We are proud to announce that our Psychology student, Ismaharif B Ismail, has been awarded the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize (OURP) in the individual category! The award is an annual, university-wide competition that aims to encourage research among undergraduates at NUS.
The winning research was based on Harif’s undergraduate honours thesis that was completed under the supervision of Dr. Jia Lile. The researchers comment:
“Through the Internet, many people are now able to observe and participate in conflicts that are occurring remotely from them. Social media has also enabled people to casually take sides in these conflicts through “Liking”, “Commenting”, and “Sharing”. In addition, the Internet allows for people to send resources such as money to zones of conflict while staying distant from them. Occasionally, individuals passionate about the side they wish to support may also choose to travel to the site of conflict to engage in it directly (e.g., radicalised extremists). Hence, there is an increasing significance of third-parties in intergroup conflicts and a need to investigate their motivations and behaviour. We refer to these third-party observers (3PO) as individuals who are uninvolved and unrelated to the conflict but choose to participate in the conflict, even at a personal cost.
Despite such changes to how third-parties participate in intergroup conflicts, research in third-party behaviour and motivations in conflict receives little attention in the field of psychology. Most research has focused on examining group members who are already involved in the conflict, but do not examine group members who are initially unrelated and uninvolved to the conflict.
Our research examined how 3PO participate in an intergroup conflict. We used a novel economic paradigm to account for the social (e.g., ingroup bias), moral (e.g., punish perpetrators or support victims), and rational (e.g., avoiding costly participation) motives of 3PO participation in intergroup conflicts. Our research findings demonstrated how 3PO pursued social goals in different contexts of moral legitimacy. When the perpetrator was an outgroup, 3PO showed ingroup bias by supporting the victim (ingroup), and harming the perpetrator (outgroup). When the perpetrator was an ingroup, 3PO showed ingroup bias by being less likely to harm the perpetrator (ingroup). Instead, they provided support to both perpetrator (ingroup) and victim (outgroup). Our findings underscore the interaction of social-moral motives underlying the costly participation of 3PO in conflicts.”
Harif (pictured above, right) is currently pursuing his Masters degree at the department with Dr. Jia (pictured above, left). We extend our heartiest congratulations to both of them!