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Bachelor and Master theses in the work unit Social Psychology

As members of the work unit Social Psychology, our aim is to offer qualification work, which, on one hand, refers to our research focus and, on the other hand, regards your own interests as closely as possible. If you are interested in doing your thesis in our work unit, the following three steps will help you:

1.      Have a look at the list below to see if there are any specifically announced thesis topics, which might interest you.

2.      Inform yourself about the research focus of our work unit’s members.

3.      Get into contact with the person (via office hours/e mail), with whom you see the greatest overlap of interests.

Please do pay attention to our criteria for qualification work.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen Analogies of History in Political Rhetoric – Master ThesisAnalogies of History in Political Rhetoric – Master Thesis

    In political discourse and the media, people sometimes make use of historical analogies to explain new phenomena that enter the public space. For example, when the Charlie Hebdo attacks happened in Paris in 2015, people called them a “European 9/11” to make sense of what happened and decide on a political agenda (Ghilani, 2017). On another occasion, politicians in the UK parliament argued that Britain should accept refugees that had entered Europe in 2015/2016 by comparing the newcomers to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in WWII (Kirkwood, 2019). Historical analogies are used to simplify and organize complex new information in a coherent manner by comparing the present event to something familiar (Gilovich, 1981). Assuming that when two events share one commonality they may also agree in another, historical analogies can serve as a guide for how to deal with new situations and accordingly have the potential to reduce uncertainty (Brandstrom, bynander, & Hart, 2004; Gilovich, 1981; Khong, 1992; Smeekes, Van Acker, Verkuyten, & Vanbeselaere, 2013). They are further used to find support for policies.

    In this project, we are interested in the following research question:

    Does the valence of the analogy (positive vs. negative event in history) influence

    a) the extent of perceived uncertainty reduction?

    b) the extent to which people agree with proposed policies?



    Brändström, A., Bynander, F., & Hart, P. T. (2004). Governing by looking back: Historical analogies and crisis management. Public Administration, 82(1), 191-210.

    Ghilani, D., Luminet, O., Erb, H. P., Flassbeck, C., Rosoux, V., Tames, I., & Klein, O. (2017). Looking forward to the past: An interdisciplinary discussion on the use of historical analogies and their effects. Memory Studies, 10(3), 274-285.

    Gilovich, T. (1981). Seeing the past in the present: The effect of associations to familiar events on judgments and decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(5), 797.

    Contact person: Carmen Lienen,