Have you ever wondered why one is never fully happy when being alone? Or why our decisions and judgments are often strongly influenced by others? Or why people do foolish things when in groups, although one would have attributed more reason to each individual?

The research area Social Psychology poses these and similar questions – and provides fascinating answers. The project Experience Science (in German: “Forschung erleben”) aims at making these insights available to the broad public. In particular, science can be experienced via two routes: 1) via brief articles that present current social psychological research findings in an interesting as well as accessible manner, 2) via the opportunity to participate in current research studies, which are conducted online or on-site.

The page is primarily held in German because the articles, which cover over 10 years, and the studies of Experience Science can only be offered in German. However, below you can find more information on the project's background in English. If you would like to obtain further information, please contact us at forschung-erleben[at]uni-mannheim.de.

  • The Idea

    Science shall help to understand our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, but frequently science only stays among scientists. In 2007, the Chairs of Social Psychology of the University of Mannheim started the project “Forschung erleben” (German for “experience science”) to make social psychological insights accessible to a broad audience. Over the years, the team has grown and encompasses members from different universities – next to Mannheim, for instance, from the universities of Basel, Koblenz-Landau, and Ulm.

    Together, we want to use this platform to spread fascination for social psychological questions, to present social psychological research findings, and to provide the opportunity to take part in our ongoing research. Accordingly, we publish brief reports every two weeks that present a current research topic from scientific journals in an easily accessible way – not only for students of psychology, but for everyone interested. In addition, we offer the opportunity to participate in current research studies. Here, science can be experienced and supported first-hand.

  • What is Social Psychology?

    Social psychology is a subfield of psychology that examines human experience and behavior within the social context. How do social processes, such as our environment or the people around us, influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? A basic social psychological notion is that our behaviors are not only determined by our personality, our character, and our ideals. Instead, the tenet is that our current social surroundings have a fundamental impact on our behaviors.

    Humans as social beings constitute a fascinating, but also very extensive research area. This is mirrored in the breadth of social psychological research. It is concerned with social interactions and life on all levels of investigation, and tackles questions, such as: How do social norms influence cognitions and behaviors of individuals? How can individuals or minorities influence opinions of the majority in a given society? Which factors drive attraction toward other people? How do people collaborate in groups? How do conflicts arise between groups and political systems, and how can reconciliation be promoted?

    Investigations of such questions offer insights that are relevant to our everyday life. These insights might even challenge our current world view at times. Again and again, however, they reveal something about ourselves that we may not have been aware of before.