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Francesca Prati

Senior assistant professor (fixed-term)


Academic discipline: M-PSI/05 Social Psychology


Keywords: intergroup prejudice and discrimination intergroup contact and social adaptation processes intergroup dehumanization social dominance orientation morality and prosocial behaviours

I have several research interests which I am happy to collaborate and supervise on.


Combating prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. I am a psychologist, but also a female, young(ish), Italian. Research has shown that the recognition and use of multiple instead of simple identities in person perception can encourage reductions in prejudice, stereotyping and intergroup discrimination. My work has focused on processes underlying different strategies that increase category complexity and when and how each of these is the most efficient to attenuate outgroup discrimination (e.g., multiple categorization, counter-stereotypic categorization, common ingroup identity, social identity complexity).


In minority group shoes. Social integration is one of the major challenges in contemporary societies, research has shown that intergroup contact can not only reduce anxiety and threat but also promote cooperation between groups. My work has focused on the often neglected perspective of disadvantaged minority groups, by considering not only positive but also negative contact effects on ethnic minority adaptation to their host society.


When people stop being human. Although we might feel that ‘everyone is human’, research on the psychology of dehumanization has revealed that we are quite flexible in how we attribute humanity to others. My work has focused on the processes underlying intergroup dehumanization and how to increase attribution of humanness to marginalized and disadvantaged groups.


The pervasive legitimization of social inequalities. According to social dominance theory, groups have a natural, adaptive inclination to establish category-based hierarchies (e.g., status, gender, age) that ultimately provide stability. My work has focused on the relation between social dominance orientation, intergroup discrimination and political engagement across different countries.


Social dilemmas in prosocial behaviours. Why people help/don't help others? People often help others with the (often implicit or unconscious goal) to be perceived positively and to enhance their reputation and status. My work has focused on the consequences of conducting a prosocial action that poses a threat to one's own social group and thus challenges the positive evaluation of the helper.

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