My research focuses on the relationship between social justice and social psychology. More precisely, I am interested in how ideological and motivational factors shape people’s attitudes towards justice, crime and punishment.
I completed a PhD at the London School of Economics on the link between political ideology and people’s preferences for harsh punishment towards criminal offenders. Drawing on data from surveys and experiments I proposed that strong punishment has positive value for people who are motivated to achieve collective security and social order (people high in right-wing authoritarianism) as well as for people motivated to achieve dominance over criminal offenders and maintain status hierarchies in society (people high in social dominance orientation). As part of my doctoral research I explored the intersection between situational and dispositional factors in shaping attitudes. I conducted experimental research priming social worldviews (dangerous and competitive social worldviews) and explored whether these social conditions moderated the effects of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation on punitive attitudes.
I am currently conducting research with Jonathan Jackson on the relationship between procedural justice, legitimacy and cooperation with the police (as part of the Fiducia FP7 Project).
I also have a strong interest in research methodology and statistics. I did an MSc in Social Research Methods and I am interested in the evaluation and development of research methodologies. For example, I have conducted experimental research on how the title of a survey affects the ways in which respondents understand and respond to survey questions.
I have taught quantitative methods and statistical software at a post-graduate level at the LSE, as well as quantitative methods and political psychology to undergraduate students in Chile. I have a strong commitment to improving teaching quality and for this purpose I completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education at the LSE. I am currently exploring different options of including educational technology (such as personal response systems) to facilitate learning in my teaching at the LSE.
MY451: Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
MY452: Applied Regression Analysis
Political Psychology; Right-wing authoritarianism; Social dominance orientation; Motivated social-cognition perspective; Attitudes towards crime and punishment; Social insecurities and anxieties; System justification theory; Procedural justice; Legitimacy; Survey research methods; Experimental research; Multivariate data analysis; Structural equation modelling; Multilevel data analysis; Cross-national research; Questionnaire design
Gerber, M. M., & Jackson, J. (in press, 2013). Retribution as Revenge and Retribution as Just Deserts. Social Justice Research.
Gaskell, G., Gottweis, H., Starkbaum, J., Gerber, M. M., et al (2013). Publics and biobanks: Pan-European diversity and the challenge of responsible innovation. European Journal of Human Genetics, 21(1), 14–20.
Roberts, J., Hough, M., Jackson, J., & Gerber, M. M. (2012). Public Opinion towards the Lay Magistracy and the Sentencing Council Guidelines: The Effects of Information on Attitudes. British Journal of Criminology, 52(6), 1072-1091.
Helsper, E., & Gerber, M. M. (2012). The Plausibility of Cross-National Comparisons of Internet Use Types. The Information Society, 28(2), 83–98.
Gerber, M. M., Hirtenlehner, H., & Jackson, J. (2010). Insecurities about crime in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: A review of research findings. European Journal of Criminology, 7(2), 141–157.
Jackson, J., Gerber, M.M. and Cote-Lussier, C. (2010). Ideological Roots of Fear of Crime and Punitive Sentiment in Greece and the UK: A Commentary on Cheliotis & Xenakis. In: Cheliotis, L. and Xenakis, S., (eds.) Crime and punishment in contemporary Greece: international comparative perspectives. Peter Lang AG, Oxford.
Dutton, W. H., Helsper, E. J. and Gerber, M. M. (2009) Oxford Internet Survey 2009 Report: The Internet in Britain. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.
Gerber, M.M. A dual-motivational model of punitive attitudes: RWA and SDO predict the support of harsh punishment for different reasons.
Gerber, M.M. On the interplay between dispositions and situations: the effects of priming dangerous and competitive worldviews on the relationship between RWA, SDO and punitive attitudes.
Gerber, M.M. Right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation and punitive attitudes: An evaluation of the context-specificity of RWA and SDO measures
Gerber, M. M. and Jackson, J. Authority and Punishment: On the Ideological Basis of Punitive Attitudes towards Criminals. Available at SSRN