Research

The research we do in our Social Behaviour and Ethics Lab focuses on humans in their social collective. When and how do we cooperate with others? How does morality guide our behaviour?

I am interested in when and how humans cooperate with others. I investigate this big question from the two perspectives of group dynamics and prosociality: when do we our best to contribute to our group’s joint performance, for example by sharing our knowledge so we can make good joint decisions? And when do we act prosocially and help others instead of prioritising ourselves, for example by sharing money? Beyond the psychological processes involved, I also look at how physiological factors influence group dynamics and prosociality. From an applied perspective, we try to put our findings on cooperation into use for the prevention of infectious disease.

Further, I am interested in morality. I work both on basic research questions and concrete ethical application cases. Basic research involves the question which fundamental moral values guide our behaviour towards others. From the perspective of concrete cases that pose a challenge to ethics, I am interested in cognitive enhancement (“brain doping”) and how humans deal with non-human animals.

My work is interdisciplinary, using mainly theory and methods from experimental social psychology and from philosophy (ethics). My work has been funded, for example, by the German National Academic Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Oxford Martin School, and the Wellcome Trust.