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How can we make it easier for people to speak up?

In many situations, there are people who have valuable information, but do not dare to speak their mind. One reason for this could be that they are afraid of judgement or other consequences. It is possible that the presence of a person who displays authority has an amplifying effect, as his or her judgment is perceived as more important. Do people dare to speak less when a person in a position of authority is in the room?

Laura Gerdts is examining this question in her bachelor thesis. To test her hypothesis, she conducted a field experiment and…

Greenwashing refers to marketing and selling a conventional product as if it was e.g. an organic product, although it may contain even more harmful ingredients than a comparable product. The aim of this study is to see if it is sufficient or helps to make the list of ingredients of a product more transparent in order to unmask greenwashing.

In her Bachelor thesis Kathrin Mehrwald investigates how the “purchasing” decision between a “greenwashed” hand cream, labelled with the word “organic”, and a conventional hand cream is dependent on whether consumers get to see the list of ingredients or…

Mutual trust has significant impact on the commitment or the productivity of a group, therefore, it is crucial to maintain it among those interacting people. But is it something that is built only over time? In schools or workplaces where familiar faces can be replaced with new ones swiftly, are there easy ways to speed up this process? 

In her thesis, Jennifer Kliver looks at a particular tool, ice breaking games, whose main purpose at the end is to warm up the room and facilitate the communication, and investigate if they have any effect on building trust and reciprocity. To document any…

Wearing of face masks is obligatory on buses, in town halls and on public spaces. Still, some people do not wear them, endangering themselves and others. Often these people even have masks around their neck but have not pulled them up. What if you ask them to pull the mask up? Will they briefly lift it but let it “slip” again?  How can you increase the likelihood that they take you serious? Will it make a difference if you show empathy and declare that you also don’t like mask wearing?

In her bachelor thesis, Antonia Vigano examines this question. She asks people in buses and on train stations…

In her Master Thesis Nina used empirical methods to explore government spending behavior in election years. Her results show that since the financial crisis European governments went back to attracting voters by manipulating the budget deficits in election years, compared to other years. A phenomenon that would usually no longer be expected in developed countries with educated voters...

Sometimes people vote with little to go on. Sometimes people talk without knowing much. Since they do, it makes sense for others to also vote or talk. Bringing forward all this information, however, can be harmful. It dilutes the voices and votes of those who better understand the issue at hand. Are such groups doomed? Is there hope that they might learn from each other to restrain themselves? Can they achieve this even though they clearly cannot figure it out in a group conversation?

 

Rewarding someone for desirable behavior is not always a good idea. For example, small children are often inclined to help adults. After having been rewarded, however, they are less willing to help - unless a reward is forthcoming. This phenomenon also occurs with adults and has been observed in various psychological and economical experiments...

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, many Germans gave generously. Would they have given even more if the consequences of the typhoon had been related to catastrophes closer to home? In her bachelor thesis, Sema Kiliçaslan examines exactly this question with an experiment...

The slogan 'take back control' allegedly inspired many Britons to vote for leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum although they are likely to suffer economically from the departure. The most important reason given in an exit poll was not the desire to change a specific policy but “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK.” This suggests that the leave-vote was not necessarily about what gets decided but who decides or 'authors' a certain outcome.

If humans do not only want control to affect the outcome but because they prefer to be the author of a decision, this has…

In August 2014, the police caught an unemployed man during a robbery. The man had just gambled away his complete unemployment benefits the previous evening. Why do people who have suffered tremendous losses not stop but engage in even riskier behavior?

In his bachelor thesis, Holger Westkämper provides a rationale in form of a theoretical model...

Many people read online articles although they want to work. What if these people are asked whether they are really sure before they are sent on to the news page? Does that make them realize that they actually do not want to be distracted now?

In his Bachelor thesis, Oskar Nykaza examines these questions in an experiment. Subjects can change freely between an annoying but paying task and reading fun facts. In one treatment, t they can change freely between both tasks. In another treatment, they are...

If you know that your effort is making a difference, do you put in an extra shift?

In her Bachelor thesis, Lisa Falkenreck examines whether people who are asked to engage in a certain task are more willing to put in effort if they know that the task is helpful to others. Lisa carried out a field experiment, to find the answer to her question. She asked subjects to pack sweets, either informing them or not informing them about the purpose for which these packs are created. She finds that they pack more, if they know for what purpose these packed sweets will be used.

A good education is generally believed to be key for achieving success in life. But does it make us happier?

In his bachelor thesis, Ali Durmaz examines this question using data from the German Socio Economic Panel (GSOEP)...

The so called sharing-economy is booming. But aren’t we often too reluctant to share?

In his master thesis, Fabian Bopp carried out an experimental study investigating people’s willingness to share. Surprisingly, Fabian’s results cannot confirm that the willingness to share can be manipulated by revealing common characteristics of potential sharers. However, the trust created by emphasizing common group characteristics may still play a role in sharing decisions. This calls for further investigation.

This thesis presents the outcomes of a field experiment on discrimination based on physical appearance in the German labor market. Two applications of an individual with equal qualifications were sent to 40 matching workplaces. One out of each pair of two matching applications was modified by adding a visible tattoo on the application picture...

Blood sugar levels affect human behaviour in many different ways. Previous research indicates that blood sugar levels could also affect economic behaviour, like what people buy in the supermarket. 

In her bachelor thesis, Lynn Brinkmann examines the influence of consuming regular versus sugar-free lemonade on an individual’s willingness to buy. For investigating this question Lynn designed and carried out an controlled experiment. Due to the relatively low number of participants and other practical limitations, the results do not show a significant effect of sugar consumption on buying…

It is typically argued that paying large bonuses will induce people to exert more effort. This argument is, for example, evoked to justify the large bonuses of managers. Wendelin Schnedler puts forward a theory in which success bonuses actually reduce effort. This may happen even if more effort increases the likelihood of getting the bonus...

 

 

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