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. He is Principal Investigator of the Culture and Identity Research Network, has authored or co-authored more than 50 published articles and chapters, and was co-editor of the Handbook of Identity Theory and Research published in 2011. He is currently serving as joint Chief Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Additional Information

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PDFLHC Symposium 2017 Programme