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2019-09-16  |  Open mind for a different view – Kevin Winter presents doctoral thesis on prejudices
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© IWM Tuebingen

We are all prejudiced. But how can stereotypes and prejudices be deconstructed? Kevin Winter answered this question at his doctoral defence on 13th of September. In his thesis, the IWM researcher shows through various empirical studies innovative and effective ways, how people can face outgroups unbiasedly. Communication and cognitive flexibility, according to Winter, are part of the solution. Especially through the use of negations in communication attitudes about an outgroup can be changed. For example, if we say “foreigners are not criminals”, the negation leads us to consider an alternative perspective and to a more flexible way of thinking. The original attitude towards the outgroup is then questioned and perhaps revised. Kevin Winter's findings are particularly relevant with regard to media communication: Negations in news, speeches or press releases can contribute to the reduction of prejudices and stereotypes.

2019-09-04  |  On the example of Norway – Lab visit of Iris Backfisch
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The school system of Norway has a good reputation and in terms of digitisation it is some steps ahead of Germany. This makes the country a particular interesting field of research for Iris Backfisch. The doctoral student investigates motivational factors that influence teachers when using digital media in class and has been working on a joint research project with Norwegian colleagues in Oslo since August 26th.

For six weeks in total, the IWM scientist collaborates with two renowned researchers for digital education and teaching skills: Prof. Ronny Scherer from the Centre for Educational Measurement (CEMO) at the University of Oslo and Prof Fazilat Siddiq of the University of South-Eastern Norway. The German-Norwegian team works on a data set that is based on a survey of 700 teachers in Norway. Among other things, respondents assessed the usefulness of digital technologies in teaching and reported to which extent they felt able to teach with them. The researchers analyse the impact of such factors on the manner of teaching using statistical models and thus derive implications for teacher education and training. The results are to be documented in a joint publication and incorporated into Backfisch's doctorate.

“It is enriching to exchange ideas with a variety of scientists here in Norway who have a lot of experience both in research but also in the implementation of digitisation projects in teacher training and schools,” reports Iris Backfisch. The IWM doctoral student would like to continue and expand the fruitful collaboration in future projects.

2019-08-22  |  Textbook "Social Psychology in Action" now available as print edition
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In 2018, Prof. Dr. Kai Sassenberg, head of the IWM's working group Social Processes, together with Dr. Micheal Vliek from the University of Amsterdam, edited the textbook "Social Psychology in Action: Evidence-Based Interventions from Theory to Practice", which was initially published as e-book by Springer-Verlag. Now the textbook on central theories in social psychology is also available in printed form. In 15 chapters, leading scientists summarize key concepts, their reliability and limitations and explain their application in researching different settings of life. IWM scientist Prof. Sonja Utz, for example, describes the application of social psychology theories to the emotional effects of social media use.
“Social Psychology in Action is targeting advanced undergraduate and graduate students in social psychology, as well as students of neighbouring fields. Since it can be successfully applied to benefit social and practical problems, it is also useful to practitioners working, for example, in the fields of health communication and educational science.

2019-08-14  |  First German-Brazilian Winter School on numerical cognition
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Leading scientists from the area of numerical cognition met at the 1st Winterschool on Numerical Cognition in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, from 5th to 9th of August in order to discuss latest research results. The exchange was initiated and organized by the Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and the junior research group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity of the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien. The two institutions have cooperated in the DAAD funded project “A genetic and cross-linguistic Brazilian-German approach to children's numerical development” since March 2018.

In collaboration with the Brazilian partners Prof. Vitor Haase, Prof. Raquel Carvalho and Prof. Júlia Silva, Prof. Korbinian Möller, head of the junior research group, and his colleague Dr. Julia Bahnmüller had set up the first international meeting of this kind. A total of 50 researchers spend five days on the exchange of ideas across disciplines. 

The top topics, in the eyes of Prof. Möller, included the influence of cultural and linguistic peculiarities (i.e. the so-called inversion of Germen number words, 21 = einundzwanzig = twenty and one) as well as of genetic factors on the development of numerical skills but also fear of arithmetic. The question of how concrete research results can have an effect on teaching and learning of numerical skills was also intensively discussed. Korbinian Möller himself provided two contributions to the program and focussed on neuronal correlates of numerical learning and embodied training of numerical abilities. Postdoc Julia Bahnmüller held a lecture on the linguistic influences on numerical processes.

2019-08-01  |  Dr. Johannes Blöchle honoured with Doctoral Award from Tübingen University
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Dr. Johannes Blöchles work in the Neuro-Cognitive Plasticity Lab at the IWM has distinguished itself in the truest sense of the word: In recognition of his excellent doctoral thesis, the University of Tübingen awarded the former PhD student of the IWM with the doctoral prize from the Faculty of Science. In 2018, under the title „Substantiating and specifying the neurocognitive architecture of numerical cognition” the scientist brought together the results of his four-year research on numerical cognition. While figure processing is often explained by closed models which hardly consider cross-domain functions, Blöchle combined in his thesis theories on attention, long-term memory and visual perception with cognitive research.

