Institute of Psychology - Projects


The Institute has completed a great number of various projects, and at first, these were the projects financed by then Foundation for Science of Republic of Serbia (later called the Scientific Association and Ministry of Science). Gradually, the number of research associates started to increase, which further led the Institute to include some applicable and humanitarian research in its work as well as some international activities.

Integration into the international knowledge-based economy imposes development of the individual cognitive and emotional competences that will strengthen their adaptation potentials (knowledge, professional skills, stress management in the workplace and out of it, and global social skills) in a rapidly changing society. Aside from the general population, special attention will be paid to children, youth, and persons with adaptation problems. A broad range of interconnected topics will be covered, from those of immediate social relevance (e.g., validation and improvement of educational processes and institutions; development of institutional support to the education of the gifted and successful; increase of the efficiency of state agencies through improvement of selection procedures; analysis of the factors influencing value systems of the young, their relationship towards others and their violent behavior), to those focusing on fundamental problems (e.g., reconstruction of the basic personality space and the mapping of a broad range of behavioral forms, symptoms, internal mechanisms and biological correlates onto that space; definition of the universals characterizing the militant extremist mindset; study of the basic nature of the learning/teaching process). To realize the project, data in various samples of respondents will be gathered, while using new methods and techniques of data collection and analysis, and developing new instruments standardized in our population.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Goran Knežević, Ph.D., Associate Professor

The focus of this project is the influence of social and cultural environment that has been affected by prolonged social crisis, on development of human beings and their behavior.

The first goal of the project is to describe mechanisms of constructive and destructive influences of environment on abilities and behaviors in adults and children. This depiction, according to standards of scientific research, enables us to understand factors and mechanisms that construct and shape cognitive and social development; the relationship between social behaviors and social cognition; attitudes and values ; the understanding of psychological problems of humans and conditions in which they work as well as the consideration of role of psychology in reproduction of dominating models of social interactions.

The second goal of the project is considering the concepts for possible programs that would support cognitive and social development of children and adolescents. The elements of these programs as well as the entire programs are thought out of theoretical analysis and empirical materials that have been collected throughout various research works. These programs refer to the development of formal operational thinking, the text reception, the improvement of active strategies in learning and in self-regulated learning, the increase of professional proficiency of professors, the development of expertise, the enlargement of capacities of schools for inclusive schooling, the support of cooperative behaviors in conflicts, and strengthening of psychological capacities for global reconciliation.
This project also allowed the development of numerous new instruments for analyses of behaviors, scales for attitude and value orientation measurement, as well as the tools for cultural products characteristics’ examination (textbooks, literature for children, academic literature). Also, all preparations for standardization of VITI and WAIS-III tests used for clinical assessment of intelligence have been finalized.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Dijana Plut, Ph.D., Research Associate

The project Identifying and Guiding the Talented was started in partnership with Republic Foundation for Development and Support of Scientific and Artistic Youth (since 1988). The goal of the project was to select Republic Foundation Scholarship candidates and to longitudinally follow their further development and progress. The intention of the Foundation establishment was to provide better studying conditions, improvement and professional development for the best students in Serbia through the system of selection. In this selection proces the Institute of Psychology is responsible for psychological testing of the candidates applying for different studies (Science, Bio-Medicine, Technology, and Social Studies). Since 1997 this testing is available in Novi Sad and Niš as well. Apart from its practical application, this project also pays attention to the process of selection itself, while analyzing the standardized test results of the candidates.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Panta Kovačević, Ph.D., Associate Professor

The project School without Violence was started in 2005 in partnership with UNICEF, and ever since it operates with the goal to strengthen the personnel of elementary and middle schools in Serbia in fighting against frequent violent behaviors of students and teachers. The Project has two components – one is to research the issue problem, and the other is to intervene. The Institute of Psychology is responsible for conducting the research component of the project, while the field part is done in all the schools involved in this project. The results of the research have several functions for this project: 1) to apply sensitization on all participants in fighting against school violence, 2) to register the level of violence at the moment when the project started which enables further following of development and progress, and 3) to collect important data essential for additional project planning.

