Research - Psychology

Applied Cognitive & Affective Sciences: Understanding cognitive and affective (emotional) processes is essential to anyone who wants a better grip on the many issues that challenge ourselves and society. At Webster Vienna, we investigate processes that are relevant to a variety of domains such as psychotherapy, decision making, and interpersonal negotiation. We use a wide range of techniques (brain imaging, face reading, psychophysiological recordings, startle reflex modulation, etc.) to collect, process, and analyze psycho-biological data, which we then use to answer both fundamental and applied research questions.

Research Core Areas

  • Interpersonal communication: We are particularly interested in studying the mechanisms and function of nonverbal behavior and how it interacts with language to make communication more effective.
  • Conscious vs. non-conscious mind: We aim at a deeper understanding of the neural basis of emotion, attention, memory, decision making, and self-referential processing. We also offer this expertise to industry partners interested in consumer neuroscience.

Research Environment

In the CanBeLab, we can collect and integrate objective measures at different levels:

  • Physiology - We measure a variety of physiological indicators such as brain activity (via EEG), respiration, heart rate, galvanic skin response, body temperature, and muscle activity. We use these techniques to measure startle-reflex modulation and other event-related perceptual studies.
  • Cognition - We study the influence of basic cognitive processes like attention and memory on decision making, in different areas of interest (for example consumer preferences and impression formation).
  • Behavior - We take observational measurements of verbal and nonverbal behavior displayed in face-to-face social interactions. Nonverbal measurements include body movement, facial behavior, and vocal parameters.

Research Projects and Publications

Dr. Peter Walla

  • Digital reading versus print reading.
  • Neural correlates of the human self.
  • Conscious versus non-conscious emotion impact related to consumer behavior.
  • The effect of colors on consumer-relevant decision making: subjective and objective measures.
  • Conscious and non-conscious processing of marketing material (industry project).

Dr. Marc Mehu

  • Negotiation and emotion (NEMO): Multi-level analysis of dyadic social interaction.