1. What is the focus of your research and teaching?
My research work concentrates on the cognitive neurosciences with a powerful focus on the processing of emotional information in written and spoken language. Moreover in the area of emotion processing, I am also interested in the causes of individual differences in the emotional reactions, as well as in a related research subject in the field of the viewers’ affection when watching films and film scenes. Furthermore in cooperation with colleagues from the field of cartography, we are studying the modulation of the spatial memory by means of properties of the topographic representation in static and dynamic maps. I try to permit the diverse range of methods utilised here to flow into my teaching work.
2. Which content do you convey in your module?
The teaching subjects I cover are concerned with basic methodical training (which had been covered to date in the BA study courses). In other words, an introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as an introduction to the theory of science and the empirical methods of psychology.
3. What can students learn from you?
In addition to the diverse range of methodologies and the general curiosity I have in our subject, what students can learn from me especially is a fundamental critical questioning attitude, which I believe to be a useful tool for both research work and in the practice of psychology. Especially in light of the current critical discussion about the appropriateness of statistical and empirical methods in our field, I think that the knowledge about the correct methods together with the knowledge about when and how these methods are to be applied represent the prerequisites for the further development of our subject area, one which should not be lacking in any basic training to become a psychologist.
4. What is it about psychology that excites you?
The idea of man in psychology, its image of humanity, is what excites me about it. With our holistic consideration of the diverse range of influences on the human and the study connected to this about their role for human experience and behaviour, we clearly set ourselves apart from other subjects with a similar focus. While one-dimensional considerations would potentially lead to simpler answers, it is the constant questioning and the attempt to fathom the wide-ranging causes of effects especially which makes psychology as a whole so fascinating: Is there a more deep-set connecting level behind the visible surfaces, one which provides a better explanation for the behaviour observed? And in relation to my research work, are there neurobiological descriptive levels which permit us further access to human experience and behaviour and especially to an explanation of the high inter-individual variability of emotional reactions.
5. Have you got a motto on life or a favourite quote?
The exception is more interesting than the rule. (Carl Schmitt)