DPhil Candidate | BSc (Psychology) BSc (Economics) MSc (Psychological Research)
Crockett Lab & SoBE Lab
On maternity leave until fall 2020
About me & my present research
I am a DPhil candidate at the Crockett Lab and the SoBE Lab, supervised by Professor Molly Crockett (Yale University), Dr Nadira Faber (University of Exeter and University of Oxford), and Professor Geoff Bird (University of Oxford). Dr Andreas Kappes (City University London) is another former supervisor and continuous key-collaborator.
My research focuses on social decision-making under uncertainty and its similarities or differences with individual decision-making under uncertainty. Branching out from this main interest, my work roughly falls into two streams. One stream explores how uncertainty factors into social decisions where we trade off our own and others' interests. While past research suggests that uncertainty promotes selfishness in such decisions, we have shown in a series of studies recently published at Nature Human Behaviour that uncertainty about the impact of our actions on others' well-being makes us behave more prosocial, at the expense of selfishness. My other stream of research investigates uncertainty in social decisions that trade off competing or conflicting social values. In my experiments, I draw on methods ranging from game-theoretical paradigms, over scenario-based designs, to formal modelling approaches. I am also collaborating on a neuro-intervention study.
Beyond contributing to the scientific understanding of how uncertainty factors into social decision-making, I am committed to apply my research to real-world settings. For instance, being part of the Oxford Martin School's Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease, I investigate how our findings about when uncertainty promotes prosociality can inform the design of policy-interventions that contain the threat of infectious disease (e.g., by increasing vaccination uptake).
Nudge me to become more active on twitter by following me @amnussberger !
And here come links to the SoBE Lab, the Crockett Lab, and the Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease.
Social uncertainty is heterogeneous and sometimes valuable.
Kappes A. et al, (2019), Nat Hum Behav
Uncertainty about the impact of social decisions increases prosocial behaviour.
Kappes A. et al, (2018), Nat Hum Behav, 2, 573 - 580
Commentary: Parsing the Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms of Third-Party Punishment.
Nußberger A-M. et al, (2017), Front Neurosci, 11
Funding & past
I am funded by a doctoral scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation and a Brasenose Senior Hulme Scholarship. My DPhil builds on work I did during my MSc in Psychological Research at the University of Oxford, from which I graduated with distinction and the Oldfield Prize for Best Overall Performance in my cohort. Before coming to Oxford, I received a BSc in Psychology and a BSc in Economics from the University of Heidelberg.
Other research interests
A longer-term research interest of mine is a psychological approach to interpersonal comparisons of utility. Comparing utilities across different individuals has often been deemed impossible in the economic literature. Meanwhile, people actually make such comparisons on a day-to-day basis. Understanding how people infer and balance others' preferences might help us to develop a formalised approach to interpersonal comparisons of utilities.
I have worked as a research assistant at the Crockett Lab on a project looking at the effects of cognitive enhancement drugs such as Ritalin on social decision-making. During my time in Heidelberg, I assisted on a project at the University’s Centre for Social Innovation investigating applications of “nudges” to the public sector. As a research assistant under Prof Dr Klaus Fiedler in the Department of Cognitive Research in Social Psychology (CRiSP) at Heidelberg University, I have worked on a wide spectrum of subjects in social psychology.