Preprint @ PsyArXiv

Index towards more accurate theoretical predictions in view of available data.

In this new preprint, we (EH Witte, F Zenker and myself) argue for better ways to evaluate our theoretical predictions in research, and become more aware of limitations of effect sizes measures (Cohen’s d). Preprint and supplement material available at 10.31234/

We argue for a direct evaluation of a theorized (expected) effect against the empirical (observed) effect. When the ratio between the two is apprx. 1 only then can we be certain that our prediction is adequate in view of data. Here, we introduce the Similarity Index as one way to achieve this (see formula 1 below).

Formula (1) describes the necessary factors needed in the calculation of the Similarity Index.

Based on simulation studies, we develop a similarity interval that can be used as a guideline for the decision a) whether to adjust the theoretical prediction, b) increase the sample size, or c) consider as impractical the expected effect.

Several applications to existent findings in (Social) Psychology are provided. Likewise, we provide a step-by-step guide that researchers can use in immediately applying the Similiarity Index in their work, and also ways of interpreting its coefficients.

Publication @ Ageing & Society

Values of self-transcendence provide motivational force toward the suppression of old age ageism in young adults. Findings across cultures.

Figure depicts mediation models at level-1 of analysis (ESS round 4 data).

In this publication at Ageing & Society, I use data of the 4th round of the European Social Survey and the 6th round of the World Value Survey to examine whether value systems provide motivational force towards suppression or justification of old age ageism among young adults across countries.

I argue that value preferences of young adults preced any threat perceptions and stereotypes towards older people and as a consequence they impact on young adults’ prejudice and discrimination against older people. Using a multilevel analytical approach, I tested complex mediation models at level-1 of analysis (see Figure above) and hypothesized that (a) self-transcendence will impact indirectly and negatively ageism levels and (b) self-enhancement will impact indirectly and positively ageism levels.

Findings show universal across countries evidence for the first hypothesis. Findings also indicate that in non-Western and collectivistic cultures self-enhancement might also contribute to the suppression of ageism in young adults.

The paper proposes a specific new way to combating ageism across cultures, one in which addressing value change in young adults might be more beneficial in the long term than solely focusing on the contact quantity and quality between younger and older members of society.

Stanciu, A. (2020). Value systems as motivational forces for the suppression of ageism towards older people amongst young adults: an analysis across countries. Ageing & Society, (online first). [OPEN]
Study materials are open access:

Publication @ Frontiers in Psycholgy

In this publication at Frontiers in Psychology – Cultural Psychology, we challenge the current state of the art in culture-level value research. We likewise suggest a re-conceptualization of cultural level values along an orthogonal structure defined by dimensions of Alteration/Preservation and Amenability/Dominance.

A new empirical approach to intercultural comparisons of value preferences based on Schwartz’s theory is an empirically-driven article (uses two rounds of the European Social Survey) that highlights shortcomings of the available approach of arriving at cultural level value preferences from individual level value preferences, the so-called averaging approach. The fictitious middle individual on which the averaging approach is based is, we argue, an improper empirical reproduction at the cultural level of the true value profiles of individuals of a country. As in scale construction, where one must demonstrate that scale-items reliably pertain to one common latent factor, so is the case in constructing a culture-level construct from individual-level observations – one needs to show that there is sufficient homogeneity between value profiles of people in a country before averaging over them to arrive at a culture-level concept. This, however, is not the case in practice. Moreover, we also know from past research that in some cases there are negative correlations between individual-level observations that are otherwise disregarded in the averaging approach. We propose the distribution approach as an alternative.

This method facilitates via an unfolding technique a direct reproduction at the cultural level of the individual level values. Observed value profiles of individual members of a country are compared against theoretical relations of value compatibility-incompatibility (circumplex value model unfolded as ideal value profiles, Table 1), comparisons which subsequently serve to classify each case into one of eleven value classes, 10 as theorized by Shalom Schwartz and 1 as non-classified.

