Dr Karim Bettache


Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Email: Karim.Bettache@monash.edu
Tel: +603 551 46000 (Ext: 61369)
Office: Room 3-2-11



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.


  • 2015 PhD in Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  • 2009 MSc in Social Psychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
  • 2008 BSc in Psychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Teaching Commitment

Dr Bettache is committed to stimulate critical and analytical thinking at the behest of, but also beyond, scientific inquiry. With his interactive teaching style, he hopes to enhance students' intellectual self exploration with the ultimate goal to create a hunger for knowledge. He is a firm believer in scientific activism because he strongly feels that the critical questioning of scientific dogma breeds progress.

Academic Work Experience

  • 2017 – present Lecturer (U.S. system: Assistant Professor), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (Malaysia Campus), Department of Psychology.
  • 2015 – 2017 Post-Doctoral Fellow, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • 2012 – 2014 Managing Editor for the Asian Journal of Social Psychology, Wiley – Blackwell
  • 2011 – 2014 Research Assistant, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Cultural Psychology Lab,
  • 2010 – 2011 Research Assistant, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, Cultural Lab, Prof. Van Oudenhoven.

Taught Courses

  • Psychology in Society (Hons), Monash University
  • Social and Personality Psychology, Monash University
  • Mental Health in the Community, Monash University
  • Psychology 1b, Monash University
  • Being Chinese: Insights From Cross-Cultural Psychology, The Education University of Hong Kong
  • Consciousness (Neuropsychology), The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • General Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Social Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Chinese People (Cultural Psychology), The Chinese University of Hong Kong


  • 2018 – Visiting Fellow, Research visit to Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • 2011-2017 – Peer Reviewer, Peer reviewed for AASP, Journal of Social Issues, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Political Psychology, Journal of religion and Spirituality, PLOS One, Asian Journal of Social Psychology.
  • 2014 – Visiting Fellow, National University of Singapore.


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. (2018). Individualism and collectivism. The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences.

Journal Articles

Bettache, K. (in press). A call to action: The need for a cultural psychological approach to discrimination based on skin-color in Asia. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Beattie, P., BettacheK., Chong, K. C. Y. (2019). Who is the neoliberal? Exploring neoliberal beliefs across East and West. Journal of Social Issues. Vol. 75, No. 1.

Bettache, K., Chiu, C-y. (2019). The invisible hand is an ideology: Toward a social psychology of neoliberalism. Journal of Social Issues. Vol. 75, No. 1, pp. 1-12.

Bettache, K., & Chiu, C-y (2019). Why American conservatives and individuals from traditionalist cultures may share a preference for group uniformity. Asian Journal of Social Psychology.

Bettache, K., Hamamura, T., Amrani-Idrissi, J., Amenyaogbo, R. G. J., Chiu, C-y. (2019). Monitoring moral virtue: when the moral transgressions of ingroup members are judged more severely. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Bettache, K., & Chiu, C-y. (2018). The populist effect: Threat and the handover of freedom. Personality and Individual Differences, 130, 102-106.

Sorokowska, A., Groyecka, A., Karwowski, M., Frackowiak, T., Lansford, J. E., Ahmadi, K., Bettache, K., ... & Blumen, S. (2018). Global study of social odor awareness. Chemical senses, 43(7), 503-513.

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.

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). 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.

Conference proceedings

Beattie, P., Bettache, K., & Chen, R. (2018). Psychology, Ideology, and Morality in East Asia. A Cross-Cultural Study. Political Psychology: An East Asian Perspective. National Taiwan University, Taiwan (invited speaker).

Chong, K., & Bettache, K. (2018). Neoliberalism as a Hierarchy Enhancing Ideology. Malaysian Psychology Student Assembly. Malaysia (Oral presentation).

Bettache, K., Chiu, C-y., Beattie, P. (2018). The social psychology of neoliberalism. SSPSI Symposia on Psychology, Social Justice and Neoliberalism. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. (Invited speaker).

Awards and Grants

2018 Early Career Scheme
Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong
HK$. 500.000

2018 Direct Grant for Research.
Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong
HK$. 50.000

2014 Distinguished Teaching Award
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Highest departmental student evaluation scores.

2011 Hong Kong PhD Fellowship
Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong
HK$. 20.000.- per month; Grant for excellent postgraduate research proposals.

2011 Hendrik Muller Research Grant
Hendrik Muller Fonds, the Netherlands
€.5000.-; PhD-Grant from the Dutch Royal Family for excellent Master’s graduates.

2007 Marco Polo Grant
University of Groningen, the Netherlands
€.1300.-; Grant to study abroad for high performing students.

Research Supervision

Main Supervisor

Louisa Kienhuis (Monash University)
Thesis Title: The ethno-cultural identity conflict of third culture kids: Parental influences and gender differences.

Ryan Wong (Monash University) Thesis Title: A fear of victimization may breed xenophobia among Malaysian Chinese.

Kristy Chong (Monash University)
Thesis Title: Neoliberalism as an inequality enhancing ideology.

Amelia Kit Teoh (Monash University)
Thesis Title: The Social Psychological effects of skin-colorism in Asia.

Jia Yi Peh (Monash University)
Thesis title: Are social judgments contingent on skin color? Testing attribution biases among Malaysians.

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