Human Motivation & Affective Neuroscience Lab
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Welcome to the website of the Human Motivation and Affective Neuroscience (HuMAN) laboratory! Research at the HuMAN Lab aims at providing a better understanding of the physiological, cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of motivation in humans. Our research has a strong emphasis on nonconscious (i.e., implicit) motivational processes that occur and influence behavior without the person becoming aware of them. We also explore how implicit motives relate to and interact with people's conscious goals and beliefs about their motivational needs. The methods we use to explore these questions include non-declarative personality assessment, measurement of salivary hormone levels, assessment of basic cognitive functions, Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, and brain imaging. The HuMAN Lab is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
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Latest News: 29 September 2020

Are women more verbally fluent than men?

A new study conducted jointly by the HuMAN Lab and the Chair for Developmental Psychology, University of Trier (Trier, Germany), examined the question whether women are more verbally fluent than men. Despite the stereotypical appeal of such a sex difference, previous research suggests that it is either very small or does not exist at all. Using a storytelling task normally employed in research on implicit motives, Oliver Schultheiss, Martin Köllner, Holger Busch, and Jan Hofer looked at sex differences in narrated stories across a broad array of samples involving more than 11,000 research participants, covering almost the entire lifespan, and coming from all across the world. Consistent with earlier research, they found that women do not tell longer stories when stories were collected via oral telling. However, when stories were collected in a written format, a medium-sized sex difference in favor of women emerged. This difference could be observed in samples from all geographic regions, suggesting that it does not depend on culture or ethnicity. Intriguingly, however, the female advantage in narrative fluency emerged only in samples tested between puberty and menopause (see Figure).
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Ulna-to-Fibula Ratio (UFR)
The figure shows the effect size of the sex difference in narrative fluency (y axis) as a function of average sample age. Prepubertal children and postmenopausal adults do not differ in narrative fluency, but individuals after puberty and before menopause do, with women telling substantially longer stories than men do.

New edited handbook on social neuroendocrinology

Oliver C. Schultheiss (Friedrich-Alexander University) and Pranjal H. Mehta (University College, London) are the editors of the new Routledge International Handbook of Social Neuroendocrinology. The handbook is the first to bring together a broad variety of findings, topics, and perspectives emerging from the nascent field of social endocrinology. Featuring 39 chapters by author teams from the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Israel, it provides state-of-the-art accounts of research on dominance and aggression; social affiliation; reproduction and pair bonding (e.g., sexual behavior, sexual orientation, romantic relationships); pregnancy and parenting; stress and emotion; cognition and decision making; social development; and mental and physical health.

Implicit Motives Coverclick for a bigger view

For foreign students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree (“Dr. phil.”) at Friedrich-Alexander University through the HuMAN Lab:

The HuMAN-Lab provides research opportunities for foreign students interested in doing work that is closely related to the Lab’s mission. However, due to the requirements of the German university system, regular 3-year positions with a teaching load of 3 courses/year are only available to applicants with documented oral and written fluency in German. Applicants who can obtain a stipend (e.g., through the DAAD or funding agencies from their home country) are also welcome to apply. All applicants must have a master’s degree in psychology and must submit, along with documentation of their degrees, a curriculum vitae, a list of at least two individuals who can comment on their academic achievements, and a letter of intent that sketches out in 2 pages or less the specific research aims and interests of the candidate and how they fit the HuMAN Lab’s mission.

Last updated: 7 Oktober, 2020

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