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University of Sussex Kindness UK symposium

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Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Gardner Center Road

Falmer, United Kingdom

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This symposium celebrates the work of the three winners of the inaugural Kindness UK Doctoral Conference Award.  Following an invited keynote research presentation by Dr Markus Paulus from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich,the three PhD students who received the award will present and discuss their research.  All three PhD students -- from the School of Psychology, the School of Media, Film, & Music, and the School of Law, Politics, & Sociology -- were recently supported by this award scheme to present their research at international conferences.  They have kindly agreed to present their work at this celebration event, which is designed for a mixed audience to learn about and discuss research from different disciplines that can illuminate kindness and its effect on people and communities.  There will be refreshments after Dr Paulus's presentation, as well as a wine reception at the end of the event.  The symposium will be hosted in the beautifully refurbished Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts.

Programme:

15:00 - Welcome by Prof Robin Banerjee and David Jamilly, founder of Kindness UK

15:10 - Keynote presentation by Dr Markus Paulus

The development of sharing behavior in early childhood

The early ontogeny of human prosociality has recently become a topic of major interest. Developmental studies showed that already preschool children engage in a variety of prosocial behaviors, inter alia sharing resources with others. Yet, the psychological basis of early sharing is hotly disputed. In this talk, I will present recent work on the early developmental of sharing. I will demonstrate that early sharing is subserved by a diversity of different motives and mechanisms, inter alia fairness considerations and empathy for the other.

16:00 - Refreshments

16:15 - Presentations (with time for questions and discussion) by Kindness UK award winners

Naoko Hashimoto (School of Law, Politics, & Sociology):  Why do countries accept refugees through ‘resettlement’?  The case of Japan.  My paper examines the reasons why Japan, which has maintained most restrictive immigration and asylum policies thus far, voluntarily started accepting refugees through resettlement in 2008.  Was it out of humanitarian altruism, i.e. ‘kindness’, or to pursue egoistic self-interests?

Ingeborg Hasselgren (School of Media, Film, & Music):  Creating a kinder world: The revolutionary potential of cuteness.  This paper explores the kind aspect of cuteness, and its uses as a political and subversive tool. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with anarchist, queer-feminist activists in Sweden. These employ a cute aesthetic in order to invoke solidarity and create “kind” spaces away from heterosexist, capitalist culture.

Jenny Gu (School of Psychology):  What is compassion and how can we measure it?  The importance of compassion is widely recognised and it is receiving growing research attention. However, progress has been impeded by the lack of consensus on definition and paucity of high-quality measures. My research involves examining the underlying dimensions of compassion and developing a new compassion measure.

17:30 - Wine reception and informal discussion

18:00 - Close

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Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Gardner Center Road

Falmer, United Kingdom

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