Department of Psychology

This is a selection of research topics that we are studying in our lab.

Event Cognition

How do human observers comprehend their dynamic environment, such as when watching sport broadcasts on television, movies or natural actions? Instead of processing all information presented in this constant stream of information equally, observers segment the information stream into meaningful units, the so called events. In this project, we study how human observer construct event models of their dynamic environment and how they update these event models during the observation of dynamic scenes. Furthermore, we investigate the consequences of event model construction on human perception, such as the illusory perception of information that was actually missing in the dynamic environment.

Human-Robot Interaction

We investigate the interaction of humans with robots as social agents. Given the expected rapid spread of robots in everyday life, it is crucial to understand the psychological processes occurring during human-robot interaction. Within this project, we currently focus on helping scenarios, such as the influence of bystanders on humans‘ willingness to help robots in need of help (e.g., because they got stuck).

Processing of Spatial Configurations in Visual Working Memory

Spatial configurations are an important part of the organization of visual working memory. Even when asking observers to encode multiple object locations independently, for example, they also automatically process and encode the spatial configuration of those objects. With this project, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of how spatial configurations are processed within visual working memory. Thereby, this project tries to expand our understanding of the structure of visual working memory. This project focuses on the following two research questions: a.) Can spatial configurations be updated during active memorization? b) Is there a common mechanism driving the configuration and context effects that were observed in multiple paradigms by previous research?

This project was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) from 01 Nov 2017 until 30 Jun 2021:

Cognitive Offloading of Working Memory Processes

Mobile devices such as tablets enable users to offload internal memory content and memory processes, thus providing the potential to overcome limitations of working memory that generally restrict cognitive performance. In our projects, we address the potentials, benefits, and risks of offloading cognitive processes into mobile touch devices systematically. Therefore, we investigate how the intuitive control of mobile touch devices facilitates interactions between internally and externally stored information. Furthermore, we explore the potential of the mobility of touch devices to externalize transformation processes that otherwise draw heavily onto the internal resources. Importantly, we also investigate how cognitive offloading affects the explicit and implicit acquisition of long-term memory representations. Beside these more general aspects of cognitive offloading, we also study individual differences in cognitive offloading of working memory processes by focusing on the influence of metacognitions on cognitive offloading.

This project was funded by the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen from 01 Jul 2017 until 31 Dec 2020: