Oliver Genschow

Oliver Genschow
University of Cologne | UOC · Department of Psychology

Jun.-Prof. Dr.

About

56
Publications
25,959
Reads
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811
Citations
Introduction
Oliver Genschow currently works at the Department of Psychology, University of Cologne. Oliver does research in Experimental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Social Psychology.
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - present
University of Cologne
Position
  • Juniorprofessor
November 2016 - December 2016
University of Basel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2013 - October 2016
Ghent University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
Full-text available
Extensive research has demonstrated that movement observation leads to an activation of a corresponding motor representation in the observer. Recent theoretical accounts have put forward the idea that such motor simulation serves an anticipatory function. In line with this assumption, the results from 2 experiments indicate that merely observing an...
Article
Full-text available
Free will is a cornerstone of our society, and psychological research demonstrates that questioning its existence impacts social behavior. In six studies, we tested whether believing in free will is related to the correspondence bias, which reflects people's automatic tendency to overestimate the influence of internal as compared to external factor...
Article
Full-text available
Many failed replications in social psychology have cast doubt on the validity of the field. Most of these replication attempts have focused on findings published from the 1990s on, ignoring a large body of older literature. As some scholars suggest that social psychological findings and theories are limited to a particular time, place, and populati...
Article
Full-text available
Ever since some scientists and popular media put forward the idea that free will is an illusion, the question has risen what would happen if people stopped believing in free will. Psychological research has investigated this question by testing the consequences of experimentally weakening people’s free will beliefs. The results of these investigati...
Article
Most people believe in free will. Past research has indicated that reducing this belief has numerous downstream consequences including everyday outcomes as well as neural and cognitive correlates associated with a reduction of self‐control. However, the exact mechanisms through which a reduction in free will belief affects self‐control are still a...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals automatically mimic a wide range of different behaviors, and such mimicking behavior has several social benefits. One of the landmark findings in the literature is that being mimicked increases liking for the mimicker. Research in cognitive neuroscience demonstrated that mentally simulating motor actions is neurophysiologically similar...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals have the automatic tendency to imitate each other. A key prediction of different theories explaining automatic imitation is that individuals imitate in-group members more strongly than out-group members. However, the empirical basis for this prediction is rather inconclusive. Only a few experiments have investigated the influence of gro...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals automatically imitate a wide range of different behaviors. Previous research suggests that imitation as a social process depends on the similarity between interaction partners. However, some of the experiments supporting this notion could not be replicated and all of the supporting experiments manipulated not only similarity between act...
Article
Full-text available
It is well known that individuals have the tendency to automatically imitate each other and that such imitative behavior is fostered by perceiving intentions in others' actions. That is, past research has shown that perceiving an action as internally driven enhances the shared representation of observed and executed actions increasing automatic imi...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is well known that individuals have the tendency to automatically imitate each other and that such imitative behavior is fostered by perceiving intentions in others’ actions. That is, past research has shown that perceiving an action as internally driven enhances the shared representation of observed and executed actions increasing automatic imi...
Preprint
Research has shown that people automatically imitate others and that this tendency is stronger when the other person is a human compared with a non-human agent. However, a controversial question is whether automatic imitation is also modulated by whether people believe the other person is a human. Although early research supported this hypothesis,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent research suggests that we can simultaneously represent the actions of multiple agents in our motor system. However, it is currently unclear exactly how we represent their actions. Here, we tested two competing hypotheses. According to the independence hypothesis, we represent concurrently observed actions as independent, competing actions. A...
Preprint
Full-text available
Individuals automatically imitate a wide range of different behaviors. Previous research suggests that imitation as a social process depends on the similarity between interaction partners. However, some of the experiments supporting this notion could not be replicated and all of the supporting experiments manipulated not only similarity between act...
Preprint
Full-text available
Whether free will exists is a longstanding philosophical debate. Cognitive neuroscience and popular media have been putting forward the idea that free will is an illusion, raising the question of what would happen if people stopped believing in free will altogether. Psychological research has investigated this question by testing the consequences o...
Article
Full-text available
The more people believe in free will, the harsher their punishment of criminal offenders. A reason for this finding is that belief in free will leads individuals to perceive others as responsible for their behavior. While research supporting this notion has mainly focused on criminal offenders, the perspective of the victims has been neglected so f...
Article
Full-text available
Past research has shown that merely anticipating a certain action in someone else leads observers to engage in the anticipated action-a phenomenon called anticipated action. In a standard experiment on anticipated action, participants watch video clips of a model engaging in triggering events such as nose wrinkling or hair falling. A typical findin...
Preprint
Full-text available
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims at promoting science communication in a more targeted way. This fits to a recently published demand by the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat), which would like to see more science communication from psychologists working in science. To be able to promote science communication,...
