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Dr Katharina Lefringhausen

Job Title
Associate Professor
Applied Linguistics
+44 (0)24 761 50908
Research Interests

Under review:

Zagefka, H. & Moftizadeh, N., Lefringhausen, K., López , L., Urbiola, A., Vázquez, A. Blindspots in Acculturation Research: An Agenda for Studying Majority Culture Change.

Vijiaratnam, N., Vadera, S., Lefringhausen, K.; Girges, C., Schrag, A.. Pilot validation of a comorbidity questionnaire in patients with neurological disorders.

Latest publications:

Lefringhausen, K., Ferenczi, N., Marshall, T. C., & Kunst, J. R. A. (2021). New Route Towards More Harmonious Intergroup Relationships in England? Majority Members' Proximal-Acculturation, 82, 56-73.

Kunst, Jonas R., Lefringhausen, Katharina, Skaar, Sara W., Obaidi, Milan, (2021). Who adopts the culture of ethnic minority groups? A personality perspective on majority-group members' acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 81, 20-28.

Lefringhausen, Katharina, Ferenczi, Nelli, Marshall, Tara C. (2020). Self-protection and growth as the motivational force behind majority group members' cultural adaptation and discrimination : a parallel mediation model via intergroup contact and threat. International Journal of Psychology, 55(4), 532-542.

Research My research expertise is in cross-cultural psychology and quantitative research methods. I am particularly interested in the theory of acculturation, intergroup contact and threat theory, as well as the social identity theory, concepts of culture (values, beliefs, norms, etc.) and positive psychology.

Specifically, I explore how host country nationals' identity, behaviour and values may change towards other cultures experienced in their own home country (e.g., at the workplace, University campus or neighbourhood) as well as its effect on their tendency to thrive (i.e., globalisation-based proximal-acculturation).

I have also contributed to published work on ethnic behaviour, intragroup marginalization, mental health literacy, and how personality traits influence social media usage (FB and Twitter). I have presented my work at TEDx (2013), at the 2014 and 2018 Congress of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, at the International Association of Intercultural Research Congress 2019 and the BPS social psychology conference 2019.

As the Director of Research and Academic Relations at SIETAR UK (2016-2019) and Current Director of Community Relations (2019-present), I am also strongly involved in the application of intergroup research within the public, private and third sector. This has also led to my position as a steering group member as part of a project on intercultural relations initiated by the British Council (The Big Conversation: values and international cooperation in a changing world, 2019-2020) and led by a research team at the London School of Economics (

For potential PhD applications:

I am looking for applicants who wish to investigate topics related to the following:

  • contact hypothesis (positive, negative, direct/online, extended, imagined, vicarious)
  • acculturation theory
  • positive psychology within and across cultures
  • assessing culture (e.g., values, beliefs, norms) and its predictive power on attitudes and behaviours
  • speciesism within and across cultures
    In particular, together with Dr Sophie Reissner-Roubicek, I am keen to supervise PhD candidates with an interest in intercultural competence training. This also includes candidates who want to explore the synergies between applied linguistics and cross-cultural psychology/mixed method research designs.

I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University for Applied Science and Arts of Hanover (Germany) in 2009. The following year I completed a traineeship at the German County Association in Brussels (Belgium) followed by a trainee position at a Public Relations Agency in Hamburg (Germany), while working as a PR assistant at a Belgian non-governmental organization until July, 2010.

In the course of my MSc and PhD in Cross-Cultural Psychology (2010-2015) I independently conducted 5 quantitative, cross-cultural studies (USA, China, India, UK, and Germany). Meanwhile I assisted with statistic seminars for psychology students and I functioned as an Academic Skills and Statistics Adviser as part of Brunel's Educational Excellence Centre. In March 2016, I gained an Associate Fellow status with the Higher Education Academy.