Research

The UCLA Social Relations Lab studies how people relate to each other in group contexts. Our studies span from examining relationships in lab-based groups to work organizations, schools, local communities, and the nation. We examine both relations among group members and as members of different subgroups (e.g., ethnic communities within the U.S.).

Our work seeks to serve the dual purpose of illuminating basic psychological processes and informing discussions of social issues including cultural diversity, intergroup relations, and social policies (e.g., immigration, income distribution, gender equality) that affect both the advantaged and the disadvantaged. We use a multi-method approach that includes laboratory experiments, web-based studies, and large-scale surveys of the community.

Questions addressed in our research include:

  • How are the identity concerns of dominant subgroups (i.e., men, Whites, host-society members) different from the identity concerns of non-dominant group members (i.e., women, Asians, Blacks, Latinos, immigrants)?
  • What are the pathways through which negative social evaluation (i.e., unfair treatment, group-based discrimination) affects individuals’ emotional and physical well-being?
  • How do perceptions of the quality of treatment from group members affect the bond between the individual and the group they are a part of?
  • When and how do social identifications and perceptions of (in)justice work together to motivate the desire to pursue social change versus to maintain the status quo?
  • Desiring to be viewed as competent versus likable are basic building blocks of social relationships. How do individuals derive this information from groups they belong to and how does it affect their social relationships, self-concept, and physical well-being?