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Alle beschriebenen Abschlussprojekte können als Masterprojekte oder, in abgespeckter Form, ggf. auch als Bachelorprojekte angeboten werden.  Bitte sprechen Sie mit den jeweiligen Betreuerinnen und Betreuern.

Social conformity in rats

Rats, as many social species, acquire information from peers in order to make decisions; in consequence, their food choices are based not only on individual experiences but also on conspecifics' feeding behaviour. The socially transmitted food preference (STFP) paradigm is a task that adapts this naturalistic form of social learning to the laboratory settings. In one variant of this paradigm, observer rats choose between two appetitive food items and reveal a preference for one of them. Subsequently, observers interact with conspecifics, called demonstrators, previously fed with the non-preferred food. Upon social interaction, observers have been found to increase their consumption of the food consumed by the demonstrator, thus, overwriting their endogenous food preference.

Since there is behavioural variance in the expression of performance in the STFP paradigm, the question arises to what extent a higher number of demonstrator animals or repeated social interaction with a demonstrator leads to a reduction in behavioural variance in overwriting own endogenous food preferences.


This project will involve animal handling and training animals on behavioral tasks. Daily availability (6 hrs per weekday) required.


Teamwork possible: max. 2 students

Language: German or English

Making decisions under stress

The experience of acute stress leads to a cascade of psychological and physiological changes. But what specific consequences these changes have for our behaviour is unclear. How does stress change the way we respond to rewards, such as food? Why do some people avoid effort when stressed? How can we make better decisions under stress?


Language: English (German possible, English preferred)

Effort in the context of social discounting

Social discounting refers to the phenomenon where prosocial behavior depends on social distance, i.e., generosity decreases with increasing social distance between the recipient and the decision maker. While classical social discounting tasks typically involve distributing money to individuals at varying social distances, our proposed project aims to validate an effort-based version of this task. In this new paradigm, participants must exert effort to earn money for individuals at varying social distance. Our project aims to investigate how effort influences decision making in the context of social discounting to improve our understanding of social decision making. Due to the complexity of the project, it is more suitable for a Master's thesis than a Bachelor's thesis. Existing programming skills are an advantage for this project.


Language: English or German

Teamwork: is possible


Literature work related to one of our research interests

In our research group, we study the cognitive neurobiology of human and non-human decision-making processes. Our goal is to understand when humans and non-human animals make optimal decisions and why they often systematically deviate from the ideal of optimal decision-making. Within the framework of our diverse research interests, Bachelor students have the opportunity to explore a research question in the form of a literature thesis and thus analyze topics and perspectives that provide insights into the complexity of decision-making in different contexts based on the literature currently available.

The specific research question will be discussed and agreed upon with the Bachelor thesis supervisor.

Supervisor: ,