Research - Psychology

We collaborate with international partners and locally we do our research in the Can Be Lab (Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience and Behavior Laboratory) (images)

We can take various behavioral measures in addition to recording brain activity and taking various traditional psycho-physiological measures such as skin conductance, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. We conduct startle reflex modulation studies to quantify emotional processes. Our department recently acquired new equipment to conduct observational research and behavior analysis in social interaction and counseling processes.

We do basic as well as clinically relevant research and finally we offer our know-how and expertise in the frame of Neuroconsulting services to industry partners, who are interested in the emotional impact of their goods and services (Neuromarketing). Please click here to check out some real life CanBeLab outcome implications (webpage in German).

See publication list.

Research Core Areas

  • Cognitive processing: We aim at understanding the neural bases of attention, memory, language, planning and decision-making.
  • Affective processing: We investigate discrepancies between self reported and objectively measured affect (affective processing). There is more to emotion than just subjective feeling and thus purely self-report-based therapies might be misleading
  • Self-referential processing: We demonstrate that the human self consists of at least two aspects (Me1 and Me2). This might help to better treat clinical conditions that are associated with disordered self concepts. In addition, we try to better explain the development of the self during the human lifespan as well as the existence of a self in non-human animals.
  • Neuroconsulting: We offer our expertise in Neuroscience and its related methodology to help industry partners testing their products, be it actual goods, websites or services. Neuromarketing¬†
  • Nonverbal behavior: Theoretical and empirical investigations of the function of multi-modal social signals and social cues, from the standpoint of evolutionary approaches to human and animal behavior.
  • Emotional communication: Production and perception of emotional signals and their role in social interactions and relationships, for example in the workplace.
  • Social Signal Processing: Automatic analysis of human communicative behavior (in collaboration with computer scientists).

Student Projects (BA and MA Theses)


  • Physiological responses and cognitive mechanisms used in the spiritual and meditative practice of prayer (MA, Jessica Sokol).
  • Do male mate preferences influence eating behaviors of females? (MA, Jacqueline Miller).
  • Effects of parental self-efficacy, parental confidence, and mixed messages on parental practices (MA, Denitsa Batsova).
  • The effect of smiling on the perception of different emotion categories (MA, Jovana Popovic).
  • Age difference in emotional interpretation (MA, Niki Sharifi).
  • The relationship between adversity, resilience, and physiology (MA, Engi Refaat).
  • Discrepancies between conscious and non-conscious processing of affective information in the brain (BA, Eva Smrekar).


  • The role of cognitive distortions and dysfunctional attitudes in students' experiences of burnout (MA, Aron Zieger).
  • The effect of mixed messages on parental self-efficacy and affect (MA, Tara Acevedo).
  • Going beyond words: The relationship between nonverbal behavior and social competence (MA, Anna Maria Huber).
  • Interpersonal communication between close friends (MA, Tara Pavic).
  • Verbal and non-verbal aspects of self (BA, Nikola Gojcaj).
  • Exploring the reading preferences in digital and printed text (MA, Sara Oroz).
  • The effect of color and verbal information on feelings in humans (MA, Laura Malik).
  • Brain preferences in reading device: the differences in reading experiences via printed and digital text (MA, Kathleen M. Burns).
  • Implicit and explicit emotional responses related to digital communication devices (Markus Schweiger, SFU).


  • Personality characteristics and motivations of Tinder and online-dating agency users (BA, Karoline Gatter).
  • Gender-dependent difference between subjective and objective measures of emotion-related processing examined after affective priming (BA, Martina Matlieva).
  • The relationship between personality, student learning style, and academic performance (BA, Olyvia Longoria).
  • Attitudes of Psychology Students Toward Expressive Therapies (MA, Victoria Fay).
  • Parents' Quality of Life and Perceptions of How Their Developmentally Disabled Children are Treated by Others (MA, Maria Leyla Rafoul).
  • The role of aesthetics on attraction and satisfaction of intimate relationships (MA, Nataly Loumba).
  • Predictors of graduate psychology student's attitudes about and willingness to conduct online counseling (MA, Kelly Underwood).
  • On the relationship between alexithymia, attachment security and health (MA, Valbona Hoxha).
  • Developmental Trauma Disorder: An alternative to current diagnostic practices of chronic child abuse (MA, Elena Schirenc).

Current Faculty Projects

  • The effect of colors on consumer-relevant decision making: subjective and objective measures (Peter Walla).
  • Negotiation and emotion (NEMO): Multi-level analysis of dyadic social interaction (Marc Mehu).
  • Conscious and non-conscious processing of marketing material (Peter Walla, industry project).
  • Effectiveness of Art Therapy in patients with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure: Analysis of archive data (Krista Rothschild).