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Research

SoCCCo brings together ten research groups that study a broad array of topics in social cognition. The overall goal is to better understand how people think about, judge, and behave towards others by examining the underlying cognitive processes.

In addition to the DFG Research Unit Relativity in Social Cognition, SoCCCo is home to the Emmy Noether Program Evaluation and Memory (Gast Group) as well as the NRW Grant Digital Trust (Topolinski Group).

→ Click on a group for more detailed information on its research program.
→ Click here for an overview of SoCCCo's research topics.

  • The researchers in the Crusius Group investigate a variety of topics in social cognition. One key interest concerns how trust vs. distrust changes the way humans process information and influences social behavior. Furthermore, we explore how social comparisons, their underlying cognitive processes, and their emotional consequences affect psychological phenomena at the intraindividual, the interpersonal, and at the group level. Further important research areas include moral cognition and moral behavior, stereotyping and prejudice, the consequences of ostracism, the psychology of personal beliefs such as mind-body dualism, and empathy and perspective taking. Taken together, our research interests cover a broad array of basic and applied questions about social behavior. [more]
  • The Englich Group is characterized by a strong applied perspective well-grounded in basic research on social cognition. We believe that a profound knowledge of socio-cognitive processes constitutes a key factor in informing practitioners' and policy makers' decisions and interventions. Thus, our research, which currently focuses on topics including heuristics and biases, bias correction, social power, expertise, moral judgment, and indecisiveness, combines an applied perspective with research on the relevant underlying socio-cognitive processes. We have a major expertise in applications to the legal context with a particular focus on judicial judgment and decision making. [more]
  • In the Gast Group, we study social, affective, and evaluative phenomena by applying empirical, theoretical and methodological knowledge from social cognition and cognitive psychology, especially from memory and learning psychology. The main focus lies on evaluative conditioning and other forms of evaluative learning. In the Emmy-Noether group, we study these phenomena from a memory-and-retrieval perspective. Other research topics include the underlying processes of implicit measures and the relations of gender and academic achievement. [more]
  • The Genschow Group mainly focuses on interaction patterns among humans with a strong focus on perception-action coupling, such as imitation, mimicry, and anticipated action. Other topics of investigation include consumer behavior with a focus on implicit attitude measures and approach-avoidance motivation. [more]
  • The Hofmann Group applies a social-cognitive focus to better understand key issues of everyday self-regulation, social interaction, and economic decision-making. Current main areas of research include mechanisms of self-control, consumer and health decision-making, stereotyping, morality, and behavioral economics. In its methodological approach, the group strives to combine the rigor of experimental research and measurement tools with the ecological validity and richness of behavioral data from everyday life (as measured, for instance, with experience sampling). [more]
  • Most of the research conducted within the Imhoff Group explores the interplay of automatic and controlled processes in domains ranging from the intrapersonal (e.g., implicit and explicit self-concepts; self-control conflicts) to the interpersonal (implicit and explicit romantic and erotic cognition) and the intergroup level (implicit prejudices, controlled and automatic components of stereotyping). By applying state of the art measurement approaches developed in the field of social cognition in fields like sexology, political psychology and relationship research we bridge these domains in a mutually beneficial manner. [more]
  • Research in the Lammers Group focuses on social differences. One research interest concerns the psychological effects of power. Here we aim to find out how having (versus lacking) power affects people’s thoughts, decisions, and behavior. We also try to better understand the limits and moderators of such effects. A second research interest concerns moral cognition and behavior. In particular, we are interested in how people’s need to compare favorably with others affects their moral (and immoral) functioning. A third research interest lies in political psychology. Political psychology has been criticized for painting a stereotypic image of those on the right of the political spectrum (i.e. conservatives). We try to correct this and gain a more nuanced and deeper understanding of the psychology behind political conservatism. Fourth and finally, we do research on gender and sexism. In the past decades, women have made great advances toward gaining a more equal position, but much work still needs to be done. Our research is aimed at detecting obstacles and finding solutions to help in this process. [more]
  • Research in the Schneider Group focuses on judgment and decision-making processes, with a particular interest in context effects and decision-difficulty. One pillar of research examines on the consequences and antecedents of ambivalence (i.e. feeling both positive and negative at the same time), in the domain of morality, food choices, and consumer decision-making. A second pillar examines how spatial presentation influences product choice, evaluation, and comparison. [more]
  • The Topolinski Group bridges several fields of psychology in investigating the underlying mechanisms of spontaneous judgments, drawing both on social psychological and cognitive theorizing and method. We investigate the impact of processing efficiency (fluency) and affective states on intuitive judgments, stereotyping, semantic priming, creativity, and humor. Furthermore, we investigate sensorimotor influences on preference, social impression formation, implicit and explicit memory, as well as consumer choices, branding, and aesthetics. [more]
  • The research within the Unkelbach Group covers a wide range of topics; among the prime interests are positive-negative asymmetries in perceiving, processing, and retrieving information, evaluative and attribute conditioning, serial judgments and decisions, motivational underpinnings of athletic performance, and stereotypes and prejudice against Muslims. However, the group members have interests that are not covered here, and the group's page provides a more elaborated overview. [more]