Competence Centers

Research Topics

Consumer Decision and Sustainable Behavior Lab, FPSE (Tobias Brosch)

Combining theories and methods from psychology, the affective sciences, behavioral economics, and neuroscience, the relevant researchers investigate the role of factors such as values, emotions, cognitive heuristics, and implicit biases in the sustainable decision-making domain. They study these questions by means of laboratory experiments measuring choice behavior, as well as with large-scale online experiments and surveys. Behavioral choice measures are combined with physiology and brain activation measures to gain an understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms driving decision-making. Collaborating with federal institutions (e.g., the Federal Office of Energy) and commercial enterprises (e.g., energy providers), the relevant researchers develop intervention programs aimed at reducing household energy demand.

Neurofinance and Neuroeconomics (Kerstin Preuschoff)

With a brain evolved to survive in the wilderness, man now faces very different challenges, such as maximizing stock exchange profit. In the wilderness and at the stock exchange, incomplete information and uncertain consequences characterize decisions, although responses advantageous for hunting and foraging (e.g., the fight or flight reflex) may result in unfavorable decisions in today’s world. To understand why many people make suboptimal financial decisions, the relevant researchers study decision making under uncertainty by means of behavioral experiments, functional imaging, financial models of choice, and computational models of learning. They hope to develop a biologically plausible model of choice to help humanity avoid unfavorable financial decisions and to guide clinicians’ treatment of pathological decision-making behavior.

Consumer Behavior and Cognition (Benjamin Scheibehenne)

Benjamin Scheibehenne is interested in the cognitive processes underlying judgment and decision making in a consumer context. He works at the intersection of marketing, psychology, and cognitive science. An important goal of this research program is to gain a better understanding of how people search for and combine information in ecologically valid environments, such as on food choices or financial investments. Benjamin addresses these questions by focusing on a quantitative, experimental approach to test and compare mathematical models by using hierarchical Bayesian statistics.

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