Article
Full-text available
Imitation is a ubiquitous part of everybody's life. When imitating other people, a certain psychological distance is always involved—for instance, the imitator may be near to or distant from observed behavior in space (e.g., when one is learning a task face‐to‐face vs. by watching a video) or time (e.g., the behavior appears in a new vs. an old vid...
Article
Full-text available
Ambivalence refers to the experience of having both positive and negative thoughts and feelings at the same time about the same object, person, or issue. Although ambivalence research has focused extensively on negative consequences, recently, scholars turned their lens to the positive effects of ambivalence, demonstrating beneficial effects on jud...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many failed replications in social psychology have cast doubt on the validity of the field. Most of these replication attempts have focused on findings published from the 1990s on, ignoring a large body of older literature. As some scholars suggest that social psychological findings and theories are limited to a particular time, place, and populati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ambivalence refers to the experience of having both positive and negative thoughts and feelings at the same time about the same object, person, or issue. Although ambivalence research has focused extensively on negative consequences, recently, scholars turned their lens to the positive effects of ambivalence, demonstrating beneficial effects on jud...
Article
Full-text available
There is a debate in psychology and philosophy on the societal consequences of casting doubts about individuals’ belief in free will. Research suggests that experimentally reducing free will beliefs might affect how individuals evaluate others’ behavior. Past research has demonstrated that reduced free will beliefs decrease laypersons’ tendency tow...
Article
Full-text available
Past research has shown that mimicry has a number of pro-social consequences for interaction partners. However, such research has almost exclusively focused on its effects among interaction dyads. As social interactions are often witnessed by third-party observers, the question arises which inferences perceivers draw from observing mimicry. In the...
Preprint
Full-text available
A key prediction of motivational theories of automatic imitation is that people imitate in-group over out-group members. However, research on this topic has provided mixed results. Here, we investigate the possibility that social group modulations emerge only when people can directly compare in- and out-group. To this end, we conducted three experi...
Article
Full-text available
A classic example of discriminatory behavior is keeping spatial distance from an out-group member. To explain this social behavior, the literature offers two alternative theoretical options that we label as the “threat hypothesis” and the “shared-experience hypothesis”. The former relies on studies showing that out-group members create a sense of a...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is a debate in psychology and philosophy on the societal consequences of casting doubts about individuals’ belief in free will. Research suggests that experimentally reducing free will beliefs might affect how individuals evaluate others’ behavior. Past research has demonstrated that reduced free will beliefs decrease laypersons’ tendency tow...
Preprint
Full-text available
Past research has shown that mimicry has a number of pro-social consequences for interaction partners. However, such research has almost exclusively focused on its effects among interaction dyads. As social interactions are often witnessed by third-party observers, the question arises which inferences perceivers draw from observing mimicry. In the...
Article
Full-text available
To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from two separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were th...
Preprint
The self-sufficiency hypothesis suggests that priming individuals with money makes them focus more strongly on themselves than on others. However, recently, research supporting this claim has been heavily criticized and some attempts to replicate have failed. A reason for the inconsistent findings in the field may lay in the common use of explicit...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that approaching a stimulus makes it more positive, while avoiding a stimulus makes it more negative. The present research demonstrates that approach-avoidance behaviors have the potential to charge stimulus attributes such as color with evaluative meaning. This evaluation carries over to other stimuli with that feature....
Article
The self-sufficiency hypothesis suggests that priming individuals with money makes them focus more strongly on themselves than on others. However, recently, research supporting this claim has been heavily criticized and some attempts to replicate have failed. A reason for the inconsistent findings in the field may lay in the common use of explicit...
Preprint
In past research on imitation, some findings suggest that imitation is goal based, whereas other findings suggest that imitation can also be based on a direct mapping of a model’s movements without necessarily adopting the model’s goal. We argue that the two forms of imitation are flexibly deployed in accordance with the psychological distance from...
Article
Full-text available
In past research on imitation, some findings suggest that imitation is goal based, whereas other findings suggest that imitation can also be based on a direct mapping of a model's movements without necessarily adopting the model's goal. We argue that the 2 forms of imitation are flexibly deployed in accordance with the psychological distance from t...
Article
Full-text available
The question of whether free will actually exists has been debated in philosophy for centuries. However, how belief in free will shapes the perception of our social environment still remains open. Here we investigate whether belief in free will affects how much intentionality we attribute to other people. Study 1a and 1b demonstrate a weak positive...
Preprint
Full-text available
The question of whether free will actually exists has been debated in philosophy for centuries. However, how belief in free will shapes the perception of our social environment still remains open. Here we investigate whether belief in free will affects how much intentionality we attribute to other people. Study 1a and 1b demonstrate a weak positive...
Preprint
Full-text available
Individuals high in psychopathic traits are known for manipulating others, while having at the same time a lack of empathy. An open question is whether the lack of empathy leads them to represent other persons’ beliefs and actions less strongly or whether their manipulative character leads them to represent other persons’ beliefs and actions more s...
