Natalia Zarzeczna

Natalia Zarzeczna

Colleges, School and Institutes

Qualifications

PhD in Social Cognition (Cardiff University). Funded by ESRC. Supervisors: Dr. Ulrich von Hecker and Prof. Geoffrey Haddock

MSc Social Sciences Research Methods, Distinction (Cardiff University). Funded by the Cardiff University Postgraduate Taught Scholarship

BSc Psychology (Cardiff University)

Research interests

I am interested in social and cognitive processes involved in stereotypic perceptions and prejudice towards social groups associated with gender, religion/non-religion, sexual orientation, and political ideology. Exploring such processes may enable us to better understand psychological mechanisms involved in biased perceptions of social groups in order to improve inter-group relations.

Biography

I am currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Experimental Social Psychology at the University of Birmingham. I am working on a multidisciplinary research project: ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum Global Perspective.’ This project was designed to broaden our understanding of people’s perceptions of the relationship between evolutionary science and religion cross-culturally. My role involves investigating such perceptions in the context of social identity, stereotyping, and prejudice reduction.

Before joining the University of Birmingham, I was a PhD researcher at Cardiff University under supervision of Dr. Ulrich von Hecker and Prof. Geoffrey Haddock. My project was funded by an ESRC doctoral fellowship and involved investigating the extent to which basic perceptual processes, such as perceptions of physical space, are associated with stereotypical responses in social categorizations of gender and social power. The aim of the project was to understand the underlying cognitive processes that likely reinforce stereotype-consistent thoughts. My research method included implicit reaction-time tests, Implicit Association Tests, as well as physiological recordings of pupil size (pupillometry). My main findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Except for my main line of research associated with social cognition and the study of stereotyping and prejudice, I am contributing to projects investigating similarities between people identifying with different social categories associated with political ideologies or sexual orientations. I am completing these projects in collaboration with Dr. Travis Proulx at Cardiff University and Dr. Paul Hanel at the University of Bath.  

I am a member of the EASP (European Association of Social Psychology).