Social-cognitive and interpersonal determinants of behaviour

What role do cognition and motivation play in the regulation and experience of interpersonal behaviour?

Within this research programme we investigate how people regulate and experience their behaviour in a social environment. To do this, we develop and test process models and theories related to social cognition and interpersonal processes, working from three perspectives (lines of research).

  • social cognitive perspective
    We study fundamental aspects related to processes surrounding human motivation, communication and behaviour, from a social cognitive perspective. Moreover, we study how people observe and examine their own behaviour and that of others.
  • cultural perspective
    We examine the regulation and experience of social behaviour by looking at cultural concepts such as norms, values and convictions. For example:
    • How do people develop a notion of honesty in order to deal with uncertainties and conflicts in interpersonal and close relationships?
    • What influence do cultural world views have on our trust in authority figures (such as the government) or on extreme behaviour (such as terrorism)?
  • health and social perspective
    In the third line of research we study behaviour regulation in relation to health and social issues. In particular we test fundamental insights acquired in the other two lines of research, in the context of normal and impulsive eating habits, overconsumption and social conflicts.
Our perspective ranges from neuroscientific and social cognitive approaches to culture and health.


Cross-pollination between these three approaches enables us to develop insights and strategies for changing behaviour and promoting social health and harmony.

Research methods

We conduct fundamental and applied research and test our hypotheses primarily using experimental research (laboratory studies) and field research.

Programme leaders