Each year, the University of Tübingen awards a fixed number of doctoral prices per faculty for the most outstanding dissertations of the previous year.  The awards were presented by headmaster of the University Prof. Dr. Bernd Engler at the annual graduation ceremony on July 13. In his speech, Dr. Ulrich Köstlin, honorary senator of Tübingen University advised the PhD students of the academic year 2018/2019 to remember the university slogan in the future: “Take a risk!”

Dr. Johannes Blöchle is now continuing his research on the complex interplay of number processing at the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. In a DFG funded project, he investigates how fraction magnitude understanding at the beginning of secondary education can be fostered in children.

2019-07-22  |  What we need in the 21st century – US researcher talks about the future of schools at the IWM
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In order to be prepared for a future in which automatization and artificial intelligence are part of everyday life, generation Alpha (all born after 2010) has to learn today what machines cannot do: Critical thinking, flexibility, creativity and communication skills. But how can schools promote the necessary 21st century skills?

Prof. Dr. James Pellegrino from the University of Illinois at Chicago has been researching processes of children's and adult's thinking and learning for over 30 years. At his lecture at the IWM on July 10, the author of over 300 books and chapters on cognition and learning explained: Success at school does not only comprise cognitive performance, but also the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills such as the ability to work in a team. According to Pellegrino, these three dimensions of competence interact with each other and must be taken into account both in curricula and in the evaluation of school success. This requires a change in the entire system, so the psychologist, since teachers need the organisational framework and the individual skills to be able to implement such curricula.

"It is up to the young scientists to further explore how the school system has to be reoriented in the 21st century. This is a life task for many and we should rather deal individually with a small part of the entire mosaic," said Pellegrino in his closing statement.

2019-07-04  |  Multimedia learning illustrated: Marie-Christin Krebs successfully completes dissertation project
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Everybody is talking about multimedia learning. It is often assumed that learners know how to deal adequately with different representations of content such as texts and images. However, empirical studies show a different picture. Many learners struggle with developing strategies with which they can process texts and images equally. In her doctorate, IWM doctoral student Marie-Christin Krebs is therefore concerned with the question whether learners can be supported in better processing multiple representations by so-called Eye Movement Modeling Examples (EMME). Her experiments show that the demonstration of optimal eye movements can be an effective instructional support for multimedia learning. However, social factors can moderate the effectiveness of EMME – especially when learners have little prior knowledge. Thus, this experimental group only benefited from instructional support if they assumed that the gaze movements presented came from another subject and not from a comparatively more competent model. The reason for this is the tendency of people to orient themselves more towards others who have a similar background or abilities as they do, explained Marie-Christin Krebs during her successful dissertation defence on July 1.

2019-07-01  |  By the numbers – Junior research group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity joins conference on mathematical cognition
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We are confronted by numbers and math on a daily basis. Yet our knowledge of how people process figures is still emerging. This growing knowledge was explored by nearly 250 scientists at the Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society (MCLS) conference in Ottawa, Canada from June 16 to 18.

Dr. Julia Bahnmüller, Roberta Barrocas and Silke Bieck from the IWM also travelled overseas to present the work of the junior research group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity. The scientists have been researching numerical cognition for years with particular interest being paid to the neural correlates of number processing as well as its development during childhood. In Ottawa, Dr. Julia Bahnmüller introduced three of her projects. Among other things, she presented a study on number word inversion ("42" in Germany literally translates as "two-forty" and not as "forty-two"). She addressed the question of how the strategy of writing down the unit digit before the decade digit in multi-digit numbers influences arithmetic performance in children. Junior scientist Roberta Barrocas discussed, whether counting with fingers promotes numerical learning in children – a topic which especially targeted teachers who were invited to the conference as well.  Silke Bieck, a LEAD PhD student and associate at the IWM, put up a poster to debate the design of her study on learning fractions. In the study, she will identify the neural correlates of fraction arithmetic and their commonalities with and differences from whole number arithmetic.

All in all, the IWM experts considered the mission of the MCLS – to promote the communication of scientific research on mathematical cognition and learning – successful: "Almost all of the lectures were relevant to the content of our work at the IWM and therefore very inspiring," said Julia Bahnmüller after the conference.

