Our lab is growing!

Last year, a number of new people joined our lab! Antonia Düfeld started her PhD in summer, and Laura Maffongelli joined us as a postdoc. Since November, Robin Nehler is also working on his PhD project in our lab. We are very much looking forward to many exciting project in the coming year, and of course to many families participating in our research!

How do children and adults ascribe authority?

The results from our first study with preschoolers are out! We went to several preschools in Lübeck and asked 3-to-6 -year-olds to watch short video clips of two people interacting. Afterwards, we asked them who of the two people is more likely to be the boss. Turns out, children go mostly by looks – they judged the taller person as more likely to be in charge. Adults, in contrast, ignored the height difference but based their judgement on the person’s behavior. All the details can be found here:


What’s especially cool about this study: the entire project was initiated and carried out by a group of super motivated and talented Psychology students for their Bachelor’s thesis Congratulations, Sarah Pieper, Sara Weber, and Anne Neuwerk!

New article on social exclusion

In her new study, Pauline Petereit from the Cognitive Neuroscience Group is looking at how adults respond to social rejection. You can find all the details here:

Petereit, P., Jessen, S., Goregliad Fjaellingsdal, T., & Krämer, U.M. (2022). Social Context and Rejection Expectations Modulate Neural and Behavioral Responses to Social Feedback. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34(5): 823–845.

Annual Teaching Award of the University of Lübeck

We not only do lots of exciting baby research – the second big part of our job is teaching at the University of Lübeck. For her course in Social Psychology, Sarah Jessen has just won the annual teaching award of the University of Lübeck. Huge thanks to the University and of course to all the students who participated in the course!

You can find further information on the awards of the University in the following official press release (unfortunately only in German):


Using neural tracking to analyze infant EEG data

In our newest publication, we discuss and describe how a recent approach to data analysis, namely neural tracking, can be applied to infant EEG data. In most of our studies, we use a different approach called event-related potentials (ERPs), which works quite well but requires the baby to watch the same picture (or listen to the same sound) over and over again. Obviously, this starts to get boring very quickly. Using neural tracking, we can analyze the baby’s brain responses to a constantly changing signal; listening to a story, watching a cartoon, or observing other people interacting in real life. Using this approach, we can therefore design experiments that are much more exciting and at the same time much closer to natural situations.

Further information and all the mathematical details can be found here:

Jessen, S., Obleser, J., & Tune, S. (in press).  Neural Tracking in Infants – an Analytical Tool for Multisensory Social Processing in Development, Dev Cogn Neurosci

What’s the brain connectivity behind reward and executive control?

Our PhD student Bernadette Hippmann published a new article in Human Brain Mapping. In the study, she tested adult participants in an fMRI paradigm, investigating the neural connectivity behind executive control and the influence of reward vs. punishment. The full article can be found here:

Hippmann, B., Tzvi, E., Göttlich, M., Weiblen, R., Münte, T., & Jessen, S. (2021). Effective connectivity underlying reward-based executive control. Human Brain Mapping.

New Commentary in Psychological Science

Measurements and testing in the Babylab still aren’t back to normal due to the impact of the pandemic, but we are nevertheless busy writing and analyzing data. Have a look at the commentary that just came out in Psychological Science, in which we in collaboration with several other researchers discuss entrainment and infant EEG data.

Keitel, C., Obleser, J, Jessen, S. & Henry, M. (2021). Frequency-Specific Effects in Infant Electroencephalograms Do Not Require Entrained Neural Oscillations: A Commentary on Köster et al. (2019). Psychological Science, 1-6.