In general terms, I am examining context effects in social judgments and decision making from a social cognitive perspective. Most of the research that I have conducted since the late 90’s relates to assimilation and contrast effects in social judgments, people’s responses to affective experiences, people’s predictions of future affective states, and the impact of conversational processes on people’s judgments and decisions. Fairly recently, I have also developed several lines of research that examine the consequences of people’s existential concerns (e.g., life & death, boredom, loneliness) and the cognitive and motivational processes that underlie these effects. Below I will describe my main research areas and when the developed.
* As a master student at the University of Heidelberg I investigated with Herbert Bless, Michaela Wänke, and Norbert Schwarz assimilation and contrast effects in social judgments (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000; Wänke, Bless, & Igou, 2001). Almost parallel to this research, I developed an interest in the impact of conversational rules on information processing. This interest is especially reflected in my dissertation, in which I investigated the impact of conversational rules on the emergence of order effects in one- and two-sided communications (Igou & Bless, 2003, 2007).
* Towards the end of my PhD education at the University of Heidelberg I became interested in affective forecasting. Specifically, I investigated how lay theories about the progression of affect (continuity vs. decrease) and how different perspectives (self vs. other) influence the predictions that people make about affective states (Igou, 2004, 2008).
* During my post-doctoral fellowship at New York University (2002-2004) I started working with Yaacov Trope on affective influences on self-regulation. Specifically, we were interested in how positive mood influences self-control dilemmas in self-evaluative situations (Gervey, Igou, & Trope, 2005; Trope, Igou, & Burke, 2006).
* After my post-doc I joined Tilburg University (The Netherlands). There I continued to work on most of the topics mentioned above and I developed an interest in the effects of decision frames (gains vs. losses) on decisions (Igou & Bless, 2007), the impact of construal levels (high vs. low) on judgments, and how subjective experiences (easy vs. difficult recall) influence attitudes. At Tilburg University, I became interested in the effects of existential concerns (through mortality and life salience) on worldview defense (e.g., ideological judgments; Van Tilburg & Igou, 2011).
* In August of 2008, I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick (Ireland), which is a newly formed and growing department. It is our goal to make the University of Limerick an exciting and well-known environment for top-quality (social) psychological research. Here, I developed the Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab group, which mainly investigates the effects of specific positive and specific negative emotions on judgments and decisions. For example, my former PhD student Wijnand van Tilburg and I investigated the effects of boredom on people's sense of meaningfulness of life and their activities (Van Tilburg & Igou, 2011) and how these effects of boredom in turn lead to meaning-repair attempts such as social identification with one's in-group (Van Tilburg & Igou, 2011). Together with Constantine Sedikides we also showed that boredom increases nostalgia as one form of meaning-repair strategy (Van Tilburg, Igou, & Sedikides, in press).
Social Cognition & Decision Making Lab members:
First at Tilburg University and then at the University of Limerick, I established a lab group that focuses on social cognition and on decision making research. The current members of the lab group are: John Casey (BSc student), Roisin Curtain (BA student), Frederieke van Dongen (PhD Student), Wijnand van Tilburg (Lecturer).
2004-2008 (Tilburg University): Esther Barten, Philippe van de Calseyde, Peggy Emmerink, Sanne Koevoets, Jain Holsheimer, Joris Mulder, Yvette van Osch, Anne-Lieke Piggen, Thijs Poels, Yaniv Shani (now Tel-Aviv University), Ruud Smolders, and Lonneke van der Linde.
Since 2008 (University of Limerick): Erin Beal, Emily Braham ,Ann Cronin, Lisa Healy, Elaine Kinsella, Eimear Minogue, Alicia La Perle, Eimear Minogue, Gary O'Connor, Meghan O'Sullivan, Mary Parkinson, Kate Ryan, Laura Walshe, and Caroline Young.
Primary PhD Supervisor of Niamh O'Reilly & Frederieke van Dongen.
Secondary PhD Supervisor of Candice Condon & Elaine Kinsella (with Tim Ritchie as Primary Supervisor).
The European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) is an organization that supports social cognition research in Europe. ESCON is now represented in the Republic of Ireland, funded in part by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the European Science Foundation (ESF). In my role as co-ordinator of ESCON2 in Ireland I encourage you contact me if you have questions about our activities. In 2011, I organised with colleagues an ESCON Expert Meeting on Meaning-Regulation in Limerick and ESCON's Transfer of Knowledge Conference (TKC) in Sligo.
IRCHSS (Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences):
I am a member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) and a member of the evaluation board of the Ulysseus Programme.
In 2009, I developed and organized the first Conference on Social Psychology in Ireland (C-SPI) with the support of colleagues in the department. The conference took place on May 28-29 at the University of Limerick, with keynote addresses by Professor Constantine Sedikides (University of Southampton) and Professor Stephen Reicher (University of St. Andrews). In 2011, the 2nd C-SPI was organised by my colleague Anca Minescu. The next C-SPI is planned for 2013. For more information about C-SPI feel free to contact me or visit the website of our department (www.ul.ie/psychology, then click on News & Events).
Currently, I serve as editorial board member of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
MSc in Psychological Science Programme:
In 2009, I took the lead in developing a new MSc programme, the MSc in Psychological Science. This 12-month programme covers research methods and offers a menu of diverse areas in psychology (e.g., cognition, sports psychology, organisational psychology, social psychology). This exciting programme runs at UL since 2010. For more information please contact the current course director, Dr. Stephen Gallagher, and/or check out this link:
MA in Psychology Programme:
In 2010, I developed a new MA programme, the MA in Psychology. This 12-month programme covers undergraduate and postgraduate modules. It is designed for students with prior education in undergraduate psychology (including research methods) equivalent to 60 ECTS (e.g., a Joint Honours degree). The course thus serves the function of a "conversion" course for students with this amount of prior experiences in psychology. The programme has been accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).
For more information please check out this link:
Voluntary Internship Programme (VIP):
Based on my research experiences with highly motivated (and smart) undergraduate students at NYU, I developed a voluntary internship programme in research and teaching at Tilburg University. This extra-curricular programme was met with great enthusiasm by students, staff, and a teaching evaluation committee. Shortly after taking on the position at the University of Limerick in 2008, I developed a similar (but more fleshed out) programme at our department, the Voluntary Internship Programme in Research (VIP-R). This programme gives highly motivated students the chance to work with faculty members and their lab groups on research topics that they are interested in. In my case, the research topics lie in the areas of social cognition and decision making.