Table 1. Ideal Value Types Based on the Rank Order of Values.
Note. The main diagonal is not to be confused with the main diagonal in a table of intercorrelations; numbers in every line correspond to value rank-orders which are based on value proximities among sectors of the circumplex model proposed by Shalom H. Schwartz; the column ‘Ideal Value Types’ provides the label for the row specified rank orders of the ten value types – each row corresponds to the theorized rank order of a specific value type; number ‘1’ is the starting value type of a theorized rank order; CO = Conformity; TR = Tradition; SE = Security; PO = Power; AC = Achievement; HE = Hedonism; ST = Stimulation; SD = Self-Direction; UN = Universalism; BE = Benevolence.

After a value class is assigned to each individual, we calculate frequencies of value classes in each country which are then transformed into rank-orders. Based on the rank-transfored distribution of value profiles we then perform Principal Component Analysis and extract as substantially meaningful two components – two ways in which value profiles of individuals organize collectively at the cultural level (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Depiction of culture-level value dimensions Alteration/Preservation (blue) and Amenability/Dominance (red).
Note. Numbers correspond to value rank order of importance. The stronger emphasized colors correspond to value typologies with a higher weight on the respective dimension. The weaker emphasized colors correspond to value typologies with a lower weight on the respective dimension. To arrive at the value structure of a culture, one requires the weights of the respective culture (factor loadings) on the two dimensions.

Finally, using these two newly found dimensions we can predict each country’s cultural-level value preferences from indices of societal challenges (education, religiosity, ethnic fractionalization, etc.) (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The Position of European Countries along Two Dimensions of Cultural Values as Informed by the Distribution Approach.
Note. Alteration/Preservation value rank order: (+) Universalism, Self-Direction, Benevolence, and Stimulation vs. Achievement, Security, Power, Hedonism, Traditionalism, and Conformity (‑); Amenability/Dominance reversed value rank order: (+) Self-Direction, Power, Achievement, Universalism, and Stimulation vs. Conformity, Traditionalism, Benevolence, Security, and Hedonism (-); 20 countries were available in both rounds of the ESS, namely: Belgium (BE), Switzerland (CH), Czech Republic (CZ), Germany (DE), Denmark (DK), Estonia (EE), Spain (ES), Finland (FI), France (FR), Great-Britain (GB), Hungary (HU), Israel (IL), Ireland (IE), Lithuania (LT), the Netherlands (NL), Norway (NO), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Sweden (SE), and Slovenia (SI), nine countries were available only in Round 6 of the ESS, namely: Albania (AL), Bulgaria (BG), Cyprus (CY), Iceland (IS), Italy (IT), Russian Federation (RU), Slovakia (SK), Ukraine (UA), and Kosovo (XK). One country was only available in Round 7 of the ESS, namely Austria (AT).

New publication – Evidence for stereotype accommodation as an expression of immigrants’ socio-cognitive adaptation

Screenshot 2019-08-14 at 15.14.32

New article coauthored with Christin-Melanie Vauclair and Rodda Nicole will be shortly published at International Journal of Intercultural Relations.

(here you can download a pre-edit copy)

Through intercultural contact, immigrants can change the stereotypes they had previously held about the majority ethnic group in their host cultures. Other undocumented processes of socio-cognitive adaptation following migration are also possible; immigrants’ preexisting stereotypes about social groups (e.g., politicians, older people), for example, may change because of host-cultural learning. This article examines the stereotype accommodation hypothesis, which states that differences in cultural stereotypes between immigrants’ host and origin cultures are a source of inconsistent stereotype-relevant information that immigrants may or may not incorporate into their preexisting beliefs. Support for this hypothesis is found in two studies of locals in Romania, Germany, and France (N = 532), and Romanian immigrants in Germany and in France (N = 225). Length of stay in the host culture and acculturation orientation predict the stereotype accommodation regarding politicians, the only social group for which stereotypes substantially differ between origin and host cultures. The results represent the first step in a research agenda for studying migrants’ socio-cognitive adaptation beyond the question of inter-ethnic stereotype change. The article thus discusses future avenues for the study of behavior and discrimination from the perspective of immigrants as agentic individuals.

