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My interests concern pressing sociological and ethical questions. I approach these questions guided by various theories and utilize quantitative and qualitative methods.

One overarching interest is to understand the mechanisms that drive human behavior, including social and cognitive processes, be it health behavior, the use of (bio-)technology, corruption, moral dilemmas, etc. I therefore seek to understand the role of the individual (including their preferences, abilities, beliefs, learning history, or personality), their meso- and macro-level context (including stressors, social norms of the setting, or social networks), their interactions, and decision-making principles (including rational decision-making, heuristics and biases, framing of the situation, (un-)conscious thought).

I do so by employing, combining, and integrating various theoretical assumptions, for example, from social learning theory, social norms approach, rational choice, social control theory, terror-management health model, self-control theory, attribution theory, personality, dual-process models, or stress-response approaches.
To get a deeper understanding of decision-making, I am interested in the causes of the causes, i.e. factors that, for instance, affect the perception of risk or moral judgment.

Links to exemplary publications on: the interplay of rationality and morality, the interplay of rationality and opportunity, moral judgment and the ADC model, updating risk perceptions, stress and social support

Another overarching characteristic of my work is that I apply, evaluate, and develop a broad range of methods of empirical social research. This includes panel surveys, experiments and factorial vignette surveys. I also apply qualitative methods, such as semi-structured interviews or expert consultation. The data that I have collected sum up to +70,000 observations.

Four exemplary subtopics in the area of methods are:

1. Strategies to increase survey participation and data quality, including the effect of mailed prenotification plus prepaid cash incentives, mailed prenotification plus a prepaid voucher, mailed prenotification plus a post-paid voucher, and mailed prenotification on its own as compared to a control group without prenotification or incentives.

2. Special techniques for collecting sensitive information (e.g. randomized response, crosswise, and triangular technique).

3. Scale development, including a scale for moral preferences.

4. Assessing social networks and social support.

Links to exemplary publications on: incentives in surveys, randomized response technique, scale on preferences for moral intuition, assessing social networks

Four exemplary subtopics in the area of health, health (bio-)technologies, and prevention are:

1. The prevalence, individual, and contextual causes, societal implications, and the development of prevention strategies of/for the use of (non-)pharmaceutical strategies - including prescription drugs, sports, nutrition - to enhance cognitive performance (e.g., memory and concentration) in different populations (e.g., students, the general population, and children).

2. The acceptance of brain-computer interfaces for medical (e.g. to treat paralysis, reconnecting the brain to non-functioning limbs or to prosthetics) and non-medical purposes (e.g., sports) and various implications (e.g., on data security, the self, autonomy, consent, social inequality, fairness).

3. The prevalence and the roots of stigmatization towards people with mental illness (such as addiction).

4. The assessment and the consequences of health-competences in children.

Links to exemplary publications on: cognitive enhancement in Germany, prescription drug use in healthy children, Big Five personality and drugs, attitudes on BCIs, personhood and BCIs, stigma and addiction

Two exemplary subtopics in the area of deviance research and criminology are:

1. Integrity in universities including the assessment of the prevalence and causes of (e.g., plagiarism, copying in exams, corruption, or falsifying and fabricating data) by investigating the underlying mechanisms of decision-making with respect to individual and organizational characteristics.

2. The prevalence and individual as well as contextual causes of substance use and misuse (including prescription drugs and illegal drugs) as well as drug dealing. Based on this research I provide information on potential prevention strategies.

Links to exemplary publications on: corruption in universities, academic misconduct, detection risk, drug dealing

Three exemplary subtopics in the area of education are:

1. Understanding students and parents strategies to increase study performance.

2. The examination of procrastination, study motivation, or study stress as antecedents of study-related behavior.

3. Integrity in universities (see above).

Links to exemplary publications on: plagiarism, test anxiety, procrastination, methods for preventing academic dishonesty

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