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New staff spotlight: Michal Chmiel

New staff spotlight: Michal Chmiel

  • Date10 September 2021

We are excited to welcome Dr Michal Chmiel. Michal is joining Royal Holloway as a teaching-focused senior lecturer. Read on to find out about his fascinating research on fake news and his passion for teaching.

What will you do at Royal Holloway Psychology?
At Royal Holloway I’ll be responsible for co-developing a new BSc degree: Environment and Social Change. This new programme is a collaboration between the departments of Psychology and Geography and other departments in the School of Life Sciences and the Environment. We’ll be aiming to equip students with two broadly defined skills: in-depth understanding of climate change-related issues and psychological tools to change attitudes and behaviour towards them. I’ll be using my 15+ years of practical and academic experience to incorporate communication and Public Relations components in this degree, but also I’m hoping to show all psychology students how to communicate more responsibly and build relationships based on mutual understanding.

What is your research about?
In my most recent research endeavour, I investigate the phenomenon of fake news sharing, as influenced by various individual and group-level variables (e.g., motivation for processing information, collective narcissism) as well as approaches and subjective definitions of the truth concept. I’m also interested in promotional communication’s impact on attitudes on a societal level. More specifically, I use experimental method to show how advertising and Public Relations communication portray men and women, and subsequently, how those portrayals impact the formation of stereotypical attitudes towards gender roles.

What do you enjoy about teaching?
I like the metaphor of a student’s journey through their degree. As such, it’s a great privilege to be a companion in this journey. Knowledge in any domain is static, especially in social sciences we are only slowly getting closer to understanding various principles explaining human behaviour. When it comes to teaching psychology, through discussions, asking questions and exchange of ideas both students and tutors are uncovering mechanisms explaining how people make judgements, interact in groups, or communicate on social media. In sum, for me teaching is a two-way street.

What do you do in your free time?
I’m a passionate theatre goer. I love movies. On very rare occasions I dance Argentinian Tango.

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