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Research Profile

Psychology, as an empirical science, aims to explore the complex interplay of biological, social, and mental conditions of (modern) human behaviour and experience. The Department of Psychology at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena offers for this objective the benefits of a close interlocking of fundamental and applied research, striving to make essential and international contributions to societal and political discourses with its research. The department comprises 13 sections:

ABO   Arbeits-,Betriebs- und Organisationspsychologie (Work and Organisational Psychology), Prof. Trimpop

A1       Allgemeine Psychologie I (General Psychology I), Prof. Schweinberger

A2       Allgemeine Psychologie II (General Psychology II), Prof. Rothermund

BIO     Biologische Psychologie und Kognitive Neurowissenschaft (Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience), Prof. Kovacs

DIF      Differenzielle, Persönlichkeitspsychologie & Psychologische Diagnostik (Personality Psychology & Psychological Assessment), Prof. Neyer

E         Entwicklungspsychologie(Developmental Psychology), Prof. Riediger

FS       Forschungssynthese, Intervention und Evaluation (Psychological Research Synthesis, Intervention and Evaluation), Prof. Beelmann

K         Klinische Psychologie (Clinical Psychology), Prof. Miltner, Prof. Weiß

KPI      Klinisch-psychologische Intervention (Clinical Psychological Intervention), Prof. Wilz

M         Methodenlehre und Evaluationsforschung (Psychological Methods), Prof. Steyer

       Pädagogische Psychologie (Educational Psychology), Prof. Noack

PER    Psychologie als Ergänzungsfach (Psychology Minor), PD Karina Weichold

S         Sozialpsychologie (Social Pychology), Prof. Kessler.


Oriented towards research, the Department of Psychology at FSU Jena receives external funds of about 3.5 million Euros per year (proportion of German Research Foundation (DFG) funds: about 1.3 million Euros). Research activities prominently focus on the focal research areas of perception and interaction as well as development and health.


Research focussing on perception and interaction accounts for the fundamental processes of perception and their social conditions and consequences. Here, special attention is awarded to fundamental research concerning the neurological, cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes that mediate the interplay of perception and social interaction. This focus promotes a deepened understanding of the dyadic and group-based interactions that are highly relevant to those scientific and political areas negotiating e.g. the regulation of cooperation and the solution of social conflict.


Research focusing on development and health is concerned with the conditions and consequences of successful and pathological psychological developmental processes across the entire lifespan. This includes the development of prevention and intervention programmes. Based on the underlying premise that every individual development takes place in a social context, the microsocial and organisational processes as well as the societal framework have to be accounted for in research of individual development. Upon these grounds, scientifically and politically relevant themes such as aging, work-life, life-long learning or the prevention of violence are addressed.


With approaches spanning from experimental, correlative and longitudinal field- and laboratory research, a broad methodological field is covered that ranges from neuroscientific paradigms to those of the social and behavioural sciences. Both core research areas employ the latest in current methodology in multimodal data collection and statistical analyses. These continuously developing areas can roughly be summarized as follows:


Perception and Interaction

Development and Health

I. Neuronal and social processes of perception and cognition (A1, BIO, K, S)

e.g.: Neuropathic pain, hypnosis, vision, facial recognition, vocal recognition


II. Motivation, emotion and action (A1, A2, BIO, E, KPI)

e.g.: Views on aging, self-regulation, implicit processes


III. Social interactions and relations within and between groups (DIF, FS, PÄ, S)

e.g.: Social discrimination, personal relationships

IV. Development and education across the life span (ABO, A1, A2, DIF, E, PÄ, PER)

e.g.: Aging, developmental trajectories, Lifelong Learning, working situations


V. Biological fundamentals, diagnostics and therapy of psychopathological disorders (A1, K, KPI, M)

e.g.: Dementia, focal cerebral injury, autism, psychotherapy research


VI. Work and health (ABO, FS, K, KPI, PER)

e.g.: workplace safety, prevention of violence, care of relatives, health promotion measures

VII. Methods (A1, A2, BIO, FS, DIF, KPI, M)

e.g.: Evaluation, intervention, causality, biomarker development 


Exchange and cooperation within and between these two main focal areas in research is encouraged within a tight network between the department's sections (blue lines mark cooperation in perception and interaction, black lines account for the area of development and health):


This network offers a dynamic foundation for joint research cooperation within the department and its research and educational facilities, as well as with other local faculties and departments (e.g.: Biology, Educational Sciences, IT, Medicine, Economics, Sociology, Sport Science, Linguistics) or extramural institutions (e.g.: Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History, Fraunhofer-Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, Leibniz-Institute on Aging, Centre for Research on Right Wing Extremism, Democratisation and Integration).