New article in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Stereotype accommodation is a new concept that we introduce in the literature

Figure 1. Framework_20Marc2018

Figure 1. A framework of the cross-cultural differences, learning opportunities, individual differences, and cognitive resources in the study of how disconfirming/ novel stereotype-relevant information is incorporated towards stereotype accommodation. NOTE: ‘P’ stands for Propositions and it refers to in-text propositions.

The article co-authored with Christin-Melanie Vauclair (CIS-IUL, ISCTE) is now in the process of publication at the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (JCCP). For the version of the manuscript that has been accepted, you can download a pdf copy here..

The article ‘Stereotype accommodation: A socio-cognitive perspective on migrants’ cultural adaptation’ is a theoretical piece in which we introduce in the literature the concept of stereotype accommodation and a theoretical framework that can be used in its empirical testing.

We define stereotype accommodation as a cognitive process whereby migrants incorporate the stereotype-relevant information learned in their host cultures into their pre-existing stereotypes.

Our main argument is that the existing work has only considered ways in which migrants’ perceptions about the ethnicity of country-natives (and vice versa, the perceptions of country-natives about the ethnicity of migrants) can change in the context of migration. But, as we know from the stereotype literature, such an approach addresses only one characteristic of a group or individual, namely the ethnicity. We propose that in the migration context individuals can also go through a process of cognitive heuristic adaptation. The core contribution of the article is therefore to provide means of studying the cognitive adaptation of migrants in a wider form, one that includes the study of perceptions of other’s ethnicity and of perceptions about other features that can be used to categorize people, such as gender and employment status.

Chapter in upcoming Springer book series

Picture1_Mediation results
 Parallel mediation analysis of the effects of acculturation orientations and adaptation types on life satisfaction of Romanian MEAs in culturally distant countries. Maintain Home & Interest Host = two dimension of acculturation; Overall Well-Being = Life Satisfaction; Contextually-Bound Well-Being = Psychological Adaptation; numbers in-between brackets = standard errors; after “/” = values for Interest host; the coefficients on the direct lines from Maintain Home and Interest Host to Life Satisfaction indicate indirect effects (i.e., effect that remains after the effect of the explanatory factor is ruled out); N = 146; t p < .10; * p < .05; ** p < .001.

Planned for publication in December 2017, I have a chapter contribution in the book edited by Dr. Radosveta Dimitrova “Well-being of youth and emerging adults across cultures: Novel approaches and findings from Europe, Asia, Africa, and America”. (see table of contents here, read more about the book here).

In the chapter, I argue for a clearer operationalization of well-being in migration research. I present a brief literature review and initial empirical evidence in showing that literature to date has been interchangeably, albeit incorrectly in my opinion, used measures of ‘psychological adaptation’ and  ‘life satisfaction’  to arrive at the concept of well-being. My proposition is that, in fact, ‘psychological adaptation’ measures tap into migrants’ well-being that is context-dependent and, furthermore, that ‘life satisfaction’ measures tap into an overall indicator of migrants’ well-being.

The chapter abstract can be read below:

In addition to developmental challenges, migration during emerging adulthood can pose unique obstacles to individuals’ positive well-being. This chapter proposes distinguishing between two types of migrant emerging adults’ (MEAs) well-being (overall and contextually-bound) as one way to examine the influences of these interferences. A brief review of the literature and empirical support is provided for this claim among samples of Romanian MEAs in Europe (N = 215), an ethnic group that is under-represented in the literature. The overall well-being of MEAs can be studied as a result of an association between acculturation orientation and adaptation (as contextually-bound well-being and sociocultural), two variables especially relevant for MEAs living in culturally distant host societies. The findings suggest there may be different templates of well-being depending on whether migrants live in similar or distant host cultures compared to their home cultures. Furthermore, the role of context is discussed and it is suggested that the distinction between the two types of well-being can provide a more accurate insight for practitioners with regards to whether age-related or migration-related issues are problematic to migrants’ well-being and therefore require assistance.