Dr. Iris K. Schneider – Assistant Professor 

Originally from the Netherlands, Iris Schneider obtained her PhD from the University of Amsterdam, and did her postdoc at the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Southern California. She is now an assistant professor (Jun. Prof.) 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 Dutch Scientific Organization (NWO). Her full academic CV can be found here, and her Google Scholar Profile here.

Dr. Jehan Sparks – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jehan is a post-doc in the Social Cognition Center Cologne, and has her home base in the Social and Economic Cognition Lab. Jehan obtained her Phd from the University of California Davis. 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 our more about Jehan here.

Jana Hohnbehn, MSc. – PhD 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 – PhD Student

Eileen works on the effect of spatial distance and similarity. She examines whether 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 expres ambivalence different from male politicians who express ambivalence?

Jacqueline Bachmann – Administrative 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 the administrative side of 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 done research on – ambivalence in political settings.

Jana Dreston, BSc. – Research Assistant

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

Denise van Dinter – Research Assistant

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

Celine Frank – Lab Supporter

Having been a member of the Social and Economic Cognition Lab since its inception in 2016, Celine is our most loyal supporter even after leaving the University of Cologne for a leap year. She is interested in – and has done her Bachelor’s thesis on – the relationship between ambivalence and creativity.


André Mattes, MSc. – Research Assistant

André was a research assistant with us, but started his PhD project at the Differentielle Psychologie und Psychologische Diagnostik Group at the University of Cologne. André investigated the cognitive processes underlying ambivalent evaluations using diffusion modeling, mouse- tracking, and network analyses.

Julia Stapels, MSc – PhD Student at the University of Bielefeld

Julia did her Master’s Thesis on ambivalence in moral dilemmas. She is now a PhD student at the University of Bielefeld, where she studies ambivalence towards robots. 

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