Professorship for Social and Economic Psychology

Prof. Dr. Jörg Gross


Successful cooperation allows humans to achieve more than they would be capable of alone. In groups, we can help and learn from each other and create public goods that benefit everyone.  Yet, cooperation is also exploitable and can quickly deteriorate when some take advantage of others’ cooperativeness without reciprocating such cooperation. Moreover, relationships can turn hostile and people sometimes invest considerable amounts of resources to hurt and exploit others.

In our department of Social- and Economic Psychology we are broadly interested in understanding how groups develop norms of cooperation and how they manage to overcome the free-rider problem to solve shared problems together, on the one hand. On the other hand, we investigate how group relationships turn hostile, how conflict emerges and how norms of  exploitation and ethical misconduct can develop.