dr. Thorsten Erle

dr. Thorsten Erle

Assistant Professor

TSB: Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
TSB: Department of Social Psychology


I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University.  My research approach follows the paradigm of Social Cognition, seeking to understand social phenomena by investigating the cognitive processes involved in them.

I study how we understand others and develop empathy for them, particularly by means of perspective-taking. I seek to understand the mechanisms underlying these processes, and what their consequences are, for example, for social and economic decision-making, for organizational behaviors, or for mental health & well-being.

I also investigate emoji as a means to non-verbally communicate in digital text-based communication from the vantage point of social theories of emotion, both in low-stakes social interactions, as well as in work and organizational (e.g., workplace communication), and economic contexts (e.g., online customer-brand interactions).


I mainly conduct experimental research using behavioral and psychophysiological methods to uncover the mechanisms underlying social cognitions, behaviors, and decisions.

My research has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the European Association for Social Psychology (EASP), Prolific Academic, Tilburg University, and the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions (NIM)


At Tilburg University, I have taught courses in the Work Group Psychology, Experimental Research Design, and Social Cognition.

At my previous institutions, I have taught courses on Implicit Social Cognition, Attitudes and Persuasion, Research Methods, Empathy & Perspective-Taking, Intercultural Competence, and Communication & Rhetoric.

At all institutions, I have also supervised theses at all levels (Bachelor, Master, Research Master). I am currently also the master thesis coordinator at our department, as well as the coordinator of the social psychology track of the bachelor program in psychology. Feel free to direct questions about the completion of your master thesis or the social psychology major/minor to me.



I am also the lab manager at our department. If you have a lab request (lab space, equipment, etc.), contact me or my lab team at: splab@uvt.nl 

Finally, I am the coordinator of the Social Cognition Track at the Kurt Lewin Instituut (KLI). Should you have questions about the KLI's social cognition track, you can contact me, too.

Recent publications

  1. Defining key concepts for mental state attribution

    Quesque, F., Apperly, I., Baillargeon, R., Baron-Cohen, S., Becchio, C., Bekkering, H., Bernstein, D., Bertoux, M., Bird, G., Bukowski, H., Burgmer, P., Carruthers, P., Catmur, C., Dziobek, I., Epley, N., Erle, T. M., Frith, C., Frith, U., Galang, C. M., ... Brass, M. (2024). Defining key concepts for mental state attribution. Communications Psychology.
  2. Three key questions to move towards a theoretical framework of visuos…

    Samuel, S., Erle, T. M., Kirsch, L. P., Surtees, A., Apperly, I., Bukowski, H., Auvray, M., Catmur, C., Kessler, K., & Quesque, F. (2024). Three key questions to move towards a theoretical framework of visuospatial perspective taking. Cognition, 247, Article 105787.
  3. Serious games for intercultural skills - Harnessing horizontal and ve…

    Bender, M., & Erle, T. (2023). Serious games for intercultural skills: Harnessing horizontal and vertical asymmetries in expertise and diversity across the curriculum. In S. Bax, G. van der Laan, & T. Leesen (Eds.), Breaking barriers: Innovation through collaboration (pp. 67-79). (Tilburg Series in Academic Education: Knowledge, Skills, Character). Tilburg University. https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/sites/default/files/download/Breaking%20Barriers%20Innovation%20through%20Collaboration_Tilburg%20series%20in%20higher%20education.pdf
  4. Emotions and behavioral intentions in response to ostracism attribute…

    Kip, A., Erle, T. M., Sleegers, W. W. A., & van Beest, I. (2023). Emotions and behavioral intentions in response to ostracism attributed to a perceived lack of warmth versus competence. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations: GPIR. Advance online publication.
  5. "Understanding others in moments of crisis” - A special issue of Soci…

    Schneider, D., Burgmer, P., Erle, T. M., & Ferguson, H. (2023). "Understanding others in moments of crisis”: A special issue of Social Psychology. Social Psychology, 54(1-2), 1-3.

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