Humans are social beings and we coordinate our actions with those of others all the time. What are the underlying perceptual and cognitive mechanisms of action coordination? In order to tackle these questions we develop novel experimental paradigms using state-of-the-art technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, bio-physiological monitoring, and realistic virtual humans.
Humans have a shared understanding of body shape that is reflected in language. We investigate the relationship between words and body shape in order to uncover social biases and stereotypes, to investigate cross-cultural differences in body shape perception, and to train the computer to understand how humans perceive body shape.
Body representation is an essential part of a person’s self-concept and also shapes how we see the world. A disturbed body representation also plays a role in clinical conditions such as eating disorders or stroke. In this project, we cooperate with partners from the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems, Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the University Hospital Tübingen to develop ecologically valid methods for the assessment of body representation.
In collaboration with other scientist we develop novel and state-of-the-art experiential VR setups that allow for studying psychological questions under controlled and close-to-natural experimental conditions.
Avatars are digital representations of a person’s body in the virtual environment and are an important of the user experience and realism. In psychology avatars are used to study (self-) body perception, social biases, and social interaction. Making avatars more realistic and believable will help us to establish virtual reality as a research tool in psychology.