skip to content

In memoriam: Birte Englich, 24.01.1968 – 02.09.2019

Dear colleagues and friends,

It is with great sadness that we inform you that our dear friend and colleague, Prof. Dr. Birte Englich, passed away unexpectedly last Monday, September 2nd. Birte was only 51 years old, and her death, due to sudden heart failure, comes as a great shock.

Birte was a great colleague, a creative researcher, a caring teacher, and a loving friend. With her passing, we have lost an inspiring scholar, who led an exciting and fulfilled academic and personal life.

Birte received her Psychology Diploma from the University of Mannheim in 1995, her PhD from the University of Tübingen in 2000, and her Habilitation from the University of Würzburg in 2006. Since 2009 she held the chair for Applied Social Psychology and Decision Science at the University of Cologne. From early on in her career, Birte combined an interest in social cognitive phenomena and judicial decision-making, drawing on both lab and field studies. Her most influential work shows that judges’ decisions in the courtroom are prone to the same basic social cognitive principles (e.g., anchoring and insufficient adjustment) as students are in laboratory situations. Her work in this domain is now among modern classics in social psychology and included in many textbooks.

Birte was passionate about making sure that psychological science found its way to where it makes a difference. She regularly gave workshops and seminars to lawyers, judges, and other judicial experts, working to prevent detrimental biases and improve decision-making in legal settings. While Birte’s scientific work was extremely important to her, she prioritized the people around her. She was an optimistic colleague, who saw the good in life, and in people. As an admired teacher, she enthused her students for social psychology through her lectures and seminars. Because of her open and friendly nature students often sought her out for advice and support. She was a caring and supportive mentor, who encouraged intellectual independence.

We will miss her terribly.

Our thoughts are with her family, especially her two children, during this tragic time.

With great sadness,
On behalf of the Social Cognition Center Cologne, and the University of Cologne,
Jan Crusius, Iris Schneider, Christian Unkelbach, and Tobias Wingen


Welcome to the Social Cognition Center Cologne

Ten Research Groups study a broad array of topics in Social Cognition.

The Social Cognition Center Cologne (SoCCCo) provides a dynamic research environment for the psychological study of human social behavior with an emphasis on underlying social cognitive processes. Ten research groups study a broad array of topics in social cognition, ranging from the dynamics of self-control to the ubiquity of social comparison and the intricacies of processing valenced information.

Most Recent SoCCCo Publications

  • Schneider, I. K., Gillebaart, M., & Mattes, A. (in press). Meta-analytic evidence for ambivalence resolution as a key process in effortless self-control. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
  • Posten, A-.C., Bliesener, T., Dahle, K.-P., & Orth, C. (in press). Zur Expertise forensischer Sachverständiger - Ein Positionspapier [On the expertise of forensic expert witnesses - A position paper]. Psychologische Rundschau.
  • Jekel, M.*, Fiedler, S.*, Allstadt Torras, R., Mischkowski, D., Dorrough, A. R., & Glöckner, A. (in press). How to teach open science principles in the undergraduate curriculum - the Hagen Cumulative Science Project. Psychology Learning & Teaching. *shared first authorship
  • Kannegießer, A., Orth, C., Posten, A.-C., & Hoese, M. (2019). Neue Föderative Gutachtenstandards - Die Quadratur des Kreises? [New federal standards for expert witness reports - squaring the circle?] Praxis der Rechtspsychologie, 29, 147–151.
  • Mischkowski, D., Stone, R., & Stremitzer, A. (in press). Promises, expectations, and social cooperation. The Journal of Law and Economics.
  • Posten, A.-C., & Mussweiler, T. (in press). Egocentric foundations of trust. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
  • Alves, H., & Mata, A. (in press). The redundancy in cumulative information and how it biases impressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Ecker, Y., & Bar-Anan, Y. (in press). The misattributing personality: The relationship between priming in the affect misattribution procedure, need for closure and body awareness. Social Cognition.
  • De keersmaecker, J., Dunning, D. A., Pennycook, G., Rand, D. G., Sanchez, C., Unkelbach, C., & Roets, A. (in press). Investigating the robustness of the illusory truth effect across individual differences in cognitive ability, need for cognitive closure, and cognitive style [preprint]. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
  • Van Dessel, P., Cone, J., Gast, A., & De Houwer, J. (in press). The impact of valenced verbal information on implicit and explicit evaluation: The role of information diagnosticity, primacy, and memory cueing. Cognition and Emotion.
  • Diel, K., & Hofmann, W. (in press). Inspired to perspire: The predicted interplay of social comparison direction and standard extremity in the context of challenging exercising goals. Social Cognition.
  • Jekel, M. (in press). Empirical content as a criterion for evaluating models. Cognitive Processing.
  • Genschow*, O., Hansen*, J., Wänke, M., & Trope, Y. (in press). Psychological distance modulates goal-based versus movement-based imitation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.  [preprint, data, and materials on OSF]  * shared first authorship
  • Högden, F., Stahl, C., & Unkelbach, C. (in press). Similarity-based and rule-based generalization in the acquisition of attitudes via evaluative conditioning. Cognition & Emotion.
  • Genschow, O., Rigoni, D., & Brass, M. (in press). The hand of god or the hand of Maradona? Believing in free will increases perceived intentionality of others’ behavior. Consciousness and Cognition.  [preprint, data, and materials on OSF]
  • Benedict, T., Richter, J., & Gast, A. (in press). The influence of misinformation manipulations on evaluative conditioning. Acta Psychologica.
  • Unkelbach, C., Koch, A. S., Silva, R. R., & Garcia-Marques, T. (in press). Truth by repetition: Explanations and implications. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