Thanks to this project, the Institute has systematically collected data about different types of violence in schools and the levels of their spread. The students in grades 3-8 from the schools involved in this project have been interviewed, and all the school employees have given their opinions on this topic as well.

The Principal Investigators of the Project: Dragan Popadić, Ph.D., Professor , and Dijana Plut, Ph.D, Research Associate

This project, which was started in partnership with UNESCO (2001 – 2004), was a meticulous scientific and empirical research study with emphasis on exploring the functioning of education under the conditions caused by social crisis, transitions and enforced migrations.

The theory and references behind this study were based on certain constructive hypotheses, which actually are three theoretical and ecological paradigms (by Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner, and Bourdieu) about the nature of human development.

The focus of the research was on social and psychological responding of participants in educational systems affected by social crisis and enforced migrations. The research had also been examining several other issues concerning the education of children in transition and those affected by war seen from various perspectives (students’, parents’, teachers’, school personnel’s’, and Principals’). The special attention was also on mechanisms and strategies that children facing these problems were using for solving these matters. Study was dealing with children that immigrated with their families from Kosovo and Metohija and are now living in communal centers.

The results of the research were the evidence of the erosion of quality in education testifying about long term affects caused by social crisis and transitions: the adequate learning strategies have not been developed, neither children nor adults have developed sufficient mechanisms for solving certain problems, while children who were estranged from their homes in Kosovo and Metohija had the most difficulty to adapt to culture and customs in new environment.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Dijana Plut, Ph.D., Research Associate

The goal of this project that was started in 1999 was to support the development of abilities and skills for critical thinking in youth, as well as to encourage certain intellectual values, opinions and personalities, which are often called critical judgment. The development of critical thinking is of multiple uses, and it is not only in relation to the modern worldwide educational goals but also in relation to actual social context and times we are all living in and within which we are being educated. The modern educational systems have moved emphasis from getting knowledge onto developing abilities for learning, solving problems, making decisions, as well as selecting, evaluating and applying given information. On one hand, encouraging critical thinking is of precious significance for protecting oneself from numerous and various manipulations, propaganda and advertising, religious and ethnic prejudices and judgments, etc.

Two phases of the project have been finalized, so far. During the first phase, the concept of critical thinking was designed from which the structure of abilities and skills for critical thinking was developed. It was followed by the development of exercises for encouraging those skills (Basic Program). In the second phase, the high school teachers took participation as well, thanks to whom Practical Programs have been developed for five subjects in social sciences (Serbian Language and Literature, History, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology).

The Principal Investigators of the Project: Dijana Plut, Ph.D., Research Associate, Dragica Pavlović-Babić, Ph.D., Research Associate and Ivana Stepanović-Ilić, Ph.D, Research Assistant

The realization of this project has been started on the initiative of Ministry of Youth and Sport of Republic of Serbia. The idea behind this research was to find out how youth in Serbia spends their free time. Besides the questionnaire about free time activities of young people, the study was also used to collect information on their “time budgeting”. The detailed reconstruction of events for every hour of two randomly selected days has revealed how much time an adolescent spends studying, how much time he/she spends engaging with family and relatives, and how much with their friends; places where they spend time hanging out with friends and what the hanging out consists of; the map of the city and locations they pay visits to, when and how often they go out; how much time they spend watching television, what channels and what TV shows they watch, what types of music they listen to and whose concerts they go to; how much time they spend on the Internet; if they play sports; if they have any hobbies; what is the quality of life they lead concerning the physical and mental health; how often they eat and sleep; how much free time they have. The research has also used some classical assessment methods with the intention to gather more complete information on cultural products they consume, their habits, the ways of spending their free time, their ideals and models, their engagement in various social activities and organizations, personal and social goals, as well as on how exposed they are to different bad influences. About 5,000 high school students participated in this research, including nine cities in Serbia and all types of high schools.

