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Foundations of Social Behavior

The cluster “Foundations of Social Behavior” unites researchers at the ISS that study fundamental aspects of human behavior in social contexts and the social consequences to which they give rise. Integrating sociological and psychological perspectives and combining experimental and non-experimental methods, the research cluster examines a wide range of economic and social behavior. Economic applications include consumer behaviour, credit use, debt, poverty, everyday economics, tax evasion, and insurance fraud; previously studied examples of social behavior are altruism, trust, relationships, career and educational choices, migration and integration.

The research cluster is dedicated to a close dialogue between psychology and sociology. It aims to base sociological explanations on psychologically informed theories of action and to demonstrate the social and economic significance of fundamental psychological processes.


Erik Hölzl, Detlef Fetchenhauer, Clemens Kroneberg, Daniel Ehlebracht, Fabian Hasselhorn, Marc Heise, Michail Kokkoris, Sebastian Sattler, Thomas Schlösser, Tim Steiniger

Former members: Harald Beier, Olga Stavrova

Selected publications

Fetchenhauer, D., and D. Dunning: “Why so cynical? Asymmetric feedback underlies misguided skepticism in the trustworthiness of others”, Psychological Science, 2010, 21, pp. 189-193.

Fetchenhauer, D., H. Euler, and J. Pradel: “Spotting altruistic dictator game players and mingling with them: The elective assortation of classmates”, Evolution and Human Behavior, 2009, 30, pp. 103-113.

Kamleitner, B., and E. Hoelzl: “Cost-benefit-associations and financial behavior”, Applied Psychology: An International Review, 2009, 58 (3), pp. 435-452.

Kroneberg, C., I. Heintze, and G. Mehlkop: “The interplay of moral norms and instrumental incentives in crime causation”, Criminology, 2010, 48 (1), pp. 259-294.

Kroneberg, C., and S. Schulz: "Revisiting the Role of Self-Control in Situational Action Theory", European Journal of Criminology, 2018, 15, pp. 56-76.

Rompf, S., C. Kroneberg, and T. Schlösser: "Institutional trust and the provision of public goods: When do individual costs matter? The case of recycling", Rationality and Society, 2017, 29, pp. 160-178.

Stavrova, O.,  T. Schlösser, and A. Baumert: “Life satisfaction and job search behavior of the unemployed: the effect of individual differences in justice sensitivity”, Applied psychology: An international review, 2014, 63 (4), pp. 643-670.