Interacting with the World

Meaning in life, trust, and interdependence

Leaving your impact on the world

How do individuals perceive meaning in their lives, and how does that meaning manifest in behaviour?

  • Are the benefits of depending on others worth the risks of vulnerability?
  • Can thinking about death in different ways lead to more (or less) authentic conceptions of the self?
  • Are we better off competing or cooperating?
  • Can interventions target fears to improve the success of social interactions, especially when those interactions are focused on difficult and challenging subjects (e.g., talking about death and dying, talking about physical or mental illness)?
  • In this current culture of disconnection, what are the consequences of people finding it hard to make friends, and from that lack of belonging?

Our staff members working on these sorts of questions are known internationally for their contributions to this important area of psychology. Their work draws from social psychological and evolutionary theories, with methods ranging from traditional questionnaire approaches to more impactful experimental designs, as well as studying individuals outside of the psychological lab.

We also work on related areas such as well-being, motivation, and relationships, sex and attraction.



Two elderly people standing in front of a terracotta-coloured wall, talking together.
Podcast: The Importance of Social Connections and Interactions

We welcome Dr Pascal Vrticka, who discusses the social neuroscience evidence showing just how important social connections are for humans, to how we can cope and adapt in a world that – at least for now – requires us to distance ourselves from those important social connections.

Listen to the podcast