Our research focuses on cognitive and affective mechanisms of human decision-making behaviour, especially in the context of behavioural addictions. We use experimental psychological paradigms, neuropsychological testing procedures and questionnaires. Beyond behavioural data, we also use physiological methods to measure changes in heart rate, skin conductance, (stress) hormone concentration or brain activity. The connection to the Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ELH) in Essen enables us to conduct brain imaging studies using a 7 Tesla fMRI.

Our findings and methods from basic research are used in various fields of application. We focus on the psychological aspects of internet use.

We investigate which cognitive and affective processes can contribute to the development and maintenance of behavioural addictions. We are particularly interested in the question of why individuals repeatedly choose to engage in a specific behaviour even though they experience negative consequences as a result. We look at specific forms of addictive internet use, e.g. in the context of gaming, online shopping, use of online pornography or use of social networks, and explore their potential similarities and differences in the addiction development process (especially in the DFG research group FOR2974).

We are also interested in which psychological processes and competences are important for a beneficial use of the internet and other technologies without harming oneself or others. To this end, we use the findings from our basic research on risk decisions to transfer them to different application contexts, such as IT security, privacy protection, human-technology interaction or online social interaction.

From the results of our basic and applied research, we try to derive contributions for preventive measures and intervention options.