Research

CURRENT PROJECTS

1 - The role of anonymity in social convention change ( Early working paper )
Informal social conventions guide a big part of human behaviour and social processes. Past research has found that social conventions tend to remain stable over long periods of time and then suddenly explosively change. In this project, I investigate a situation of convention change, wherein a change process is induced by a committed dissenting minority. Specifically, I focus on the role of anonymity and propose that the sense of anonymity liberates people from social concerns that normally constrain individual change, facilitating the adoption of a novel convention that is being enforced by a minority. Using a novel group experimental paradigm and accompanying agent- based model I show that new conventions are indeed adopted faster when individuals in a group are granted some degree of anonymity.

2 - Consistency as an impression-guided motive
Consistency has long been established as a strong motive guiding individual behaviour. Traditionally, it was understood primarily as an internal strive to maintain a coherent view of oneself and avoid cognitive dissonance – a state of great affective discomfort. However, following some recent calls in the literature, I examine whether consistent behaviour might be better understood as arising from individual strive for making a good impression on others. Specifically, I propose that consistent behaviour signals to others that an individual is not someone erratic, but a credible, reliable, and trustworthy individual. Based on this conceptualisation, I plan to investigate how others perceive individuals who behave consistently, how those individuals see their own consistent behaviour, and how individuals use consistent behaviour for signalling desired personal qualities.

PUBLICATIONS

Evans, A., Sleegers, W., & Mlakar, Ž. (2020). Individual differences in receptivity to scientific bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, 15(3), 401-412.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Mlakar, Ž., Bolderdijk, J. W., Fennis, B. M., Risselada, H., Ye, M., & Zino, L. (2020, February 27-29). Releasing the brake: How disinhibition frees people and facilitates social change [Poster session]. SPSP 2020 Convention: GPIR Preconference, New Orleans, LA, United States.

Ye, M., Zino, L., Mlakar, Ž., Bolderdijk, J. W., Risselada, H., Fennis, B. M., & Cao, M. (2020, September 21-25). Understanding and Modeling Cognitive Mechanisms in Social Diffusion [Poster session]. NetSci 2020 Conference, Online.

Mlakar, Ž., Bolderdijk, J. W., Fennis, B. M., Risselada, H. (2021, February 9-13). Repetition legitimizes: Consistent behavior as a signal of reliability, trustworthiness, and competence [Poster session]. SPSP 2021 Convention, Online.

Teaching experience


University of Groningen, 2019/2020:
- Statistics for Pre-Master students
- Marketing for Economics and Business Economics students
- Research Paper Supervision for Pre-Master students

University of Groningen, 2017/2018:
- International Marketing for International Business students

Curriculum vitae


PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

PhD Candidate, University of GroningenStarted 2019
Supervisors: prof. dr. B. M. Fennis, dr. J. W. Bolderdijk, & dr. H. Risselada

Research Assistant, University of Groningen2018 – 2019
Task: Assisting research projects under the supervision of dr. J. W. Bolderdijk & dr. H. Risselada

Teaching Assistant, University of Groningen2018
Course: International Marketing for IB

Marketing Intern, TheFixedGearShop2017
Tasks: Conducting market research, planning marketing-related activities, creating advertising content

Vice Dean for Student Affairs, University of Maribor – Faculty of Arts2015 – 2016
Roles: President of student council (planning meetings, enacting resolutions and organizing projects), lead student representative in faculty managerial bodies

EDUCATION

University of GroningenGroningen, Netherlands
MSc in Research Master in Economics and Business2017 – 2019
Master’s thesis topic: “Online disinhibition as a facilitator of social change: Development of a novel experimental paradigm”
Supervisors: dr. J. W. Bolderdijk & dr. H. Risselada; Final GPA: 8,00 / 10


Tilburg UniversityTilburg, Netherlands
MSc in Social Psychology – track Economic Psychology2016 – 2017
Master’s thesis topic: “Bullshit in politics: Are conservatives really more susceptible to it?”
Supervisor: A. M. Evans, PhD; Final GPA: 8,15 / 10


University of MariborMaribor, Slovenia
BA in Psychology2013 – 2016
Bachelor’s thesis topic: “Transferring Theoretical Conceptualization of Bullshit into Psychological Research Practice”
Supervisor: dr. B. Musil; Final GPA: 8,84 / 10


II. Gimnazija MariborMaribor, Slovenia
High school2009 – 2013
Higher level courses: English, Mathematics, Slovene
Final exam grades: English 8/8, Mathematics 7/8, Slovene 5/8, Psychology 4/5, Geography 4/5


SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS

Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund
Zois state merit scholarship for talented students, 2009 – 2017

Youth for the Progress of Maribor Research Competition 2012
2nd place for the research project titled: “The level of violence in Maribor prison”

The Next Web T500 List 2017
Inclusion among 500 most talented people under 25 in the Dutch digital field

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Multiple board positions, Maribor Psychology Students Association2013 – 2016
Roles: Student lecturer on public events (2013 – 2017), financial secretary (2015 – 2016), projects coordinator (2014 – 2016), public lecture organiser (2013 – 2016)

Competitive debate, UDS Maribor, TDV Cicero, UDS Utrecht2012 – 2017
Roles: Debate coach at I. Gimnazija Maribor Debate Club, co-founder and a member of managerial board at University of Maribor Debate Society (UMDS), lead organiser of the Slovenian National Students Debate Tournament 2016

Volunteering, Youth Aid Centre Association, Youth Cultural Centre Maribor2013 – 2016
Roles: Workshop facilitator for high-school students, youth exchange organiser; Award: Best Slovenian Youth Volunteering Project of the Year 2015

SKILLS

Languages: Slovene (native speaker), English (IELTS, grade: 8,0), Croatian/Serbian (limited working proficiency), Dutch (elementary)

IT: high ability in SPSS, Stata, and R; working ability in Python and oTree