Inspiration and goals. Everyone has goals. Goals guide our behavior and achieving goals feels good. We are interested in how other people influence our goals. Other people can inspire us. But what exactly is inspiration? Others can also serve as role models. But on what does it depend whether one emulates the behavior of the other person? Some also claim that goals are unconsciously activated when we observe other people striving for those goals. But is the empirical basis for this process solid?
Behavior Change Interventions. People often behave in ways that - at least in the long term - are not only unfavorable to them personally, but also unfavorable to society as a whole. This is e.g. unhealthy nutrition, lack of exercise or excessive energy consumption. We want to develop interventions that help people change their behavior. To achieve this, we do not only use our social psychological knowledge, but also the latest technologies (smart phone apps, machine learning, simulations) and work in interdisciplinary teams.
Social comparisons. People tend to compare themselves with other people. Such comparisons can help to assess oneself and one's performance and abilities. We explore comparison as a cognitive mechanism and look at the factors that determine the consequences of comparison. We will also look at the question of who to compare with and how comparisons affect behavior in performance situations.
Envy. If I compare myself with someone who can do something or has something that I would also like to have or would like to do, then this can trigger envy in me. Envy is a feeling that is perceived as unpleasant, but envy can also spur us on to pursue our desires more intensively. We want to understand envy better, especially in contrast to other feelings such as inspiration or admiration. We are also interested in the role of social media (e.g. Instagram) for envy.
Friendship networks and language development. Communication and language are essential for building and maintaining networks and friendships. But how important are friendships for language learning? Do we learn a language faster if we have many friends and they also speak the language? In primary school classes, we investigate the relationship between the nature and extent of student friendship networks and their individual language development.
Katja CorcoranInstitut für Psychologie