Dr. Wollast is a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory. He earned his PhD from Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. He has published numerous first-authored scientific articles in leading international journals and collaborated with highly regarded experts from America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Wollast won the prestigious Belgian American Educational Foundation Award to conduct research on emotion and emotion regulation at Stanford University. His primary research focuses on body image, self-compassion, and mindfulness through various lenses, including culture, gender, and mental health. Besides this main focus, Dr. Wollast studies dropout and perseverance in doctoral studies, and he is involved in several studies on collective action, group polarization, and ideological extremism. Currently, he is leading many projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including large-scale studies conducted in more than 100 countries and translated into 30 languages.
Honors & Awards
Belgian American Educational Foundation Award, BAEF (2020)
Ph.D., Université libre de Bruxelles, Psychology (2018)
Master, Université libre de Bruxelles, Social and Cross-cultural Psychology (2014)
Bachelor, Université libre de Bruxelles, Psychological and Educational Sciences (2012)
Intentions to be Vaccinated Against COVID-19: The Role of Prosociality and Conspiracy Beliefs across 20 Countries
Understanding the determinants of COVID-19 vaccine uptake is important to inform policy decisions and plan vaccination campaigns. The aims of this research were to: (1) explore the individual- and country-level determinants of intentions to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, and (2) examine worldwide variation in vaccination intentions. This cross-sectional online survey was conducted during the first wave of the pandemic, involving 6697 respondents across 20 countries. Results showed that 72.9% of participants reported positive intentions to be vaccinated against COVID-19, whereas 16.8% were undecided, and 10.3% reported they would not be vaccinated. At the individual level, prosociality was a significant positive predictor of vaccination intentions, whereas generic beliefs in conspiracy theories and religiosity were negative predictors. Country-level determinants, including cultural dimensions of individualism/collectivism and power distance, were not significant predictors of vaccination intentions. Altogether, this study identifies individual-level predictors that are common across multiple countries, provides further evidence on the importance of combating conspiracy theories, involving religious institutions in vaccination campaigns, and stimulating prosocial motives to encourage vaccine uptake.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10410236.2021.2018179
View details for Web of Science ID 000750143100001
View details for PubMedID 35081848
Concern with COVID-19 pandemic threat and attitudes towards immigrants: The mediating effect of the desire for tightness.
Current research in ecological and social psychology
1800; 3: 100028
Tightening social norms is thought to be adaptive for dealing with collective threat yet it may have negative consequences for increasing prejudice. The present research investigated the role of desire for cultural tightness, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, in increasing negative attitudes towards immigrants. We used participant-level data from 41 countries (N=55,015) collected as part of the PsyCorona project, a cross-national longitudinal study on responses to COVID-19. Our predictions were tested through multilevel and SEM models, treating participants as nested within countries. Results showed that people's concern with COVID-19 threat was related to greater desire for tightness which, in turn, was linked to more negative attitudes towards immigrants. These findings were followed up with a longitudinal model (N=2,349) which also showed that people's heightened concern with COVID-19 in an earlier stage of the pandemic was associated with an increase in their desire for tightness and negative attitudes towards immigrants later in time. Our findings offer insight into the trade-offs that tightening social norms under collective threat has for human groups.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cresp.2021.100028
View details for PubMedID 35098189
The role of values in coping with health and economic threats of COVID-19
JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
The current research examined the role of values in guiding people's responses to COVID-19. Results from an international study involving 115 countries (N = 61,490) suggest that health and economic threats of COVID-19 evoke different values, with implications for controlling and coping with the pandemic. Specifically, health threats predicted prioritization of communal values related to caring for others and belonging, whereas economic threats predicted prioritization of agentic values focused on competition and achievement. Concurrently and over time, prioritizing communal values over agentic values was associated with enactment of prevention behaviors that reduce virus transmission, motivations to help others suffering from the pandemic, and positive attitudes toward outgroup members. These results, which were generally consistent across individual and national levels of analysis, suggest that COVID-19 threats may indirectly shape important responses to the pandemic through their influence on people's prioritization of communion and agency. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1080/00224545.2021.1979454
View details for Web of Science ID 000733988600001
View details for PubMedID 34951330
You read what you eat! Selective exposure effects as obstacles for environmental risk communication in the meat consumption debate.
