Work as (co) principal investigator

This section contains information about my on-going work on (5) “four sub-dimensions of stereotype content”, (4) “stereotype accommodation”, (3) “disagreement in old age perception”, (2) “value development trajectories and political engagement”, and (1) “the distribution approach to culture level value priorities.” Please scroll down to read more about each project.

1. The distribution approach to culture level value priorities

A collaborative research program with Erich H. Witte (Hamburg University, Germany) and Klaus Boehnke (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany & Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation) on introducing a novel methodology to arrive at values at the culture level. The article by Gollan and Witte (2014) provides the interested reader a first peak into our logic of reasoning.

“Empirical tests of Schwartz’s theory of cultural value priorities have predominantly been performed using an averaging approach–as values of the average individual in a culture. However, from a theory of measurement standpoint such an approach seems inadequate. We argue that the averaging approach is an insufficiently accurate methodology in capturing the compatibilities-incompatibilities between values of individuals within cultures. We propose an approach based on the distribution of values of individuals in a given culture–the distribution approach. Using data from two rounds of the European Social Survey, we show how frequencies of specific individual value priorities in a culture can be used towards the description of culture-level value preferences. We recommend a re-conceptualization of Schwartz’s culture-level value theory to an orthogonal two-dimensional structure, namely as Preservation vs. Alteration and Dominance vs. Amenability, which we explain based on heterogeneity in macro-social worries across countries.”

A first manuscript is now under review.
Two additional manuscripts are currently planned. One that uses the World Value Survey data in an attempt to examine the validity of the current findings in socio-cultural contexts outside Europe.
A second manuscript is intended to examine the robustness of the link between the theorized individual level value priorities and the observed individual value priorities across countries.

Outcomes / Cited in
This work has has already gained international visibility and is likewise scheduled to be presented in the following academic fora:

1) Stanciu, A., Witte, E.H., Boehnke, K. (September, 2018). A new empirical approach to inter-cultural comparisons of value preferences based on Schwartz’s theory. Presentation scheduled at the 51st DGP Congress, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
2) Stanciu, A., Witte, E.H., & Boehnke, K. (July, 2018). Introduction the ‘Distribution Approach’ as an alternative methodology to empirically arrive at value priorities at the cultural level. Presentation scheduled at the 24th Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Guelph, Canada.
3) Witte, E.H., Stanciu, A. & Boehnke, K. (June, 2017). A new empirical approach to inter-cultural comparisons of value preferences based on Schwartz‘s theory. Presented at National Research University Higher School of Economics International Laboratory for Sociocultural Research 7th Summer School “From Proposal to Submission: Design of Cross-Cultural Study”, Moscow, Russian Federation.

2. Value development trajectories and political engagement in mid-adulthood

A collaborative work with Oscar Smallenbroek (European University Institute, Italy), Regina Arant (Jacobs University Bremen and BIGSSS, Germany) and Klaus Boehnke (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany & Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation).
In using a unique three-decade long data set (for example see, Boehnke & Wong, 2011), we examine whether political engagement of adults in their 40s is predicted by their value development trajectories as these are shaped by political socialization factors at an early age (around age of 14).

“There is insufficient evidence in the literature regarding the causal mechanisms of what factors in individuals’ early socialization drive them to politically disengage or engage in later life/adulthood. The authors theorize that the early socialization climate shapes young adults’ values development trajectories, which can in turn predict their political engagement later in life. The authors use a unique longitudinal data set (N=243), for which youngsters (aged, M=13.86, SD=2.30) born in West Germany in the early 1970s have been surveyed 10 times between 1985 (in the context of an imminent nuclear threat) and 2017. With measurement waves interspersed by 3 ½ years each. The authors examined whether socio-economic factors in individuals’ younger age (Wave 1) predicted the level and developmental trajectories of their preferences for Universalism, Security, and Hedonism values (Wave 5-9) from early—average age 28—to mid-adulthood–age 42—and whether this had in part shaped their decision to politically engage or disengage during the most recent refugee influx in Germany (Wave 10). Results of Latent Class Growth Curve analyses confirm the expectations and moreover show at least two typologies of value development trajectories, namely a stable high trend and a linear upward trend. The findings contribute to further elaborating the developmental perspective to political participation.”

