Prof. Bogdan Wojciszke – FNP PRIZE LAUREATE 2016
Prof. Bogdan Wojciszke of SWPS University of Science and Humanities, Sopot campus, has received the Foundation for Polish Science Prize 2016 in the humanities and social sciences for developing a model of agency and communion as basic dimensions of social cognition.
Bogdan Wojciszke (born in 1952 in Gdańsk) earned a degree in psychology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. In 1978 he completed his doctorate at the University of Gdańsk, where he worked until 2000, including as director of the Institute of Psychology. He received his postdoctoral degree in 1986 at the University of Warsaw, and was named a professor of humanities in 1993. In 2002–2008 he was director of the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Currently he is vice-dean for research at the Sopot campus of SWPS University of Science and Humanities.
He held research fellowships at the University of Aberdeen, the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, and Nuffield College, Oxford. He won a stipend from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and lectured at the University of Michigan and several German universities. He is a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of the executive committee of the European Association of Social Psychology. He was the editor in chief of Przegląd Psychologiczny and also served on the editorial boards of several other journals (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology, Polish Psychological Bulletin, Social Psychology, Studia Psychologiczne). He is a laureate of the MISTRZ/MASTER programme of the Foundation for Polish Science.
In 2011 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
The Foundation for Polish Science Prize is awarded for Prof. Wojciszke’s formulation and verification of a dual-perspective model of social cognition hypothesizing that people perceive others on dimensions of agency (effectiveness, competence, goal orientation) and communion (morality and interpersonal warmth). These two basic dimensions of behaviour construal are mutually independent and universally present in the perception of individuals, explaining jointly over 80% of variance of global impressions of others, including organizational and political leaders.
Wojciszke examined how people perceive and evaluate others and themselves. He found that people perceive themselves mainly along the dimension of agency and base their self-esteem primarily on those perceptions. However, they perceive other persons mainly along the communal dimension, and base interpersonal impressions and attitudes primarily on those perceptions. In other words, in assessing others, we look from the perspective of the recipient of their actions, monitoring social value of their actions, that is, paying attention mainly to their goals and intentions, ascertaining whether those are beneficial or harmful. But when assessing ourselves, we look from the perspective of an agent, monitoring efficiency of our actions, focusing on goal-achievement and ignoring the goal-content (assuming in advance that our own goal are always beneficial).
The dual-perspective model developed by Prof. Wojciszke is an innovative approach to classic problems of social cognition. This theory contributed to changing the paradigm of contemporary social psychology. This conception can be used to examine stereotypes, prejudices, and relations within groups and between groups. Recently, the double-dimension framework has been applied even to perceptions of organizations and brands.
Many of Wojciszke’s works on dual-perspective social cognition were published in the most respected journals of social psychology (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, European Review of Social Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology, Social Cognition, Social Psychological and Personality Science). In 2010 Prof. Wojciszke summed up the research on dual-perspective social cognition in the monumental monograph Sprawczość i wspólnotowość (Agency and Communality) (Gdańsk, GWP, 2010) and in the extended chapter “Communal and Agentic Content in Social Cognition: A Dual Perspective Model” (published jointly with Andrea Abele in the prestigious Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 2014). These works, summarizing dozens of studies involving thousands of participants from countries as diverse as Colombia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and the US, popularized Wojciszke’s discoveries among Polish and international readers. The book received the most important prize in the field of psychology in Poland, the Teofrast Award.
Prof. Wojciszke has also studied other issues, such as the Polish culture of complaining, Poles’ belief in the negative social world and the perceived illegitimacy of its arrangements, lay theories of personality traits, antecedents of value-behaviour consistency, the dynamics of close relationships, the psychology of power, the consequences of success and failure, productivity and dignity as ethical values of contemporary Polish society, and affective biases of moral judgements.
Prof. Bogdan Wojciszke’s publications are among the most frequently cited works of Polish psychology (over 4,000 citations, h-index=30). His textbooks Człowiek wśród ludzi: Zarys psychologii społecznej (Person Among People: An Outline of Social Psychology) and Psychologia społeczna (Social Psychology) are used by psychology students at the majority of Polish universities. Wojciszke founded the Sopot Social Cognition Lab, the most important research centre in this field in Central & Eastern Europe.