Section: Emergence of Leadership


First never follows – but who is taking the lead? Research on “emergence of leadership” seeks to identify the factors that determine who will become a leader in a group. Past research focused mostly on the emergent leader while neglecting whether his leadership attempt was successful, i.e. he was actually followed by the other group members. This research area aims at investigating factors which are predictive of leadership emergence on the one hand and followership on the other hand. In our studies, we assess a broad range of predictors, including inter-individual differences as well as behavioral styles.



Section: Process losses and process gains during negotiations


‘Process losses and process gains during negotiations’ is a research project in collaboration with Leuphana University Lüneburg. Within the scope of this project the role of social interaction in bargaining situations will be analyzed. Former negotiation research suggests that negotiating generally leads to better outcomes for both parties. However, group research shows that social interaction can often lead to process losses. Against this background, several variables (such as the characteristics of the bargaining situation, negotiation targets and cognitive frames) will be manipulated in order to investigate conditions under which process losses vs. process gains can be observed. For this purpose, real negotiation groups will be compared to nominal groups that do not interact socially, thereby combining group research and negotiation research. Significant differences between real and nominal groups indicate either a process loss or a process gain.


Interdisciplinary research project „Escalation research in the communication of large-scale infrastructure and construction projects”

Sub-project social psychology: Perception and interpretation of factual information regarding conflicts by affected and involved individuals

(Funded by the “Niedersächsische Vorab”-program of the Volkswagen foundation)


Focus of the interdisciplinary research group in Lower Saxony: This project brings researchers of various fields from the universities of Brunswick, Göttingen and Hanover together. Since October 2014, this research group has committed itself to identifying conditions that either contribute to the escalation of conflicts during the initial determination, planning and implementation of large-scale projects or lead to a peaceful and consensual progress of these projects (whether the project is realized as planned, with modifications or not at all). With our independent research we aim at contributing to an optimized dialogue process for all those involved.

Focus of the sub-project social psychology: An important determinant of escalating disputes concerning infrastructure and construction projects is that they are usually not (or not adequately) resolved by supposedly clarifying factual information such as expert’s reports. We are interested in processing and evaluation of factual information by the people affected by and/or involved in such projects. With our research we aim to determine how these processes can be optimally designed in the context of communication regarding large-scale infrastructure and construction projects.