2019-06-26  |  Know-how²: International cooperation tests computational skills of children
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Computational Thinking as conceptual foundation of problem solving in different context domains has been coined a crucial 21st century competence. Scientists of the junior research group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity at the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien have been investigating for years how these skills can be promoted in children and are cooperating with other international research teams. From April 22 to June 9, scientific member Katerina Tsarava visited the Distance University (UNED) in Madrid where she collaborated with Prof. Dr. Marcos Román-González. Román Gonzáles is the developer behind the Computational Thinking Tests, the only proven test to determine computer-relevant abilities in children (the picture shows are child being assessed for its coding skills) . During the lab visit, the two researchers examined how well-developed computational thinking is in children between the age of 4 and 5. They used the CT test in a jointly designed study on 40 children of this age group. “We are currently analysing the data and plan to jointly publish the results,” says Katerina Tsarava after her stay. The junior researcher regards the cooperation as very positive: “Prof. Dr. Marcos Román-Gonzáles and his team are well known in the community of computational thinking. Working together and working so intensely on the design and execution of CT-tests, is very valuable for my own work.”

2019-06-19  |  Distinguished social psychology expert Roy Baumeister surprises with findings on social rejection
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On June 6, the IWM welcomed a renowned guest: Roy Baumeister, Professor for Psychology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, is one of the most influential and frequently cited social psychologists of our time. His forty years of research cover a wide range of topics of the human life, including self-confidence, free will and the sense of belonging.

At the IWM, the US native gave a comprehensive lecture on his research on the far-reaching effects of social exclusion. In numerous laboratory experiments and field studies, Baumeister and his colleagues had investigated how social rejection affects people's behaviour and emotions. "No more Mr. Nice Guy," Baumeister summed up the results concisely. People who experienced social rejection in the experiment behaved more aggressively, had less self-regulation and showed more anti-social behaviour than people who received encouragement or did not have any negative social experiences - even though they would like to be connected again. This is because rejected people want to avoid further refusal. "Although social exclusion had a strong effect on behaviour, rejected persons did not show any emotional reactions," Baumeister surprised the audience. Rather, they seemed to be emotionally indifferent to their fellow human beings and felt less empathy and even less physical pain. The social psychologist explained this with an emotional shut-down: "Social rejection leads to a numbness of emotions and of sensitivity to pain similar to the experience of shock reactions, which in turn affects the loss of pro-social behaviour.”

For Dr. Lara Ditrich from the Social Processes Lab, the lecture was also inspiring with regard to her own work at the IWM: "The lecture impressively showed that we humans are social living beings and what consequences it can have if we are rejected by others. It was particularly exciting for me that numerous topics such as self-control, self-regulation, emotions and empathy were addressed, which we also investigate in our own research here at the IWM".

2019-06-04  |  IWM brings interactive history to Tübingen’s town hall
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As part of a research cooperation between the IWM and the city of Tübingen, an interactive multimedia tool for the historic Tübingen city hall was developed which was presented by Lord Mayor, Boris Plamer on June 3. On the so called “Tübinger Table”, a billiard-table-sized multitouch installation, visitors can now intuitively and interactively access the city's highlights – and IWM researches can gather further insights into the perfect usability.

A “genuine innovation” called Lord Mayor Palmer the interactive city guide developed by the IWM. On the map of the multitouch display, visitors of the city can now virtually explore the Tübingen’s hotspots through intuitive gestures like swiping, rotating and scaling. Yet, there is much more than just technology to the info cards equivalent to over 700 pages of text, the around 400 photos and the interface which can be used by several persons simultaneously.  "The table is basic research cast in a product," said project manager Prof. Dr. Peter Gerjets from the IWM. The Tübingen Leibniz-Insitute has researched for many years how digital media can transfer knowledge in a way that as much of it as possible is remembered and understood. The findings are already being applied in multimedia tables in museums, but Tübingen is the first city to do so. The use of the Tübingen table during the opening hours of the city hall provides the project team with important research access. Through observations, surveys and experiments, the IWM will in future collect reliable research results on knowledge transfer with the table and continually optimise the installation.


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2019-06-04  |  Junior research group Social Media at international communication conference
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Every year, the International Communication Associations (ICA) invites researchers from all over the world to one of the most important conferences in the field of communication science. This year, more than 3000 experts met at the 69th ICA Conference in Washington D.C. from May 24 to 28, including scientists from the IWM.

“Our institute is becoming increasingly well known in the professional field. This is proof that the IWM has established itself with its psychological research in the world of communication science,” reports Dr. Ruth Festl, scientist at the IWM. Together with Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz, head of the junior research group Social Media, and colleague Lara Wolfers, she informed the international audience about the research of the IWM. In a joint paper the scientists presented findings of a study on a new phenomenon in times of permanent smartphone use: Nomophobia (short for “no-mobile-phone-phobia”), the fear of being cut off from one’s social environment and important information when not having a mobile phone. Nomophobia is often associated with situational stress according to one of the results. Yet, the effect did not replicate over a longer period of time.

