Social comparisons are ubiquitous in how people think and feel about themselves and others. Consequently, comparisons with other people play an important role in motivating behavior in social life. In my research, I am particularly interested in how specific emotions based on social comparisons such as envy, pride, or admiration determine how people make sense of social hierarchies and navigate in them, creating conflict or cooperation in social relationships and organizations. I use experimental as well as correlational approaches to investigate how such emotions contribute to decision-making, social perception, and behavior at the individual and social level. Recently, I have taken an interest in using Virtual Reality as a tool for psychological research. As an editor of the In-Mind Magazine, my goal is to enable psychologists to communicate their science to the public.
I have taught courses on work and organizational psychology, negotiation and conflict resolution, basic and applied social psychology, emotion and motivation, and consumer behavior at the University of Cologne and the University of Bremen.