The research projects within the Center for Social Psychology are located at the interface between social psychology and consumer psychology as well as judgment and decision-making. Our research approach is social-cognitive and empirical-quantitative; our interest lies in both the fundamental processes of social cognition and perception as well as in applied topics, for example consumer psychology. Among others, we investigate perceptual, cognitive, and communicative processes within judgment formation, the interplay of cognition and feelings, making and experiencing decisions, as well as the relationship between attitudes and behavior. Most of our research studies are experimental and are run with and Qualtrics

Selected research topics

Feelings during judgments and decisions

Information processing is often accompanied by affective and cognitive feelings. Whereas feelings were long perceived as a “threat” to sound judgments and decisions, there is now ample evidence indicating that feelings can be a good information source and are frequently used as a basis for judgment and decision-making in everyday life. In our research projects, we investigate, among other topics, when and how feelings influence judgment and decision-making.

Selected publications:
Tafani, E., Roux, E., & Greifeneder, R. (2018). In the mood for action: When negative program-induced mood improves the behavioral effectiveness of TV commercials. Journal of Business Research, 84, 125-140. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.11.023

Greifeneder, R., & Schwarz, N. (2014). Metacognitive processes and subjective experiences. In J. W. Sherman, B. Gawronski & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual-process theories of the social mind (pp. 314-327). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Greifeneder, R., Bless, H., & Pham, M. T. (2011). When do people rely on affective and cognitive feelings in judgment? A review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15, 107-141. doi:10.1177/1088868310367640

Fake News and Truth Judgments

In the context of fake news, alternative facts, and post truth politics, it is important to understand how individuals decide about truth or falsehood. We investigate judgments of truth and  analyze how the presentation and phrasing of the information impacts judgments. Furthermore, we test how features of the judging individuals play a key role in truth judgments.

Selected publications:
Greifeneder, R., Jaffé, M. E., Newman, E. J., & Schwarz, N. (Eds.). (2020). The psychology of fake news: Accepting, sharing, and correcting misinformation. London: Routledge.

Jaffé, M. E., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). Less than I expected and oh so true? On the interplay between expectations and framing effects in judgments of truthJournal of Language and Social Psychology.

Decision aids

People have to make decisions every day – frequently these are small ones such as choosing between menus in the cafeteria, but some of them are big, too, for example when searching for a new roommate. When all options have pros and cons and therefore seem equally good (or bad), it is difficult to make a decision. Being undecided between options, people might use a decision aid, for example a die. Intriguingly, although they felt undecided before, people often report a sudden experience of being happy or unhappy with the die’s outcome, which indicates that they might not actually have been undecided before. We investigate the influence of such decision aids on decision processes, as well as whether and under which circumstances these changes lead to (good) decisions.

Selected publications:
Jaffé, M. E., Reutner, L., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). Catalyzing decisions: How a coin flip strengthens affective reactions. PLoS ONE, 14(8), e0220736. Public Library of Science.

Douneva, M., Jaffé, M. E., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 83, 132-141. Elsevier.


Faces play an important role in social life. For example, facial information can be used to infer personality traits. With a multidisciplinary approach, we investigate which facial information leads to certain personality attributions. We then use this information to manipulate facial portraits in such a way that clearly defined personality traits are attributed to the persons portrayed. We use this method in several subprojects to investigate the influence of face-based personality attributions in various domains (e.g., employee selection, legal practice, consumer behavior).

Selected publications:
Walker, M., & Keller, M. (2019). Beyond attractiveness: A multi-method approach to study enhancement in self-recognition on the Big Two personality dimensions. Journal of personality and social psychology, 117(3), 483-499. American Psychological Association.

Walker, M., Schönborn, S., Greifeneder, R., & Vetter, T. (2018). The Basel Face Database: A validated set of photographs reflecting systematic differences in Big Two and Big Five personality dimensions. PloS one, 13(3). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193190

Funk, F., Walker, M., & Todorov, A. (2017). Modeling perceptions of criminality and remorse from faces using a data-driven computational approach. Cognition and Emotion. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2016.1227305

Social exclusion

Being socially excluded – no longer being part of a group – is a painful experience for people. Groups thereby have an efficient method for sanctioning behavior that is detrimental to the group. Through social exclusion, however, groups can arbitrarily endanger individuals’ well-being and performance. The focus of this line of research is how the negative and sometimes paralyzing reactions to social exclusion can be mitigated. This question is particularly important given the prevalence of bullying in schools, organizations, and other institutions and the resulting individual and economic damage thereof.

Selected publications:
Rudert, S. C., Keller, M. D., Hales, A. H., Walker, M., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). Who gets ostracized? A personality perspective on risk and protective factors of ostracism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000271

Rudert, S. C., Ruf, S., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). Whom to Punish? How observers sanction norm-violating behavior in ostracism situations. European Journal of Social Psychology. Wiley. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2606

Rudert, S. C., Sutter, D., Corrodi, V. C., & Greifeneder, R. (2018). Who’s to Blame? Dissimilarity as a Cue in Moral Judgments of Observed Ostracism Episodes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(1), 31-53. doi: 10.1037/pspa0000122

Rudert, S C. Reutner, L., Greifeneder, R., & Walker, M. (2017). Faced with exclusion: Perceived facial warmth and competence influence moral judgments of social exclusion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68, S. 101-112.


Diversity is a key feature of our current but even more of our future society. Trends such as globalization, migration, demographic shifts, as well as a higher proportion of women joining and staying in the workforce change the heterogeneity of our daily interaction partners. We investigate perceptions of diversity and individuals’ preference for diversity compared to homogeneity. Moreover, we research whether changes in situational and personal variables shift these preferences.

Selected publications:
Jaffé, M. E., Rudert, S. C., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). You should go for diversity, but I’d rather stay with similar others: Social distance modulates the preference for diversity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 85.


An automated list of our publications can be found here.