The junior research group had submitted six papers prior to the conference all of which were included in the program. In other contributions the IWM scientists talked about relevant topics of digital media use such as excessive media consumption, online social competence and crisis communication as well as privacy and self-disclosure in online contexts. PhD student Lara Wolfers was also able to present her research on stress management through smartphone use in the coveted doctoral consortium. On the first conference day, 16 chosen doctoral students had the chance to discuss their dissertation topic with international experts and to ask question concerning their professional career after the dissertation.
Dr. Jürgen Buder from the Knowledge Exchange Lab represented the IWM in Washington as well.

2019-06-03  |  Doctoral student Michael Wenzler defends dissertation on power and moral
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© IWM Tuebingen

“With great power comes great responsibility” – once in a position of power or leadership people can use their authority differently: for moral and responsible decisions, or to assert their own interests. PhD student Michael Wenzler has been researching the interplay between power, responsibility and moral action in the Social Processes Lab at the IWM since 2015. His long-term expertise is brought together in his dissertation which completed recently. Using experiments and online studies, he investigates how the experience of power changes moral judgements as well as action and the conditions under which people find it more or less acceptable to commit moral violations.

During the successful defense of his work on May 28, Michael Wenzler presented a surprising finding: “Power can function as stress buffer when we have to make challenging moral decisions and weigh contradictory values against each other. In such situations power can lead to the identification of resources and possibilities. This is turn might help people to reach judgements that are less driven by emotions and more influenced by other processes (e.g. rational considerations).  

2019-05-27  |  “Tübinger Fenster für Forschung” offers looks behind the scenes of Tübingen’s research
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Who researches what, how and why in Tübingen? Once a year the “Tübingen Fenster für Forschung” (Tübingen Window for Research) grants insights which are normally denied to the public. On May 24, scientists of the University of Tübingen, the hospital and non-university research institutes presented their research projects. Curious guests of all age groups could observe tiniest organisms under microscopes, measure CO2 in the air and immerse into virtual worlds. Visitors were also drawn to the interactive stations of the IWM: With the educational game “Crabs and Turtles” IWM scientist Katerina Tsarava demonstrated at her booth how computing concepts can be learned in a playful way.  At the station of the digital classroom Tübingen Digital Teaching Lab (TüDiLab) visitors could try out learning applications on tablets and thus gain impressions of future teaching. "Our research attracted many visitors. They particularly enjoyed eye-tracking which we use to record eye movements while learning on the computer," reports Dr. Juliane Richter (second from the right), coordinator of the TüDiLab at the IWM.

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The International Autumn School "Cognitive Interfaces" of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen will take place from October 8 - 11, 2019 in Bad Teinach, Black Forest.

The Autumn School focuses on the complex interplay of digital technologies and human interaction. How do interfaces between humans and digital technologies need to be designed to encourage optimal knowledge acquisition, understanding and exchange, as well as optimal decision-making and what challenges and potentials are associated with this? These are the leading questions of the Autumn School 2019.
Across two parallel workshop tracks, the Autumn School provides the framework for interested doctoral students and post-docs to exchange ideas, develop research ideas and discuss recent developments from a scientific point of view and to expand their interdisciplinary network.

Trackleaders and keynote speakers are leading scientists in psychology and biomedical(informatics): Vimla L. Patel & Edward H. Shortliffe (Track: Digital Technology in Medicine) and Evan F. Risko (Track: Cognitive Offloading). Participation in the Autumn School is free of charge.
Registration deadline June 15, 2019 (contact: m.gross@iwm-tuebingen.de)
Please find further information on program, workshops and organisation online https://autumnschool.wissenschaftscampus-tuebingen.de

2019-05-13  |  IWM lab Social Processes publishes study on US presidential election and the influence of emotional tendencies on Twitter
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Scientists at the IWM have been researching the exchange of knowledge and information on the internet and in social networks for many years. In particular, the lab Social Processes investigates how emotions affect people's attitudes about controversial issues and their processing of information. In a recently published study, the lab linked the surprising election results of the US presidential election campaign of 2016 with Twitter as a social barometer: 148 million randomly selected tweets from almost 1,350 US counties were divided into four emotion categories - anger, fear, generally negative and positive emotions - and compared with the election results of the respective counties.

The study shows: The emotions of US citizens on Twitter are connected with the outcome of the election. Candidate Donald Trump was better supported in counties where more anger and negative emotions were tweeted, regardless of social factors such as education and socio-economic status. With the study, the IWM lab provides a further indication that voters are attracted by political appeals that correspond to their emotional state, and are more likely to be guided by emotions than by rational arguments. Read more (German only)

2019-05-13  |  State funds research on "Society and the digital change" with 2.1 million Euros

Scientists from Tübingen are involved in a new research association. The new scientific consortium called digilog@bw will conduct interdisciplinary research on the influence of digitization on individuals and society. The Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM) and the University of Tübingen are taking part in the consortium with four projects: At the IWM, Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz and her junior research group Social Media investigate how AI-supported language assistants affect information search and evaluation and what role media literacy plays in this. The International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) is concerned with the effects of artificial intelligence on public communication and investigates the influence of cloud-computing on digital sovereignty as well as fair participation conditions in a diverse society.

