Images and Social Representations of Students’ Identity and University Experience

Keywords: social representations, student's identity, education, images, multi-methodology


The aim of this study is to understand the beliefs of first year undergraduates towards student identity and university experience. It is based on the theory of social representations and combines the methodologies of verbal and visual forms of representations to examine the beliefs of 104 students from Brazil and France. The results show conventional and subjective ideas about being a student, objectified in images and words. The results can aid in the design of educational projects to help new students adapt to university life.

Author Biographies

Ariane Franco Lopes da Silva, Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Centro de Investigação para o Desenvolvimento Humano (CEDH)/Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul

ARIANE FRANCO LOPES DA SILVA has a doctorate degree in education from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a Post-Doctorate from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) and Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP, Porto, Portugal). Dr Silva is an Assistant Professor at the Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul (UFFS), a research fellow at the Research Centre for Human Development (CEDH - Faculty of Education and Psychology - UCP) and the International Center for Studies in Social Representations and Subjectivity - education (CIERS-ed). Her research activities focus on education, identity, corporeity, body images and social representations.


Golda Cohen, University of Angers, Angers France

GOLDA COHEN has a doctorate degree in social psychology from the University of Paul Valéry Montpellier III (France). Dr Cohen is currently an Assistant Professor in social psychology at the University of Angers (France) and is affiliated to the Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire (LPPL, EA 4638). Her research activities focus on the collective construction of images from their genesis to their diffusion in the daily interactions.


Sandrine Gaymard, University of Angers, Angers France

SANDRINE GAYMARD, Ph.D., is a full Professor in social psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Angers (France). Dr Gaymard is in charge of the axis 2 of the Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire (LPPL, EA 4638). Her research interests include normative and cultural aspects of social representations; personality factors; the multi-methodological approach; risk; traffic psychology. She is responsible for the unique Master degree in France in social psychology, mobilities and transportation.