2020Appointed as professor (“apl. Prof”)
since 2018Akademischer Rat auf Lebenszeit at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Quantitative Methods and Assessment (Psychologische Methodenlehre und Diagnostik)
since 2017Managing director of the LMU Open Science Center
2016Akademischer Rat a.Z. at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Quantitative Methods
2015-2016Visiting professor (W3-Vertretungsprofessur) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
2014Habilitation (Dr. habil.) and “Privatdozent” PD at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
2010 – 2016Akademischer Rat a.Z. at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Emotion and Motivation (Allgemeine Psychologie II)
2010Dr. rer. nat. (summa cum laude), supervised by Prof. Dr. Jens B. Asendorpf (Humboldt-University Berlin).
Thesis: “Transference of relationship qualities to a virtual spouse”
2007-2010PhD scholarship from Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
2009Research stay at New York State University (Stony Brook)
2008Concession for psychotherapy (HPG)
2000 – 2006Diploma in psychology, Saarland University, Germany
Diploma thesis: “Development of a questionnaire for the Zurich Model of Social Motivation“
1999-2000Community service (“Zivildienst”) in a home for people with disabilities
1990-1999Rudolf-Diesel-Gymnasium, Augsburg

Service to the field

  • Appointed member of advisory board of the Mannheim University Open Science Office (2021- )
  • Appointed member of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID)’s scientific advisory board (2018-2025)
  • Member of the advisory board of JASP
  • Editor of Meta-Psychology, a community-driven, diamond open access, no APC journal that adheres to high standards of research transparency (2017-)
  • Consulting Editorial Board Member, Personality Science (2020-)
  • Consulting Editor for the European Journal of Personality (EJP) (2016 – 2020)
  • Editorial board member at Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science (AMPPS) (2017 – 2021)

Awards and Scholarships

2022DGPs Förderpreis für Qualitätssicherung in der Psychologie
2016Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science, awarded from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (10,000 €)
2016Award for good teaching from the federal ministry of education (5000 €)
2015Best Paper Award from the Journal of Research in Personality
2014Department’s Award for Excellent Teaching
2010Grant from “Google Summer of Code” for programming a statistical software (“TripleR: A package for social relations analyses”)
2007 – 2010PhD scholarship from Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
2009Scholarship for research stay at the State University of New York, USA
2007Stipend from International Society for Human Ethology (ISHE)
2006Stipend from Volkswagen-Stiftung for a summer school “Evolutionary Anthropology”

Grants (PI)

2021: Experimental investigation of the daily motivational processes in intimate relationships using ecological momentary interventions. Grant from German Research Foundation (DFG ZY 134/2-1; Zygar & Schönbrodt; 274,594€).

Abstract (click)

The goal of this research project is a consistent continuation of the DFG project “Dynamics of implicit motives in intimate couple relationships”, which showed the importance of motives for short-term motivation- and regulation processes in couple relationships: Motive dispositions orient, select and energize behavior towards the attainment of specific goals via motivational states. The experienced affect when reaching the desired goal state depends on the currently experienced motivational state (affect amplification by motivation), a process path that might explain the associations between motive dispositions and relationship quality. This functional, dynamic mode of action of motive dispositions, mediated by the current motivation, is the content of the “Dynamics of Motive Satisfaction” (DynaMoS) model, which was correlatively confirmed in the previous project by micro-longitudinal analyses for partner-related communal motives. The research project builds on these findings and addresses the fundamental question of the causality of the process paths of the DynaMoS model by testing the functional mode of action of the postulated mechanisms with the help of smartphone-based experimental microinterventions in the everyday life of couples (“ecological momentary interventions”). It will focus on comprehensively understanding the motivational system within the communal motive domain. In addition to considering the temporal component of the process, the manifestations of relationship-specific behavior and affect will be collected multimodally: Specific self and partner reports in experience sampling will be complemented by unobtrusive mobile sensing and content analysis of text messages. With this project we follow the collective call of a large number of researchers to fulfill the current desiderata of a future-oriented personality research: (a) to investigate the joint interplay of motivational, affective, and cognitive processes, (b) to link the microlevel of dynamic intrapersonal processes with the macrolevel of interindividual differences, and (c) to consider the causality of intrapersonal processes, especially those processes that act as a link between personality traits and social outcomes. Additionally, the causal approach to motivational microdynamics in intimate relationships and the natural assessment in everyday life provides an informed basis for the development of evidence-based interventions in (couple-)therapeutic contexts, suitable for everyday use. In addition to a better understanding of motivational processes in intimate relationships, the project makes an important contribution to the integration of psychological personality, motivation, and relationship research, as well as applied practice.

