Harm inflation: The psychology of concept creep

7 maggio 2024
Orario di inizio 
Palazzo Fedrigotti - Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto
Conference Room – Palazzo Fedrigotti – Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto (TN)
Comunità universitaria
Ingresso libero

MUR programme framework "Dipartimenti di Eccellenza" Logo


Nick Haslam, University of Melbourne, School of Psychological Sciences, Australia

Scientific Coordinator: Jeroen Vaes


In this talk I will present a program of research on "concept creep": the semantic expansion of harm-related concepts. After describing the phenomenon and how I theorize about it, I will review three lines of research. The first uses natural language processing methods to examine historical shifts in word meanings within large text corpora. The second examines individual differences in the expansiveness of harm concepts and their correlates. The third evaluates the consequences of concept creep. Although the phenomenon applies to a wide range of concepts, I will pay special attention to recent work on concepts associated with mental health and illness.


Nick Haslam is Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. He received his BA(Hons) from the University of Melbourne, his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City before returning to Australia in 2002. Nick's research interests are in personality, social and clinical psychology and he has published 11 books and about 300 articles or book chapters in these and related areas. In addition to his academic writing, Nick contributes regularly to The Conversation, Inside Story and Australian Book Review, and he has also written for TIME, The Monthly, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Australian and two Best Australian Science Writing anthologies. Nick is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Association for Psychological Science. In the university he is a leader in the social psychology group and co-director of the Mental Health PhD program. In the past he has been Head of the School of Psychological Sciences, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate), a member of the ARC College of Experts, and President of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists.