Tilburg University department Social Psychology

Research of the Department of Social Psychology

By using a diverse set of methodologies, ranging from lab experiments to big data analyses and field research, the research that we conduct at the Department of Social Psychology provides a better understanding of how people make choices and decisions in complex societies.

Our research clusters around four specific themes, including both theoretical and applied questions, that bring together insights from the fields of Social, Economic, and Work & Organizational Psychology.

Currently these research themes are: 

Diversity and inequality

Due to globalization, migration, and demographic changes, modern societies have become increasingly diverse. In building an inclusive society, it is essential to adapt to people's differences and responding to their needs, while tackling issues of inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, and discrimination.

We investigate this theme from individual, organizational, and societal perspectives. Specifically, we focus on questions related to poverty, greed, and incentives, diversity (e.g., in terms of culture, race/ethnicity, gender, and age), fairness and justice, and stereotypes, discrimination, and (measurement) bias.

Prosocial and antisocial behavior

Prosocial behavior is voluntary behavior intended to help or benefit others, while antisocial behaviors are disruptive behaviors that –intentionally or unintentionally– harm or disadvantage others. Such antisocial behaviors can be found in many contexts, including communities (e.g., tax avoidance, vaccination resistance, over-consumption), organizations (e.g., abusive supervision, bullying, discrimination), groups (e.g., ostracism), and personal relationships (e.g., harassment, lying and deceiving, selfishness, greed). 

Our research within this theme focuses on basic processes underlying prosocial and antisocial behaviors such as strategic behavior (game theory), conflict and cooperation, social dilemmas, empathy, perspective-taking, trust and morality, individual differences, and more applied topics such as coalition formation, multi-party negotiations, tax morale, leadership, business ethics, and (dis)honesty.

The psychology of digitalization

Many day-to-day decisions are supported by digital technology, including artificial intelligence (AI). Examples include hiring decisions based on AI-based tools, dating websites using AI to generate better matches, and social media applications using AI to present targeted advertisements. 

Our research within this theme focuses on the human side of digital technologies. Specifically, on questions related to the psychological consequences of technologies, in the context of hiring, dating, communication, marketing, and gaming, and aim to create psychological frameworks for the development and evaluation of technology-based decision tools.

Emotions and well-being

Emotions and well-being play a critical role in relationships, health, and productivity as well as in overcoming difficulties and life challenges. Understanding the antecedents and consequences of emotions and well-being is pivotal for designing effective interventions that have the potential to affect many people’s lives.

Our research within this theme focuses on basic topics like how emotions influence decision making and vice versa, measurement of emotions and well-being, emotional change over time (e.g., emotional responses to parenthood), individual differences in emotion, emotion recognition, work engagement, burn-out, and relationship, consumer, life, and job satisfaction.

 

 Most recent publications  

Facilities

The Research we conduct at the Department of Social Psychology is equipped with high-quality research facilities, including a lab with 24 separate research cubicles, group rooms, eye-tracking equipment, thermal-imaging cameras, and internet access. These resources support a wide range of research methods.

Our research explores various aspects of decision-making, such as the factors that influence choices, including incentives, emotions, individual differences, relationships, interdependencies, and cultural factors. We also investigate the decision-making process itself, including the use of technology, apps, decision aids, and expert advice.

Furthermore, our work delves into how decisions are executed within groups, including negotiation, bargaining, and processes of justification. We also examine the impact of decisions on individual, organizational, and societal outcomes.

TIBER

The Department of Social Psychology hosts the research institute TIBER, the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research. TIBER is devoted to studying the psychological processes underlying individual choice and economic decision making from an interdisciplinary perspective.

TIBER

Colloquia 

The Department of Social Psychology regularly organizes colloquia as part of the Research Master in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Researchers from the Department as well as guest speakers present their latest research in the field of Social, Economic, and Work & Organizational Psychology.

The colloquia are open to all interested people. 

For more information you can contact the coordinators: Dr. Loes Abrahams and Prof. dr. Marcel Zeelenberg.

Colloquium program