Social Representations in Psychology: A Bibliometrical Analysis

  • Véronique Eicher University of Neuchâtel
  • Véronique Emery University of Neuchâtel
  • Mathieu Maridor University of Neuchâtel
  • Ingrid Gilles University of Lausanne
  • Adrian Bangerter University of Neuchâtel


In this paper, we analyse the evolution of social representations theory (SRT) over time, languages, and journals by comparing it with the evolution of social identity theory (SIT). Additionally, we perform a lexical analysis of abstracts on SRT and discuss the changes of topics over time and languages. While SRT is less represented in mainstream journals of social psychology than SIT, it is more widely distributed across linguistic areas, as shown by the relative frequency of different languages. Two major research domains often associated with SRT are health issues and intergroup dynamics. Papers concentrating on SRT as a theoretical approach are more recent and primarily written in English, while French-language papers focus less on theoretical aspects. While SRT is diverse and recognized in social psychology, it is not as widely known as other social psychological theories (e.g., SIT). We conclude with thoughts on how to promote wider integration of SRT with mainstream social psychology.

Author Biographies

Véronique Eicher, University of Neuchâtel

VÉRONIQUE EICHER is a post-doctoral researcher in social psychology at the University of Neuchâtel and the University of Lausanne. She is interested in intergroup relations, social inequality, social representations, and regulation strategies.

Véronique Emery, University of Neuchâtel

VÉRONIQUE EMERY is a PhD Student at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She is interested in social representations of emerging infectious diseases, risk perception and diffusion of popular beliefs.

Mathieu Maridor, University of Neuchâtel

MATHIEU MARIDOR is a PhD Student at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His principal research interests are social representations of emerging infectious diseases, with a focus to nurses and medical personnel, as well as risk perception, vaccination acceptance and conspiracy theories.

Ingrid Gilles, University of Lausanne

INGRID GILLES has a research fellow position at University of Lausanne in the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, and in the Institute of Social Sciences. Her research interests include social representations and lay perceptions of disease and health behavior, intergroup dynamics, and social attributions. She completed a PhD in Social psychology at University of Lausanne about intergroup determinants of hostile intents attributions.

Adrian Bangerter, University of Neuchâtel

ADRIAN BANGERTER is professor of work psychology at the University of Neuchâtel. His research interests include coordination and conversation, social representations, and social interaction in personnel selection