Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Organizational Behavior and Adaptive Cognition (OBAC) 

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Departments & Research


Cognition and General Psychology

The Department of Experimental Cognitive Psychology (Head: Joachim Funke) is strong in research on higher cognitive processes like problem-solving, thinking, and language. To analyze "mind in action" by means of carefully designed experiments, but also by means of qualitative procedures (e.g., thinking-aloud protocols) ist one of the research goals. Also, the interaction of cognition, emotion, and motivation is focused.

Computersimulated scenarios helf to design specific environments in which participants have to decide and act. An eyetracker is available for reading studies.


Gender Studies and Health Psychology


Social Psychology

Social Psychology contributes to the synthesis of exciting new trends in organizational psychology, change management, judgment and desision making, and cognitive science. Mapping these areas onto a high-quality masters curriculum, OBAC affords a modern profile that should open the participants a successful professional career in many applied and scientific areas. Here is how basic and applied areas can be mapped in OBAC desciplines:

  • Survey-Research ⇒ Marketing and Consumer Research
  • Communication ⇒ Advertising
  • Judgment and decision making ⇒ Economic and health risk assessment
  • Diagnostic errors ⇒ Personnel management
  • Complex problem solving ⇒ Change management
  • Affect regulation ⇒ Health training and education
  • Cognitive science ⇒ Organizational behavior

The Social Psychology department is interested in establishing a natural fit between advanced studetn training and existing research prjects and grants. A symbiotic relation between reserach and teaching is the precondition for

  • Students being incorporated in high-level research activities
  • Many students being hired as research assistants
  • Thematic coordination of masters theses
  • Involving students in international exchange networks
  • Masters theses leading to original publications
  • And, last but not least, a smooth transition from masters to doctoral program



Work and Organizational Psychology

Work and Organizational Psychology is an applied subject, focussing on humans and their interactions with individuals, teams, organizations and work environments. The application of work and organizational psychology practices in organizations and ranges from personnel selection and training to occupational health as well as organizational demands.


We focus our teaching and research on the following subjects:

  1. Change Management: Which factors influence change processes? How can executives and employees be successfully involved in change related decision processes? And how could change initiatives be improved?
  2. Human Resource Management: How can organizations improve their human resource mangement processes? What can be done to develop employees' skills anf abilities, thereby taking current challenges such as demographic changes into account? Which factors contribute to effective coaching and traing processes?
  3. Occupational Health: How can an individual, a work team or an organization support health initiatives? How can stress be reduced? haw can employees' work-life balance be improved? What individual or organizational factors need to bei changed to support employees' physical and psychological health?


As an applied science, the department of Work and Organizational Psychology cooperates with different practitioners and organizations. Students can participate in this process working hands-on as consultants solving real-world challenges and reporting their findings back to the projects initiators.


Besides those work relevant qualifications, seminars and lectures emphasize scientific training. This should enable graduated psychologists to work in differnet industries or public administration.