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SoCCCo Alumnus

Dr. Alex Koch

Research interests

Exploitation-exploration • Stereotype content • Spatial arrangement • Similarity assessment • Valence asymmetries • Processing fluency • Judgments of truth • Moods and emotions


  • Alves, H., Koch, A., & Unkelbach, C. (in press). The differential similarity of positive and negative information—An affect-induced processing outcome? Cognition and Emotion.
  • Koch, A. S., Kervyn, N., Kervyn, M., & Imhoff, R. (in press). Studying the cognitive map of the U.S. states: Ideology and prosperity stereotypes predict interstate prejudice. Social Psychological and Personality Science. doi:10.1177/1948550617715070
  • Unkelbach, C., Koch, A. S., Silva, R. R., & Garcia-Marques, T. (in press). Truth by repetition: Explanations and implications. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
  • Alves, H., Koch, A., & Unkelbach, C. (2018). A cognitive-ecological explanation of intergroup biases. Psychological Science, 29, 1126–1133.
  • Imhoff, R., Koch, A., & Flade, F. (2018). (Pre)occupations: A data-driven model of jobs and its consequences for categorization and evaluation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 77, 76–88. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2018.04.001
  • Lammers, J., Koch, A., Conway, P., & Brandt, M. J. (2017). The political domain appears simpler to the politically extreme than to political moderates. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 612-622. doi:10.1177/1948550616678456  [data on OSF]
  • Alves, H., Koch, A., & Unkelbach, C. (2017). The "common good" phenomenon: Why similarities are positive and differences are negative. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 512–528. doi:10.1037/xge0000276
  • Alves*, H., Koch*, A. S., & Unkelbach, C. (2017). Why good is more alike than bad: Processing implications. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21, 72–82. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2016.12.006  * shared first authorship
  • Imhoff, R., & Koch, A. (2017). How orthogonal are the Big Two of social perception? On the curvilinear relation between agency and communion. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 122–137. doi:10.1177/1745691616657334
  • Alves, H., Koch, A. S., & Unkelbach, C. (2016). My friends are all alike — the relation between liking and perceived similarity in person perception. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 62, 103–117. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2015.10.011
  • Koch, A. S., Alves, H., Krüger, T., & Unkelbach, C. (2016). A general valence asymmetry in similarity: Good is more alike than bad. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 1171–1192. doi:10.1037/xlm0000243* summarized as APA Journals Article Spotlight on May 18, 2017
  • Koch, A. S., & Imhoff, R. (2016). Towards an ecologically valid model of spontaneous stereotypes about groups. The Brunswik Society Newsletter, 31, 25–27.
  • Koch*, A. S., Imhoff*, R., Dotsch, R., Unkelbach, C., & Alves, H. (2016). The ABC of stereotypes about groups: Agency/socioeconomic success, conservative–progressive beliefs, and communion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 675–709. doi:10.1037/pspa0000046 * shared first authorship
  • Alves, H., Unkelbach, C., Burghardt, J., Koch, A. S., Krüger, T., & Becker, V. D. (2015). A density explanation of valence asymmetries in recognition memory. Memory & Cognition, 43, 896–909. doi:10.3758/s13421-015-0515-5
  • Fiedler, K., Hofferbert, J., Woellert, F., Krüger, T., & Koch, A. S. (2015). The tragedy of democratic decision making. In J. P. Forgas, K. Fiedler, & W. D. Crano (Eds.), Social psychology and politics (pp. 193–208). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
  • Krüger, T., Fiedler, K., Koch, A. S., & Alves, H. (2014). Response category width as a psychophysical manifestation of construal level and distance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 501–512. doi:10.1177/0146167213517009
  • Matovic, D., Koch, A. S., & Forgas, J. P. (2014). Can negative mood improve language understanding? Affective influences on the ability to detect ambiguous communication. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 52, 44–49. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.12.003
  • Koch, A. S., Forgas, J. P., & Matovic, D. (2013). Can negative mood improve your conversation? Affective influences on conforming to Grice’s communication norms. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 326–334. doi:10.1002/ejsp.1950
  • Forgas, J. P., & Koch, A. (2013). Mood effects on cognition. In M. Robinson, E. Watkins, & E. Harmon-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotion and cognition (pp. 231–252). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Koch, A., Forgas, J. P., & Goldenberg, L. (2013). In the mood to break the rules: Happiness promotes language abstraction and transgression of conversation norms. In J. P. Forgas, O. Vincze, & J. László (Eds.), Social cognition and communication (pp. 83–100). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Koch, A., & Forgas, J. P. (2012). Feeling good and feeling truth: The interactive effects of mood and processing fluency on truth judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 481–485. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.10.006
  • Unkelbach, C., Bayer, M., Alves, H., Koch, A., & Stahl, C. (2011). Fluency and positivity as possible causes of the truth effect. Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 594–602. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2010.09.015

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Academic distinctions



  • Dissertation Award 2016, Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Cologne, Germany
  • Honorable Mention for the European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) Best Paper Award 2016
  • Visitor Program Grant Reconciling the SCM and ABC models of group stereotypes, awarded by C-SEB, University of Cologne


  • Junior Start-Up Grant Do people prefer conservatives (progressives) for joint exploitation (exploration)?, awarded by C-SEB, University of Cologne
  • Five-week full scholarship for a research visit at Utrecht University, Netherlands, awarded by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Cologne
  • Junior Start-Up Grant Creating a website to measure the similarity of lots of stimuli in little time, awarded by C-SEB, University of Cologne


  • Second author of the European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) Best Paper Award


  • One-year full scholarship for a research visit at the University of New South Wales, Australia, awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service

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