How wearing a Christmas jumper can improve your social identity

“Our analysis suggested that TeamGB’s kit played an important role in strengthening team identities. In particular, the commonality displayed by wearing the same clothing and the values the kit represented played an influential role in binding TeamGB together. It is this evidence-base we are aiming to replicate here at Staffs by inviting all of our group members to show their similarity by wearing their favourite Christmas jumper.”

Matt Slater, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

A Staffordshire University lecturer is encouraging fellow staff and students to work on their social identity and make the world better with a sweater!

Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology Matt Slater, an expert in social identity, is inviting his students to turn up to his lecture on Friday December 13 - Christmas Jumper Day - wearing a woolly and donate a pound to Save the Children charity.

His lecture entitled “Christmas jumpers and social identity” is intended to celebrate the festive season and promote a feeling of togetherness at the same time as raising funds for a national charity.

Matt said: “A shared sense of social identity is something we actively encourage in our department. We are keen for students to immerse themselves and feel a strong part of what we do as a department including research, commercial activities and teaching. Inviting all staff and students to wear their favourite Christmas jumper is one way that we are demonstrating, as a group, that we have common values about the festive period.

“Our research in the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise has demonstrated the importance of creating a shared social identity in groups. Developing a shared social identity has numerous individual and group-level benefits socially and psychologically, but ultimately social identity provides the foundation for effective teamwork. One of our aims in the work we do in professional, sport and business contexts is to increase team members’ social identity with their group.”

Matt and colleagues will be presenting their research on social identities in two symposia at the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology conference organised by the British Psychological Society on Monday December 16 and 17. This includes analysis of media coverage of TeamGB leaders in the build up to, during and following the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Matt added: “Our analysis suggested that TeamGB’s kit played an important role in strengthening team identities. In particular, the commonality displayed by wearing the same clothing and the values the kit represented played an influential role in binding TeamGB together. It is this evidence-base we are aiming to replicate here at Staffs by inviting all of our group members to show their similarity by wearing their favourite Christmas jumper.”

Students are invited to make their donations to Save the Children UK at the Brindley Building reception and there will there will be a prize for the best Christmas jumper on show.

  • Date posted: December 10, 2013

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Maria Scrivens
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