A manuscript is currently in preparation. The intended submission deadline is Fall 2018.

Outcomes / Cited in

Stanciu, Smallenbroeck, Arant, & Boehnke. (scheduled, September 2018). Value development trajectories and political engagement in mid-adulthood: Evidence from a three-decade longitudinal study of peace movement sympathizers and activists. Oral presentation (scheduled) at the 51st Congress of the Germany Psychology Society (DGPs) in the Panel “Peace Psychology”, chaired by H. Blumberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

3. Disagreement in old age perception

A research project that aims to examine the disagreement in old age perception. I use data of the World Value Survey to predict what factors at the individual level and at the country level can predict the disagreement to the culture-relevant stereotypes of elderly. Rather than seeking to predict mean scores, as is the norm in psychological research, I attempt to use as the dependent variable a proxy measure based on squared Euclidean distances from the country mean.

Data are currently analyzed.

Outcomes / Cited in
There are no current updates about this project.

4. Stereotype accommodation

A research topic that I developed throughout my doctoral studies and is now starting to gain visibility. Stereotype accommodation is a new concept in the literature that aims to fill the void of previous research on the stereotypes held by migrants in their acculturation process.
Together with Melanie Vauclair (ISCTE-IUL, CIS-IUL, Portugal), we coin the concept of stereotype accommodation as a cognitive process whereby migrants incorporate the stereotype-relevant information learned in their host culture into their preexisting stereotypes. This represents our attempt to bring the mainstream stereotype literature into the cross-cultural arena. This was needed because to date the literature has only looked at ethnic stereotypes held by migrants and has omitted to investigate what might happen to their cognitive heuristics.

In addition to the outcomes presented below, there are two empirical manuscripts in the pipe-line.
One is co-authored with Melanie Vauclair (ISCTE-IUL, CIS-IUL, Portugal) and Rodda Nicole (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France). This article shows initial evidence that a longer duration of stay in the host culture and an interest in adopting the host culture are positively associated with stereotype accommodation of Romanian migrants in Germany and in France. The manuscript is now in the final stages of preparation before submission. The expected submission date is Fall 2018.
A second manuscript attempts to examine the framework introduced in Stanciu and Vauclair (2018) with a focus on stereotypes about the elderly. In so doing, I use data of the European Social Survey to estimate what predictors at the individual and at the country level can predict the horizontal transmission (stereotype accommodation) of elderly stereotypes between indigenous population and migrants; study is done across 29 countries. The expected submission date is Winter 2018 / 2019.

Outcomes / Cited in
This work has already gained international visibility and, recently, a theoretical manuscript has been published.

Stanciu, A. & Vauclair, C.-M. (2018). Stereotype accommodation: A socio-cognitive perspective on migrants’ cultural adaptation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49, 1027-1047. doi:10.1177/0022022118777300

Conference presentations:
1) Stanciu, A. (2016). Adaptation of personal stereotypes to cultural stereotypes: Research suggestions and initial evidence. Presentation at Diaspora Conference on Research and Graduate Education in Romania, Timisoara, Romania.
2) Stanciu, A. (2015). When stereotypes acculturate. Cognitive adaptation patterns of Romanian migrants in four European countries. Presentation at IAIR International Congress, Bergen, Norway.
3) Stanciu, A. (2014). Introducing the Integrative Model of Stereotype Acculturation (tIMoSA): A complementary psychological and sociological perspective about the stereotypes held by migrants. Presentation at IACCP International Congress, Reims, France.
4) Stanciu, A. (2014). The Integrative Model of Stereotype Acculturation. A joint psychological and sociological perspective about the changes in stereotypes held by migrants. Presentation at MIGREMUS Colloquium on Integration and Spatial Mobility, Bremen, Germany.
5) Stanciu, A. (2013). When stereotypes acculturate: The Integrative Model of Stereotype Acculturation. Presentation at SoDoc-2013 PhD Workshop, Cologne, Germany.

