My research focuses on social norms, institutions and their psychological foundations. Specifically, I study the cognitive and social processes that allow us to acquire, transmit, and change norms and that give rise to societal variation in norms. Furthermore, I investigate if and how norms can foster ethical behaviours and enable cooperation and coordination in groups. In my work, I combine a socio-cognitive approach with a cross-cultural perspective and conduct studies with children, adolescents, and adults worldwide. In the past, I have also conducted behavioural (non-invasiv) research with non-human great apes and maintain an interest in comparative psychology. I use a multi-method approach including experimental, observational, survey-based, ethnographic, and qualitative methods. My work is often interdisciplinary and I frequently collaborate with colleagues from different areas within psychology and outside psychology.
My background is multidisciplinary: I studied biochemistry, life sciences, philosophy, and neuroscience (Diploma) in Frankurt/Main (DE), Magdeburg (DE) and at the University of Toronto (CA), and conducted behavioural research with great apes at the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig (DE). In 2012, I completed a PhD in Psychology at the University of Bristol (UK) and was a visiting researcher at Harvard University (US) and Kyoto University (JP). I completed postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (DE) and, in 2016, moved to Freie Universität Berlin (DE) to head a research group on cross-cultural developmental psychology, funded by VolkswagenFoundation. In 2019, I was appointed interim-professor (Vertretungsprofessorin) of Early Child Development and Culture at Universität Leipzig and, in 2020, took up my current position as Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth (UK).