Social Processes Lab
Knowledge acquisition and information exchange between people takes place under different social conditions. To what extent supervisors and employees share information, whether competitors disclose their knowledge to each other, what information people select on the Internet, or how study partners react when, contrary to expectations, the member of a learning group keeps important information to herself, largely depends on social factors. More precisely, social relations between the parties (e.g., competition or power differences), emotions (e.g., anger or threat) and the motivation of the parties involved (e.g., to gain personal advantage or to pursue group goals) play a central role. These factors can affect virtual collaboration, in particular, because here social cues are less obvious than in face-to-face collaboration. As a consequence, existing social relationships (e.g., power differences) are all the more important in virtual cooperation.
The Social Processes Lab focuses on how these social factors help or hinder cooperation. Firstly, the lab considers how social relationships influence the success of cooperation: The influence of power, competition and cooperation (and combinations thereof), as well as standards and standard violations in connection with group identification are in the foreground. The aim is to understand how social relationships that are mediated by motivational processes (i.e. self-regulation) promote or hinder cooperation. Secondly, the lab examines how emotions (e.g., joy or perceived threat) affect the attitude of people towards controversial issues (e.g., a new medical treatment) and processing of information (e.g., internet search).