2020: How an academic system can achieve a trustworthy knowledge base: Analyzing reform proposals in an agent-based modeling approach. Grant from German Research Foundation (DFG SCHO1334/6-1; 234,630€ in cooperation with Richard McElreath and Filip Melinscak).

Abstract (click)

In several scientific fields, evidence has accumulated that the scientific literature is much less robust and trustworthy than desired, constituting a “replication crisis”. Many reforms have been proposed to increase the trustworthiness of the scientific literature, but reasonable doubts have been raised about their effectiveness, fairness, potential side-effects, and evidentiary backing. In this project, we will formalize recent arguments and reform proposals, and build agent-based models of science (where researchers are the agents) to investigate the logical coherence, efficiency, and side- effects of reforms. The models will be empirically calibrated to three disciplines from the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences. Three specific research questions investigate the impact of reform proposals on the trustworthiness and bandwidth of scientific output: (a) Open Science as a social dilemma, or: The evolution of transparency, (b) Registered reports and a multi-layered publication system, and (c) Assessing strategies for navigating epistemic landscapes: The role of replication and theory. In a final working package (d), we aim to combine the three submodels into an integrated model. This will be used to analyze potential interactions of reforms, optimal parameter configurations, and emergent patterns arising from the interactions of the agents. We expect that the insights of this research project can inform policy development, such as journal guidelines, hiring policies of academic institutions and other incentive structures, or funder’s resource allocation strategies. Furthermore, it informs how to maximize the informational gain of scientific results, which ultimately translates to the societal utility of research.

2016: The dynamics of implicit motives in close relationships. Grant from German Research Foundation (DFG SCHO1334/5-1; 237,800€). This project is in close cooperation with an affiliated DFG project by Birk Hagemeyer (Uni Jena), with an overall volume of 463,400€.

Abstract (click)

The research project aims at an extensive examination of the relevance of implicit motives for (a) long-term developmental trajectories and (b) short-term regulatory processes in intimate couple relationships. Implicit motives are defined as dispositional needs which, despite their non-conscious representation, energize and direct subjective experience and behavior towards specific classes of affectively valued goal states. In the domain of couple relationships, such goal states can be classified as communal (i.e., related to intimacy and closeness with one’s partner) or agentic (i.e., related to independence, mastery, and dominance). Communal and agentic motives are distinct need dimensions which have been shown to be valid predictors of relationship quality in cross-sectional and prospective studies. However, longitudinal studies with repeated motive assessments that allow for analyses of the dynamic transactions between motives and couple relationships are missing. Moreover, the motivational processes and mechanisms that underly the observed associations between motives and relationships are largely unknown. The proposed research project aims to fill these gaps in our knowledge about the role of motives in couple relationships. First, we intend to assess implicit motives in a subsample of the pairfam panel study three times in time intervals of one year. This design allows for (a) the prediction of long-term developmental trajectories in couple relationships and (b) analyses of the dynamic transactions between relationships and implicit motives. Second, we intend to implement an extensive experience sampling study to investigate (a) individual short-term processes of motivation and (b) dyadic patterns of coregulation that mediate the influences of implicit motives on couple relationships.

2016: Automatic classification of the emotional impact of video sequences. Grant from German Research Foundation (DFG SCHO1334/4-1; 230,000€). This is an interdisciplinary project together with Prof. Klaus Diepold (TU Munich; Computer Science), with an overall volume of 520,000€

Abstract (click)