The selective exposure effect describes people's tendency to prefer information that confirms rather than challenges their existing beliefs. The present research replicates the selective exposure effect in the context of meat reduction as strategy to combat climate change. Additionally, we tested whether biased information selection can help explain polarization dynamics on the individual and group-level. We recruited a French crowd working sample (n = 351) to take part in an online study. Our research design included a selective exposure paradigm in which people could skip through a set of news headlines and decide for each headline whether to access an associated full text. The headlines either promoted or rejected meat reduction as environmental strategy. In accordance with the selective exposure effect, participants systematically preferred information in favor of their dietary habits. On a personal level, selective exposure indirectly accounted for attitudes towards meat reduction. On a social level, selective exposure indirectly accounted for indicators of group polarization. Overall, the findings demonstrate how psychological motives underlying information selection may hamper effective risk communication and could sharpen social divide in the climate change context. We discuss opportunities for future research and practical efforts to improve the efficacy of environmental risk communication.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105877
View details for PubMedID 34953968
Politicization of COVID-19 health-protective behaviors in the United States: Longitudinal and cross-national evidence
2021; 16 (10): e0256740
During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. conservative politicians and the media downplayed the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and the effectiveness of recommended health behaviors. Health behavior theories suggest perceived vulnerability to a health threat and perceived effectiveness of recommended health-protective behaviors determine motivation to follow recommendations. Accordingly, we predicted that-as a result of politicization of the pandemic-politically conservative Americans would be less likely to enact recommended health-protective behaviors. In two longitudinal studies of U.S. residents, political conservatism was inversely associated with perceived health risk and adoption of health-protective behaviors over time. The effects of political orientation on health-protective behaviors were mediated by perceived risk of infection, perceived severity of infection, and perceived effectiveness of the health-protective behaviors. In a global cross-national analysis, effects were stronger in the U.S. (N = 10,923) than in an international sample (total N = 51,986), highlighting the increased and overt politicization of health behaviors in the U.S.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0256740
View details for Web of Science ID 000746969100007
View details for PubMedID 34669724
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8528320
- 'We are all in the same boat': How societal discontent affects intention to help during the COVID-19 pandemic JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY & APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 2021
Lives versus Livelihoods? Perceived economic risk has a stronger association with support for COVID-19 preventive measures than perceived health risk
2021; 11 (1): 9669
This paper examines whether compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures is motivated by wanting to save lives or save the economy (or both), and which implications this carries to fight the pandemic. National representative samples were collected from 24 countries (N = 25,435). The main predictors were (1) perceived risk to contract coronavirus, (2) perceived risk to suffer economic losses due to coronavirus, and (3) their interaction effect. Individual and country-level variables were added as covariates in multilevel regression models. We examined compliance with various preventive health behaviors and support for strict containment policies. Results show that perceived economic risk consistently predicted mitigation behavior and policy support-and its effects were positive. Perceived health risk had mixed effects. Only two significant interactions between health and economic risk were identified-both positive.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-88314-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000656986400005
View details for PubMedID 33958617
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8102566
Does Self-Objectification Entail an Opposition Between Appearance and Competence? The Likert Version of the Self-Objectification Questionnaire (LSOQ)
2021; 61 (1): 33–45
We propose a new method to test the reliability of Fredrickson et al.'s self-objectification questionnaire (SOQ). This scale being based on a ranking, traditional reliability estimates are inappropriate. Based on generalizability theory, we suggest to compute the reliability of each subset of questions related to physical appearance vs. physical competence separately in order to average them. We applied this method to a sample of female US undergraduates (n = 395) and evidenced that the reliability of the scale is very low (corrected Cronbach's alpha = .31). We also noted that a large proportion of the sample (32%) failed to complete the scale correctly. In a second study (n = 93), we propose a Likert adaptation of the scale and show that the two dimensions of the SOQ are independent. In Study 3 (n = 195), we confirm results of Study 2 and demonstrate that the general structure of the Likert version has satisfactory model fit statistics. These observations lead us to discourage the use of the original version of the SOQ and rely on the Likert version of the Self-Objectification Questionnaire (LSOQ, see appendix).
View details for DOI 10.5334/pb.481
View details for Web of Science ID 000616586800001
View details for PubMedID 33614104
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7880009
The Theory of Planned Behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comparison of health behaviors between Belgian and French residents.