2019-05-13  |  Lab Information Days at the IWM

In order to promote the exchange between scientists within the institute the IWM launched the Lab Information Days in 2018. This year, the third edition took place on May 6 and 7. Focus was placed on the ideas and developments which have already been applied in practice. Grouped in several demo stations, the researchers presented their innovations from fields like digital education, museum/mulit-touch, knowledge-related internet usage and knowledge work with digital media. In addition to the life-sized game “Crabs & Turtles” and the digital chemistry book “eChemBook”, highlights included applications for multi-touch tables that are used in a series of cooperations with museums as well as interactive cards for visualizing complex data. “The Lab Days showed me once again the broad range of research at the IWM – a great opportunity for everyone to take a look beyond the labs or junior research groups,” reports Salome Wörner, who has been a doctoral student at the IWM since March 2019 and was able to use the two-day event to familiarize herself better with the topics and projects of the IWM.


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2019-05-02  |  “Leading in Science” – IWM young talents admitted to Leibniz Mentoring Programme
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Supporting and accompanying outstanding female researchers on their way to a leadership position or professorship is the goal of the Leibniz Mentoring Programme of the Leibniz Association. These young talents now also include Dr. Julia Bahnmüller (right side) and Dr. Ruth Festl (left side) from the IWM. The two postdocs were selected for the desired career advancement program in a highly competitive process from 57 competitors. This is the fifth time that the IWM has been represented in the programme with young scientists. For 16 months starting in June 2019, Dr. Julia Bahnmüller and Dr. Ruth Festl will be accompanied by an executive as mentor. In regular meetings, professional development will be promoted and the outstanding skills of the mentees will be further developed. "I am looking forward to reflecting on topics such as career planning or network strategies, which are often neglected in everyday working life," said Dr. Ruth Festl about the admission to the program. The new mentees will receive suggestions for this in various seminars of the programme on topics such as career strategies, key competences and research funding.

2019-04-29  |  Reading research meets libraries: IWM expert speaks at library directors' conference in Karlsruhe
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"Reading and information literacy are more important than ever in the digital age," Dr. Yvonne Kammerer opened the library directors' conference at the Regierungspräsidium Karlsruhe on April 15. The IWM scientist had been invited by the Regierungspräsidium to inform the heads of the public libraries in the Karlsruhe area about current findings in reading research. At the IWM, Dr. Yvonne Kammerer investigates how information on the internet is searched, read and evaluated. She is a co-signatory of the Stavanger Declaration "On the Future of Reading". In her lecture, the psychologist presented, among other things, the results of a current meta-analysis on the differences between analogue and digital reading. Especially when reading digitally readers tend to read more superficially. Sources of web content are rarely taken into account. Libraries could take a targeted approach and promote reading and information literacy through their own didactic offerings or in cooperation with schools.

The conference offered participants an interface between research and library practice. "It was interesting for the library directors to learn about the results of research on reading and information literacy," comments Dr. Yvonne Kammerer. "The conference also addressed other topics that are relevant for us at the IWM, such as promotion of MINT subjects".

2019-04-26  |  Social media special in Le Figaro: IWM expert on the misconception of media usage
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Social media make you depressed. This disturbing headline is not only circulating in German media. One of the most important daily journals of France, Le Figaro, dedicated a double-page special to social media usage in April. On the question of whether we are actually happier without a social media account, the national paper asked the expert opinion of Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz from the IWM. The psychologist, who has been researching the effects of media usage with her junior research group Social Media for years, gave good news in the interview. Most scientific studies only showed short-term negative effects of media use for a small group of test subjects which, however, could hardly be mapped on the entire population. In the feature the scientist explained how our well-being is rather influenced by the way we use social media - both negatively and positively.

To the French online article (fee required)

2019-04-16  |  Where to do put amounts of data? Workshop on data management with experts of the ZPID at the IWM

Organizing data and archiving is daily routine for scientist. Yet, with the growing amount of digital research data demands concerning data management are increasing. IWM employees discussed how research data can be managed sustainably in a workshop at the IWM on April 11. The IWM had invited the data management experts Roland Ramthun and Ronny Bölter of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID), Trier, as guest speakers. The ZPID supports Open Science in psychology and offers with PsychArchives a platform for archiving and the transfer of psychological publications, data and tests. The ZPID experts presented their work with the archive in the first part of the workshop. During the second part participants could work with data management program DataWiz. Dr. Nora Umbach, Research Assistant for Research Data Protection at the IWM, comments on a possible use at the institute: “The lectures were very informative and the products of the ZPID could, in my opinion, further improve research data management at the IWM and also to make it easier for scientists.”

