Welcome to our lab website! At the Social and Economic Cognition Lab we are interested in two main themes in judgment and decision-making processes. Our team investigates these questions in experimental and descriptive research, using a range of different research methods. Find out more about the research done in the lab below, or check out the publications page.

AMBIVALENCE. In this line of work we  focusses on mixed feelings, or, ambivalence. Experiencing both positive and negative thoughts and feelings at the same time is quite a common occurrence in people’s lives and is often related to topics that are important. For instance, we have done research on the ambivalence towards food, societal topics, but also relationships and organizational settings.  The ambivalence people experience in relation to these topics has important consequences for affect, cognition, and behavior. We examine these consequences, both on the intrapersonal and interpersonal level, with an emphasis on contextual effects. For instance, we investigate how ambivalence influences information processing, and can help people make better decisions. We also look at how expressing ambivalence can make people look more or less competent.

SPATIAL DISTANCE. We also investigate spatial distance effects on choice and evaluation. Assuming that perception is for thinking,  spatial distance information can inform people on how to think about objects in the world. For instance, when two pieces of fruits are close, people are more likely to see them as fruit or snack, but when they are far, they are just an apple and an orange. Such differences have important consequences for representations an choice behavior. We are also interested in how people construe what is close and what is far, and whether distance can influence perceptions of others around them.

Building on a strong background in social cognition, we examine these topics by using innovative and rigorous experimental methods, while at the same time situating our studies in ecologically valid contexts, such as real-life choices and evaluations.

Our work has been published in Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, and Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition, among others. It has also has been featured in popular media outlets, including Slate Magazine, Mind Magazine (Dutch), and NRC Handelsblad (Dutch).

Learn more about our work on the publications page! If you want to get involved in our research, check out our page about joining the lab.

Contact e-mail: i.k.schneider@uni-koeln.de

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