Dr Karim Bettache

Contact Details

Tel: +603 551 46000 (Ext: 61369)
Fax: +603 5514 6323
Office: Room 3-2-11 
Email: karim.bettache@monash.edu

Profile Summary

Dr. Karim Bettache acquired his PhD in Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his BSc and MSc in Psychology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Because of a strong interest in social psychological processes related to intergroup relations and cross-cultural phenomena, after acquiring his MSc in his native country the Netherlands, Dr. Bettache decided to spend several years of his academic career in Hong Kong. There, he not only acquired his PhD degree, but also worked as a lecturer for the Education University of Hong Kong, a managing editor for the Asian Journal of Social Psychology, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Bettache has taught an impressive list of courses ranging from Social Psychology to Neuropsychology and is a holder of the Distinguished Teaching Award (2014) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has worked closely with leading scholars in the field of Psychology, such as Dr. Martijn van Zomeren, Dr. Takeshi Hamamura, Dr. Fanny M. C. Cheung and Dr. Chi-Yue Chiu.

Dr. Bettache has been awarded multiple research grants such as the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship and the Dutch Hendrik Muller Grant. His main interests are political psychology, intergroup processes and the psychology of discrimination.


PhD (CUHK), MSc (RUG), BSc (RUG)

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Some examples of topics Dr. Karim Bettache is interested in:

1) Skin colorism: innocent beauty standard or a societal curse?
What are the implications of a pervasive beauty standard that promotes fair skin? Asia is known for it’s extreme, sometimes even obsessive focus on maintaining fair skin. Females, in particular, are subjected to this invasive beauty standard. What are the psychological implications of this focus on fairness?
More specifically, what are the implications for intergroup relations? Does a strong focus on fair skin influence our attitudes about and behaviour toward those who are light skinned versus those who are dark skinned? What does a preference for fair skin do to our everyday interactions with, and beliefs about other people.

2) Discrimination of Social Groups
Whether one is a Muslim, Christian or part of any other social group, those who have been in situations where they were considered different than the norm have potentially felt what it is like to be discriminated against.
I am interested in the predictors of discriminatory (e.g., racist or sexist) tendencies. Who engage in this kind of behaviour and why? Moreover, what does it do to those who suffer discrimination?

3) Conservatism, authoritarianism and the need for tight socio-cultural groups.
Some people are more conservative than others. With a (political, religious or social) conservative mindset often comes a strong preference for authoritarianism, social dominance and a propensity for intergroup conflict.
Moreover, conservatives and authoritarians seem to have a strong need for strict socio-cultural norms. More specifically, they want others to behave exclusively in culturally acceptable ways. For example, a traditional conservative Chinese father might demand from his children a strict adherence to cultural norms and expectations. Similarly, a conservative Muslim might expect other Muslims to strictly follow the traditions of his or her religion.
What does it mean to be conservative? And is this cross-culturally the same? For example, are there similarities and/or differences between conservative religious people (e.g., Muslims and Buddhists) or conservatives from different ethnicities (e.g., Chinese and Dutch)? If so, what are these similarities and/or differences?

4) The Social Psychology of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism can be best described as a political and economic model that stresses the value of free-market capitalism or ‘laissez-fair’ economics. Its pillars are a strong conviction of continuous economic growth as a means to bring about human development, an absolute belief in the globalized free market as the most potent way to allocate resources, and a commitment to keep governments and states from intervening in social and economic affairs. Neoliberalism has virtually spread all over the world (Davies & Bansel, 2007) and can arguably be considered as one of the most invasive ideologies of modern times. It is invasive because it affects most, if not all, areas of human existence. Yet, it goes largely unnoticed by the majority of people. In particular, within the field of Social Psychology, from which one can expect a rigorous examination of anything that affects human life on so many levels, neoliberalism tends to attract little notice nor attention.

What does it mean for our psychology to live in societies that are driven by neoliberal values of competition, agency and self-reliance. Wat does it do to our sense of community, for example, or morality? These are just a few examples of questions that can be asked when we think about the influence of a pervasive political ideology on our psyches.


Book Chapter

Hamamura, T., Bettache, K., Xu, J. (in press). Individualism and Collectivism. The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences.


Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (in press). The Populist Effect: Threat and the Handover of Freedom. Personality and Individual Differences.

Sorokowski, P., Randall, A. K., Groyecka, A., Frackowiak, T., Cantarero, K., Hilpert, P. & Bettache, K. (2017). Marital satisfaction, sex, age, marriage duration, religion, number of children, economic status, education, and collectivistic values: Data from 33 countries. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1199.

Sorokowska, A., Sorokowski, P., Hilpert, P., Cantarero, K., Frackowiak, T., Ahmandi., K., Alghraibeh, A., Aryeetey, R., Bertoni, A., Bettache, K., ... & Pierce, J. (2017) Preferred Interpersonal Distances: A Global Comparison. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Sorokowska, A., Sorokowski, P., Hilpert, P., Cantarero, K., Frackowiak, T., Ahmandi., K., Alghraibeh, A., Aryeetey, R., Bertoni, A., Bettache, K., ... & Pierce, J. (2017). The Associations of Dyadic Coping and Relationship Satisfaction Vary between and within Nations: A 35-Nation Study. Frontiers in Psychology.

Van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T., Spears, R., & Bettache, K. (2011). Can Moral Convictions Motivate the Advantaged to Challenge Social Inequality? Extending the Social Identity Model of Collective Action. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14, 735 – 754.

Articles currently under review and/or being revised

Bettache, K., Hamamura, T., Amrani-Idrissi, J. & Amenyaogbo, R. G. J. (under review). Monitoring Moral Virtue: When Moral Transgressions of Ingroup Members Are Judged More Severely.

Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (under revision). The Land of the Free or Law and Order: Why Americans Embrace Counter-Cultural Values That Constrain Individual Freedom.

Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (under revision). Creativity Breeds a Preference for Looseness.

Ongoing Projects

Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (research in progress). Is empathy related to right-wing political attitudes?

Bettache, K., Lu, M. & Chiu, C-y. (manuscript in preparation). Are Dialectical Individuals Less Moral?

Bettache, K. & Shi, Y., (research in progress). Do We Feel Nostalgia for a Time and Place We Never Experienced?

Li, C., Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (research in progress). Negotiable Fate, Social Mobility and Gambling Behavior.

Guest Editorship

Bettache, K. & Chiu, C-y. (issue in preparation). The Social Psychology of Neoliberalism. Journal of Social Issues.

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