2019-04-15  |  Schools going digital – Radio station SWR2 asks IWM experts how
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German schools should become digitized. But what exactly does this mean for schools and teachers? In a radio feature SWR2 Wissen spoke about the challenges of the digital classroom with pupils, teachers and experts from education and media research. IWM Director Prof. Dr. Ulrike Cress and her colleague, media technician Dr. Uwe Oestermeier, demonstrate how lessons can be digitally reinvented.  In their contributions, Prof. Cress also outlined the digital learning spaces of the future which in her opinion are individually designed and open.

Listen to the podcast here (German only)

2019-04-08  |  Science in funny: IWM researcher Dr. Danny Flemming at Fürther Science Slam
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Endless complex sentences or tables full of numbers – for many, science is above all one thing:  as dry as dust. But not for Dr. Danny Flemming of the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien. As a science slammer, the IWM researcher even makes his audience laugh with topics like “Fragility of scientific findings".

At the first Science Slam of the Rotary Club Fürth, the psychologist and six other scientific entertainers competed for the audience’s favour on March 30, 2019. In the sold-out hall of the Fraunhofer Institut the scientists engaged with 10 minutes slams from network technologies to German fun facts in an intriguing competition. As opener of the evening Flemming explained the guests “How people who have no idea about science understand scientific reports”. Unfortunately, they often fail to understand: While the majority of people prefer clear and simple messages, researcher only make definite statements when results are unmistakable. With a lot of humour, Flemming unambiguously showed that most scientific findings are in fact ambiguous, that means fragile or only partially generalizable.

Whether witty, surprising or in a very sensitive manner, the speakers attracted the attention of the audience. And the enthusiasm was enormous not only in the hall. More than 100 visitors had to stay outside the doors of the institute due to the large crowd. Their consolation: A poetry slam under the open sky with the spontaneous slammers.

2019-04-05  |  5th Campus Meeting of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen
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On March 29, about 40 project partners of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen met at the 5th campus meeting at the IWM. The aim of the event was to present the progress and challenges of the 16 research projects within an open format, to discuss them and to strengthen the cross-project exchange.

From the research focuses of the projects, four contexts can be identified which were addressed in two parallel sessions: During session 1 projects with a focus on touch as well as school and learning environments were presented, session 2 focused on projects on social media and the medical context.

The flexible format and thematic clustering of the projects offered the opportunity to network and to establish concrete links between the projects. Through the close exchange of experiences, suggestions and impulses for further research and ideas for joint research activities could be gained.

2019-04-04  |  Better deciding digitally? Inga Bause successfully defends her dissertation
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Every day we have to make decisions. Some are trivial; others are momentous for our personal or social life. Preferences or biased information might even affect our decisions and become pitfalls. Yet, digital devices can help us in overcoming such pitfalls as Inga Bause from the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM) shows in her dissertation.

In her thesis “Can(`t) we help it? Overcoming Preferences and Understanding Biased Information Evaluation” the doctoral student tested whether functions of a multi-touch table can support the decision of a group. To test her hypotheses Inga Bause implemented functions on a multi-touch table that support the exchange of information and enable the joint structuring of information. While groups in the experimental condition processed a decision task with the technological support, the control group had a classic group discussion. In both groups not all members had the same relevant information for making the decision.

Inga Bause presented the results of her studies during the successful defense of her work on March, 28, 2019: Compared to the control group, the use of the multi-touch table increased discussions and the exchange of information. The postgraduate also showed that the biased evaluation of new information seems to hinge on associations between prior information and new information. Future research could therefore concentrate on determining specific mechanisms contributing to the effectiveness of the technological support functions, for example by investigating how virtually sharing prior information affects its evaluation.

2019-03-26  |  News from IWM research: Expectations of excellence from universities do not burden students equally

Regardless of their official status, many universities throughout Germany are increasingly emphasising their "excellence". Universities also expect from their students “excellent” performance. But how do such expectations affect students? Dr. Annika Scholl of the IWM and her research lab Social Processes investigated this topic in two studies that have now been published in the renowned Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. On the basis of a survey of 500 students of a German university, the research team of Dr. Scholl showed what can counteract the pressure to be excellent.

Find the online publication here.

2019-03-20  |  Prof. Dr. Katharina Scheiter speaks at the Education Research Conference of the ministry in Berlin

From March 12 to 13, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) hosted the Bildungsforschungstagung (Education Research Conference) in Berlin. Scientists, practitioners, politicians and association members followed the invitation to discuss the educational world of the future as well as its challenges. Among them: Prof. Dr. Katharina Scheiter, head of the lab Multiple Representations at the IWM who showed with her lecture on orchestrations of digital educational processes how research has to develop in order to support digitization in schools with useful results. “In the classroom of the future, the potentials of digital media will be realized and connected with analogue approaches without losing sight of pedagogy,” says Scheiter about the future educational world.

