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Realistic Depictions

Realistic Depictions Lab

Recently, so-called cybermedia have become increasingly more important in the educational field. Cybermedia communicate contents by means of graphical three-dimensional scenes such as Virtual Realities (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), computer games, interactive videos or hyper-videos. All of these provide learners with realistic and active learning opportunities. These types of media can be implemented in schools accordingly for subjects such as history, geography, and biology. However, informal, non-institutionalized learning can also profit from the properties of cybermedia, as seen in scientific TV shows, documentaries or museum exhibitions. While cybermedia are highly realistic, they also offer instructional possibilities that go way beyond a mere simulation of reality. The main challenge in designing cybermedia is to encourage learners to engage in a reflective and elaborative approach to learning material in order to improve knowledge acquisition.
The lab consists of three lines of research:

Experience optimization through cybermedia

Dynamic scenes surround us in every-day life, such as in road traffic or while observing sporting events. Audiovisual media (e.g. television or internet) reflect this fact. Contrary to real life, media can make use of a range of different possibilities in presenting dynamic scenes, from the choice of perspective to slow or fast motion, respectively. Moreover, visual material can be interactively manipulated in digital media. In this line of research, we investigate to what extent this presentation method can support basic cognitive mechanisms such as attention control, visual recognition or knowledge acquisition.

Edutainment: education and entertainment

Edutainment stands for hybrid forms of learning material and entertaining elements, such as acted out scenes in historic TV documentaries or learning-oriented video games. From the viewpoint of knowledge psychology, it is of particular interest whether entertainment and knowledge acquisition are compatible, or rather exclusive, concepts. Projects in this line of research examine relevant forms of cognitive information processing and the qualia of edutainment formats, as well as their consequences for learning and knowledge acquisition.

Authenticity: cybermedia as a replacement and extension of reality

A common feature of informal learning contexts (e.g. museums) is the combination of real places and objects with digital displays and illustrations. This gives rise to the question as to how real objects and virtual illustrations can relate to each other sensibly in order for recipients to perceive a coherent informative environment. A further series of experiments shall however also shed light on the discrepancies between reality and media by investigating psychological differences between authentic objects and their medial reproductions.

Team Realistic Depictions


Concepts of authenticity in different types of museums: Perspectives of curators and visitors

What makes authentic exhibits so special? What makes an object even authentic? Which role do originals play in an exhibition? Do curators and visitors share similar concepts of authenticity? The project investigates the importance of authenticity in the Leibniz research museums with guided interviews and an extensive visitor survey. On the one hand, different types of museums will be compared, and on the other views of curators and museum professionals with those of the visitor.

Critical analysis of audiovisual media

Producers of audiovisual media use cinematic techniques (e.g., music, camera perspective, and camera distance) to influence the recipients' interpretation of the contents. Therefore, competent use of audiovisual media in school and leisure time should be characterized by an awareness of the potential effects of such techniques. The project 'Critical analysis of audiovisual media' intends to support this awareness.

Democratization of expert knowledge: Map production and map use in new media landscapes

Interactive maps, for instance Google Maps, progressively replace the well-known road-atlas, hiking/biking maps and maps for educational purposes. The distinction between map makers and map users becomes more and more blurred as users are offered with tools to (co-)design the map by zooming in, pinning locations and depicting different information in one single map. In the project, we investigate whether the option to interactively edit maps is used and how it influences the perception as well as the transfer and evaluation of the depicted information.

Digital Atlas of Political and Historical Images of Space in East-Central Europe - Geoimaginaries

Over the past years the ubiquity of digital visualizations from interactive thematic maps has grown considerably. Everywhere maps are used as strategy for a better comprehension of the world. Beside questions of navigation- and distance calculation functions, which are answered in the field of topographic maps, the user has the opportunity to find actual information in the internet about the positioning of his friends, the constituency or the crime rate of his neighborhood, the quality of the soil as well as a possible connection of the gross domestic product and the probability of a world cup winning. Thematic maps as interactive infographics appear more frequently in the Internet in order to simplify visualizations of complex matters and for the use on mobile devices.

Educational videos

Due to their increasing dissemination over the internet (e.g., recorded lectures), videos gain relevance as an instructional medium because they provide learners with access to information around the clock. Against the backdrop of theories of cognitive and educational psychology, the project 'Educational videos' is concerned with optimizing knowledge acquisition with dynamic audiovisual media by means of instructional design.

Influence of audiovisual design on understanding artworks

The project Influence of audiovisual design on understanding artworks examines the influence of visual and auditive types of presentations on cognitive processing of art works as can be found in television documentaries or museums and exhibitions.

Learning with 3D reconstructions

The project 'Learning with 3D reconstructions' examines the influence of visual and auditive types of presentations on cognitive processing of archaeological 3D reconstructions as can be found in television documentaries or museums and exhibitions.

Learning with multiple historical documents

On the internet, learners are confronted with a broad variety of different documents when researching information for school, scholastics, or leisure time. In this process, they need to make sense of the documents' contents. The project 'Learning with multiple historical documents' investigates preconditions for a successful use of multiple documents. In particular, the project's focus is on individual prerequisites and instructional design.

Linking perceptual animacy to visual attention

Human observers tend to perceive simple geometric shapes that move spatio-temporarilly coordinated as if they were alive (Heider & Simmel, 1944, The American Journal of Psychology, 57, 243-259). This phenomenon is called perceptual animacy. Although perceptual animacy has been studied for over 60 years, it has not yet been linked to other psychological concepts such as attention. This research gap arises from difficulties in quantifying animate impressions. Here, our project aims to link spatial and temporal features of perceptual animacy to visual attention. Regarding spatial features of animacy, recent work of Gao, Newman, and Scholl (2009, Cognitive Psychology, 59, 154-179) established a paradigm in which participants search for a pair of chasing objects among four objects (chasing detection paradigm). Because chasing reflects spatially coordinated motion of two objects, the chasing detection paradigm allows investigating the role of attention for the detection of spatial features of animacy. Regarding temporal features of animacy, we are currently developing a paradigm that is suitable to investigate the role of attention to detect these contingencies. In our experiments, we combine tasks that require the detection of features of animacy with paradigms from research on attention such as visual search. This approach allows us to gain insights in how human observers detect features of perceptual animacy among otherwise indistinguishable distractors.

