Juan Pablo (John) Vega

What's his deal? Understanding Social Deviance and Norm Breaking in Intra-group Settings

Juan Pablo (John) Vega profile-picture photograph

Juan Pablo (John) Vega

PhD Student
School of Psychology


Having originally immigrated to New Zealand from Mexico, I always found it fascinating to make note of my own struggle and that of fellow immigrants towards developing new social skills and understanding new social norms found in a host nation and how these may subsequently affect mental health.

This passion for understanding social issues concerning a struggling individual and how he/she/they relate to a group was emboldened by my undergraduate studies at Otago University and subsequent Honours year at Canterbury University.

Having originally researched intergroup relations and tolerance within religious, public health, and social justice contexts, I decided to move on to exploring intragroup social dynamics. This allowed me to come back to my original passion of researching how unspoken social norms help a group regulate its social interactions as well as allow it to recognize those individuals that break such norms, making them noticeable and problematic.

My interest remains general in this area but I am mainly focused on researching what a group attributes this norm-breaking to, as well as helping social therapy and practice to account for what may hinder an individual (immigrant or not) to flourish socially within a given group or space.


Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours (BScHons) in Psychology, University of Canterbury (2021)

Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSc), University of Otago (2020)

Research Interests

Social Deviance. Social Norms. Impact of impaired social skills on mental health and group dynamics. Norm breaking and its interpersonal and intrapersonal consequences. Behavioural responses to Norm breaking and their link to intolerance, prejudice and bias.

PhD topic

What's his deal? Understanding Social Deviance and Norm Breaking in Intra-group Settings


Professor of Psychology
School of Psychology


Youth Well-being Study - Directed by Professor Marc Wilson

We are a team of researchers and clinicians working towards better understanding the wellbeing of youth and rangatahi in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our research with young people is primarily in secondary schools, where we gather information about how young people are doing, what their needs are, and what resources would be most helpful to them and their communities.