SoCCCo in the Media

Aug 31, 2019 | Forschung & Lehre
Neid an Hochschulen - Neid tut weh, motiviert aber auch [Envy in academia - It's painful, but can motivate] | By Katja Corcoran & Jan Crusius

May 8, 2019 |
„Es gibt oft keine einfachen Antworten“ [Often, there are no easy answers] | Interview with Oliver Genschow and Jan Crusius about the science communication project In-Mind Magazine | By Joachim Retzbach

Apr 17, 2019 | SPSP's Character & Context
Does power corrupt? How powerful people react in moral dilemmas | Blog post covering a publication by Alexandra Fleischmann, Joris Lammers, Paul Conway, and Adam D. Galinsky | By Alexandra Fleischmann

Mar 6, 2019 | LTO
Geschlechtergerechtigkeit in der Justiz: Berlin will mehr Frauen in Prü­fungs­kom­mis­sionen [Gender equality in the judiciary: Berlin calls for more female examiners in law state exams] | A study by Towfigh, Traxler, & Glöckner influences politics

Dec 30, 2018 | BR
Intuition: Wegweiser in einer komplexen Welt [Intuition: Guidance in a complex world] | A radio contribution on intuition by Andreas Glöckner and others | By Rita Homefeldt

Oct 10, 2018 | FAZ
Politiker und Brillen: Auge um Auge [Politicians and glasses: An eye for an eye] | Press coverage of a publication by Alexandra Fleischmann, Joris Lammers, and colleagues | By Thomas Diel

Oct 2, 2018 | University of Cologne
Politiker und Politikerinnen mit Brille werden im Experiment häufiger gewählt [Politicians wearing glasses get elected more often in an experimental setting] | Press release on a publication by Alexandra Fleischmann, Joris Lammers, and colleagues | By Frieda Berg

Sep 17, 2018 | DGPs
In-Mind erhält den Förderpreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie [In-Mind is awarded the prize for promoting psychology by the German Psychological Association (DGPs)] | Oliver Genschow and Jan Crusius accept the prize as members of the editorial board of the In-Mind Online Magazine | By Anne Klostermann

July 10, 2018 | SPEKTRUM
Neid - Die Kirschen in Nachbars Garten [Envy—The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence] | Jan Crusius and Jens Lange on the (in)evitability of painful social comparisons | By Theodor Schaarschmidt

Gutes tun steckt an [Doing good is contagious] | Alexandra Fleischmann on the influence of social comparison on moral behavior | By Angelika S. Friedl

Apr 13, 2018 | SPEKTRUM
Dürfen wir stolz sein? [Is it OK to be proud?] | Jan Crusius on functions of pride and its interplay with envy | By Theodor Schaarschmidt

Gemeinsam im Stress [Together under stress] | Jan Crusius on stress evoked by social comparison | By Frank Luerweg

Apr 13, 2018 | SPEKTRUM
Dürfen wir stolz sein? [Is it OK to be proud?] | Jan Crusius on functions of pride and its interplay with envy | By Theodor Schaarschmidt

May 8, 2018 | SÜDDEUTSCHE
Liebe in der Nische [on the paper Sharing rare attitudes attracts] | Hans Alves on rare attitudes and how they foster relationships | By Sebastian Herrmann

Feb 2018 | IN-MIND
We are ready to move! [EN]
Wir sind bereit, voranzuschreiten! [DE] | An interview with Daniel Lakens and Klaus Fiedler on the current challenges in the field of psychological research | By Oliver Genschow & Jan Crusius

Conservatives' love of nostalgia can be used to promote liberal values | Media coverage of Lammers & Baldwin, 2018, JPSP | By Tom Jacobs

Jan 29, 2018 | ZEIT Campus
Beat the Prof – Schuld und Reue | Friederike Funk on whether revenge is truly sweet

Aug 24, 2017 | ZEIT Campus
Beat the Prof – Neid und soziale Vergleiche | Lisa Blatz and Jan Crusius on what makes Germans envious

Kevin und Mohammed – Die Last der Vornamen | Michael Zürn on first names as social markers | By Ulrike Burgwinkel