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Behavioral Science

“Wouldn't economics make a lot more sense if it were based on how people actually behave, instead of how they should behave?” (Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational)

Markets consist of individual decision makers and are shaped by their behavior. Our Behavioral Science research group strives for a better understanding of the behavior of market participants, consumers and corporate decision makers alike. Our research activities center on the decision-making processes of market participants and how they are changing, with particular focus on the impact of new technologies. 

In line with Dan Ariely’s introductory quote, we are interested in how humans actually behave and make decisions under limited time and cognitive resources. This includes studying potential judgmental biases or shortcomings, but also the many clever ways in which human cognition adapts to and exploits information in an ever-changing choice environment. Realistic conceptions of consumer and corporate decision making are a necessary pre-condition for marketing insights to make an impact. Only if we understand the informational needs but also the limits of corporate decision makers, we can make market research results more understandable and powerful. And only if we understand consumer decision processes and needs, can we help to align products, services and stores with consumers’ goals.

We address our research questions with a variety of methods, such as surveys, lab, online and field experiments, observational tools (e.g., face and voice analysis), (re)analysis of existing behavioral datasets, up to sometimes even prototype development. To achieve research excellence across a wide a variety of topics, we cooperate with academic experts in the respective fields. Ultimately, we consider ourselves as an independent source for evidence-based insights about market decisions as well as new tools and methods for gaining such insights. We regularly make our findings and, if applicable, recommendations available to the interested public. 

Get to know our researchers​


Past projects: 


Academic cooperation partners (past and present):

/// KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (KIT), KD2LAB AND DIVISION FOR ELECTRONIC MARKETS AND USER BEHAVIOR, PD DR. JELLA PFEIFFER: Two research projects, (1) on how virtual reality can be used to study shopper decision making and (2) on experimentally validating the use of voice to infer emotional arousal.

/// UNIVERSITY OF BIELEFELD, COGNITIVE INTERACTION TECHNOLOGY CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (CITEC), DR. THIES PFEIFFER: Research project on how virtual reality can be used to study shopper decision making.

/// UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN DENMARK, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, ENVIRONMENTAL AND BUSINESS ECONOMICS, PROF. DR. MARTIN MEISSNER: Research project on how virtual reality can be used to study shopper decision making.

/// UNIVERSITY OF AUGSBURG, EMBEDDED INTELLIGENCE FOR HEALTH CARE AND WELLBEING, PROFESSOR DR. BJÖRN SCHULLER: Research project on software-based voice analysis for automatic emotion recognition.

/// UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA, SWISS CENTER FOR AFFECTIVE SCIENCE (CISA), PROFESSOR DR. KLAUS SCHERER: Research project on software-based facial expression analysis for automatic emotion recognition.

/// FRAUNHOFER INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRATED CIRCUITS IIS, DEPARTMENT OF IMAGE ANALYSIS AND PATTERN RECOGNITION, DR. JENS-UWE GARBAS: Research project on software-based facial expression analysis for automatic emotion recognition.

/// UNIVERSITY OF ERLANGEN-NUREMBERG, CHAIR OF ECONOMIC THEORY, PROF. DR. VERONIKA GRIMM: Research project on how trustworthiness and diligence of citizens in various EU are perceived by their fellow Europeans.

/// UNIVERSITY OF DUISBURG-ESSEN, DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY, PROFESSOR DR. MATTHIAS BRAND: Research project addressing the impact of social influence factors on purchase decisions.

/// UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH, CHAIR FOR NEUROSPYCHOLOGY, PROFESSOR DR. LUTZ JÄNCKE: Neuromarketing studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging to study motivational effects of differentially preferred consumer brands.

/// SAARLAND UNIVERSITY, INSTITUTE FOR CONSUMPTION AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH, PROFESSOR DR. ANDREA GRÖPPEL-KLEIN: Development of a picture-based self-report scale to capture emotions.

/// UNIVERSITY OF HARVARD, LEHRSTUHL PROFESSOR DR. JOHN HAUSER: Research project on non-compensatory models for predicting purchase decisions.

/// UNIVERSITY OF HOHENHEIM, MARKETING DEPARTMENT, PROFESSOR DR. MARKUS VOETH: Development of a conjoint analysis approach for measuring preferences for complex products.