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: 1 September 2014

New meta-analysis: Low to no correlation between implicit and explicit motive measures

Can we replace time-consuming content coding measures with more economical questionnaires? After countless studies on the convergence of implicit and explicit motive measures, research associate Martin G. Köllner and HuMAN-Lab director Oliver C. Schultheiss answered this question in a comprehensive meta-analysis (recently published in Frontiers in Psychology) spanning more than half a century of research and more than 50 studies on the relationship of the Picture Story Exercise (PSE) and a broad range of questionnaire-based assessments. They found that even the small, negligible correlations between those measurement traditions may still be an overestimation of the relationship due to selective publishing practices (see figure) in the early years of motive assessment. Find out more...

study correlation
Relationship of year of publication with implicit-explicit correlation of motivational measures. Presumably due to a diminishing positive-results bias in the literature, implicit and explicit motive measures cease to have any reliable association with each other around the year 2000.


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.

Last updated: 2 September, 2014

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