Meet our amazing team

Dr. Iris K. Schneider – Junior Professor 

Originally from the Netherlands, Iris Schneider obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam and did her postdoc at the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Southern California. She is now a Junior Professor at the University of Cologne, where she leads the Social and Economic Cognition Lab. She is obsessed with understanding ambivalence – the experience of mixed feelings- – from all possible angles. She also studies the influence of spatial distance on judgment and decision-making. Her work is currently funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Center for Social and Economic Behavior in Cologne and has also been funded by the Dutch Scientific Organization (NWO). Her full academic CV can be found here, and her Google Scholar Profile here. OSF profile:

Dr. Farid Anvari – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Farid’s work, beginning in social psychology (PhD from Flinders University
of South Australia), is currently best categorized under the banner of
meta-science in psychology. Following his PhD, he was funded by an
Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the
Netherlands, where he began obsessing about (i) how to determine the
smallest effect size that may be considered either theoretically or
practically meaningful, and (ii) measurement in psychology. He’s currently
finishing a 2-year postdoc at the University of Southern Denmark as of
February 2021, where he researched the measurement of explore-exploit
decisions in judgment and decision making. Funded by a Marie Curie
Individual Fellowship, he has started research with Iris on the measurement of
positive and negative feelings. You can see his Google Scholar Profile

Jana Hohnsbehn, M. Sc. – Ph.D. Student

Jana obtained her Masters from the University of Cologne and is interested in the positive effects of ambivalence, in particular in decision-making processes. For instance, her work examines the influence of mixed feelings on confirmation bias. Jana’s work is funded through a Stipendium by the Schmitmann-Wahlen Stiftung and the Center for Social and Economic Behavior.

Eileen Pauels, M. Sc. – Ph.D. Student

Eileen works on the effect of spatial distance and similarity. She examines whether the spatial distance between people and objects influences the way people judge and categorize these objects. She is also interested in the perception of ambivalence in leaders. For instance: do people perceive female politicians who express ambivalence differently from male politicians who express ambivalence?

Jacqueline Bachmann – Research Assistant

Jacqueline is an undergraduate research assistant in our group. She is interested in ambivalence and how this is perceived by others. Apart from assisting in research she also handles administration for the research group.

Hanna Kühlkamp – Research Assistant

Hanna is an undergraduate research assistant and responsible for the coordination of the lab and data collection. She is interested in – and has researched – ambivalence in political settings.

Denise van Dinter – Research Assistant

Denise is a research assistant in our group who is responsible for data collection and survey design. She also handles administrative tasks for the group and is involved in the organization of group activities.

Celine Frank – Research Assistant

Having been a member of the Social and Economic Cognition Lab since its inception in 2016, Celine is back as a Research Assistant after taking a leap year. She is interested in – and has done her Bachelor’s thesis on – the relationship between ambivalence and creativity.

Noëlle Rensing, B.A. – Research Assisant

Noëlle is a research assistant in our group who is responsible for the administration of the website and programming. She is interested in implicit and three-dimensional measurements in psychology such as mouse-tracking and virtual reality.


Jana Dreston, B. Sc. – Research Assistant

Jana was a graduate research assistant in our group who was responsible for designing and developing study materials, coding, literature search, and data collection.

André Mattes, M. Sc. – Ph.D. Student at the University of Cologne

André was a research assistant with us since the early days of our lab. In 2019, he started his Ph.D. project at the Individual Differences and Psychological Assessment Group at the University of Cologne. During his time with us, André investigated the cognitive processes underlying ambivalent evaluations using diffusion modeling, mouse-tracking, and network analyses. Currently, he studies error processing, post-error adaptation and perfectionism-related variations in error processing employing neurocognitive methods such as ERP analyses, multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), and mathematical modeling of electrophysiological signals. You can find his contact details here.

Dr. Jehan Sparks – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jehan was a post-doc in the Social Cognition Center Cologne and had her home base in the Social and Economic Cognition Lab. Jehan obtained her PhD from the University of California Davis. She is now a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She researches how people get “stuck” in frames of thought – like negative (vs. positive) mindsets or up and downward counterfactuals – and what factors enable people to get unstuck and think more flexibly. Find out more about Jehan here.

Julia Stapels, M. Sc. – Ph.D. Student at the University of Bielefeld

Julia did her Master’s Thesis on ambivalence in moral dilemmas. She is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Bielefeld, where she studies ambivalence towards robots. Find out more about Julia here.