5. Four (sub)dimensions of stereotype content

Builds on my previous work (Stanciu, 2015) where I showed initial evidence for a sub-dimensional structure of stereotype content. While analyzing data for my doctoral dissertation it became clear to me that the Stereotype Content Model’s (literature) warmth and competence can each be further disentangled into two sub-dimensions. With the help of advanced statistical techniques (Structural Equation Modelling), I was able to show that the warmth dimension encompasses friendliness and trustworthiness and the competence dimension encompasses conscientiousness and efficacy.

“My intention is to expand on the initial argument that the evaluative dimensions of warmth (communion) and competence (agency) are the result of two distinct evolutionary motives: to identify one’s intentions and to evaluate one’s ability to enact an action (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007). One possible direction is to build on the assumption that our ability, as a species, to live in large societies is possible due to evolved cognitive tools (de Ruiter, Weston, & Lyon, 2011; Dunbar, 1992) that allows us to detect cheating (in its different instances like deviance from societal norms and immoral behaviors) (e.g. Krebs, 2015). I propose that the sub-dimensions friendliness-trustworthiness and conscientiousness-efficacy, although they are intuitively parts of communion and agency, can provide a more nuanced description of these mechanisms. The distinction friendliness-trustworthiness is conceptually similar to the so-called “evolved morality”; a set of communion traits that can be found also among primates (de Waal, 2006). Essentially, this emphasizes that social relations are maintained/developed through empathetic (friendliness subdimension) and fair (trustworthiness subdimension) interactions. The distinction conscientiousness-efficacy is conceptually similar to competencies required in two types of social relations: equality matching and authority ranking (Fiske, 1992). In brief, this indicates that people who prefer equality follow the norm of reciprocity, and those who prefer authority follow the norm of hierarchy. In this sense, cheating can be nuanced in the first instance as a lack/presence of conscientious traits, and in the second instance as a lack/presence of efficacy traits; as depending on the context of social interaction. Consider, say, that a person walks towards home at night in a dark alley, and that at a given moment a stranger approaches the person (Fiske, 2012). In line with the distinction communion-agency, the person needs to first evaluate whether the stranger poseses a threat (intends to “cheat”) and second to evaluate the stranger’s ability to enact the potential threat. Moreover, consider, say, that the stranger approaches the person in a friendly manner but with untrustworthy intentions, and additionally, that the stranger has a visible disability but that there are signs of a planned action (Stanciu, 2015). In line with the distinctions friendliness-trustworthiness and conscientiousness-efficacy, the person requires to evaluate competing arguments as to whether the friendly attitude outweights the untrustworthy intentions, and in addition, to decide whether the disability is a sufficient sign of inefficaciousness in finalizing the estimated planned action.”

Data for an initial cross-country study (N = 847, Romania, England, Germany, France, Portugal, Italy, & Turkey) is collected with the help of following collaborators: Dr. Christin-Melanie Vauclair, Yasin Koc, Diana Miconi, Diana Farcas, Resit Kislioglu, and Nicole Rodda.

A manuscript is in preparation in which we show evidence for the statistical reliability of the four sub-dimensional structure of stereotypes across seven nations (Stanciu, Vauclair, Koc, Miconi, Farcas, Kislioglu, & Rodda. (2016). Four dimensions of stereotypes: Evidence from Romania and a seven-culture test of structure reliability. Unpublished manuscript presented at the 2016 Congress of the International Association of Cross Cultural Psychology, IACCP 2016, Nagoya, Japan). (see slides).

Outcomes / Cited in

Kotzur, P., Forsbach, N., & Wagner, U. (2017). Choose your words wisely: Stereotypes, emotions, and action tendencies toward fled people as a function of the group label. Social Psychology, 48, 226-241. doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000312 (available here)