Faculty of Psychology


  • Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Laura Maria König Health

      Research Focus

      psychology and public health; specific focus on weight-related behaviours (diet, physical activity) and digital and choice architecture interventions; digital behaviour research methods; science communication

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    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitte Lueger-Schuster

      Research Focus:
      Brigitte Lueger-Schuster’s lab is specialized in Psychotraumatology, covering a broad variety of topics, such as the longterm consequences of childhood maltreatment in institutions, war time trauma, migration and mental health, and traumatic sequaelae in vulnerable groups, e.g people with intellectual disabilities, and includes several age groups (children, adults, elderly).
      Their work includes assessment issues, e.g for ICD-11 Complex PTSD, treatment, e.g. for asylum seekers.  They use a broad variety of methods.
      Brigitte Lueger-Schuster is part of several international working groups, e.g the global collaboration group of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.

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    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Urs Nater

      Research Focus:
      I am interested in
      a) an in-depth investigation of both the psychological and biological response to acute stress,
      b) identifying risk factors that may facilitate a maladaptive stress response,
      c) identifying resilience factors that may protect individuals in the face of adversity and prevent them from manifesting a maladaptive stress response,
      d) analyzing mediating mechanisms that may translate stress into (bodily) symptoms, and
      e) developing and evaluating strategies that may prevent and treat stress-related negative consequences.
      In order to address these goals I combine the following methodological approaches:
      1. Experimental examination of mechanisms: we apply modern psychophysiological, endocrine, immunological, and gene expression measurement methods in order to better characterize the multi-dimensional acute stress response in various groups of individuals, some of them being at-risk for stress-related illness (professional and informal caregivers, musicians, military personnel, individuals with migration background).
      2. Ecological ambulatory assessment: it is of utmost importance to replicate findings from the well-controlled laboratory environment in an ecologically valid context, i.e. everyday life. Using methods of ambulatory assessment (via smart phones, ambulatory saliva collection, movement tracking, and portable psychophysiological techniques), we are able to test associations between stress and negative health consequences, as well as a wide range of mediating factors, in a micro-longitudinal approach “where and when it actually happens”.
      3. Stress biomarkers – assessment and validation: my lab has vast expertise in establishing salivary biomarkers, in particular alpha-amylase as an indirect marker for autonomic nervous system activity, which is among the most often employed salivary biomarkers. Our research contributions in this field are among the highest cited in the stress literature. In our biochemical lab, we are analyzing hormones, enzymes, metabolites, immune factors, receptor characteristics, as well as gene expression markers.
      4. Stress diagnostics: since the specificity of the above mentioned stress biomarkers is sub-optimal, it is our goal to determine the feasibility of broader patterns of stress processes. Such patterns will encompass subjective variables, as well as genetic, social, and physiological markers. I am also interested in stressor paradigms that are powerful enough to elicit stress responses and that are valid and reliable in differentially exploring various biological stress systems.
      5. Intervention: it is our goal to explore the differential efficacy of such interventions on both psychological and biological processes that may underlie stress-related morbidity. My lab also focuses on the potentially beneficial effects of music. To this end, I am running the “Music and Health laboratory”. Research conducted in the lab seeks to examine the biopsychosocial underpinnings of the beneficial effects of music on mind and body. A number of research projects are currently being conducted, combining approaches as diverse as experimental designs, use of ambulatory assessment, and biological measurement techniques. State-of-the-art equipment for assessing psychophysiological, endocrine, immune, and genetic parameters is available in order to study the effects of music on health from a multi-disciplinary perspective. "

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  • Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
    • Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Psych. Sabine Pahl, MSc PhD

      Research Focus:

      Environmental Psychology

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    • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Scharnowski MSc

      Research Focus:
      Neurofeedback, functional brain imaging, clinical neuroscience, translational neuroimaging, psychiatric disorders, neurorehabilitation, brain-computer-interfaces, computational modeling, machine learning, artificial intelligence

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  • Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Prof. Dr. Stefanie Höhl

      Research Focus
      Our research focuses on human development during infancy and childhood, as well as on the transition into adulthood. We are particularly interested in how social and cognitive development unfolds and how babies and children learn in social interactions. We use various methodological approaches from behavioral and brain sciences. For instance, we use electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to record brain activity, we apply interactive eye tracking to assess perception and attention, and we carry out behavioral observations of social interactions. 

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  • Department of Occupational, Economic and Social Psychology
    • Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Psych. Dr. Arnd Florack

      Research Focus:
      - self-regulation, regulatory focus
      - consumer motivation, attention, and behavior
      - healthy and sustainable consumption
      - consumption and well-being
      - acculturation / stereotyping
      A description of our thematic area (Work, Society, and Economy) according to the developmental plan of the university:
      One of the biggest challenges people face today is the need to accommodate constantly changing working, societal, and economic environments. On the one hand, employees need to adapt to new and flexible working conditions. Consumers are more and more active agents in the value creation process and, at the same time, have the challenge to make decisions based on an immense amount of information and between a great variety of offers. Moreover, citizens are confronted with complex structures of incentives and obligations (e.g., tax laws) and need to precisely assess their lawful duties, and acknowledge the way their decision processes operate. On the other hand, companies, marketing managers, and governing authorities focus on changing people’s behavior that can serve their local (e.g., profits of companies) or global benefits (e.g., reducing climate change). In the department of “work, society, and economy”, researchers study these important challenges with a great variety of methodological expertise applying theories from work, organizational, economic, and social psychology.
      A description of the key research area (Psychology of Changes and Decisions in Organizations and the Economy)
      This key research area (which primarily falls within the thematic area of work, society and the economy) studies how people respond to the challenges they are facing in economic contexts today. It particularly focuses on changes in organisations and in the world of work, including the acceleration of work, decisions regarding work processes, the consequences of monitoring and trust with regard to commitment to rules (e.g. tax compliance), and how humans respond to the permanent availability of products and regulate their own consumption. This area also examines differences between countries and cultural influences. Its research is based on theories from work psychology and organisational psychology, economic psychology and social psychology, and contributes to their advancement.
      In its applied research, quantitative methods predominate. Cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, observations and diary studies are conducted. Another goal is to prove causal influences in field and laboratory studies. The aforementioned methods are complemented by qualitative approaches such as interviews, focus groups and association techniques, which are used to study topics such as social representations of economic phenomena. In addition, techniques such as eye movement measurement are applied in both field and lab studies in order to directly capture the use of information for decision-making. This key research area examines both aspects of experience (such as emotions) and specific, observable behaviours and decisions.

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