The results of the research were documented as a part of the National Strategy for Youth handbook published by Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2008.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Ivana Stepanović, Ph.D., Research Assistant

This research study has been conducted in 2007 with the intention to describe spreading of violent behaviors of children and adults in institutions for social help for children without parents. The violent behaviors of children were examined from the perspective of victims,, and on assessments of other participants in the institutional life.

Beside scienitific importance, the description of conditions within these social institutions had practical implication – making professional community and global auditorium more sensitive to these issues. Another task of this research was to start encouraging experts on finding alternative solutions for children without parents.

The results of the research have shown that all sheltered children have been exposed to some type of violent interactions, both with the adults responsible for them or within their age group. These “safe haven” institutions actually tolerate many of these violent behaviors explaining them as inevitable factor of common living within the institution. Adults help in solving major cases of violence that may occur but do not have the strength to pay closer attention to the great number of minor ones that happen every day, and most of the time children are forced to turn to one another asking for help. The biggest problem with these violent behaviors is accepting these behaviors as ‘normal’ for the given conditions and failing to react to them. Some adults within the institutions use some violent forms of discipline, which add even more to the existing issue. Children with special needs are the ones who are in most danger in these institutions, which only tell us that the process of inclusion of these children in these institutions has not been done properly and methodically.

The Principal Investigators of the Project: Dragan Popadić, Ph.D., Professor, and Dijana Plut, Ph.D., Research Associate

PISA is OECD Program developed to determine as precisely as possible the level of preparation of high school children (age 15) for further education, and the level of coping with modern technological world. The basic characteristics of this programme are:

  • Orientation towards the strategic level: design of the research and type of data enable planning of educational politics;
  • Introduction of the concept of ‘literacy’ that includes the capacity of students to apply knowledge and skills in appropriate situations, as well as to be able to analyze, make and communicate decisions, and solve and interpret various problematic situations;
  • Introduction of lifelong learning, because this program not only estimates student’s knowledge in certain areas and interdisciplinary knowledge but also student’s motivation for learning, self-perception of self-efficiency in mastering the curriculum and learning strategies;
  • Regularity: the research studies have been conducted as a part of a three-year-cycle that enables following the progress of students’ achievements and evaluating the efficiency of interventions; and
  • The great number of countries involved with this program, and their willingness to cooperate is of enormous help for every educational system to recognize its advantages and disadvantages.

Serbia has been involved with this program since 2002 and the Institute of Psychology has been the leading operator ever since.

The Principal Investigator of the Project: Dragica Pavlović-Babić, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