2021; 16 (11): e0258320
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a global crisis and authorities have encouraged the population to promote preventive health behaviors to slow the spread of the virus. While the literature on psychological factors influencing health behaviors during the COVID-19 is flourishing, there is a lack of cross-national research focusing on multiple health behaviors. The present study overcomes this limitation and affords a validation of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a conceptual framework for explaining the adoption of handwashing and limitation of social contacts, two health behaviors that highly differ in their nature. Specifically, we compare TPB model on these two protective behaviors among people living in Belgium (N = 3744) and France (N = 1060) during the COVID-19 sanitary crisis. Data were collected from March 18 until April 19, 2020, which corresponds to the spring lockdown and the first peak of the pandemic in these countries. Results indicated that more positive attitudes, greater social norms, increased perceived control and higher intentions were related to higher adherence to handwashing and limitation of social contacts, for both Belgian and French residents. Ultimately, we argued that the TPB model tends to manifest similarly across countries in explaining health behaviors, when comparing handwashing and limitation of social contacts among individuals living in different national contexts.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0258320
View details for PubMedID 34735473
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8568184
- Heterosexual University Students' Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Couples and Parents Across Seven European Countries SEXUALITY RESEARCH AND SOCIAL POLICY 2020
- How Self-Compassion Moderates the Relation Between Body Surveillance and Body Shame Among Men and Women MINDFULNESS 2020; 11 (10): 2298–2313
- How cultural orientation and self-compassion shape objectified body consciousness for women from America, Belgium, Russia, and Thailand SELF AND IDENTITY 2020
Two Preregistered Direct Replications of "Objects Don't Object: Evidence That Self-Objectification Disrupts Women's Social Activism"
2020; 31 (2): 214–23
Self-objectification has been claimed to induce numerous detrimental consequences for women at the individual level (e.g., sexual dysfunction, depression, eating disorders). Additionally, at the collective level, it has been proposed that self-objectified women might themselves contribute to the maintenance of the patriarchal status quo, for instance, by participating less in collective action. In 2013, Calogero found a negative link between self-objectification and collective action, which was mediated by the adoption of gender-specific system justification. Here, we report two preregistered direct replications (PDRs) of Calogero's original study. We conducted these PDRs after three failures to replicate the positive relation between self-objectification and gender-specific system-justification belief in correlational studies. Results of the two PDRs, in which we used a Bayesian approach, supported the null hypothesis. This work has important theoretical implications because it challenges the role attributed to self-objectified women in the maintenance of patriarchy.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797619896273
View details for Web of Science ID 000508793800001
View details for PubMedID 31961774
- An Initial Test of the Cosmetics Dehumanization Hypothesis: Heavy Makeup Diminishes Attributions of Humanness-Related Traits to Women SEX ROLES 2020; 83 (5-6): 315–27
- Sex is power belief and women's mental health: The mediating roles of self-objectification and sexual subjectivity EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 2020; 50 (5): 1017–31
Perspectives on resilience: Personality Trait or Skill?
European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation
2020; 4 (2)
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ejtd.2018.07.002
Percevoir son corps à travers le regard d’autrui : une revue de la littérature sur l’auto-objectification
2020; 120 (3)
View details for DOI 10.3917/anpsy1.203.0321
How self-compassion moderates the effect of body surveillance on subjective happiness and depression among women
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY
2019; 60 (5): 464–72
According to objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), being treated as an object leads women to engage in self-objectification, which in turn increases body surveillance and body shame as well as impairs mental health. However, very little is known about what factors could act as buffers against the detrimental consequences of self-objectification. This paper seeks to understand the role of self-compassion (the ability to kindly accept oneself or show self-directed kindness while suffering) in the perception that women have of their own bodies. Results indicate that self-compassion moderated the effect of body surveillance on depression and happiness separately among women. More specifically, for women low in self-compassion, body surveillance was negatively associated with happiness, which was explained by increased depression. In sum, our results indicate that self-compassion protects against the detrimental consequences of body surveillance.
View details for DOI 10.1111/sjop.12553
View details for Web of Science ID 000483824900007
View details for PubMedID 31148181
- Why Is Sexualization Dehumanizing? The Effects of Posture Suggestiveness and Revealing Clothing on Dehumanization SAGE OPEN 2019; 9 (1)
- How Sexual Objectification Generates Dehumanization in Western and Eastern Cultures A Comparison Between Belgiumand Thailand SWISS JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY 2018; 77 (2): 69–82
- Who are the doctoral students who drop out? Factors associated with the rate of doctoral degree completion in universities International Journal of Higher Education 2018; 7 (4)
- 10.31234/osf.io/24c9b Cognitions, attitudes et comportements intergroupes 2018
- La compassion pour soi-même peut-elle protéger des conséquences néfastes liées à une image corporelle négative ? Sextant 2018; 35