In addition, IWM expert Dr. Anne Thillosen presented the Meta project “Digitization of the Education Sector” (Digi-EBF) in the context of the conference. The initiative will review the current state of research on digital learning issues over the next four years. The IWM focuses on the evaluation of teacher training. The kick-off meeting at the BMBF conference 2019 offered the project members the opportunity to get to know each other personally for the first time and to establish a closer network of the Meta project.

2019-03-15  |  Know-how of the IWM in demand – FDP delegation informs itself about digital trends at the IWM
FDP am IWM 1500

How can we make use of digital media in schools? This question does not only concern the researches at the IWM but also politics. Not least in view of the Digitalpakt recently passed by the Federal Government, member of the Bundestag Pascal Kober (FDP) informed himself at the IWM at the beginning of March about the potentials of digitization in schools as well as in museums and the medical sector. On the basis of the applications of the IWM, the vice-chair of Baden-Wuerttemberg's FDP, together with a six-member delegation of his party, was able to gain insights into the practical use of digital media in classrooms and hospitals. At the TüDILab, the IWM’s digital classroom, experts of the IWM showed the guests how the effects of learning tools can be investigated and how teachers can be trained in media-based teaching. Afterwards, the FDP members could try out several applications involving the use of multi-touch tables.

Pascal Kober was content with his visit at the IWM: “Both the acquisition and application of scientific education will increasingly be digital in the future. The excellent work of the IWM helps to mediate educational services and at the same time helps people to understand them in the best possible way. This opens up individual possibilities and personal potentials are used, which is a matter of the heart to us Free Democrats.”

2019-03-13  |  Science on stage – IWM PhD student at the Tübingen Science Slam
Science Slam Rechte

“I touched it, it’s mine now!” was the title of a presentation by Lisa Rabl, doctoral student at the IWM, at the Science Slam of the University of Tübingen at the end of February, where she showed the audience that research can be both understandable and exciting. At the event, which was organised by the Graduate Academy of the university in cooperation with the faculties, six slammers competed for the loudest applause in the auditorium of the Kupferbau. The slam of the junior resreacher focused on the ownership effect: It says that when people touch objects, they are perceived as more positive, since the touch leads to the perception of a personal sense of ownership of these objects. Lisa Rabl’s slam was honoured by the audience with several cheering waves and strong applause. "Although it was quite frightening to present the topic in front of more than 650 persons, it was still a great experience! The audience had fun, the slammers had fun. I can recommend it to everyone who would like to try it out for themselves!” says Rabl about the evening.  

The whole science slam can be viewed here: 


2019-02-22  |  IWM in the expert network of the Literature Archive Marbach
Sandra Richter

The German Literature Archive Marbach celebrated the inauguration of its new director, Professor Dr. Sandra Richter, with a ceremony on February 14. At press conference held in advance the Germanist and professor for literature made it clear, that she likes to turn the archive into a literary think tank.

She has already introduced the “Netzwerk literarische Erfahrung” (Network for Literary Experience), an association with the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Tübingen, the Freien Deutschen Hochstift, Frankfurt, and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, also located in Frankfurt. The network is also a reaction to the Stavanger Declaration on the future of reading which was co-signed by the IWM.

The tasks of the new network include the description and definition of literary experience, the empirical and in its methods plural investigation of readings (reading research), literary exhibitions and their visitors, and the investigation of the public reception of such phenomena. "This is an exciting task, because reading research has so far focused primarily on short, non-literary texts or the medium itself rather than on literary pieces," comments network member Professor Dr. Stephan Schwan on the project. The deputy director of the IWM would like to bring the institute’s expertise on cognitive-psychological processes of reading into the network.

2019-02-12  |  University goes digital: university@LEARNTEC attracts trade fair visitors
081 e-teaching at learntec 2019-01-31
© IWM Tuebingen

From January 29 to 31, 2019, the Messe Karlsruhe was all about digital learning: At the 27th LEARNTEC - the trade fair for digital learning in schools, universities and in the corporate area - the focus was on applications, innovations and best practice examples for the use of digital media in education. With the two-day programme university@LEARNTEC this year, a separate forum was dedicated to the digitisation of university teaching for the fifth time already.
For the first time, a full-day conference was offered at the trade fair in addition to the lecture programme. Both event days were organized by e-teaching.org, the e-learning information portal of the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), in cooperation with the Hochschulnetzwerk Digitalisierung der Lehre Baden-Württemberg (HND BW) and the Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (vhb).  "In recent years, the forum university@LEARNTEC has established itself well," Anne Thillosen, head of e-teaching.org, sums up. "Around 170 participants at the symposium, the well-attended lecture programme during the fair and a consistently positive response show just how important the topic 'university' is in connection with digital media".

