Welcome to the homepage of Social Psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum!


Social Psychologists typically investigate the behavior, feelings and thoughts of the average person. In other words, Social Psychology is the „Psychology of Everyday Life“. To illustrate, we try to give answers to the following questions:


Why do people like a certain person? Why are people prejudiced? Why are people aggressive and why do they help? Why is peoples’ decision making oftentimes correct – and when does it fail? When are people motivated to do something and why? How do feelings affect perception, memory, judgment and behavior? What do people think about others? How can one influence a person? What happens if people think about their own death? Why do people feel closer to members of their ingroup? What factors are likely to prevent intergroup conflict? What happens if one attacks people’s self esteem? How do people communicate? Which kind of information are people likely to remember from a person and which are they likely to forget? Can one enhance creativity in the social context? Why would we sometimes prefer innovative, new products whereas in other situations we become careful and conservative? Do money and possessions make us happy or unhappy? Why are religious people healthier? Are mindfulness trainings efficient? How can we build happy relationships? How can we stay away from unhealthy stuff? Do people sometimes act unconsciously? What is free will? How can people control their behavior?

These are only a few of the typical issues social psychologists investigate.

Social Psychology is a scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior, thought, judgment and emotion in social situations. Social psychologists argue that our feelings, thoughts and behavior are very much influenced by typical contextual factors such as the living environment, the social structure, or the political sphere, just to name a few. Our notion of “context” refers to all kinds of stimuli, feelings and motivations which we perceive together with a person, an object or a situation and we show that this kind of context powerfully influences people.

Rather than explaining people's behavior by fixed and stable personality traits, social psychologists examine the interaction between the personality and the context. They design theories that can predict when and why people behave, feel and think in a certain way. They test their theories in experiments that they conduct with average people to understand what influences people.

Social psychological research simultaneously has a big impact on and is affected by other psychological fields such as clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, applied psychology and cognitive psychology, to name a few.


Our team conducts research in different aspects of social psychology. We are especially interested in the following topics:


     - Prejudice and Discrimination

     - Self-Regulation

     - Unconscious and conscious processes

     - Creativity

     - Human Motivation

     - Neophobia

     - Aggression

     - Person Memory

     - Embodiment

     - Metacognition

     - Relationships

     - Mindfulness

     - Having and Being

     - Self and Narcissism

     - Gender-role Self-concept

     - Subjective Well-being

     - Perceived Inequity

     - Attachment and Love

     - Sexuality

     - Cultural Variation in Self-construal and Relationship Satisfactio

     - Empathy

     - Forgiveness

     - Social media, impression management & social comparison