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Norms and Behavior

Norms and Behavior

Human behavior is conditioned by a host of cognitive, affective, social, and legal motivations and restraints. Analyzing the driving forces of behavior is of great importance for understanding specific social groups as well as human society as a whole. At JMU, researchers from fields as diverse as Psychology, Law, Sociology, Political Science, Education and others provide different yet complementary and mutually reinforcing approaches to explore the broad research field of “Norms and Behavior”.

At the Faculty of Human Sciences, the Institute of Psychology has a long tradition of experimentally and empirically illuminating human behavior and experience. Current research foci include emotions as determinants of normal and pathological behavior, the cognitive basis of behavioral control, the development of cognition and metacognition, neurofeedback, and risky behavior (for an overview of the various third-party funded projects conducted at the Institute, see here). Much of the research is interdisciplinary, featuring close cooperation of psychologists with workgroups from research fields such as biology, medicine, sociology, education, and media research.

Seeing is a good example of how human behavior is both based on affective and cognitive processes and conditioned by social interaction. While an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group analyzes the mechanisms and functions of eye contact, the BMBF-funded project  “InSight” combines historical, psychological, and pedagogic approaches to study seeing and the human gaze. The latter project brings together several historical collections hosted at JMU as well as well as museums in Ingolstadt and Berlin. In so doing, it bridges the research priority areas of “Norms and Behavior“ and “Digital Society“.

The Faculty of Human Sciences also hosts the Human Dynamics Centre (HDC). The HDC is a cross-disciplinary think tank providing space for the exploration of fundamentals, manifestations, and possibilities of human transformation. Work at the HDC is organized around two-year topics, such as “Attention and Consciousness” (2014-2016), “Inter-Culturality” (2015-2017), or “Collective Anxiety and Insecurity” (2016-2018). Currently, the HDC is setting up a new research-cluster focusing on “Normality and Normativity” – combining the expertise of all institutes of the faculty: i.e. Philosophy, Psychology, Pedagogy, Special Needs Education, Political Sciences and Sociology, Protestant Theology, Sport Science and the “Human-Computer-Media” Institute.

Legal norms, their codification and interpretation as well as their impact on human behavior naturally take center-stage in the work conducted within the Faculty of Law. Research covers all fields of law, such as the History of Law; Civil Law; Company, Tax, Employment and Labor Law; European and International Law; Criminal Law; Constitutional and Administrative Law. A cross-disciplinary Working Group Law and Economics of Competition and Regulation explores the interplay of norms-based and material-incentives-based attempts to affect human behavior in the field of international business.