Social Psychology Network

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Eric Raymond Igou

Eric Raymond Igou

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In general terms, I examine context effects in social judgments and decision making. Most of the research that I have conducted 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. In recent years, 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 specific 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 increasingly interested in the effects of existential concerns (through mortality and life salience) on worldview defense (e.g., ideological judgments; Van Tilburg & Igou, 2011). During that time I developed a research lab group that focused on effects in affective forecasting, framing effects in decision making, and meaning-regulation processes.

In August of 2008, I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick (Ireland), Here, I developed my current research lab group, which mainly investigates the effects of specific positive and specific negative experiences on judgments and decisions. Wijnand van Tilburg and Frederieke van Dongen became my first PhD students. I am currently the primary supervisor of Paul Maher, Andrew Moynihan, Niamh O'Reilly, and David Tierney.

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, 2013).
Wijnand van Tilburg and I have worked on a variety of additional projects since the mid 2000s. In a project on decisions in navigation tasks (e.g., walking through a maze), we document that people normally use an 'action continuation strategy' (e.g., moving onwards) in navigation situations, unless a change in direction is required (Van Tilburg & Igou, 2014). A couple of our publications document the impact of particular simple cues on person perception. We document that eccentricity boosts perceived skills of artists and the quality of art. Examples here are Van Gogh and Lady Gaga (Van Tilburg & Igou, 2014). In another project, we demonstrate the impact that middle name initials have on person perception: Middle initials increase perceptions of status and intellectual capacity and performance (Van Tilburg & Igou, 2014).
Frederieke van Dongen and I investigated the effects of positive emotions on moral decision making, and we are currently working on a number of manuscripts. Elaine Kinsella, Tim Ritchie and I have investigated characteristics of heroes (Kinsella, Ritchie, & Igou, in press) and their psycho-social functions. Candice Condon, Tim Ritchie and I have worked on shared memory effects (Condon, Ritchie, & Igou, in press).

Social Cognition at UL (SOCO-UL) Lab
The SOCO-UL Lab is a European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) lab. My research group consists of undergraduate, masters, and PhD students. The current members of the lab group are: Erin Beal, Ciaran Clery, Rebekah Corscadden, Karina Jonina (KaJo), Maksymilian Kropinski, Paul Maher, Vincent Marrinan, Andrew Moynihan, Kevin O'Malley, Niamh O'Reilly, & David Tierney.
Lab Alumni:
* Since 2008 (University of Limerick): Emily Braham, John J. Casey, Ann Cronin, Roisin Curtin, Lisa Healy, Elaine Kinsella, Eimear Minogue, Alicia La Perle, Eimear Minogue, Gary O'Connor, Meghan O'Sullivan, Mary Parkinson, Kate Ryan, Hanna Reinacher (visiting from the University of Marburg), Gordon Sayre (visiting from The College of New Jersey), Frederieke van Dongen, Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg (now University of Southampton), Laura Walshe, and Caroline Young.
* 2004-2008 (Tilburg University: Social Cognition and Decision Making Lab): 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.

PhD Students at UL
Primary Supervisor of Paul Maher (IRC funded), Andrew Moynihan, Niamh O'Reilly, and David Tierney.
Supervised to completion: Wijnand A. P. van Tilburg (IRCHSS funded), Frederieke van Dongen (IRCHSS funded), Elaine Kinsella (co-supervised) and Candice Condon (co-supervised; IRCHSS funded),

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.

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 (, then click on News & Events).

Curriculum Development at Master Level; Course Directorships
Master of Science in Psychological Science:
* 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. I have been the course director for this course from 2010 to 2013. For more information please contact the current course director, Dr. Stephen Gallagher, and/or check out this link:
Master of Art in Psychology (Conversion):
* 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 course has been accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). I am the course director for this course since 2011. 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.

Head of Department (2010-2013)
In 2010, I took up the post as HoD of a fairly new department. This role has taught me very much about curriculum maintenance & development, institutions, and people. After having served UL in this role for 3 years, I am now enjoying the 'post-HoD era' of my career.

Transnational Coordinator Psychology Education
In 2014, I took on the role as transnational coordinator for our Bachelor of Science in Psychology course. I am involved in the delivery of this programme at IST College in Athens (Greece;

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Communication, Language
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Person Perception
  • Persuasion, Social Influence
  • Political Psychology
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

  • Social Cognition at the University of Limerick (SOCO-UL) Lab, a European Social Cognition Network (ESCON) Lab

Internships and Assistantships:

  • VIP-R

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

Courses Taught:

  • Cognition (PS4037)
  • Problem Solving & Decision Making (PS6081)
  • Psychology and Everyday Life (PS4031)
  • Social Cognition (PS4098)
  • Theory and Method 2 (PS4042)

Eric Raymond Igou
Department of Psychology
Main Building, E1-036
University of Limerick

  • Phone: +353 61 234657
  • Fax: +1 425 6997009
  • Skype Name: E.R.Igou

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