Visual perception of actions: The influence of time structure

Human observers watching events in everyday life do not process these events as a continuous stream. In fact, already during perception they divide the stream of events into meaningful segments. Media use this effect and often present only cutouts of an event stream, instead of presenting an event continuously. This project examines the influence of different kinds of event presentations on perception and cognitive processing of the viewers.

Visual perception of events: The influence of a moving observer viewpoint

When we perceive visual dynamic events there are often simultaneously two kinds of movement: On the one hand, we perceive actors and objects moving in 3D space. On the other hand, the observer's viewpoint itself often is not static but changes continuously. Situations like this occur for example when driving a car or acting as player in a football game. Also, visual media often use the freedom of the camera and track, zoom or pan.

Former Projects

graduation papers

Welchen Einfluss haben filmische Gestaltungsmittel auf die kognitive Verarbeitung der Filminhalte?

Filme sind kein neutrales Präsentationsmedium, sondern verwenden vielfältige Gestaltungsmittel, um die Wirkung und Verarbeitung des dargestellten Inhaltes zu beeinflussen. In diesem Projekt wird zum Beispiel untersucht, wie die zeitliche, elliptische Struktur eines Filmes das Verarbeitungsniveau der Szenen bestimmt und ob die Kameraperspektive sich darauf auswirkt, welche Inhalte wir genau erinnern.

Methode: Experimentalstudie, Labor

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin ist: Frau Dr. Bärbel Garsoffky

Wirkung von Propaganda

Produzenten von Filmen können auf eine große Bandbreite von Stilmitteln zurückgreifen, die die Wahrnehmung von Rezipienten beeinflussen und damit einhergehend Einstellungen verändern sollen. Somit stellt die Kenntnis der Wirkung einzelner filmischer Stilmittel eine wichtige Grundlage eines kritisch reflektierten Umgangs mit audiovisuell vermittelten Informationen dar. Diplomarbeiten zur Wirkung von Propaganda können sich sowohl mit der systematischen Erforschung der Wirkweise einzelner Stilmittel beschäftigen, als auch Interventionen, die zur Identifikation von Stilmitteln in Filmen beitragen, thematisieren.

Ihr Ansprechpartner ist: Herr Dr. Martin Merkt

Lernen mit multiplen Dokumenten

Umfassendes Wissen hinsichtlich einer Vielzahl von wissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen lässt sich von Lernenden nur selten einzelnen Dokumenten entnehmen. Vielmehr gilt es in den meisten Fällen, Informationen aus verschiedenen Dokumenten unter Berücksichtigung von Informationen über den Produzenten des jeweiligen Dokumentes zu gewichten und mit Informationen aus anderen Dokumenten zu integrieren. Diplomarbeiten im Bereich „Lernen mit multiplen Dokumenten“ können sich zum Beispiel mit dem Zusammenspiel von Dokumenteneigenschaften (z.B. Kohärenz, Widersprüchlichkeit) und der Erinnerung an Informationen über das Dokument (z.B. Produzent, Entstehungszeitraum) beschäftigen. Auch ergeben sich aus dem Zusammenspiel von Videos mit Texten in komplexen Lernumgebungen eine Reihe von spannenden empirischen Fragestellungen.

Ihr Ansprechpartner ist: Herr Dr. Martin Merkt

Allgemeinpsychologische Aufmerksamkeits- und Gedächtniseffekte bei der Wahrnehmung und Kognition dynamischer Szenen.

Die natürliche Wahrnehmung sowie das Betrachten von Filmen erfordert die Integration von visuellen und auditiven Reizen. In den Experimenten dieses Themenschwerpunkts untersuchen wir, ob und wie auditive Wahrnehmung direkt mit visueller Wahrnehmung interagiert. Darüber hinaus untersuchen wir, wie visuelle und auditive Informationen die Gedächtnisleistung für dynamische Szenen beeinflussen.

Ihr Ansprechpartner: Hauke Meyerhoff

Methode: Laborexperimentelle Studien

Konfligierende Rekonstruktionen

Das Projekt "Lernen mit konfligierenden 3D-Rekonstruktionen" untersucht kognitive Prozesse und Wissenserwerb bei der Verarbeitung von computerbasierten 3D-Darstellungen historischer Architekturen, die unterschiedlich unsicher und durch unterschiedliche Darstellungsformen visualisiert sind. Im Rahmen dieses Projektes bieten wir verschiedene Abschlussarbeiten an, in denen diese Thematik untersucht werden soll.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin ist: Frau Dr. Manuela Glaser

Raum und Semantik

Verschiedene Studien haben gezeigt, dass räumliche Wahrnehmung und Verarbeitung von Sprache nicht unabhängig voneinander sind. So ist das Konzept Macht zum Beispiel vertikal repräsentiert. Dies äußert sich dadurch, dass mit Macht assoziierte Begriffe schneller erkannt werden, wenn sie räumlich weiter oben dargeboten werden. Ziel einer Diplomarbeit zu diesem Thema kann sein, die räumliche Repräsentation von weiteren Konzepten (z.B. Widersprüchlichkeit) empirisch zu überprüfen.

Ihr Ansprechpartner ist: Herr Dr. Martin Merkt