Psychology of social change: PsyChange


In Psychange we study the psychosocial dimensions of social change. 
We explore the cognitive, motivational, behavioral, relational, institutional, ideological and cultural aspects involved in how change is created, accepted or resisted. 
Approaching these aspects from different levels of analysis, and focusing also on different types of interconnections between them, the researchers of the group share an interest in how the social and cultural are constitutive of - but also build on - the psychological.


We study social change in several contexts – migration, gender, justice, ethnicity, climate change, resource conservation, organizations, or urban communities – and relying on a variety of methods (e.g., experiments, surveys, press analyses, interviews, or focus groups).

We look at processes involved in: 

  • inter-group relations – focusing on social identities, prejudice, discrimination, bullying or (de)humanization;
  • the shared construction and contestation of ideas – focusing on communication, the (trans)formation of social representations, values, attitudes, norms, or belief-behavior relations;
  • collective action – focusing on perceived injustice, law and citizenship construction, place identity or segregation/integration in communities and institutions


At Psychange we provide experts and policy-makers with applied and conceptual tools to promote more inclusive, just and sustainable societies.
For example:
- By helping develop guidelines for the creation and implementation of:
    • gender equality policies, 
    • anti-discrimination laws and regulations;
    • environmental and climate change policies;
    • laws for the involvement of citizens and communities in decision-making.

- By organizing events joining communities, NGO´s, experts and policy-makers, fostering their inter-connections.


We are involved in Coordination and teaching at Graduate (e.g. Psychology) and Master (e.g., Master in Studies of Environment and Sustainability; Master in the Psychology of Intercultural Relations) levels, integrating our research in the courses. 

We integrate young researchers and PhD students from two Doctoral Programmes (ISCTE-IUL Doctoral Program in Psychology and Lisbon PhD in Social Psychology), providing close mentoring and a warm context for debating work in progress through regular meetings.  These are also an outlet for visiting scholars to share and discuss their work with us.

Our research is funded by national and European institutions, regularly presented at national and international scientific meetings, and increasingly published in prestigious national and international journals.
It is also disseminated to policy-makers and communities.


Current Group Coordination Team: Sven Waldzus (sven.waldzus@iscte-iul.pt), Helena Santos, Teresa NAscimento

Edf. ISCTE-IUL, Sala 2w17
Av. das Forças Armadas
1649-026 Lisboa
Phone: +351 210 464 017
Fax : +351 21 046 41 74
Email: cis@iscte.pt
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