To the detailed trade fair report (in German only)

2019-01-31  |   What motivates Wikipedia editors? - Seren Yenikent successfully defends dissertation
IMG 7063

Wikipedia is for many people the first step to close a knowledge gap. For others, it is a platform to collect their own knowledge in articles, to correct and update entries – and they do this voluntarily. But what motivates Wikipedia editors to join the platform if there is no obvious compensation for their efforts?

Seren Yenikent from IWM answers this question in her dissertation "Understanding the effects of topic factors and threat exposure on motivation to participate in knowledge artefacts: The case of Wikipedia". Previous studies have identified several encouraging factors (e.g. fun, ideology, community aspect) as reasons for Wikipedia participation. The PhD student now found that general (i.e., topic familiarity and controversiality) and specific characteristics (i.e., sentiment and psychological content) of a topic played significant roles in Wikipedia motivation. Yenikent presented her findings in the successful defence of her work last Wednesday: Using two laboratory studies and one Wikipedia text analysis study, she showed that working with known and controversial issues that had socio-political implications increases engagement with Wikipedia articles. A closer examination on psychological content showed that affective (positive and negative emotion) and drive states (achievement, reward, power, affiliation and risk) were the best predictors of article production. Yenikent's results support the human-oriented aspect of the Wikipedia platform that is distinctively fostered by editors’ psychological, social and emotional interests.

2019-01-25  |  Making meaning out of Big Data: US expert presents Quantitative Ethnography at the IWM
2019 01 23 Presentation David Shaffer
© IWM Tuebingen

"My smartphone, for example, knows more about what I do than my wife," the renowned US professor David Williamson Shaffer opened his guest lecture at the Tübingen IWM on January 15 and introduced the audience so vividly to the subject of Quantitative Ethnography: Turning Big Data into Real Understanding. "In the age of Big Data, there is much more information available about what people do and how they do it than ever before," said the learning science expert from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. "The challenge is to gain meaning from these large amounts of data, where traditional methods such as significance testing find only arbitrary patterns and are therefore not applicable," Shaffer continues. New statistical methods are therefore needed to allow researchers, for example, not only to determine whether learning tools are effective for students, but also to show why.

David Shaffer hopes to solve this problem with a new method: Quantitative ethnography which he presented in his lecture. It merges statistical and ethnographic analyses that were previously carried out separately. For this purpose, Shaffer and his colleagues are developing the Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) tool to model how codes are linked in a data set. ENA models visualize a system of interconnected codes, enabling researchers to quantify and test the differences between them using statistical methods. The model should then, for example, identify critical components that are decisive for the success of a learning tool and point out correlations between the components.

"These models will certainly become even more relevant in the future as we try to understand learning and knowledge processes through Big Data," says Nora Umbach, scientific assistant for method consulting at the IWM. She therefore expects them to be of direct relevance for research at the IWM. "All the more reason for us to be pleased that David Shaffer and his research group will cooperate with us in the future in order to support the institute in the application of his methods," states Nora Umbach.

2019-01-22  |  Teaching in the digital classroom - research magazine attempto! reports from TueDiLab
1901 ATTEMTO Cover

What happens in the TueDiLab (Tübingen Digital Teaching Lab)? The research magazine attempto! of the University of Tübingen has investigated this question. In the current issue, the magazine reports on a lesson in the high-tech classroom of the IWM.  Prof. Dr. Katharina Scheiter, head of Multiple Representations, explains how digital media and state-of-the-art technology are used to research and teach the lessons of the future.
Link to the article (PDF)

2019-01-21  |  Friedrich W. Hesse appointed as Presidium Officer of the Leibniz Association
2014-12-03 portrait hesse iwm-news
© Photodesign

Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich W. Hesse has been appointed as Presidium Commissioner for the Global Learning Council (GLC) by the executive board of the Leibniz Association for an initial period of three years. The GLC is a globally active, cross-sector group of thought leaders from science, industry and non-profit organizations in the field of the effective use of technologies to enhance learning and understanding.
Friedrich Hesse is Scientific Co-Chair of the GLC and together with the President of the Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, GLC board member. In addition, Mr. Hesse will continue to participate in the Leibniz Association's strategic field of digitization as a representative of the executive board for an initial period of three years. Within the scope of his participation, Mr. Hesse will, among other things, continue to chair the working group "Digitization in Transition".

2019-01-02  |  New role for Ulrike Cress at the Tübingen Research Campus (TRC)
TRC Logo

With effect to January 1, 2019, the head of the IWM, Ulrike Cress, has been elected new deputy speaker of the Tübingen Research Campus. “The TRC is a forum of exchange between the different research organisations and provides a basis for joint activities”, says Ulrike Cress on the advantages of the cooperation. The Tübingen Research Campus founded in 2016 aims at intensifying the cooperation between the local research institutions and offers joint services to the scientists who like to come to Tübingen.

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