Human Motivation & Affective Neuroscience Lab
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Welcome to the website of the Human Motivation and Affective Neuroscience (HuMAN) laboratory! Research at the HuMAN Lab aims at providing a better understanding of the physiological, cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of motivation in humans. Our research has a strong emphasis on nonconscious (i.e., implicit) motivational processes that occur and influence behavior without the person becoming aware of them. We also explore how implicit motives relate to and interact with people's conscious goals and beliefs about their motivational needs. The methods we use to explore these questions include non-declarative personality assessment, measurement of salivary hormone levels, assessment of basic cognitive functions, Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, and brain imaging. The HuMAN Lab is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
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Latest News: 27 February 2014

Content-coding motive measures can be approximated with automated word counts

Many researchers are interested in working with the Picture Story Exercise (PSE), the most extensively validated measure of implicit motives, but are deterred by the amount of work necessary in training coders and having them content-code PSE stories. But now there may be a method that may allow researchers to approximate content-coded motive scores through the use of the inexpensive text-analysis software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) by Pennebaker, Francis, and Booth (2001). In a paper recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, HuMAN-Lab director Oliver C. Schultheiss explores whether LIWC analyses of PSE stories yield motive scores that converge with scores resulting from content-coding of PSE stories . Find out more...

figure 1

Example of a content-coded PSE story (from Schultheiss, 2013, Frontiers in Psychology)

New edited book on implicit motives available

Oliver C. Schultheiss (Friedrich-Alexander University) and Joachim C. Brunstein (Justus-Liebig University) are the editors of “Implicit Motives”, a new book that brings together the latest and best in theory and research on implicit motives. Written by leading authorities in the field, chapters range from portrayals of power, achievement and affiliation motives and their assessment to accounts of how motives shape cognition and physiological changes, their relationship with the needs people attribute to themselves, and their role in culture and society.
Find out more...

Implicit Motives Cover

For foreign students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree (“Dr. phil.”) at Friedrich-Alexander University through the HuMAN Lab:

The HuMAN-Lab provides research opportunities for foreign students interested in doing work that is closely related to the Lab’s mission. However, due to the requirements of the German university system, regular 3-year positions with a teaching load of 3 courses/year are only available to applicants with documented oral and written fluency in German. Applicants who can obtain a stipend (e.g., through the DAAD or funding agencies from their home country) are also welcome to apply. All applicants must have a master’s degree in psychology and must submit, along with documentation of their degrees, a curriculum vitae, a list of at least two individuals who can comment on their academic achievements, and a letter of intent that sketches out in 2 pages or less the specific research aims and interests of the candidate and how they fit the HuMAN Lab’s mission.

Lab News: July 2012

Andreas Rösch rejoins the HuMAN Lab as a freshly minted PhD

Andreas Rösch, who was a member of the HuMAN Lab from 2007 through 2011, has successfully defended in July, graduating summa cum laude. He will rejoin the lab in October, continuing his pioneering work on facial expressions in the context of implicit motives. Congatulations and welcome back, Andreas!

Last updated: 27 Februar, 2014

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