Preprint
The question of whether free will actually exists has been debated in philosophy for centuries. However, how belief in free will shapes the perception of our social environment still remains open. Here we investigate whether belief in free will affects how much intentionality we attribute to other people. Study 1a and 1b demonstrate a weak positive...
Preprint
Full-text available
Individuals high in psychopathic traits are known for manipulating others, while having at the same time a lack of empathy. An open question is whether the lack of empathy leads them to represent other persons’ beliefs and actions less strongly or whether their manipulative character leads them to represent other persons’ beliefs and actions more s...
Article
Full-text available
Past research on action observation and imitation suggests that observing a movement activates a corresponding motor representation in the observer. However, recent research suggests that individuals may not only reflexively simulate the observed behavior but also simulate and engage in anticipated action without another person actually engaging in...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely known that individuals frequently imitate each other in social situations and that such mimicry fulfills an important social role in the sense that it functions as a social glue. With reference to the anticipated action effect, it has recently been demonstrated that individuals do not only imitate others, but also engage in anticipated...
Article
Full-text available
Automatic imitation is the finding that movement execution is facilitated by compatible and impeded by incompatible observed movements. In the past 15 years, automatic imitation has been studied to understand the relation between perception and action in social interaction. Although research on this topic started in cognitive science, interest quic...
Article
Full-text available
According to social reward theories, automatic imitation can be understood as a means to obtain positive social consequences. In line with this view, it has been shown that automatic imitation is modulated by contextual variables that constrain the positive outcomes of imitation. However, this work has largely neglected that many gestures have an i...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely known that individuals have a tendency to imitate each other. However, different psychological disciplines assess imitation in different manners. While social psychologists assess mimicry by means of action observation, cognitive psychologists assess automatic imitation with reaction time based measures on a trial-by-trial basis. Altho...
Article
Full-text available
While past research has found that implicit measures are good predictors of affectively driven, but not cognitively driven, behavior it has not yet been tested which implicit measures best predict behavior. By implementing a consumer context, in the present experiment, we assessed two explicit measures (i.e. self-reported habit and tastiness) and t...
Article
Full-text available
Research on mimicry has demonstrated that individuals imitate in-group members more strongly than out-group members. In the present study, we tested whether such top-down modulation also applies for more extreme forms of direct mapping, such as for cross-contextual imitation settings, in which individuals imitate others' movements without sharing a...
Article
Previous studies suggest that the color red reduces food intake because it signals danger and hence acts as a consumption-stopping cue. We demonstrate that this effect cannot be generalized to just any kind of food. Consequently, we show that the color red—despite eliciting similar associations—affects behavior more strongly with regard to unhealth...
Article
Full-text available
Many prisons across Western countries recently began to paint detention cells in Baker-Miller pink to calm down aggressive inmates. This recent development is based on early findings of more than 30 years ago suggesting that Baker-Miller pink reduces physical strength and thus aggressive behavior. In the present study we question the applied method...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that positive stimuli are often approached as well as recognized faster than negative stimuli. We argue that this effect does not hold if negative stimuli are associated with threat. Based on fear module theory (Öhman & Mineka, 2001, 2003), we argue that individuals recognize threatening stimuli faster than positive stimu...
Article
Full-text available
Recent investigations of imitation have demonstrated that individuals imitate a primed movement across contexts. For example, when tasting a drink, individuals who observe an athlete lifting a barbell raise their arms to their mouths more often, thus increasing their drink intake because both actions (i.e., weight lifting and drinking) involve the...
Article
Full-text available
In three studies, an easy-to-apply response time task that differentiates between recognition and approach speed was applied. The results indicate that individuals recognized and approached positive stimuli faster than negative stimuli (Pilot Study). But, when the choice options differed less in valence, approach movement time was a better predicto...
Article
Full-text available
Research on regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) suggests that performance increases if instructions fit with sportspersons' dispositions. Sportspersons who chronically focus on wins (i.e., promotion-oriented individuals) perform best if instructions frame the objective as a promotion goal (e.g., "Try to hit!"). By contrast, sportspersons who ch...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies have shown that individuals often imitate the behavior of others. In these studies, the observed and imitated behaviors were always identical. The present research goes one step further and disentangles the imitation of movements from their behavioral contexts. On the basis of theories that the perception of behavior refers to the sa...

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Projects (3)
Project
Research in social neuroscience has consistently shown that observing human behavior activates brain areas that are also involved in the execution of the observed movements (motor mirroring). The right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ) has been suggested to play a crucial role in self-other distinction, and specifically in detecting a mismatch between our own motor intention and the externally triggered motor representation (visual feedback). However, studies based on computer tasks lack an important aspect of our social world, namely the interactive part. In the present project, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate the role of the rTPJ in self-other distinction during real face-to-face interactions.
Archived project
In this project, we aim to investigate the overlap between social and automatic imitation as well as their relation with several top-down factors by means of a correlational design.