The concept Quality of Experience (QoE) tries to assess the subjective quality which an observer experiences when consuming multimedia content. In the current proposal, QoE should be extended by a new central component, namely the emotional state an observer experiences when watching a video. The core of our project is to extract emotionally relevant key features if videos using several machine learning approaches, which in turn are used to predict the experienced emotion of the observer. In order to realize this interdisciplinary research question technically, we draw upon and extend psychological models of emotion, which are then computationally implemented by engineers. Supervised machine learning approaches are trained by comparing the predicted with the actual emotional experience of an observer. This learning stage will use a Crowd Sourcing approach which allows to gather a large amount of data for relatively low costs. The large sample allows a broad generalizability of the results, and allows to investigate how personality characteristics of the observers modulate the emotional impact of the videos. The results from the online study will be cross-validated and extended in a controlled laboratory experiment. In this study, objective and indirect indicators of the experienced emotions are assessed (electromyography of facial expressions; changes in skin conductance). The interdisciplinary project is composed of researchers from psychology and computer engineers and works on the following research questions: a) Is it possible to determine a mapping of technical features onto emotionally relevant stimuli? b) Are psychological models able to correctly predict the experienced emotions based on relevant stimuli of the video and personality features of a person? Goals of the project are, on the one hand, to implement existing psychological theories of emotion, validate them using large data sets, and to develop them further based on these results. On the other hand, the technical framework should be employed to classify a large set of videos concerning the emotional impact on observers. Furthermore, the project will generate a standardized data base of videos, for which the emotional impact is very well known. We expect that such a data base will have a huge impact and benefit for future studies in the area of human emotions.

2014: Improving the course „Scientific working“ at the B.Sc. Psychology at LMU Munich. Grant from BMBF (28,600 €; together with Michael Zehetleitner, Catholic University Eichstätt).

2013: Psychometrie impliziter Motive. Grant from German Research Foundation (DFG SCHO1334/1-1; 35,587 €; together with Birk Hagemeyer, Uni Jena).

Abstract (click)

Die Messung impliziter (nicht-bewusster) Motive mithilfe des Thematischen Apperzeptionstests und verwandter Verfahren (“Picture Story Exercises”; PSE) hat eine lange Tradition in der klinischen Praxis und in der psychologischen Grundlagenforschung. Gleichzeitig hat das Interesse an impliziten Motiven in den letzten 15 Jahren, unter anderem auch inspiriert durch die strikte Unterscheidung zwischen impliziten und expliziten Dispositionen, stark zugenommen. Die psychometrische Qualität der PSE-Methodik wurde häufig kritisiert, obwohl ihre Validität vielfach und eindrucksvoll belegt ist. In Reaktion auf diese Methodenkritik wurde wiederholt argumentiert, dass die Klassische Testtheorie keine geeignete Rahmentheorie für PSE- Messungen ist. Allerdings existiert bis heute kein Konsens darüber, wie eine alternative Messtheorie aussehen sollte. Das beantragte wissenschaftliche Netzwerk soll Expert/innen der Motivationspsychologie mit Expert/innen für statistische Methoden und Psychometrie vernetzen, um gemeinsam eine Messtheorie für PSEs zu entwickeln. Dazu sollen bestehende theoretische Ansätze gesammelt, integriert und erweitert sowie mögliche Modifikationen der PSE-Methode diskutiert werden. Neben der Vernetzung der einzelnen Forschungsprogramme bestehen die konkreten Ziele des beantragten Netzwerks zum einen in der Erstellung und Einreichung eines gemeinsamen Überblicksartikels und zum anderen in der Konzeption und Beantragung kooperativer DFG-Projekte zur Untersuchung noch offener und neu aufgeworfener Fragen.

Grants (Co-PI)

2020DFG Priority Program A meta-scientific program to analyze and optimize replicability in the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences (META-REP) (Gollwitzer, Auspurg, Lonsdorf, Fiedler, Schönbrodt; 5,200,000 €)
2017Live-Learning in methods education: Develop an app for instant data collection and visualization. LMU grant (24,184 €; Stachl, Zygar, & Schönbrodt).
2016Bayesian evidence synthesis: New meta-analytic procedures for measuring, monitoring, combining, and projecting statistical evidence. SSMART grant (29,767$; Wagenmakers, Gasman, Gronau, & Schönbrodt).
2015Examining the Reproducibility of Meta-Analyses in Psychology. SSMART grant (30,000$; Lakens, …, & Schönbrodt).
2015Bayesian Hypothesis Testing without Tears: An Interactive Introduction for Psychology Teachers and Students. APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science (5000$; Wagenmakers, Schönbrodt, & Morey).

Reviewer for …

Psychological Methods, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Psychometrika, Multivariate Behavioral Research, Behavior Research Methods, European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Personality, Journal of Research in Personality, Journal of Individual Differences, Journal of Personality Assessment, European Journal of Personality, European Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Positive Psychology, Research Foundation Flanders, British Journal of Psychology, PLOS One, Motivation Science, Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Media Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science, Collabra, Meta-Psychology, Personality Science, Nature Human Behavior

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