Saadi Lahlou is Chair in Social Psychology in Department of Social Psychology in the London School of Economics. Initially trained in statistics and economics, he holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and a Habilitation from Aix-Marseille University. His current research focuses on the distribution of determinants of Human behaviour between the physical space, mental space, and social space; the transfer of knowledge in organizations with ICT; innovation processes, especially involving participative design; and digital ethnography.
What makes us activate a specific aspect of our self at a given moment? What are the influences of context and situation in the role we take, on our behaviour? For example, when, and why, do people feel (or act) as “obese”? I address these questions with a new technique for introspection based on objective data (SEBE: Subjective Evidence Based Ethnography).
Participants wear a miniature video camera (”subcam”) during normal activity for half a day. Actual activity is captured in high definition and stereo. In a second phase, participants are then confronted to their own recordings. These first-person perspective cues trigger their episodic memory: participants provide verifiably accurate (and vivid) accounts of their mental processes at the time of the first recording.
I will use this effect to understand what aspects of their self they actuated at each moment, and what triggered this actuation (e.g. cues in the context, intentions in the subject…).
This should shed light on the nature of self, on mechanisms of social role play in general, and in this case on stigma. During the EURIAS fellowship I will focus on aspects of the self that may be problematic, by comparing a sample of obese to normal weight persons and to past obese.
I am especially interested in the role of cultural “installations” which afford, nudge and constrain individuals into a specific behaviour. I am currently developing a theory and techniques to analyse, and redesign, such installations in the perspective or organisational and societal change