Outgroup-hostility and discrimination.

Why are modern and diverse societies still characterised by outgroup hostility, and how can we explain that some people find it easier to appreciate the plural fabric of our societies than others? What are the causes of electoral discrimination in the real world, and can greater familiarity with minority candidates possibly change voters’ electoral biases?

Identity cues and new social divides.

Voters rely on identity cues in their decision-making. Globalization has weakened the significance of traditional group memberships grounded in religion or class. Which kind of identities shape voting behavior today? Do multicultural contexts, geographical divides, and digital realities contribute to a polarizing sphere of political opinions?

Computational social science.

Large scale data and increasing computing power, coupled with rapid advances in data science tools create massive opportunities and challenges in the field of social sciences. In my work, I rely on deep-learning techniques such as artificial recurrent neural networks (RNNs) or generative adversarial networks (GANs) which I apply to large-scale classification tasks or synthetic data generation. I use this data in innovative JavaScript-based online experiments to study individuals’ implicit and explicit responses.

Reproducibility and open science.

Reproducibility is key to open science and open data. I am passionate about developing tools and templates for generating reproducible workflows and creating reproducible research outputs with R Markdown. I regularly offer workshops on reproducible document generation. I am scientific board member of the LMU Open Science Center and part of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITTS).

Challenger parties.

New political actors are challenging the political status quo. How can we understand the electoral appeal of challenger parties, and which social and institutional factors fuel their success? Will they fundamentally transform party competition across Europe?

Social norms and political behavior.

Repeated attacks against fundamental liberal democratic rights shape the socio-political norm and information environment of individuals. Do changes in the prevailing political norms impact on individuals’ willingness to engage in norm-deviant behaviours?

Political socialisation.

Individuals differ in how politically engaged they are and these differences remain remarkably stable over their lives. What drives citizens’ political engagement, their participation in conventional and non-conventional politics and their level of political interest?

Public support for green policies.

Public support for environmental policies appears high, reflected both in a growing electoral constituency of Green parties and a young generation that demands political action to limit climate change. Is voters’ willingness to support Green parties affected by the costs they personally have to bear as a result of environmental policies?