Shall I remain silent or shall I express my views?

Date & time

4–5pm 5 April 2016


Peter Baume Building 42A Room 2.01


Professor Michael Platow Research School of Psychology

A social identity analysis of voice desires and voice usage in group settings

Social-psychological theory suggests that a variety of positive individual and group-based consequences will emerge when people are provided with opportunities to express their views – that is, when they are given “voice” – in matters relevant to them. Subsequent research has confirmed that voice provision does, indeed, yield positive outcomes, such as enhanced self-esteem, perceptions of respect, and social identification with the relevant group; as well as engagement in extra-role behaviour (e.g., helping) behaviours. This previous theoretical and empirical work, however, has two implicit assumptions: (1) people want (and, potentially, expect) voice in the first instance, and (2) once provided with voice, people are likely to use it. In the current presentation, I review a series of studies in which we consider theoretically-relevant, group-based factors that may impact upon both the desire and usage of voice. The results of these studies show that both higher levels of social identity salience and social identification each predict higher levels of social-identity relevant voice desire and expectations. Moreover, actual usage is affected by: (1) the combined effects of one’s salient social identity and that of the potential hearer, and, again, (2) one’s overall level of social identification with the relevant group. This research contributes to a larger body of work suggesting that those people in group situations who want to speak out and do, indeed, speak out may well be the ones who are most committed to the group itself.


Professor Michael Platow from the Research School of Psychology, has been at the ANU since 2003. His research examines the psychology of group processes, including: (1) leadership and social influence, (2) fairness and trust, (3) prejudice and intergroup relations, and (4) group identities and learning. He was president of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists, and an associate editor of Social Psychology and Personality Science. His teaching has been recognized by a Commonwealth Office of Learning and Teaching Carrick Citation, while his contributions to research have been recognized through his election as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He has held ARC Discovery Grants examining the social psychology of justice (of which this current presentation forms a part), and racism (with Smithson and Grace) and prejudice; He is currently leading a Discovery Grant (with Van Rooy, Augoustinos, Spears & Bar Tal) examining lay views of prejudice. His edited book (with Mavor and Bizumic) on self and identity in educational contexts is scheduled for publication in 2016.


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