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Research

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Social Psychology is one of the classic disciplines of empirical psychology and has a high relevance in daily life. Social Psychological research investigates how people perceive their social environment and understand how they are influenced by others in their thinking, feeling and actions (e.g. through instructions or threats, peer pressure, norms and discourses in society). In addition, it is investigated, how people themselves exert an influence on others and – together with other humans – can contribute to social change.

In the Social Psychology Department at the University of Marburg, we take into consideration that such phenomena do not only reflect individual judgments and feelings but are also influenced by the membership of social groups as well as by social and cultural conditions and changes (e.g. diversity, globalization). In accordance with that, we use theoretical concepts such as social identity, social representations or narratives. On a methodological level, we apply quantitative and qualitative as well as fundamental and application-oriented (e.g. evaluation research) approaches.

Our research focus can be assigned to three areas:

1) Conflicts and cooperation between social groups

In this area, we investigate the causes and consequences of discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes as well as possibilities to reduce these phenomena, especially in connection with integration and migration as well as in relation to international conflicts. We do not only want a better understanding of the escalation processes of conflicts better but also of possibilities for coping with conflicts constructively. In particular, we are interested in the conditions for successful communication and help across group boundaries as well as in solidary collaborative actions against systematic injustice and for social change. Positive contact between groups, which we also implement in practice and evaluate (e.g. in a school context), plays an important role.

Research focus of: Christopher Cohrs, Frank Eckerle, Patrick Kotzur, Carmen Lienen, Johannes Maaser, Orgun Özcan, Inga Pauls, Adrian Rothers, Ulrich Wagner, Maria Therese Wiemer

2) Violence and the prevention of violence

In this area, we focus on the manifestations, extents and causes of aggression and violence alongside possibilities to prevent these phenomena. Since violence mainly relates to learned behavior, which is acquired in childhood and adolescence (reinforcement and observational learning), prevention can succeed by means of different strategies and measures. We put violence preventing insights into practice, for instance within the context of our project  “Einsicht” (insight) in Marburg, the competence training for coping with discrimination (KOBEDI) and the violence prevention concept for the German city Bonn, and we evaluate the effectiveness of such projects and trainings.

Research focus of: Viktoria Kosjankow, Johannes Maaser, Orgun Özcan, Ulrich Wagner

3) Political judgments and actions

Here, among other things, we tackle the analysis of political ideologies, collective memories and constructions of national identity (e.g. patriotism, nationalism) and how, interacting with personal value orientation and attitudes, they influence individual judgements and actions. Of exceptional interest are judgment processes and actions which apply to politically and economically relevant areas, such as evaluations of war, readiness for peace and human rights, populist attitudes as well as environmentally and climate-friendly (sustainable) consumer behavior.

One current project, an interdisciplinary effort with colleagues from sociology and political science, which also touches on intergroup relations research, focuses on different forms of European identification and their consequences for solidarity (EUNIDES - European and National Identification: Causes, Forms, and Consequences for Increasing and Decreasing Solidarity).

Research focus of: Christopher Cohrs, Frank Eckerle, Carmen Lienen, Adrian Rothers, Linus Peitz, Isabel Müller  

Please do also note our “Mission statement”.

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