Judgements and Decisions


Central to our research on judgements and decisions is the analysis of perceived contingencies in the social and physical environment. For example, we analyze how biased contingency perceptions, such as illusory correlations and pseudo-contingencies, arise and how they contribute to the formation and maintenance of social stereotypes. Perceived contingencies between social categories can further result from social projection, like the generalization of one's own attributes to other individuals or groups. We therefore investigate cognitive and motivational determinants of social projection in social judgement. In another line of research, we analyze the use of learned contingencies for actual decision making in scenarios in which the distributions of choice options or outcomes are context-dependent.

Research Grants from the German Research Council

  • "Mentale Repräsentation sozialer Kategorien: Kognitive Faktoren der Stereotypenbildung und Intergruppenbewertung" [Mental representation of social categories: Cognitive factors of stereotype formation and intergroup judgement] (Grant ME 1918/2, 2002-2010)
  • "Kontingenzlernen und Entscheidungsverhalten bei kontextabhängigen Ergebnisstrukturen" [Contingency learning and choice behaviour in the case of context-dependent outcome structures] (Grant ME 1918/4, 2011-2014), in the research unit "Contextualized Decision Making"
  • "Soziale Projektion als motivationaler Prozess zur Reduktion sozialer Distanz" [Social projection as motivational process for the reduction of social distance] (Grant MA 5173/1-1, 2011-2015)

Selected Publications

  • Fiedler, K., Freytag, P., & Meiser, T. (2009). Pseudocontingencies: An integrative account of an intriguing cognitive illusion. Psychological Review, 116, 187-206.
  • Fleig, H., Meiser, T., Ettlin, F., & Rummel, J. (2017). Statistical numeracy as a moderator of (pseudo)contingency effects on decision behavior. Acta Psychologica, 174, 68-79.
  • Machunsky, M., & Meiser, T. (2009). Ingroup projection as a means to define the superordinate category efficiently: Response time evidence. Social Cognition, 27, 57-75.
  • Machunsky, M., & Meiser, T. (2014). Cognitive components of ingroup projection: Prototype projection contributes to biased prototypicality judgments in group perception. Social Psychology, 45, 15-30.
  • Machunsky, M., & Meiser. T. (2014). Us and them: Mood effects on ingroup projection. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 7-14.
  • Machunsky, M., Meiser, T., & Mummendey, A. (2009). On the crucial role of the mental ingroup representation for ingroup bias and the ingroup prototypicality - ingroup bias link. Experimental Psychology, 56, 156-164.
  • Machunsky, M., Toma, C., Corneille, O., & Yzerbyt, V. (2014). Social projection increases for positive targets: Ascertaining the effect and exploring its antecedents.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1373-1378.
  • Machunsky, M., & Walther, E. (2015). Of Caucasians, Asians, and giraffes: The influence of categorization and target valence on social projection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1236-1246.
  • Meiser, T., & Hewstone, M. (2004). Cognitive processes in stereotype formation: The role of correct contingency learning for biased group judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 599-614.
  • Meiser, T., & Hewstone, M. (2006). Illusory and spurious correlations: Distinct phenomena or joint outcomes of exemplar-based category learning? European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 315-336.
  • Meiser, T., & Hewstone, M. (2010). Contingency learning and stereotype formation: Illusory and spurious correlations revisited. European Review of Social Psychology, 21, 285-331.
  • Meiser, T., Rummel, J., & Fleig, H. (2017). Pseudocontingencies and choice behavior in probabilistic environments with context-dependent outcomes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. DOI:10.1037/xlm0000432.