10. Comenius project - E-School for Sustainability in the Danube Region (eSchool4S)


  • 1976-1981. Socijalizacija dece u našoj kulturi (Professor Vera Smiljanić)
  • 1976-1981. Razvoj saznajnih funkcija (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1976-1981. Dispozicione osnove socijalnog ponašanja (Professor Nenad Havelka)
  • 1976-1981. Ekološki činioci psihofizioloških promena (Professor Predrag Ognjenović)
  • 1976-1981. Psihološki problemi radnika na radu (Professor Milica Guzina)
  • 1976-1981. Psihološki problemi nastave (Professor Radivoj Kvaščev)
  • 1976-1981. Istraživanje procesa i učinka psihološkog savetovanja kod neefikasnosti u školovanju (Professor Vladimir Petrović)
  • 1976-1981. Standardizacija mernih instrumenata (Professor Sulejman Hrnjica)
  • 1981-1985. Razvoj, socijalizacija, vaspitanje i obrazovanje dece, adolescenata, odraslih i starih ljudi, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Vera Smiljanić)
  • 1981-1985. Problemi ljudskog faktora u udruženom radu i samoupravljanju, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Milica Guzina)
  • 1981-1985. Motivacioni i vrednosni sistemi socijalnog ponašanja i socijalnog angažovanja, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Nenad Havelka)
  • 1981-1985. Odluka u funkciji sredinskih činilaca, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Predrag Ognjenović)
  • 1983-1984. Konstrukcija testa zrelosti za polazak u školu (TIP 1) (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1986-1990. Kognitivni procesi i organizacija ponašanja, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Predrag Ognjenović)
  • 1986-1990. Psihički razvoj i socijalizacija I, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1986-1990. Psihološki činioci i efekti odlučivanja u društvenim grupama i organizacijama, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Bora Kuzmanović)
  • 1986-1990. Procesi učenja: fundamentalni i primenjeni problemi, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Lidija Vučić)
  • 1986-1990. Psihofiziološki i socijalni faktori i problemi produktivnosti radnika u udruženom radu, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Milica Guzina)
  • 1986-1990. Psihološki merni instrumenti I, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Panta Kovačević)
  • 1986-1990. Psihologija i zaštita mentalnog zdravlja, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Josip Berger)
  • 1986-1990. Praćenje efekata vaspitno-obrazovnih aktivnosti u osnovnom obrazovanju i vaspitanju, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Nenad Havelka)
  • 1991-1995. Kognitivna obrada informacija, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Predrag Ognjenović)
  • 1991-1995. Psihički razvoj i socijalizacija II, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1991-1995. Psihološki uslovi i efekti socijalnog ponašanja, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Bora Kuzmanović)
  • 1991-1995. Psihološki problemi učenja i nastave, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Lidija Vučić)
  • 1991-1995. Rad, preduzetništvo i efikasnost - sociopsihološki faktori i posledice, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Svetlana Čizmić)
  • 1991-1995. Psihološki merni instrumenti II, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Panta Kovačević)
  • 1991-1995. Doprinos psihologije očuvanju kvaliteta života, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Josip Berger)
  • 1993-1995. Zaštita i podsticanje razvoja dece u ratom izmenjenom socijalnom kontekstu - Čuvari osmeha (Nadežda Ignjatović and Vesna Ognjenović)
  • 1996-2000. Fundamentalne psihičke funkcije, Ministry of Science and Technology of Serbia (Professor Predrag Ognjenović)
  • 1996-2000. Pojedinac i grupa u uslovima društvene tranzicije, Ministarstvo za nauku i tehnologiju Republike Srbije (Professor Bora Kuzmanović)
  • 1998-2001. Demokratija u obrazovanju, obrazovanje za demokratiju [Democracy in school, school for democracy] SIDA / SAREC (Professor Holger Daun and Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1995-2007. Aktivno učenje - primena metoda aktivnog učenja/nastave (AUN), Institute of Psychology and UNICEF (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 1993-2007. Učionica dobre volje - školski program za nenasilnu komunikaciju, UNICEF (Assistant Professor Tinde Kovač-Cerović)
  • 2000-2001. Sveobuhvatna analiza obrazovnog sistema u Jugoslaviji. UNICEF-UNESCO (Professor Ivan Ivić and Professor Chinapah Vinayagum)
  • 2000-2001. Funkcionisanje sistema socijalne zaštite dece bez roditeljskog staranja. Save the Children (Professor Bora Kuzmanović)
  • 2000-2005. Procesi formiranja novih kompetencija i obrazaca ponašanja u društvu koje se menja, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Serbia (Professor Bora Kuzmanović)
  • 2003-2004. Ogled o udžbenicima: otvaranje tržišta udžbenika, Ministry of Education and Sports of Serbia (Research Associate Dijana Plut)
  • 2002-2003. Kvalitet školskih udžbenika i mehanizmi obezbeđivanja tog kvaliteta, Ministry of Education and Sports of Serbia (Professor Ivan Ivić)
  • 2005-2007. Kvalitet udžbenika za niže razrede osnovne škole - Ogled 2 za 2005/06. godinu, Fund for an Open Society (Research Associate Dijana Plut)
  • 2002-2007. Razvoj školstva u Republici Srbiji - Projektna komponenta: Razvoj standarda i vrednovanje, World Bank and Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Professor Nenad Havelka)